Why men cheat
Ah, infidelity. Ain't it grand? Ha, just kidding -- anyone who's done it before knows it sucks. At best, you keep your mouth shut about a one-time slip and carry on for the duration of the relationship knowing that you're a grade-A dickbag. At worst, you're having a full-blown affair and one day you wake up and three-quarters of everyone you know hates you because they found out. Not a good look, as they say.
And yet, we persist. Well, "we" as in men, not "we" including me, but I've been there before. I've done it. But why? Why have so many of us at some point in our lives done what we all know to be the cardinal no-no in relationships? Some blame biology and our predilection to spread our genes as far and wide as possible. Technically, it's true. Reproductively speaking, indiscriminate lady boning is the most efficient way to ensure that the species flourishes. The problem is that it's been about 50,000 years since our survival was ever in question. After all, it was humans (or puffins, or penguins, I can't be sure) who invented "mating for life." Why can most men get it right, while others can't?
What follows is a list of "reasons" why men cheat. Reason might not be the right word, because it implies a lack of control or premeditation. That said, they aren't really excuses, either, because an excuse is usually something you offer in lieu of a truer, more embarrassing explanation. What do we call them then? Good question. Without further adieu or confusion, here are the top 6 things related to why men cheat on their ladies.
No. 6: They aren't having it as much as they'd like to
Let's all be adults here and agree that after a certain age, we commit to someone because we like her an awful lot and need a socially defensible way to sleep with her on the regular. I'm not trying to belittle anyone's moral or religious views on the issue, nor is sex the most important part of a healthy relationship. But it is a big part, and as adults it's really what separates friendship from romantic involvement. If you're in an emotionally fulfilling but sexually inadequate relationship, it can almost be more frustrating than having no one at all. For guys unwilling to have a difficult conversation or jettison an incomplete relationship, cheating is often seen as an option.
No. 5: They were cheated on
If you're in high school or are just really immature, this probably makes a lot of sense. She cheated on you, but you love her too much to end it, so you figure evening the score will iron everything out. It's tempting for any guy too weak or love-drunk to make tough decisions, although never in the history of mankind has hurting someone made you feel less hurt yourself. And, fellas, here's a tip: If she cheated on you, she's probably already checked out to the point where you turning the tables isn't going to phase her much. If anything, you're just validating feelings she already had.
Everyone has a deep-seated need to feel wanted and attractive, not just by their significant other, but by the public at large. That's why you clean yourself up when you're just going out with your bros, or why your ladyfriend puts on makeup even if she's just going shopping. Even the occasional harmless flirting by or with an attractive member of the opposite sex can put a little extra pep in your step, and that's fine, because it's likely your partner who will reap the benefits. For a truly insecure man, though, that won't be enough. He needs to actually score in order to feel validated. If you combine the insecurity here with the barren sexual lake beds of No. 6, it's almost (almost) understandable why some men stray.
If we're being honest, it's not often that gorgeous women walk around waving their hoo-has in our faces and handing out open invitations for sexual intercourse. Still, I think most men have, at some point in their lives, had an attractive woman really come on strong to them. How we handle it depends on several factors, dating status presumably chief among them. Single? Great, hit it like it owes you money. Not single? You know what the answer should be, but do you have the willpower? The kind of man who gives into this kind of temptation is often less experienced with women, and despite his being spoken for, believes it to be an opportunity he can't pass up. But if you've been around the block a time or two, you see that kind of come-on for what it is: abnormal, desperate and kind of a turnoff. If it helps, you can say you couldn't blame her because you're so handsome.
Sometimes in a long-term relationship, people let themselves go. Maybe she's gained a ton of weight, maybe she's developed a drinking problem or maybe she just can't seem to get her sh*t together in general. Whatever it is, the problem with familiarity is that you don't notice these things as they happen over time, the way you would with a friend or relative you don't see very often. Instead, all of a sudden, you wake up one day and realize the creature sharing your apartment is a far cry from the girl you first said "I love you" to. Again, for some men, it comes down to choosing between having a difficult (potentially fruitless) discussion or just chasing tail elsewhere.
Here's a fun exercise if you're single: Go find an ex you truly couldn't care less about anymore, and have sex with her. Not quite what it used to be, is it? Love (or at least feelings), we learn as we get older, is a big part of what makes great sex great. Take those away, and you're just two animals humping. It's why one-night stands usually kind of suck, and why the aforementioned ex-sex is at best disappointing. When that happens, it's tempting to replace those lost feelings with the excitement that comes with meeting and bedding someone new. It's a poor substitute and, ultimately, delays the inevitable.
So are these reasons? Explanations? Let's call them rationalizations, something between a reason and an excuse. Whatever a man tells himself (or his partner) to rationalize his infidelity, it belies the simple fact that he is involved in something in which he does not fully wish to be involved. If you feel like you're going to cheat, try to determine if it's for any of the above reasons (or something altogether different) and see if it can be resolved. If not, suck it up, be a man and get out. Cheating, above all else, is an act of disrespect and cowardice.