Why men risk family to cheat

From "Weiner-gate" to the Terminator, Americans hear regular reports of men who play a game of risk with their personal lives. Infidelity takes down CEOs, moguls, politicians, and even experienced war veterans. Betraying marital vows, getting caught in outrageous sex acts, is there anything we haven't heard recently? So what drives exceptional, competent, and disciplined men like General David Petraeus to participate in such common behavior? According to LiveScience writer Stephanie Pappas, a natural risk taker like Petraeus was at risk, himself, for getting caught cheating.

Relationship experts around the country seek to answer the question most people are asking: Why would General Petraeus risk everything by having an affair? While his predicament is nothing unique or new, this high-profile leader's fall has shaken many. Is he a sex addict?

Contrary to what some believe, says Dr. David J. Ley, one sex scandal does not qualify Petraeus for the role of "sex addict;" he's merely a man who made some obviously bad decisions. Dr. Ley blames the former Director's behavior on "a host of biological, psychological, and environmental factors." Those may include a naturally high sex drive, elevated testosterone levels, narcissism, and his biographer's seduction abilities.

Relationship expert Sharon Jayson puts it another way. She notes a "level of arrogance in accepting the risks associated with an affair." In her recent USA Today article, Jayson describes the General as a "wayward son," following in the footsteps of other "wayward sons" like John Edwards and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

According to M. Gary Neuman's study, 2.7 million men will cheat on their wives and get away with it. In his book, The Truth About Cheating, Neuman notes that the "devastation" experienced from infidelity isn't just felt by the spouse, but by children as well. His statistics reveal that 92 percent of cheaters admit that their decision to stray was not solely about sex.

That's small comfort when you experience this kind of heartbreak; but hopefully, it's something the Petraeus family can come back from.