You never go into a relationship thinking it will happen to you.
You go in full of hope. Full of growing love. Full of a promising future.
And when things worked out, your relationship grows and you know you’re onto something good.
So, why would it get to the point that he cheats on you?
It’s hurtful. It’s deceitful.
It brings the whole image of the relationship you’ve built together crashing to the ground.
You find yourself asking all the questions:
Was it my fault? Does he hate me? Will he do it again? Should I stay with him? Why me?
Wrapping your head around cheating and why a man might stray is no easy task. But if you’re wondering whether or not he still loves you and if you can get past it, then it’s important to look at it.
By first looking at why he has cheated, you can then work out how to move forward.
The most important thing to remember is that it’s not your fault. Any of it. But you are completely in control of what happens next and what you now want out of the relationship.
11 reasons guys cheat in a relationship
1) He’s scared of commitment
One of the big reasons many men find themselves straying is their fear of commitment.
It’s got nothing to do with how they feel about you. In fact, he often has deep feelings for you which is why he’s feeling so scared about it.
Rather than face up to these feelings, some men make the decision to sabotage the relationship instead.
They wander off with another woman for their “breathing space” knowing that the issue of commitment will no longer be an issue afterwards.
It’s extremely counter-intuitive. At least it is to us. But men have a different way of thinking.
He would rather bring down his relationship than face his relationship fears.
If this sounds like your partner, then it helps to have a chat about it. Ask him to open up about his reasons for choosing to sleep with another woman.
Listen to him.
As much as it hurts, if you’re going to ask the questions, then you also have to listen to the answers. Once he’s done, you can also share how it made you feel.
He cares for you deeply and once he realises the impact his actions have had, it’s a perfect opportunity to show him how a committed relationship is far less scary.
Understanding the psychology behind men and commitment
Does it feel like whatever you do, nothing will get through to your man?
If so, it signifies that whatever is holding your man back from fully committing to you is rooted deeply in his psyche.
Psychologists have studied the way men think for years, but only one truly hit the nail on the head – Sigmund Freud, the father of psychology.
To save you having to take a degree in psychology just to get through to your man, we’ve put together something much easier to help you in your relationship:
Our free commitment quiz, based on Freud’s most highly regarded theories.
You see, his issues with commitment have nothing to do with you. You could be the perfect woman for him but he still won’t see it.
So rather than let him slip away, be the one who finally understands what’s holding him back and learn how to unleash his commitment.
2) He’s looking for a way out
Some men simply are cowards. There are no two ways about it.
This is a relationship that has no hope for the future, but how do you know if it’s your guy?
There’s a couple of ways you can work it out.
Think about how the cheating happened. Was it almost like he wanted to get caught? If it seems that way, then this might actually be the case. He was keeping it in the open and wanted you to find him so that it would be over.
Another way you can tell is by straight out asking him.
Ask him whether he was done with the relationship before the cheating occurred, or if it was a mistake that he regrets. Now that the damage is done he might be much more willing to give you an honest answer.
3) Emotional baggage
Sometimes the cheating has nothing to do with you and everything to do with the emotional baggage he has brought with him from another relationship.
Depending on what he has been through in the past, he might actually fear a committed and loving relationship. If it’s something he’s never experienced before, then he’s likely fearful of it.
If you want to work out whether this is your guy, take a look back at his past relationships.
Were a lot of them unhealthy? Toxic even?
This is a good indication that he has brought some of that emotional baggage into your current relationship and that it’s affecting his decision making.
Unfortunately, when it comes to emotions, there’s no easy fix for this one. You will need to get all his feelings out onto the table and possibly even work with a counsellor to help him overcome them.
It’s up to you to decide how much he means to you and what you’re willing to do to help him. All this, while trying to make peace with the fact he cheated on you. It’s a lot for anyone to take on, so be easy on yourself.
4) He has narcissistic traits
A guy who cheats could very likely have narcissistic traits.
This means he simply doesn’t care about your feelings when it comes to cheating. It’s simply about them and what they want and they don’t stop to think about the impact their decision might have on others.
So, how do you know if this is your guy?
The good news is, it’s pretty easy to spot. The bad news is, there’s not much you can do about this personality trait. And there’s nothing to stop him cheating on you again.
Does he show any remorse for the cheating? If not, then it’s likely he has some narcissistic tendencies. He actually doesn’t care that he hurt you. It’s not even on his radar.
This guy is likely to cheat again. He doesn’t see it as something he did wrong. He saw something he wanted and he went for it. He will do it again.
5) It’s about revenge
Some guys cheat as a way to get revenge on their partner. This isn’t to say you cheated on him first.
But you may have treated him in the wrong way or done something he doesn’t like, which has caused him to turn around and cheat on you for revenge.
Have a talk with your partner to see if anything fuelled his decision to cheat.
You can even ask him outright:
“Did you go out and cheat on me because of the way I treated you last week?”
Of course, going out and cheating is never the right solution, but it’s something you can both work through together once you get to the bottom of the issue. It’s an impulse-driven reaction.
6) Substance abuse
Being addicted to alcohol or drugs can lower your inhibitions and make you more likely to cheat.
Their decision-making ability becomes impaired, which means if the opportunity to cheat presents itself, they’re more likely to say yes. He might even be addicted to sex, meaning he’s more likely to seek it out.
There are so many different things people can be addicted to and they generally mean that instances of cheating are more likely for them. It leads to impulse-driven decision making, which can drive a huge wedge in a relationship.
If you’ve noticed your partner is struggling with an addiction, then it’s best to treat the addiction. A healthy mind makes healthy decisions.
7) He’s insecure
If a guy is feeling insecure or has low self-esteem, he might be led down the path of cheating as a way to seek some validation.
They generally feel like they’re not getting any form of validation in their own relationship, so are seeking it externally. This is a guy who relies on the opinions of others to boost his own self-esteem.
Finding a woman outside of his relationship who finds him attractive and wants to sleep with him is the ultimate validation of his feelings.
Another indication can be sexual issues. From erectile dysfunction to being unable to get you excited in the bedroom, he might find himself seeking out someone new to prove he’s not the problem.
Think about your partner and your sex life and determine if there are any issues to be addressed. Spicing things up in the bedroom could be all you need to keep your relationship on track.
8) Emotionally immature
This is a large reason so many men are driven to cheating.
They know there are issues in their relationship and they likely have been for a long period now. But he doesn’t know how to address these issues and talk about them with you, so instead he resorts to cheating.
It’s often a result of poor judgement and lack of self-control that is driven by his emotional inability.
Emotionally immature people also have a habit of blaming others. They’re more likely to cheat and blame you for their actions. They generally feel that you lead them to cheat, and it wasn’t their fault at all.
So, what can you do about this?
It’s important to keep the lines of communication open.
While he might find it uncomfortable to talk about emotions, it’s important to help him do so. Set aside time each week to talk about your emotions together and what you’re thinking and feeling.
This is a great way to help grow his emotional maturity, so he isn’t nearly as likely to suffer from poor judgement or lack of self-control.
9) A missed opportunity
For some men who cheat, it’s a simple case of a missed opportunity.
It could be a childhood sweetheart. It could be a co-worker they had feelings for they didn’t follow through on. It could be anyone they had come across in their life before they met. Someone they chose not to be with.
He might be experiencing regret or a simple case of wondering about the life they didn’t live. They find themselves wondering about a different route they could have taken.
So, they indulge this curiosity and cheat with this person as a way of understanding what their life might’ve been like if they had chosen this path instead. Often, it has nothing to do with his feelings for you.
He might simply feel “trapped” in his current relationship and all the “what ifs” are creeping up in his mind.
Once again, open communication is your best bet. Make sure you’re both on the same page about the relationship and are happy. This will stop the “what ifs” from cropping up and stop him from straying.
10) Childhood exposure
As you might expect, it’s been shown that men who were exposed to cheating in childhood (ie, their mother or father), are more likely to go on to cheat themselves.
They see it as normal and they have very different attitudes about relationships as a result.
Studies show that the odds of infidelity were 2.5 times higher in participants with parental infidelity. Even with that sub-group, the odds of infidelity are still low, with about 75 per cent exposed not cheating.
11) He feels unacknowledged
Another common reason people cheat in a relationship is that they feel unacknowledged in their current relationship.
Whether you’re too busy, emotionally unavailable or something else going on, some men will stray if their emotional and physical needs aren’t being met in their relationship.
He feels neglected or ignored, and that loneliness leads them to find comfort somewhere else.
Take a look at your own relationship and how connected the two of you are. Are both your needs being met? Do you spend enough quality time together? It’s important to address this issue as a couple to help avoid any repercussions.
No matter the reason a guy cheats on you, it’s never acceptable and you’re never to blame. And there’s no denying that it hurts, a lot.
Even though the reason someone cheats isn’t an excuse, it is important to understand to help you both move forward in the relationship. Here are some tips to help you move on in a relationship.
10 tips to help you move forward after being cheated on
Unfortunately, once the cheating has taken place, there is nothing you can do to take it back.
Denial may seem like the easiest path but it’s important to acknowledge and face the issue. Whether or not you choose to stay with him is entirely up to you. If you’re wanting to move on, here are some tips to help you out:
1) Work out if you want to move on
Before you even consider moving on in a relationship, you have to work out whether it’s something the two of you actually want.
Many women mistakenly believe that they get to choose at this stage — after all, they are the ones who have been cheated on. But he may not want to move on with you.
He might actually be done with the relationship himself (which could have led to him cheating in the first place).
You need to make up your mind first, then speak openly with him and see what he wants. Once you’re both on the same page you can then make a plan to move forward.
2) Make sure he feels remorse
Then is no point moving on with someone who feels no remorse for their relationship.
Once you know for sure he feels remorse for his actions, then you can form a plan to help you both move forward from this.
3) Work out why it happened
The next step is to work out why the cheating happened.
Once again, remember that finding the reason isn’t an excuse for his actions. But it is an understanding.
Work out which of the reasons above relates to your specific situation. Once you know why he cheated, you can work on a plan to prevent it from happening again.
4) Mourn your old relationship
As much as you might hope to get things back to normal, it’s important to accept this will never happen. Nor should you want it to.
There was something in your old relationship that led to the cheating in the first place. You need to accept that things will never be the same as they were before while you think about moving forward.
While you won’t be able to get back to the same way things once were, you can still move forward and find a new normal for the two of you.
You never know, you might find the new normal is even better than how things were before the cheating occurred. It’s about being positive about what’s in store for your future.
5) Remove the problem and temptations
The next step is to remove any temptations from your lives to make it easier to keep on track.
It could be asking for a transfer if it’s a co-worker. It might mean never going back to a bar where they met the woman. It could be cutting off contact if it was an ongoing affair.
You need to talk to him about the affair and work out the problem. Then together come up with a plan moving forward to prevent it from happening again.
It’s important he’s still on board for this step in the process, so that it doesn’t lead to resentment and have him going down the path of cheating once again.
Discuss this step together and why you’re making the decisions and what impact you’re hoping it will have on the relationship.
Your feelings factor in here as well.
Trust is something that can take a while to rebuild after something as serious as cheating. This means he needs to listen to what will make you feel comfortable.
Think about what you need out of this to feel comfortable that the cheating is over and won’t be repeated. This is important when it comes to repairing that trust between the two of you.
6) Don’t feel the need to tell everyone
Before your husband cheated on you, then there’s a good chance you were that person who believed you would walk away from a relationship if you were ever cheated on.
Most of us believe this. But we also believe it’s something that would never happen to us, so it’s easy to say that.
Being in the situation is entirely different. You can’t explain the emotional decisions you make between the two of you. And many people won’t understand it.
This is why it helps to limit the amount of people you tell about the infidelity. Their opinion has no place in your relationship and you can guarantee everyone will have one.
It can really weigh you down when all your closest friends tell you you’re making a mistake going back to him. And you can’t blame them either, you once felt the same way.
But now you’re in the situation, it’s about you and your partner and no one else.
At the same time, if people know about the infidelity, they might treat your partner differently. They might lose respect for them, which can make dinner parties and other events uncomfortable for all.
If you want to make things work between the two of you, then it’s best to just confide in those closest to you, who you can trust.
Use them as a sounding board and make them know you’ve made up your mind, irrespective of their feelings. A good friend or family member should be able to support you no matter what.
7) Go to therapy
As much as you might like to think that you can work through your problems yourself, it always helps to have the experience of a trained outsider. There is nothing taboo about therapy.
In fact, there are plenty of benefits that should be taken into consideration.
A therapist is a neutral party in your relationship and the perfect sounding board for working through your feelings and emotions.
An affair needs to be addressed, no matter how painful it is. Until you can address it and sort out your feelings, then it’s much harder to move on from it.
8) Let go of the past
One thing therapy can help with is letting go of the past.
Cheating hurts. There’s no doubt about that. And if you don’t think you can move past it then you should let the relationship go as soon as it happens.
But, once you make it this far, it’s important to let go of that hurt and pain.
If you leave it bottled up inside you, then it’s only a matter of time before it comes out and causes issues in your relationship.
The resentment will build and it will come up time and time again each time the two of you get into an argument. This isn’t healthy and isn’t part of any healthy relationship.
Work out ways to let go of the pain as you move forward. It’s a healing process that will allow you to be at peace with what happened and move on from it.
9) Stick to the changes
Whatever changes the two of you decide are necessary for your relationship, make sure you stick to them.
Follow through on your promises to each other and keep on track. If you find yourselves veering off, then address it before you get completely off course.
There is no point in making promises and agreeing on changes that need to be made if neither of you intends to stick to it.
All that results in, is a lot of hard work that has been lost. You don’t want to waste anyone’s time, so stick to it and see it through.
At the same time, if you make all these changes and still find yourself unable to forgive and forget, you can still walk away from the relationship at any time.
Don’t feel that because you made the decision to try and make it work, I mean you can’t change your mind. If it isn’t working, then you always have the option to pull the plug.
10) Open communication
The final step is ensuring you keep the lines of communication open. Communication is key to any relationship.
Set aside time each week to talk to each other and get your feelings out onto the table. It’s a healthy way to determine if there are any issues in your relationship, and what can be done about them.
With open communication, you can ensure you’re both happy and all your needs are being met. This means there’s much less chance of either of you feeling the need to cheat for any reason.
Moving on from a relationship after cheating isn’t easy. It takes hard work and determination to see it through and you both have to be committed for it to work. It’s not something you can be half-hearted with.
If you want to see results and get through this with a stronger and healthier relationship, then make sure you’re both serious about what you want.
You do have the opportunity to build something stronger and happier between the two of you, but it’s all a product of the effort you put in
Can a relationship coach help you too?
If you want specific advice on your situation, it can be very helpful to speak to a relationship coach.
I know this from personal experience…
A few months ago, I reached out to Relationship Hero when I was going through a tough patch in my relationship. After being lost in my thoughts for so long, they gave me a unique insight into the dynamics of my relationship and how to get it back on track.
If you haven’t heard of Relationship Hero before, it’s a site where highly trained relationship coaches help people through complicated and difficult love situations.
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