Why do men and women cheat? There are several reasons why men and women are unfaithful. The biggest according to Neuman is “opportunity and unhappiness” (25). Relationships are built on love, and sometimes two people forget to communicate causing unhappiness. When an opportunity comes along to talk with someone about our problems we usually do so. Does it always lead to cheating? No, not always. People form relationships to get to know one another, they begin a commitment based on their love, and they seek happiness in life.
Whether happiness revolves around marriage and kids or a significant other to spend life with, all relationships have problems. Cheating on your spouse or significant other is just one factor in an unhappy relationship. A recent study conducted by marriage counselor M. Gary Neuman estimated about 2. 7 men will cheat and most wives will be completely oblivious and may never find out (Oprah). The reason men cheat isn’t simply because they want sex. Men often cheat because they miss the feeling of being admired and feeling a woman positively responding to them (Author 202). Usually with their partner they feel criticized and undermined.
Men need to feel they can make their partner happy as well as feel admired and trusted. Men are motivated by knowing “they can get things right” for their partner (Author 202). When constant arguments arise this means there are deeper issues at hand, rather they are about a woman feeling the loss of an emotional connection and bond with their man. Not enough connection feels like abandonment. In an attempt to regain a connection women complain, and tell their men what they “are not doing right” (Author 202). Unfortunately men don’t know the complaining and criticism is actually a desire for connection.
Men begin to believe they aren’t doing things right and there for lose self-esteem. Once the pattern starts of a man distancing and a woman complaining the man can become discouraged. This becomes a vicious cycle that ultimately leads to cheating and destroys relationships. When he tries to “do the right thing”, he soon gives up when their isn’t any type of positive reinforcement and the appreciation he longs for doesn’t come instantly. He needs to persevere and appreciate his partner more in order to break the cycle. If he continues to distance himself it makes the lack of connection worse and his partner feeling more abandoned.
At these times some men are vulnerable to cheating on their partners to get a sense of self esteem and affection they long for. They attempt to re-experience what it is like to have a woman’s positive attention. It’s not really about sex at all. It’s about the need to be admired. Women cheat as a last resort when they feel taken for granted by their partner. Women wish to feel appreciated, desired and special to their partner. Some women are more vulnerable to cheating if they have a friend who cheats, it makes cheating seem more acceptable.
Often when a woman decides to cheat, it is because their partner has ignored their attempts to emotionally re-connect (Author 202). Women cheat because their partner does not listen to them. They begin to feel lonely and depressed. This is when women become vulnerable creating a perfect recipe for infidelity. It’s hard for women to repeatedly bring up issues as they fear being seen as “nagging. ” According to Neuman if a couple can sit down, listen, communicate and address the real issues at hand a resolution more than likely may occur (88).
In other words talking about each other’s issues like mature adults is a healthy way to avoid infidelity. Some men have learned to avoid conflict rather than listen and sort things out they do something temporary or wait for the issues to die down. What they don’t realize is that a bit of the love and connection their partner feels for them also dies when issues are not taken seriously and addressed. Women reach a point where their feelings for the partner has been eroded sufficiently for them to be vulnerable to getting their needs met elsewhere.
On the unconscious level an affair is an attempt at problem solving. It’s curious how cheating partner’s unconsciously let their partners’ know they are cheating as if they want the main issue to come out into the open. Cheating interrupts the emotional bond between a couple. The break in trust hurts, shocks and shakes the betrayed partner. A break of trust can be worked through in relationship counseling resulting in a stronger partnership. It’s a tough process and it takes time to work through the root issues to a develop a more realistic informed trust. Informed trust replaces blind trust.