Marriage counselor Gary Neuman explains why men cheat – and it’s not because the other woman is more attractive. The best way to prevent husbands from cheating in marriage is to know why they stray from their wives.
“[My boyfriend] had slept with a woman that weekend,” says Seattle-based life coach Sarah Cline in Brangelina proves you should never trust a cheater (an article in the New York Post about the most recent celebrity divorce). “I didn’t want to believe it. But I knew it was true. I just wish I had listened to my gut and hadn’t [stayed with] him when I first learned he was a cheater.” Sarah says she listened to the still small voice in her head, which told her to ask her boyfriend if he was cheating on her. She asked, and he admitted he’d been having affairs behind her back. Why do married men cheat on their wives, and how can you help prevent your husband or boyfriend from cheating on you? Here’s what marriage counselor Gary Neuman says…
If you suspect your husband is cheating, there are quiet ways to investigate, such as looking at cell phone records or computer histories, or try using an automobile GPS tracking device if necessary. But first, find out if GPS tracking is legal in your state or province. If you suspect your husband is cheating, read Is He Cheating? How to Be Your Own Private Investigator.
In The Truth about Cheating: Why Men Stray and What You Can Do to Prevent It, Gary Neuman shares what he learned after interviewing dozens of men who cheated on their wives. It’s a fascinating look into why men cheat, and how to prevent an affair.
What’s the number one reason why married men cheat? Ninety-two percent of men said it wasn’t primarily about the sex. According to Neuman, the majority of men who cheat say it’s because of emotional disconnection in their marriage. Specifically, husbands feel under-appreciated and under-valued.
“There is a lack of thoughtful gestures in the relationship, so married men are tempted to cheat on their wives,” Neuman says. “Men are very emotional beings. They just don’t look like they are. Or they don’t seem like they are. Or they don’t tell you they are.”
Below, this marriage counselor shares his surprising perspective of why men cheat. He shares both the husband’s and the wife’s perspective of infidelity in marriage, and answers Oprah’s question about him placing more blame on wives than husbands for cheating.
Neuman says married women have a great deal of power in their relationships. Here are two interesting statistics about affairs, directly from his book The Truth About Cheating:
- 1 in 2.7 men will cheat, and most of their wives will never find about it.
- 92% of men say that affairs aren’t primarily about sex.
Below is a summary of what he told Oprah Winfrey about why men cheat. This episode on why married men cheat (the truth about cheating) was aired a few years ago, but the insights are still relevant today.
Why Men Cheat – Insights From a Marriage Counselor
Neuman says men cheat because of:
- Loneliness in their relationship or marriage.
- Affirmation from “the other woman.”
- Not enough attention at home.
The women men cheat with make them feel valued, secure, and appreciated. “Men love to win,” says Neuman. “If you want to make men feel secure, make them feel like they’re winning.” The husbands who had affairs said that they felt like they couldn’t win at home or in their marriage.
If you suspect your husband is being unfaithful, read 9 Signs Your Husband is Cheating and Lying About It. It’s one of my most popular articles about why married men cheat. If your husband is having an affair, know that you are not alone. More importantly, remember that it isn’t your fault that your husband is cheating. His choice isn’t a reflection of who you are, how attractive you are, or how smart you are. Your husband is cheating because he isn’t fulfilled emotionally. This doesn’t mean it’s your fault – it actually means you have more power than you think in your marriage!
Do you suspect your husband is having an affair? Neuman recommends simply saying, “I think you may be cheating. If you tell me you’re faithful I’ll trust you at your word. I’ve got no choice. But there’s something wrong with us, and I want us to be happy together.”
In The Truth About Cheating, Neuman reports the results of a survey of marriage, marital affairs, and cheating spouses. He surveyed hundreds of husbands and wives to determine the real reasons men cheat. Neuman wrote the book because he saw the overwhelming devastation that happens in families, children, and relatives when men cheat on their wives.
The Controversy in The Truth about Cheating
Oprah points out the controversy in this book: a lot of the blame for affairs in marriage seems to be on the women.
“How come women have to be the ones to work it out or fix it?” she asks. Why do wives bear the responsibility of learning why married men cheat and how to prevent cheating in marriage?
Neuman stresses that it’s not the wives’ fault that men cheat, and it’s not a blame game. He claims The Truth About Cheating is a book is about empowering women.
“If you do certain things, you can lead your relationship to better place,” he says.
Women think if they appreciate their partners or husbands too much, the men will stop doing wonderful or helpful things around the house or in the relationship. It’s just the opposite, says Neuman.
You can help guide your marriage to a better place if you appreciate and support your husband. The more you learn about why married men cheat, the more power and influence you have in your marriage and in your future. Learning the truth about cheating is about building a mutually beneficial and fulfilling relationship.
“The more you appreciate your husband, the more he’ll want to please you,” says this marriage counselor. Use sincere praise to encourage and uplift your husband, and he’ll be less likely to cheat on you.
Remember that cheating isn’t necessarily a sign your marriage is over. In fact, some couples counselors believe that you should stay with a cheating husband because you’ve already hit rock bottom. You have nowhere to go but up – if both you and your husband are willing to save your marriage. It’ll be hard work, but it will be worth it.
How many men leave their wives for women who are more attractive? Almost none.
“I had a many mistresses, and none were prettier than my wife,” said one married man who constantly cheated on his wife and yet wanted to stay in his marriage.
According to Neuman, 88% of the men he interviewed said the other woman wasn’t better looking or more physically fit than their wives. The number one reason why married men cheat is NOT about sex. It’s about emotional connection and companionship. Many married men cheat because they’re lonely in their marriage, and they want to feel connected to a woman who loves them and wants to be with them physically and emotionally.
Why Men Cheat – and How to Prevent It
The number one reason why men cheat is that there’s an emotional disconnection in the relationship. Husbands or partners feel under-appreciated, and report a lack of thoughtful gestures. They’re lonely in their marriages.
Men who have affairs are cheating with women who make them feel alive, admired, and respected.
“Men are very emotional beings,” says Neuman. The stereotype is that men are unemotional beings, but Neuman says men are very emotional beings, they just express it differently.
Men want to feel like they’re pleasing their wives. If they get the message that they’re messing up, they feel insecure – and more likely to stray. Here’s Neuman’s marital advice to help you have a closer marriage: express how much you appreciate your spouse.
Most men find people to cheat with when they’re at work. A friendship or emotional relationship develops when they’re doing something they’re both passionate about or interested in.
Some Husbands Will Cheat on Their Wives No Matter What
Neuman says that 12% of men will cheat no matter what the wife does. Neuman says that you know those cheating spouses because they have a lack of remorse, if he’s cavalier about it, there’s no way to heal the marriage.
Do Men Confess Their Affairs?
Only 7% told their wives without being asked that they had an affair. Neuman said that 55% of the men in his study still hadn’t told their wives about their affairs.
When wives do find out that men are having a marital affair, they know who the partner was cheating with. Usually, people talk about their romantic interests.
Warning Signs That a Man May Cheat
Possible advance signs of an affair include:
- Spend more time away from home
- Less sex
- Avoidance of contact (eg, he doesn’t answer his cell phone).
- More critical of you
These signs of cheating in marriage are the same when he’s about to cheat, or when he’s already involved in a marital affair. Take Neuman’s marital advice if you want to achieve your relationship goals, and watch for these signs of cheating.
In Connect to Love: The Keys to Transforming Your Relationship, Neuman’s shares what he learned about love and marriage after interviewing more than five hundred women. The book is filled with surprising information about love, sex, and marriage – it has the power to change your relationship. When it comes to sexual intimacy, for instance, wives who are satisfied with their marriages have sex more than twice as frequently than those who are dissatisfied.
Why One Man Cheated on His Wife
On the Oprah show, married couple Brian and Anne said they never thought they’d be talking about why men cheat. They also didn’t know that it’s much easier than they thought for one spouse to have an affair in a marriage. Anne says Brian was never gone in the evenings, they were emotionally connected, and they had sex every night.
Yet, Brian was secretly having an affair on his lunch hour at work. Neuman says this isn’t surprising, since most men meet the person they have an affair at work or through a hobby.
Slipping into a secret affair is surprisingly easy
“I was always under the belief that affairs happened to people in either bad marriages or where there’s no sex going on,” said Brian. “And because we had both of those things, I was really unaware of how easily I could slip into an affair.”
Brian says he started having his affair with a person who at first was just a friend. This is why the lines between emotional affairs and innocent friendships often get blurred. You develop a connection with them through some sort of common interest. You don’t choose to have an affair; it just happens.
“It begins as an emotional relationship. There’s a friendship that develops. It’s not just looking for the sex,” says this marriage counselor. “We all have this picture of cheaters as the bad guys. They’re horrible, rotten, not nice. No, they can be nice people who get lost, who do the wrong thing. They can be your husband.”
Do You Think Your Husband is Cheating?
If you think he’s cheating, here are three ways to investigate: “One, go to cell phone records to find out whether he’s very involved with somebody,” says Neuman. “Two, put a GPS magnet on the bottom of his car, so you can see where his car has been. And three, if you think he’s cheating but don’t believe what he says, ask him to take a lie detector test.”
Finding out that your husband is cheating is painful, but the betrayal may feel even worst. “Lying in a relationship can be more hurtful than the affair itself – and it takes a lot to move past the lies and deceptions,” said one woman whose husband cheated on her.
It took Sarah Cline – the life coach at the beginning of this article – five years to rebuild her confidence and learn how to trust men again. Now married, Cline completely trusts her husband, but it took a lot of work to get to there. And he wasn’t even the man who cheated on her.
“When you’ve been with a cheater, you bring the cheater into all of your relationships,” she said. “Until you can make the decision to trust again.”
If you’ve caught your boyfriend cheating, read 5 Signs You Can Trust Your Boyfriend After He Cheated on You.
A bit of advice for married men who are cheating on their wives: “It’s best to come clean as early as possible,” says Neuman. “Be honest with your wife when you’re just beginning to get interested in someone else.”
An affair is a warning sign of an emotionally disconnected relationship, but it doesn’t mean your marriage is over. You can save your marriage, you can start over and rebuild on the connection and love you’ve felt in the past. It’s still there…it’ll just take some work to dig it up and bring it back to life.
I welcome your thoughts on why men cheat, but I can’t offer advice or counseling. Read through the comments left by other readers, and feel free to share your own experience. Show others they aren’t alone, and enjoy the feeling of freedom and release that comes from writing about why married men cheat and how it makes you feel.
Your thoughts are welcome below! I don't give advice, but you can get free relationship help from marriage coach Mort Fertel.