Infidelity is always a terrible thing to have to go through in a relationship. It’s also more commonly done by men than women. The Institute for Family Studies (IFS) reported from the recent General Social Survey that 20% of men cheat on their spouses compared to 13% of women.
The heartbreak and frustration it causes can be very damaging and you’re often left wondering how a once happy affair went wrong. This article can help explain why do happily married men cheat.
12 reasons why do happily married men cheat
Why would a happily married man cheat? It’s a question that has no clear answer to it but, as a rule, men rarely cheat because they’re unhappy. There’s a variety of reasons why a man would cheat, and it’s not always the same for everyone. So, we’ve compiled the top reasons why a happy husband would resort to infidelity.
1. Lack of needs being met
What usually causes problems in marriage is when a person’s needs in a relationship aren’t being fully met. They could be overall happy with their partner but still feel a sense of dissatisfaction. They are unable to fully resolve this and have their needs met in a healthy manner, so they decide to look for it in someone else.
2. Poor personal boundaries
Do happily married men cheat? Sometimes, not of their own volition. Not having any limits in relationships or with other people regarding what behavior would be acceptable or unacceptable may increase the chances of men being involved in affairs.
If he’s someone who’s overly compliant and has difficulty saying ‘no,’ he might find himself in an affair even if he may not have wanted one in the first place.
Everyone has insecurities but sometimes how we handle them may not be as healthy as we would like. Your husband could be a great spouse and a great father to your kids and because of that he could be under a lot of pressure to keep your family happy.
They’re unable to talk about these insecurities and address them in a way that’s healthy, so they look for ways to have it resolved in secret through an affair.
A married man cheating on his wife is also usually someone who feels stifled in their ability to express themselves in their relationship. For them, infidelity is a chance to explore parts of themselves that they never got to experience or have repressed a long time ago.
It’s also not a case of wanting to change who they are, fundamentally, as a person. It’s more so them wanting to feel free and unburdened long enough to feel like they’re growing and experiencing life. In cases like these, they’re not looking for another person in their life. Instead, as cheesy as it may sound, they’re searching for themselves.
Why do men have affairs? Sometimes, it’s simply because they know they shouldn’t that tempts them to do exactly the opposite. It’s the allure of the ‘forbidden fruit.’
Therapist Esther Perel once said that affairs are rarely about attraction and sex, it’s more about the thrill and the desire of getting what we’re not supposed to have.
6. Wanting to feel less dependent and vulnerable
It may be surprising, but emotions do play a part in a man’s infidelity. This is also related to the insecurities your husband might have. For the most part, men find it hard to truly express their emotions and be vulnerable, even to themselves.
It’s why marriage becomes scary because it’s all about being vulnerable and dependent on one person. To feel less vulnerable, he’ll often resort to having an affair as a way of spreading out the intimate details of himself and not feeling completely emotionally dependent on one person.
Check out the importance of vulnerability in the relationships:
7. Instant self-gratification
Does a happy man cheat? Yes, he most certainly does but not because of a lack of satisfaction. Most of the time, it’s tied with their ego.
As most people have figured out, selfishness is often the driving factor for men to have an affair. He may be happily married but cheating on his wife because of that need for instant satisfaction that his wife might not be able to give him at that exact moment.
A lot of men cheat because they think they can get away with it. They justify it by telling themselves that they’re a good guy, a good husband, and a good father so the cheating shouldn’t be a big deal.
They fail to understand that their wives don’t really see it that way and thus fail to realize the devastation their infidelity brings.
This is often one of the leading reasons men cheat. When someone lacks experience and lacks the maturity needed to work through the core aspects of a relationship, it can often lead to them thinking there is room for fluidity in their faithfulness and loyalty to their wives.
They’ll then come up with a lot of justifications for their actions that are often masked in denial. They lack the emotional maturity to realize that their actions have consequences.
It’s a common thing to wonder why happily married man has an affair, and a lot of the time, the answer to that question is the adventure and thrill of going behind your wife’s back.
Being in an established relationship means the comfort of reliability and routine, and some men are happy with that. But then, eventually, they’ll crave the excitement that being in an affair brings.
11. The crime of opportunity
Even someone in a strong and happy marriage can end up becoming vulnerable when an opportunity arises. This is usually the case when a husband cheats on his wife with someone he’s known, like a colleague he finds attractive, instead of a complete stranger.
They often justify it by saying that the opportunity was right there and they felt like they couldn’t just let it pass them.
12. Body image
Sometimes, cheating is a way for men to prove to themselves that they ‘still have it.’ It’s directly tied to selfishness and wanting their ego to be stroked.
By being involved in an affair with someone else, it makes them feel good knowing that, even outside of marriage, they are still desirable and attractive to other people.
Can a cheating husband still love his wife?
It’s very common to hear men who have cheated on their wives claim to still love them. Other people may see it as genuine, yet other people might see it as just a way to appease their wives and not get into further trouble.
This question of whether an unfaithful husband can still love his wife is complicated and doesn’t really have a clear-cut answer. Love is a complicated emotion in the first place, and infidelity isn’t always as straightforward as most people think it is.
Why do men have affairs if they are happily married? As mentioned in the previous section, there are a variety of reasons that compel men to cheat and not all of them indicate the man falling out of love with his wife.
Having intimate and sexual connections with others is usually why married men cheat. They see their affairs as something that doesn’t need any deep emotional bond. This means that there’s no real romantic connection between them.
It may not necessarily mean that he’s stopped loving his wife, but it does signify that he failed to respect and honor her the way he should have.
Why do married men cheat yet still stay with their wives?
There are a few reasons why men who have affairs still choose to stay with their wives:
They still love their wives
There have been cases of men still being in love with their wives despite being unfaithful to them. They cheat because they crave the excitement or have deep desires that aren’t being met and may be too ashamed to ask their wives for what they need.
Divorce can be messy
Married men who cheat fear that if they leave their wives to pursue their affair, or if their wives find out about the affair, then divorce is the likely choice she’s going to make.
The financial implications and the stress going through a divorce brings are things they do not want to deal with, so they choose to stay married instead of admitting their infidelity.
They do not want to hurt their wives
Despite the selfishness that having a relationship on the side exhibits, a lot of men still care about how their wives would feel about their infidelity. The same can’t be said for those who lack emotional maturity, but most men choose to stay with their wives because would rather not cause them any unnecessary pain.
How does couples’ counseling help deal with infidelity?
No matter what the reason may be, cheating is still wrong and can cause great pain to the other party. It leaves you frustrated and wondering why do guys cheat when they are happy.
Trying to come to terms with it can lead to a lot of emotional distress, both for the couple and the therapist they choose to go to after the affair.
But the role of a couples’ therapist is crucial in order to properly guide the husband and the wife through this overwhelming crisis. The American Psychological Association has reported that using EFT or Emotionally Focused Therapy for couples counseling has a 75 percent chance of success.
Even couples who were perfectly happy and in sync with one another need an expert to guide them through the amount of betrayal, mistrust, and hurt that came out of the affair. It’s important to properly navigate through them in order to have a chance at rebuilding the relationship if they both want to, and healing from it.
Therapists do not only have to figure out the root cause of the issue and its treatment but they have to find a way to provide the necessary tools needed to rebuild that trust and confidence and create an environment where the clients can properly work through their issues.
Now, you’re no longer left wondering, ‘Why do happily married husbands cheat on their wives?’ Knowing and having an idea of the root cause of the issue is a step towards acceptance and healing from it.
Having this information also means that you can do what you can to save your marriage while you still can. Of course, you can’t exactly guarantee your husband’s faithfulness because, at the end of the day, it still boils down to the choices he makes.
But there’s no harm in trying to cultivate a much deeper bond with him, whether it’s through your physical or emotional connections. If a man knows that what you can offer him in your relationship is something he can’t get from anyone else, then he’s less likely to cheat.
In cases where he does end up cheating, couples counseling is an effective way to work through any issues both of you have that could be the cause of his infidelity. At the same time, you won’t have to deal with your emotional distress on your own because you’ll be able to talk about it with a professional.
Whatever the reason for the affair, the heartbreak it causes is just as devastating. The pieces of advice shared in this article help provide an insight into how the mind of a cheating husband works and hopefully give you an idea of the things you can do to prevent any infidelity from happening.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Sylvia Smith loves to share insights on how couples can revitalize their love lives in and out of the bedroom. As a writer at Marriage.com, she is a big believer in living consciously and encourages couples to adopt this principle in their lives too. Sylvia believes that every couple can transform their relationship into a happier, healthier one by taking purposeful and wholehearted action.