When a husband cheated, one of the questions that a wife will ask is “WHY?” They want to understand and make sense how infidelity ever happened in their married life.
The why question sometimes branches into something like “how could my husband, my best friend, do this to me?” “Do I have shortcomings in our relationships which made him cheat on me?” “I don’t understand him, why does he keep on deceiving me?”
According to Shirley Glass, an infidelity researcher and therapist for more than 20 years, the reason why men cheat is a complex interweaving of four different factors, namely, individual weakness, marriage vulnerability, social influence, and third party.
Sometimes, infidelity happens because of individual weakness alone, or a combination of it and marriage vulnerability, and sometimes it’s because of an interplay of all the four factors.
Individual weaknesses range from loneliness to addiction to personality disorder.
A man may have committed infidelity due to loneliness, boredom, unsatisfied marital needs, and lack of moral and spiritual values among others.
Men who are constantly away from their partner or family may feel lonely; men who have an unsatisfied sexual needs may feel an urge or be easily sexually attracted to another woman; men who have weak moral standards are prone to infidelity given other factors.
A combination of these dispositions have definitely contributed to their actions.
Meanwhile, there are husbands who cheat repeatedly, feeling no empathy and mercy toward their suffering wives. Some of them enjoy attention from other women; they flirt here and there; and some engage in casual sex with different partners.
These men probably have sexual addiction and attachment disorders, while some have traits of narcissism and sociopathy.
Narcissistic people possess inflated egos — they feel that the world revolves around them. They are incapable of remorse, guilt, and empathy.
No matter how many liters of tears you cry, they are unable to feel how you feel, to understand the hurt they are causing you. It’s not their fault to be born or to be conditioned this way.
But if they are going to change, it will require them self-awareness, commitment to change, and an alliance with a professional. When your husband have these traits, no matter how you strive to be a perfect wife, chances are he will still cheat on you.
I like to look at marriage vulnerability through the lens of His Needs, Her Needs, authored by Dr. Willard Harley. Harley maintained that when a couple is continuously failing to meet their spouse’s marital needs, it makes their marriage vulnerable which can predispose it to infidelity.
In his book, he identified the 5 needs of husbands and wives. It may help you to assess your marriage with respect to these needs.
- sexual needs (when the wife fails to acknowledge the husband’s sexual needs and repeatedly neglect it, this may lead the husband to feel unwanted, which may result to hurt feelings).
- admiration ( the opposite of admiration is wife’s criticism and contempt, which are considered deadly to the marriage).
- domestic support,
- recreational companionship, and
- attractive spouse (or someone who takes care of herself).
- commitment to family,
- honesty and openness,
- financial support.
When infidelity is not a tabboo, that is, it is a common thing among his colleagues or his friends, then it’s possible that it won’t be a big deal to him either. This can happen when it is coupled with an individual weakness of lack of strong moral or spiritual values.
Even if your husband is a certified ‘torpe’, one who cannot approach women, you cannot be so confident about it. Nowadays, there are promiscuous women who are driven to get what they want, to fill their emotional emptiness, and to feed their own needs.
Combine this with individual weakness and marriage vulnerability, infidelity can surely happen.
What I stated above are just theories to attempt to understand why men cheat. It may not give you 100% of the reason or answer you’re looking for, but I hope somehow it has shed some light on your confusion.
Glass, S. P., & Staeheli, J. C. (2002). Not” just friends”: Protect your relationship from infidelity and heal the trauma of betrayal. Free Press.
Harley, W. F. (2011). His needs, her needs: Building an affair-proof marriage. Revell.
Gottman, J. M., & Silver, N. (2015). The seven principles for making marriage work: A practical guide from the country’s foremost relationship expert. Harmony.