Why Do Men Cheat?

One of my clients runs a blog and she has asked this question: Why do men cheat?

Yes of course she is very aware that women cheat too, but I thought I would shed some light from my perspective as I see this every week in my sessions.

  • To make my position crystal clear: There are never any circumstances where having an affair is the right thing to do.

However the ability to judge those that do is impossible, because there are so many reasons why people do it. The assumption is the person having the affair is a dreadful person, it’s not alway as cut and dried as you would think.

My biggest message to all couples is this:

Discover your partners needs and become addicted to meeting them FAST!

What I usually discover is the person that has had the affair and their partner has not had their core needs met (this does not mean sexual needs). For the person having the affair this needs deficit has put them into a place of fear that life will never be right for them in this relationship. This fear distorts their core values and so they behave in ways that are not true to who they are.

It’s almost like a totally different version of them has taken over.

I have seen men plan to create totally new lives with someone new because they feared losing the one they had, only to have no idea logically why they did, it’s like a madness took over them.

Fear is a huge driver for a man who is about to cheat.

If a man cheats…

A man is highly conditioned to please his partner. If he feels he can’t then it is highly likely he will feel he is failing as a man. If he is not meeting his partners needs and is not hearing what she has to say, she is likely to become fearful about her future with him in some way and is very likely to communicate her concerns. A man will hear nagging, see a loss of control and feel she is mad/nuts/crazy etc.

A woman will continue her quest to be heard and can become more aggressive the more fearful she becomes as she starts to realise she is not being heard. She fears he will never understand what she really means and needs.

If this goes on for long enough, the relationship will stop meeting the needs of the couple and they will feel unhappy. So work, friends, children, family start to fill in the gaps the relationship is failing to meet. He stays at work for longer than he needs, she spend more time out with friends. Every couple is different in the way they meet their needs, but the key is the needs have not been met by the relationship.

A man in this place of fear will go to where he feels like a man. In this place he is very vulnerable to female attention and if he thinks in the moment life is so awful he will take his opportunity to be successful as a man again.

In the moment he feels he has nothing to lose, after the event some will feel instant remorse, but upon returning to the family home is presented yet again with more proof that he is not liked, desired or wanted as she continues her quest to get through to him in what he feels is destructive and this can help him feel better about his guilt.

In 9/10 cases he has not understood what she continues to communicate, and so his male logical assumption is he is a failure in this relationship.

If he believes 100% he can’t win with his partner, but is driven by a bigger fear that keeps him with her, he may continue an affair for months and in some cases years. The problems of attachment/feeling of love then causes even more problems and will keep the affair going despite the huge helping of guilt.

Affairs are a massive wake up call for any relationship.

To some women it’s too much to bear, but in sessions once the couple understand why this happened it can pave the way to a desire to never get to that place again and to learn how to really fulfill each other needs.

To make matters more complicated it is possible that no matter what you do you can’t make your partner happy. This may not be down to you, or the relationship it could be that there is a significant internal conflict within.

If this is the case and you have been loving and supportive and non judgmental, then help is probably needed for both of you to understand the cause. Past traumatic experiences could be the cause.

If you have been the victim of an affair you may feel this happened differently for you, and that maybe true, but NEEDS and VALUES will have been ignored in the relationship and this is what made the affair possible!

  • If you have just found out about your partners affair please get in touch as help is not far away.
  • If you’ve been thinking about having an affair, please contact me for non-judgmental advice.
About Stephen Hedger

International relationship expert Stephen Hedger's philosophy on relationship problems is this: Couples fail to understand their relationships because they are too focused on their problems and so they totally miss what created them. Stephen's approach is a refreshing and enlightening journey that helps couples uncover their truth. His strategies uncover the knowledge that all couples need to create a successful and lasting passionate connection. If you are in crisis and you need help, book an initial consultation today to get your life back on track.


  1. So how do you meet the needs of a spouse who is conflict avoidant and/or codependant?

    And how do you know their needs aren’t being met when they are spending a lot of time with you, sending you affectionate smses and taking romantic baths with you two weeks before telling you theyv’e been unhappy for 5 years!

    • Stephen Hedger says:

      Thank you for your comment,

      I have a question, did you ever have a needs discussion?


      Stephen Hedger

      • I do recall trying to get a feel for what he was feeling on several occasions and meeting a brick wall. I resorted to getting a scale out of ten. My IC laughs at my logical attempt at asking for his state of mind. ah yes Al Turtle. I can only assume I wasn’t SAFE to approach.

        Short answer…I expressed my needs… who knows how he was trying to get his across, since he avoided any conversation that may cause conflict

        • Stephen Hedger says:

          Ok so now he feels safe to tell you he was not happy, that is a break through based on his condition, what is the plan now?

          Is he going to seek help?

  2. both marriages are over. I doubt he is in therapy. Three years later I”m still in therapy and I’m left trying not to shoulder the blame for his unexpressed needs not getting met. He had a decade and a half to share them with. What a shattering journey this is!

    • Stephen Hedger says:

      Yes I can see that, you must be exhausted.

      I would like to help you. What is your goal, and how close are you to achieving it.

      I expect you would like to be free of this rather than have to manage it.