I have spent much of the past 30 years providing therapy to individuals and couples struggling with infidelity and related issues. And there is one thing I have learned to expect in these sad situations. Inevitably, at some point in the process, both the cheater and the betrayed partner will attempt to make sense of their pain by trying to trace it back to its source. By this, I mean that cheaters will ask themselves, “Why did I do this,” and betrayed partners will demand to know, “Why did you do this to me?”
When it’s a man who’s done the cheating, I tend to hear some incredibly interesting responses. In fact, I would like to suggest that men are rarely more creative than when they’re manufacturing an excuse to rationalize their cheating. Sure, some of the responses I hear are fear-based duds. But overall, I’m more than slightly impressed with the extent and variety of quick-thinking male ingenuity when it comes to justifying sextracurricular activity.
Below you will find the Top 6 Reasons Men Give for “Why I Cheated.” Please note that the excuses listed below, while creative and reasonable in the minds of the men saying them, are rarely more than desperate, mostly misguided attempts to avoid being accountable while also trying to control the emotional volatility of a rightfully angry betrayed partner. Please also note that I’m not giving females a free pass here. I will post a similar entry with the reasons they give for cheating.
1. “I Didn’t Expect to Get Caught”
- It’s her fault for snooping on my phone and laptop. Don’t I deserve a little privacy?
- What my partner doesn’t know can’t hurt her/him.
- If the police had been out chasing real criminals, I’d never have been picked up for public sex.
Reality: Betrayed partners typically know something is amiss in a relationship long before they know they’re being cheated on. They sense the emotional (and sometimes physical) distancing, and that causes them to wonder what’s happening and to look for answers. Betrayed partners are hurting long before the infidelity is discovered.
2. “If You Were Married to Her/Him, You Would Cheat Too”
- My wife only wants to have sex when she is in the mood, and even then, she’s a cold fish.
- My partner cheated on me, too. He had sex with a hustler when away on business, so why should I feel bad about doing the same?
- After she got the kids she wanted, I stopped getting the sex I wanted.
Reality: This excuse may reflect reality (or partial reality), but only rarely do cheaters attempt to address the situation in a healthy way (like couple’s counseling) before they commit infidelity.
3. “What’s the Big Deal? It’s Not Like We Actually Had Sex”
- Flirting is just me being nice. Am I not allowed to be nice?
- All we did was make out. We never took our clothes off.
- It was just a hand-job at a strip club. I never even asked her name.
Reality: As outlined in Out of the Doghouse: A Relationship-Saving Guide for Men Caught Cheating, a betrayed partner’s pain related to infidelity is more about the lying and secrets used to cover up than the actual sexual behavior. Moreover, betrayed partners uniformly believe that flirting, making out, and engaging in non-vaginal sex do count as infidelity.
4. “It Didn’t Mean Anything to Me, So It’s No Big Deal”
- I didn’t feel any sort of emotional connection, so my partner shouldn’t be so upset.
- This is why men have strip clubs, so we can have a little fun without actually cheating.”
Reality: Admittedly, infidelity with an element of emotional connection (as with a long-term affair) generally hurts betrayed partners more than a purely sexual betrayal, but that doesn’t mean that “mere sexploration” is not painful for the cheated-on partner.
5. “Every Guy Cheats”
- The social construct where men are only supposed to have sex with one woman for life is stupid. It’s not natural, and nobody expects us to stick to that.
- Every man does this. If a guy says he’s 100 percent faithful, he’s lying.
- Men are wired to have sex with as many women as possible, so when we have a chance for a little side action, we take it.
Reality: Not all men cheat. Instead, they agree to a monogamous relationship, and they stick to that promise. If an opportunity for infidelity arises, they think about how much cheating would hurt their partner, and they walk away.
6. “I Was Thinking About My Spouse the Whole Time”
- She reminded me so much of my wife when we first met that I couldn’t stop myself.
- The sex my partner and I have together is so amazing. It makes me want to have sex with everyone.
- I’m interested in a little bit of kink, and I don’t want to burden my wife with that.
Reality: Do I even need to discuss the reality of statements like these? I’m amazed that the guys who make these statements can do it without their heads popping off.
Facebook image: Pressmaster/Shutterstock