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A Man Wants To Know Why Women Cheat

November 14th, 2012

When I decided to open the David Petraeus can of worms to break down the motives for why Petraeus may have cheated on his wife, I got more than my fair share of push back. Though I hate to divide attitudes along gender lines, the response to my last post was easily divided between men who mostly agreed with what I wrote and women pointing out all sorts of perceived flaws in my logic.

As I continue to tell people, I don’t need to be married like Petraeus was to understand why he cheated on his wife. I just need to have cheated once or twice in my life like he did, and for better or worse, I have, so everything I wrote in my post was informed by those experiences. But there are some things we all do that are accepted as somewhat universal truths. Not all men cheat, but all men who cheat probably do so for one of the reasons I listed in the previous post.

Read: A Cheater On The Ugly Truths of the David Petraeus Affair

When a man breaks down his reasons for cheating on a woman, listen. Don’t push back, don’t say his reasons or motives were wrong. Even he knows that. The reasons aren’t excuses they’re, well, reasons. And instead of being the first to throw a flag against them for what they did, maybe women should be actually listening.

Because let me tell you what I would do if a woman told me why she cheated on her husband or the man she loved:

Pay attention.


Take notes.

Study the notes.

Commit them to memory.

Do the exact opposite of everything the man she cheated on did.

I agree a man is going to do what he wants, but it’s a fairly self-defeatist atitude to have in a relationship, no? Certainly I know a woman has the same freedom I do (double standards aside) and if she chooses to step out on me, I am partly responsible for that. So what can I do to make it that much harder for her to exercise her freedom as an adult? Break it down for me, ladies.

Unlike some women who refuse to acknowledge and comprehend the reasons men have for cheating, I want to know what I could do to prevent this from happening to me. As I pointed out in the previous post, Broadwell, Petraeus’s mistress, was married herself, to an accomplished man (for those who want to say Petraeus’s resume was seductive), so she cheated. Earlier this summer, it was revealed Kristen Stewart was getting it in with her director from “Snow White and The Huntsman” who just so happens to not be her boyfriend Robert Pattinson.

You get my point.

Women cheat too and they’ve probably been doing it since men have. So I figure, now is as good a time as any to learn why women cheat. I genuinely want to know, ladies. What leads you into the bed, naked, with a man who is not your husband or boyfriend? But before you all start writing out your confessions in the comments section or flooding my inbox with your diary entries, some criteria:

Firsthand experience, please: Don’t tell me about this friend of yours who you know was with a man she loved very much but then she got a new job and met a dashing co-worker. You know that friend is you, and if it isn’t, then tell your friend to write her story.

Women only, unless… If you’re a man who wants to chime in with the reasons why a woman cheats, you better fess up and say you know this because a woman cheated on you.

High school doesn’t count: Let’s say I told you, “I play basketball.” And you asked me the last time I played, and I said in high school. How much of a basketball player am I really? Exactly.

No almost cheating:If you were in a situation where you were going to cheat but decided not to, congratulations. Now please go somewhere else with all that talent for self-control.

Spare me the “women cheat for the same reasons men cheat” response: If a man said, “Men cheat for the same reasons women cheat” he would be told go to timeout, for laziness and lack of originality.

Cheating, in this case, is sex: Former President Jimmy Carter once confessed: “I’ve looked on a lot of women with lust. I’ve committed adultery in my heart many times.” He may not have gotten re-elected, but he never got impeached. Former President Bill Clinton committed adultery with his “cigar”. He was impeached. In other words, no one wants to hear about your emotional, mental cheating.

Now that we got the criteria straightened out, ladies, the floor is yours. Tell me why you cheated, I’m ready to learn and I’m taking notes.

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  1. Gerri
    November 14th, 2012 at 09:57 | #1

    Usually women cheat because something is lacking in the relationship. Men cheat more because that’s what they think men should be doing and/or opportunity. Reasons I have cheated has always been different. Either my lover wasn’t that great in bed, wasn’t treating me right (which I take responsibility is my fault for staying instead of leaving) or because in my heart I knew they were cheating on me as well.

  2. Joi
    November 14th, 2012 at 10:49 | #2

    Proximity and opportunity is all I needed. Granted I did love my SO but at that time in my life I enjoyed s.ex more than I valued commiment to him. He was 3 states away and I did my part in trying to visit him when my funds and schedule allowed for such. But i felt he wasn’t putting forth the same effort to invest in our relationship as I was. So when someone else who who I saw on a more frequent basis gave me the attention I craved I stepped out both emotionally and physically.

  3. November 14th, 2012 at 10:51 | #3

    Here’s the thing, though…you’re not as “open” as you think if you have added all these stipulations because unlike men, for WOMEN, the emotional aspect is just as -if not more-important so it HAS to be counted. Also, it should be pointed out that the concept of “falling off” IS, in itself, a form of cheating (which is why the women were so up in arms yesterday-NO man EVER asks ‘hmm…why has my woman ‘given up’? What is she lacking in her life, and is that lack MY FAULT?”) and you will find a direct correlation between when a woman gave up on ever getting what she needed out of her relationship and when a woman gave up on herself as a whole.

    Women cheat because something is missing, and they fill that void with a person.

    Women “fall off” because something is missing, and they fill that void with food or give up entirely.

    And trust me, the reason women were complaining yesterday is NOT because we don’t “believe” you or because we aren’t “listening”. It’s because we’ve all been cheated on, no matter HOW pretty we’ve stayed or HOW well we’ve cooked or HOW supportive we were. We’ve been cheated on by our men with women who were not as pretty, burned water and only know how to support their breasts. So yeah, it’s a little annoying when the first thing you did was point to what his woman didn’t “do”.

  4. DontHateThePlayerHateTheTruth
    November 14th, 2012 at 12:20 | #4

    Humans aren’t a monogamous species, so for people to have these discussions about cheating misses the point entirely. Let’s shift our perceptions and expectations. Let’s forget fairy tales. Let’s be objective. When it comes to monogamy you’re essentially gambling against the evolutionary and biological “house”. Take marriage for example. In our free society, 41% of all first marriages end in divorce and that goes up to 60% and 73% for 2nd and 3rd marriages respectively. Marriage is a statistical coin flip. If we look at cheating among the roughly 50% of couples that do manage to stay together, OVER HALF of them experience cheating at least once. I’d assume the cheating rate is even higher for non-married couples. If someone told me I had at least a 50/50 shot of someone cheating on me (which the numbers DO tell me) I would have a paradigm shift. Just something to think about.

  5. Rae
    November 14th, 2012 at 12:25 | #5

    Women cheat for a variety of reasons (obviously, there are no hard and fast rules- just as it is with men). There may be a lack of emotional intimacy in the relationship or just an emotional disconnect in general, so you go outside of the relationship. The sex in your relationship may have become stale, boring, or just isn’t passionate enough, so you find someone that can provide that thrill (and blow your back out). There may have been infidelity (or just a break in trust) in the relationship, so you cheat out of spite. It’s not right, but it happens. People also fail to realize (or don’t want to admit) that women are also primal sexual beings. We have desires and needs, and sometimes women step outside of the relationship if those needs aren’t being met. I don’t believe there’s always an emotional component to a woman cheating- sometimes it’s just sex.

  6. November 14th, 2012 at 12:27 | #6

    I cheated because the opportunity was there and I liked the guy. Nothing extra deep or complex.

  7. GG25
    November 14th, 2012 at 12:57 | #7

    Stop making excuses with bullsh#t data. If you don’t want to be faithful then don’t commit yourself to a relationship. Stay single forever and die alone.

  8. T.C.
    November 14th, 2012 at 13:09 | #8

    I cheated because my relationship was getting stale and my partner was not willing to meet half way to do something about it. Months leading up to me cheating were spent with me begging him to shake things up. He however felt like everything was fine and that I just got bored easily. I was suggesting all types of things to spice things up; I bought relationship books, sex toys, even suggested counseling but he was just so comfortable with the way things were that he didn’t see the need for a change. Eventually I went out to drinks with a man that I was friends with and I ended up sleeping with him and cheating on my partner.

  9. SingleGirl
    November 14th, 2012 at 13:12 | #9

    I didn’t just do it because I had the opportunity… I did it because I wanted to do something to make myself feel better about the fact that he was not appreciating me the way he should. He had gotten complacent, at times downright disrespectful, with all the things that he had once told me he valued so much in me. He was acting like he deserved everything I gave him, rather than like he needed to do his part to make me want to continue doing those things. I chose to cheat (after a night of hanging out, a little bit tipsy) with a male friend with whom I’ve always had sexual tension, but who was a great guy all around and had been my friend for a long time. I think that’s important to mention b/c I didn’t just run out and hop on the first john that I saw… my reasoning behind cheating kind of aligned with the person I chose to cheat with. Interestingly, I never told my then-bf, and of course it didn’t fix anything long term. In the short term, I felt better about myself, like I had one-upped him and his unappreciative ways, but ultimately that obviously did nothing to change his behavior, and neither did trying to express my problems with him like a rational adult. Having been the cheater and the other woman, I could go on about this forever, but I’ll leave it at that.

  10. Sydney
    November 14th, 2012 at 13:20 | #10

    Women cheat emotionally, in my opinion. We’ll become friends with a guy, no pressure and once we start revealing ourselves and spending time together. The foundation has been laid. Like men, we like our partner to engage us and make us feel special. If his attention goes elsewhere we’ll make an attempt to get it back but if he’s slackin on to the next.

  11. November 14th, 2012 at 13:23 | #11

    I disagree with the blanket statement that women cheat for emotional reasons, and because something is lacking in their relationship. These arguments discredit the simple fact that at the end of the day, we still know better, and some of us do really just take advantage of space and opportunity. Women get approached all day long — much more often than men — and sometimes we’re curious and we just don’t say no.

    So, to get more personal. One time I just felt trapped in my relationship. I felt like I couldn’t leave, but was unhappy and other men pick up on that easily. I think I genuinely thought I’d built a connection with this other person, and after it went down, I saw that I was just naive.
    Another time, I just wanted closure with an ex. We always have those what if questions, and I circled back around to try to answer them.
    And sometimes, honestly, women are on the lookout for better sex. You still love who you’re with…but we are all chasing this myth of magical, mind-blowing sex…

  12. DontHateThePlayerHateTheTruth
    November 14th, 2012 at 14:19 | #12

    You’re an idiot. Here’s why. You didn’t disprove the data, you ignored it. I am single and have all the romance and sex I want. When I choose not to be alone, I am not alone. Facts remain facts. If there was a 50/50 chance of someone crashing into me, I would buckle up. Keep living in dreamland. The tooth fairy has an internship for you collecting gold teeth.

  13. GG25
    November 14th, 2012 at 15:27 | #13

    I said the data was bullsh#t and full of excuses and I meant it. F##k you if you don’t like what I said.

  14. Nikki
    November 14th, 2012 at 16:08 | #14

    I cheated because I knew he was cheating on me. I wasn’t quite ready to end the relationship, but knowing he was cheating on me eased my conscience. All those “no thank you I have a man” turned into “I have a man, but i’ll give you my number anyway.” And once you start entertaining “friendship” with a man who’s obviously interested in you, it’s only a matter of time before it turns into more than that.

  15. DontHateThePlayerHateTheTruth
    November 14th, 2012 at 16:16 | #15

    A number isn’t an excuse, it is simply a number, nothing more and nothing less. People always say they’ll do xyz but what does history show? What is the truth? That’s why we have credit scores and contracts. It’s why I brought up the numbers on monogamy and cheating. You’re an idealist which has its attributes, but your head is also buried deep in the sand. You sound like Karl Rove on election night.

  16. GG25
    November 14th, 2012 at 16:43 | #16

    I honestly don’t care. I wish you and your small penis all the best!!!

  17. DontHateThePlayerHateTheGame
    November 14th, 2012 at 17:18 | #17

    lol. is this a lame joke contest now? here’s mine. don’t lose hope. some dude will eventually sweep you off your feet, making your eyes light up when he shines a flashlight in your ear. ciao!

  18. It Happens
    November 14th, 2012 at 21:34 | #18

    I cheated for revenge and then because it was good. The trust was gone. We broke up a few months later and he never found out I cheated. Our relationship was doomed before it happened.

  19. C.A.
    November 14th, 2012 at 22:26 | #19

    I was bored with my SO…. All of them. I even try to reason my cheating because my father did it and it obviously had to be in my blood SMDH…. Anyway my inability to remain faithful (ever) is why I will be single until I’m ready to commit because cheating and maintaining a relationship is hard work.

  20. Aymee Campbell
    November 14th, 2012 at 22:49 | #20

    As I look back over the last 10 years there have been more times that I have cheated than I would like to admit. Cheated as in had sex. Toss a handful of affairs in there too, whom all of I had sex with.

    I cheated while married because:

    1) I felt unappreciated.

    2) I felt physically unattractive to him

    3) He cheated first

    4) I felt like he wasn’t paying attention

    1) I picked up my life and moved 1500 miles to be with him because of his career. I derailed my educational and career plans for love. I catered to his every little need and at the end of the day felt unappreciated in a major way. Some of this feeling I was responsible for. We were married for three years and out of that I felt appreciated maybe half a dozen times. The rest of it was me striving for appreciation and him going through the motions.

    2) I worked out five days a week and watched what I ate very closely to be the hottest wifey I could for him. Ironically I later found out that the slimmer version of me was not what perked his pecker. Anywho, the point was the harder I worked to be physically desirable to him the less attraction I felt from him.

    3) He cheated first. And it was BIG. Like, with someone I not only knew, but had to see several days a week. After the first affair he didn’t really try to redeem himself. Later on I discovered that he pretty much had no regard for our marriage anymore (thank you spyware on the computer).

    4) Since he was so busy trying to get laid by whoever would let him (which was ironic since I was more than happy to be having sex with him) he wasn’t really paying attention to what I was doing. So, it was easy for me to have a full-on affair with someone and he had no idea. I had a whole other relationship happening for at least 18 months and he was none the wiser.

    I cheated while in a serious, live together relationship because:

    1) I figured out that this was not a person I could commit to marrying.

    2) He was emotionally disconnected.

    3) I had some major life events happen.

    4) The sex was AWFUL.

    1) After taking the step of moving in with my boyfriend, meeting the folks, intertwining our lives and planning a wedding I realized that this was not a person I could be with forever. In some ways it was very sad, but in another way it was like being released from a very bland prison. This sounds horrible, but I figured that since our relationship wasn’t going anywhere really long-term then it didn’t matter too much if I cheated…especially because he wasn’t going to find out.

    2) Looking back on that relationship I realize that he was not emotionally available. His detachment took a toll on me emotionally. By the time I was looking to cheat I was desperate to FEEL SOMETHING. Even if it was guilt with a twinge of regret.

    3) Major life events are not responsible for my bad behavior, but they sure did help accelerate my cheating. Between a cancer biopsy and watching someone die in front of me in the same week I wanted to LIVE. Even if that meant living through my vagina.

    4) Sex with my ex-boyfriend was AWFUL. I thought it would get better over time, but it only got worse. To the point where I had to give in to once a week sex, which I got down to six minutes. Six minutes of plain, routine, boring sex. At one point I decided to do an experiment with my landscaping. I wondered how long it would take for him to notice that I hadn’t tended the garden. He never noticed. He never actually saw my vaginal area. Men – PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR LADIES PUSSY.

    Now, on the opposite side of this I have also been the mistress. I’ve knowingly continued to see/have sex with married men. Over the years the men have varied, but there were common elements between all of them.

    They felt unappreciated. They felt unattractive to their spouse. They weren’t very physically attracted to their spouse any more. They were tired of being judged, nagged and/or slowly torn down and rejected. They wanted to try things in the bedroom that they did not feel comfortable asking for from their spouse (and I don’t necessarily mean 50 Shades of Grey status stuff). They were uncomfortable in their relationship, but not TOO uncomfortable. They financially were not able to make a divorce possible.

    Why was I okay with being the mistress?

    The short answer is because I had some emotional attachment issues with a side of Aphrodite complex. Married men were safe for me to be involved with because they were never actually going to leave their wife, no matter how much they liked me. I also enjoyed being the woman that got the best of them. I liked being their bright spot, supporter, comforter, and whatever they needed me to be in the bedroom.

    After years of misadventures I’m confident in who I am and what I have to offer a partner. I also have no interest in being a mistress again. I learned many lessons throughout the last 10 years and know that if a relationship is at the point of me looking to cheat…then it needs to come to an end.

  21. OnTrack
    November 15th, 2012 at 13:36 | #21

    My problem with this is that it doesn’t assume responsibility. It sounds like you’re saying a woman is DRIVEN to another man because of what the person she is with does.A woman may be missing something that the man is unable to provide. Women often expect men to live up to ideals that aren’t always achievable. From a biblical perspective (and speaking as a divorced man who’s wife cheated on him), my ex expected me to essentially be her God…that is unable to fail in any capacity whatsoever. Ultimately, she chose to start sleeping with a professional athlete that already had 7 kids by 6 different women. When it was all said and done, she became his 7th baby mama. Did I drive her to that decision? No. Ultimately she felt the grass was greener and failed to realize that it’s probably best to just water your own grass. Sometimes a woman feels like she hasn’t lived…like she’s missing out…like her single friends are having all the fun. It can’t solely be that whatever that lack is was a result of what the man did not do. At the end of the day, life is about choices and sometimes women, just like men, just make the wrong ones.

  22. Flowers for Zoe
    November 15th, 2012 at 13:47 | #22

    1. I told you a million times how to make me happy, but you fail to put up a consistent effort.
    2. You tell me to be more emotionally available, but then you ice me out.
    3. Sometimes there is a time limit on how long I allow you to get to the point.
    4. Call it a game if you want, but you needed a wake up call. I’m busting my ass being a good woman and you have me but don’t realize I could be elsewhere.
    5. I feel like you are wasting my time, emotional energy, and mental energy and in a way its a form of cutting my losses. A productive type of self sabotage.
    6. He was hot, interested, open, and available.

  23. Bella
    November 15th, 2012 at 15:34 | #23

    Young and didn’t know how to end the relationship, so I cheated so he would end it. He didn’t want to end it though. A woman cheating is usually a sign of the end. She just doesn’t want the guy anymore. Men can cheat and still want to be with their lady. When women cheat, they’ve checked out of the relationship completely.

  24. as
    November 16th, 2012 at 16:20 | #24

    i cheated because i knew he was cheating and because i felt unappreciated.

    for a while, i knew he was cheating, but i remained loyal and worked extra hard to do everything i could to make him realize what he had.

    eventually, he stopped putting in the same amount of effort as i did, stopped trying to improve what i believed to be weaknesses in the relationship, and didn’t even seem interested in spending time with me.

    my breaking point was when i met someone who did want to spend time with me, without making me feel as if i was a burden or hassel. everytime i saw the new guy, i felt like i was getting my man back for all the bs he did to me that i didn’t deserve. but, i didn’t end the relationship because i still loved him, and was holding out for him to finally see the light and change.

    eventually, he found out and our relationship was never the same.

  25. Doesn’t Matter
    November 17th, 2012 at 01:42 | #25

    And the million dollar question remains “Why not just brake up?!” It’s that simple.

  26. stacy
    November 17th, 2012 at 15:06 | #26

    I honestly had never seen myself as a cheater. He went to jail for abusing our son. I grew up in a environment where abuse happened and it was a deal breaker. But I stayed and cheated. I needed a emotional outlet. He apologized for what he did but did not try to improve out relationship. I was young with no daily and no one to turn to. He betrayed me so I betrayed him.

  27. shar
    November 21st, 2012 at 00:47 | #27

    I cheated because I just wasn’t that into him. The guy I cheated with was hot and put it down. The boyfriend at the time was a virgin when we met and screwed like one. I just wasn’t feeling him.

  28. pent
    November 21st, 2012 at 12:21 | #28

    women are hypergamous by nature, they are not monogamous. female hypergamy, in short = women trade-up. this is innate amongst all women.

    it’s not cheating what a woman has sex outside of a so-called monogamous relationship with a man. a woman is always looking to trade-up, and in order to accomplish this maneuver, she needs to test various men in order to determine their willingness to provide a better deal to them than what she currently has. this testing includes having sex with them. of course, it doesn’t always pan out, but she is always willing and able to take the new deal when she determines it’s in her best interest to trade.

    this is not cheating TO THEM. it is cheating from the male perspective, but not from the female perspective. it’s just her female human nature playing itself out naturally.

    and they also will bang the bad boy at the dive bar up the road when hubby or BF is out of town. this isn’t really cheating, it’s just recreation.

  29. Ruthie
    November 21st, 2012 at 15:51 | #29

    But the same then goes for the previous post – it was written as if men are DRIVEN to other women because of what the person he is with does or does not do. This also does not assume responsibility.

    You should read the comment in context – Amaris was not using her mentioned reason “Women cheat because something is missing, and they fill that void with a person” as an excuse, but just as a reason.

  30. Sweet Little Redhead
    November 26th, 2012 at 12:40 | #30

    You’ve summed up men quite nicely. Most men cheat. Fact of life.

  31. pent
    November 26th, 2012 at 13:12 | #31

    the fact is, ALL women cheat. ALL women are lying whores.

  32. Sweet Little Redhead
    November 27th, 2012 at 13:34 | #32

    Well… No, you are quite wrong. Obvious you made typo’s. A “majority” of MEN do cheat. It is MEN who are the lying whores.

  33. December 20th, 2012 at 06:35 | #33

    When women cheat will depend on how fulfilled they feel in their marriages. But according to the survey, wives who cheat will do so five years into their marriages whereas men will do so seven years in.

  34. Adele
    March 7th, 2013 at 15:46 | #34

    I cheated on a boyfriend almost 2 years ago with an ex who I was still in love with. I realized I wasn’t really into the boyfriend, even though he was a cool guy. I ended it so as not to waste any more of his or my time.

  35. J
    August 30th, 2013 at 17:13 | #35

    I cheated because
    I felt unappreciated. Bf left the country, rarely called, did not know when he was returning [said 3 months, it was a year+ before he did], told me not to send him anything while he was gone, and beguiled me into breaking my code of ethics and do other things for him I would never do. I did his homework, wore my hair the way he wanted it, gained weight because he wanted it. He couldnt handle any stress in his life and wanted me to take care of him. All take and no give [including in the bedroom]. When he left I got myself back.

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