Even if you’re a sucker for a bad boy, deep down everyone wants to be with a good guy who treats you right. That includes being faithful, loyal, and loving.
90% of people agree that infidelity is wrong, but plenty of us still do it.
Can you spot a cheater?
In this article, we’ll look at the three classic types of men who do the dirty, and the warning signs to watch out for.
Infidelity from a man’s perspective
For anyone in a committed relationship, the statistics on infidelity make for uncomfortable reading.
Although it’s tricky to pin down precisely, it’s estimated anywhere up to an eye-watering 70% of married Americans will cheat at least once in their marriage.
The statistics available depend upon people owning up to it, but one study found that 75% of men admit to cheating in some way, at some point, in a relationship
Despite unfaithfulness being fairly commonplace, it seems we could be naive to the potential for our partners to stray.
Only 5% of people said they believe that their own partner had cheated or will cheat at some point in their relationship.
Whilst both men and women are unfaithful, figures suggest guys are slightly more guilty of it. And it seems the motives for cheating are also different between the sexes.
For women, it’s more likely to be an emotional reason that makes them look elsewhere. For men, it’s a strong physical attraction that tempts them.
What types of guys cheat?
1) The opportunistic guy
There’s a common misconception that cheating always springs from discontentment at home, but the truth isn’t quite so black and white.
The LA Intelligence Detective Agency highlights this:
“Statistics show that 56% of men and 34% of women who commit infidelity rate their marriages as happy or very happy. This makes the reason people cheat a little harder to dissect and comprehend.”
It seems you can be perfectly happy in your relationship, yet still end up cheating or having an affair.
In fact, one study looking at the reasons why people cheated noted that 70% of participants claimed situational factors were a key influence.
Cheating just because you can may seem shocking, but it lines up with similar findings that 74% of men said they would stray if it was guaranteed they’d never get caught.
More men recognized “opportunity” as a motive for their cheating than women.
As Fatherly notes, this can be one of the reasons guys get found out, as they’re not thinking it through:
“Men are more prone to casual and opportunistic cheating, which plays a big part in why they get caught. Infidelity, for some men, is evidence of recklessness.”
The opportunist cheater may not be on dating apps or taking his wedding ring off in bars trawling for women, but if he’s in the “right place at the right time” he’s going to seize the chance.
Just like this man who admitted to Women’s Health to having a fling on vacation:
“I randomly hooked up with a girl when I was on spring break in Florida. My girlfriend would have been there, but she was spending the break going around interviewing for summer internships. Why did I do it? The answer is that I was drunk, and I really don’t want to think about the deeper reasons there might be. Again: I’m an a**hole.”
Although he may feel some guilt about his actions, that is likely to fade along with the threat of being discovered.
There are particular cheating scenarios that the opportunist may find it hard to resist:
- Getting attention from a woman (for example, a colleague at work or a stranger out in a bar), feeling flattered, and having his ego boosted.
- Someone making obvious sexual advances and directly offering him ‘no strings attached’ sex.
- Going out drinking and sleeping with someone as a one-night stand.
For the opportunist cheat, it’s not necessarily premeditated, but they also find themselves walking down a path where one thing then leads to another — much like this guy on Reddit:
“I’m a 37-year-old male, my wife is 48. About a month and a half ago I was out of town on the other side of the country at a week-long seminar for my job. I struck up a conversation with a very attractive 34-year-old woman. Never in my wildest dreams did I think anything would come of it. I have always been completely faithful to my wife and vowed, and assumed, I always would be. This other woman was also married and had four kids. Well, one thing led to another and we were back at her hotel room, had a few drinks, started kissing, and … I just didn’t seem to be able to help myself. I make no excuses for what I did, but I did have sex with this woman.”
Warning signs of an opportunist cheat
It’s potentially more challenging to spot the opportunist cheat as he often hides in plain sight. By definition, he is a regular guy who in the right circumstances will play away.
There are signs that you can look out for though, which largely center around him putting himself in citations where he has more opportunity to be unfaithful.
For example, if a guy is constantly going out with his friends alone and getting drunk, works away a lot, travels frequently away from home, or spends lots of time socializing at work functions out of office hours, etc.
As another factor in men’s cheating behavior is how committed they feel towards the relationship, this can also offer clues to spot the opportunist cheat.
The less devoted he feels to his partner, the more likely he is to take the opportunity when it arises. So if a man shows hesitation towards commitment in general, this can mean he is less likely to feel guilty for any unfaithfulness.
2) The horny guy
The horny guy is essentially your classic player.
He may enjoy charming someone else into bed for the sport of it, or because he considers himself to have a high sex drive that needs satisfying.
He’s often incredibly charismatic and a smooth talker. He is the man that’s hard to resist — personable, fun, exciting, and confident.
As well as the sex, the horny guy generally loves the attention being with someone else brings. It validates him and makes him feel good about himself.
If he considers himself to have a high libido, he may believe that his cheating is purely practical and animalistic rather than being an emotional betrayal to feel guilty about.
This type of man will argue that they find it difficult to be satisfied by one woman alone, and blame their high sex drive for their infidelity.
Around one-third of participants in an infidelity study said sexual desire was the main reason for their cheating.
Strong attraction and finding someone else hot is the sole motivation of the horny guy, rather than any more complex emotional reasons.
For the horny guy, infidelity is not a response to any particular problem within a relationship, it’s a response to their boredom. For this type of man, cheating is a way of fulfilling their desire for variety.
As one man anonymously confessed on Reddit:
“I’ve cheated on my girlfriends, and I also think I would cheat on my wife. I know this sounds horrible and all but I don’t know why I’d do it. Perhaps it’s the same reason why I don’t know why I drink. I’d love my girlfriend or (maybe) future wife to death and I am faithfully loyal, but at the same time, I like that excitement of something or someone new. I like new energy. I know, in the eyes of some people this makes me a horrible person. But I am who I am.”
Warning signs of an horny cheat
You feared this guy was a bit of a fuckboy when you first met, but you hoped he’d become a reformed player when he fell for you.
The horny cheat usually has a history of lothario behaviour and a string of broken hearts behind him.
Of course, people can change but statistics suggest that anywhere from 22% up to 55% of those who have cheated in the past will do so again.
In fact, according to one online survey, 60% of the men were unfaithful more than once.
So if you know that he’s strayed with you or others before, it increases the chance of repeated cheating in the future.
The horny guy is a skilled flirt, who is fully capable of charming the pants off you (quite literally) but his smooth words often lack follow through with action.
Behind the endearing mask he lacks genuine empathy in situations where he has let you down. His focus tends to be on his own needs and desires.
He may try to fix problems you have and get you back on side with gifts or splashing the cash.
The horny cheat who is highly sexed will have a sex-centric mindset. You may feel like most of your relationship is focused on sex.
He may talk about sex more in terms of being an essential biological human need, rather than see it as an emotional connection.
3) The frustrated guy
The frustrated guy cheats because he feels like his needs are not being met in his current relationship.
He sees himself as deprived in some way, either sexually or emotionally.
If he’s not been having regular sex with his partner or physical contact, it tempts him to go looking elsewhere.
He may still emotionally connect in his relationship and care for his partner, but he feels that sex is an important piece to him being happy — and a piece that is missing.
If he has been lacking sexual attention for some time he might be in the midst of a self-esteem crisis and searching for a boost to his bruised ego.
He may feel rejected by his partner and wants to feel wanted and desired again.
It’s not just sexual frustrations that lead the frustrated guy to cheat. He could also be feeling emotionally frustrated by his relationship.
In essence, Mr. Frustrated feels neglected. A study found that for 70% of cheaters, their partner’s lack of attention was at least moderately tied to their cheating behavior.
If he feels a disconnect from his partner, he might be motivated by feelings of loneliness and wanting to find validation elsewhere. Perhaps he doesn’t feel respected or needed by his partner anymore.
If problems with his current relationship have dented his self-esteem, he may be seeking an affair to inflate it again.
At heart, the frustrated cheat feels like a victim. He believes that external circumstances outside of his control are to blame for him straying.
“If my girlfriend showed me more attention”, “if my wife was nicer to me”, “if I wasn’t so starved of sex at home”, etc.
Rather than take responsibility, he will seek to justify his actions or blame others for what he sees as lacking in his own life.
The frustrated guy has often already checked out of his relationship or marriage but lacks the conviction or guts to call it off. He is looking for an exit strategy, and he finds one through cheating.
This was the case for 29 year old Will, who explained to Cosmopolitan the reason he cheats:
“I usually cheat whenever I feel like the relationship is stalled or fizzled out. Well, not literally with every relationship, but the handful of times I have cheated have been when things weren’t great. I don’t know why, specifically, honestly. Maybe it’s my way of making sure things are over instead of trying to work on something I know won’t work.”
Warning signs of a frustrated cheat
A frustrated cheat is often unable to find his voice and be honest about his needs and wants, which then lead to underhand behaviour.
If he is unhappy, he will keep it to himself but go elsewhere to find satisfaction again.
He may struggle to be upfront about how he feels and holds back from honest conversation, preferring to avoid conflict.
But you might pick up on undercurrents of his frustration, for example through passive aggressive behaviour.
He’s also likely to be a people pleaser and prone to martyrdom. Rather than deal with issues, he prefers to hide from them, ignore them and sweep them under the carpet.
He may have a bit of an avoidant personality type.
You could get a sense that a frustrated guy has started to withdraw from you, becoming colder and more distanced.
Warning signs of cheating
Depending on the type of guy, the signs that he is playing away will tend to differ slightly.
Having said that, there are some widely recognised signs to watch out for that can signal a man is cheating:
- There’s a breakdown in communication with your relationship.
- He changes his appearance, makes more of an effort, and starts dressing better.
- He starts spending more time away from home on new hobbies, other activities, or working late hours.
- You sense a change in his behavior — he may act more stressed, argumentative, angry, nervous, or critical.
- He starts lying, hiding things from you, or is avoidant.
- He is withdrawn or indifferent towards you and the relationship.
- Your sex life has changed recently and is practically non-existent.
- You are diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection but you have been faithful.
- He starts to act more secretively or suspiciously with technology — taking private phone calls, trying to hide messages or social media, or clearing his browser history. These are social media red flags.
- You discover money transactions and spending that doesn’t make sense to you.
- You have a strong intuitive feeling that something is going on.
Why men cheat, in their own words:
1) The chance arose and I took it
“It was nothing but sex outside marriage. For me, I did that because I was able to. I’m a married man with kids in my late thirties. I’m basically a shy guy and interact with women only when it is required. This happened when I had been out of the country. A girl who worked with me asked for some help related to travel. I learnt that she was travelling to the same location as mine.” — Anonymous on Quora
2) I can’t help myself
“When I’m in a relationship, I still go out to drink. When I’m out drinking, it’s hard not to walk up and say ‘hi’ to a pretty girl. When I’m talking to a pretty girl, I can’t help flirting. When I’m flirting, it seems appropriate to make out with her. When I’m making out with her, it’s only natural to bring her home to my place. When we are at my place, the only thing to do is (have sex). I seriously rarely plan to cheat, but I’m the kind of guy who can get laid without much effort, so it’s hard to control myself. Also, girls always forgive my cheating, so I don’t feel bad about it anymore.” — Anonymous on Reddit
3) For the thrill
“It’s a stranger’s hands on your skin. It feels different, they touch differently, you melt under the touch of someone else unwittingly. Their kisses are strangers to you, they bite your lip and adrenaline takes over and suddenly you want to feel this different person with your own hands and your own lips. It’s wrong, which makes it so right in the moment. Every touch is forbidden and it’s electrifying, it’s primal and animalistic.But it has to end and then it’s guilt and shame. You lay in bed with your partner and you think of that stranger and if you’re anything like me, you long for that feeling again and crave it like an addict.” — Anonymous on Quora
4) I’m in a sexless relationship
“(I’ve cheated) many times. With escorts and a mistress. I felt no guilt with the escorts because no emotions were involved, but I fell madly in love with my mistress and that made me feel very guilty. Mostly only when I was with my mistress, not so much after. For the record my wife cheated on me multiple times before I ever thought about cheating on her, and I didn’t seriously consider it until our sex life had been almost non-existent for years. If that hadn’t been the case I think I would have a lot more guilt.” — Anonymous on Reddit
How are most affairs discovered?
Statistically speaking most affairs will naturally fizzle out anytime from 6 months to two years after starting.
Most just run their course and come to a conclusion (which is uncomfortable reading for any mistress who has fallen for the lies of a married man.)
Even though many people admit they would cheat if they were guaranteed to never be caught, realistically most people do get found out eventually.
One survey conducted by a dating site for extramarital affairs called Illicit Encounters, reported 63% of adulterers have been caught at some point.
But it may take some time, with on average most people getting discovered during their third affair. In fact, it may take on average four years for a partner’s adultery to be exposed.
The biggest giveaways that lead to finding out about infidelity are different between the sexes.
Most men are tripped up by technology. Male cheats are most commonly discovered because of their phones, which contain inappropriate text messages or sexy snaps.
If you are hoping to get a confession from your guy over their cheating ways, you may be waiting some time as this features much lower on the list of ways partners find out about infidelity.
Top ten ways men’s affairs are exposed:
1) Sending sexy texts messages or pictures to and from their lover
2) Partner smells their lover’s perfume on his clothes
3) Partner checks emails
4) Cheating alibi is exposed by a partner
5) Suspicious spending exposed
6) Their lover tells their partner about the affair
7) They are caught out secretly seeing their lover
8) Phone calls to a lover discovered by their partner
9) A friend or acquaintance tells on them
10) They confess
It also seems that women are prepared to put in much more work to discover whether their partner has cheated.
Twice as many women in the survey as men said they were willing to do the detective work to get to the bottom of things.
56% of women who were asked said they had done secret checks on their partner — compared to only 29% of men.