17 complicated reasons men cheat instead of breaking up

Seriously, why do men cheat when they can just leave a relationship?

If you’ve found that the man you love is guilty of this, there’s no doubt that your world would crash down.

It’s hard, painful, and confusing — and you want to know exactly why and what’s going on.

So I’m sharing with you some of the most complicated reasons why men cheat instead of breaking up with you and how you can deal with it.

What are the reasons men cheat?

When you know that there are signs that your partner is cheating, you want to know the factors that influence them to act on the desire to cheat.

1) Situational factors and opportunity to cheat

It sounds strange, but sometimes, infidelity happens because an opportunity presents itself.

With the rise of technology, starting an affair is just a swipe away. It’s now easier to form new connections and create an outlet for different types of cheating like sexting.

Even if the relationship is strong, being in a potential situation also makes infidelity more likely.

These situations and opportunities include:

  • traveling alone or an out-of-town trip
  • working late with a colleague
  • drinking then sleeping with someone after a night our
  • being in an environment with lots of physical touches
  • seeking physical comfort after a distressing event

According to an experienced psychotherapist, the main reason for cheating is that “the opportunity arose and it just happened, even if they weren’t looking for it.”

2) Men seek validation

Men are emotional beings, and they love attention. The second they feel less than they think they’re entitled to, they’re off in search of someone else.

They seek out attention from another person if they aren’t getting it from their partner. Men would go to the other woman that makes them feel better about themselves.

Sometimes insecurity and low self-esteem become the catalyst. Men search for someone who values them.

They want to prove to themselves that they’re still sexually attractive.

3) Another woman triggered his hero instinct

Have you heard of the hero instinct yet?

This new concept coined by best-selling author James Bauer is causing a real buzz right now.

It offers insight into what is really going on in guys’ heads, based on their biology.

In a nutshell, it says that men have a deep-seated urge to step up for the woman he cares most about and earn her respect in return.

When it comes to your relationship, he wants to be your everyday hero.

When a woman triggers this powerful drive in a man, it makes him more attentive and passionate towards her.

The tricky part is, if another woman triggers his hero instinct, it can bring out the same qualities in him towards her too.

If she asks for his help, compliments his qualities, and shows she admires him — this could explain why his head is turned.

This is especially true if his hero instinct is not currently being triggered within your relationship.

It’s a fascinating topic and one I’ve only scratched the surface of here. The best thing to do is watch this excellent free video to learn everything you should know.

You may not be able to stop other women from triggering his hero instinct, but watching the video will teach you exactly how to trigger it in your man, to make sure he remains happy and fulfilled at home.

The video reveals the simple things you can say and do and the texts you can send him — so that his eyes are firmly fixed on you.

Here’s a link to the free video again.

4) An ego boost feels good

Being found attractive by someone else is an aphrodisiac. It’s flattering, boosts a guy’s confidence, and reminds him that he still “got it”.

So even if you’re a great partner, there’s a new woman who adores him and boosts his ego.

While this seems exciting for him, it’s a potentially disastrous thing.

In an Insider article, relationship expert Susan Winter shared:

“Usually, in this scenario, the partner that wants to cheat is seeking out confirmation of their desirability… And they use the reinforcement of a new person to bolster their self-confidence.”

5) The desire for change and variety

When it comes to relationships, this desire often relates to sex and attraction.

People who are in sexually fulfilling relationships might have a sexual desire to do it with others. They act on opportunities to meet their sexual needs.

Your guy desires variety and acts on it.

Even if your guy is already in a relationship with you, he may become a bit comfortable and feels that strong attraction to other women.

It could also be because of his desire such as:

  • to try out different conversations
  • do types of sex you’re not into
  • engage in non-sexual activities with others
  • an adventure to offset their routine life

Social psychologist Dylan Selterman have this to share,

“This speaks to the idea that humans are promiscuous, and even if things are going well, that does not necessarily mean that there’s not a desire for more — at least in terms of more experiences with other partners.”

6) Compulsive sexual behavior

Some men have this addictive need to have sex with several women all the time. And this is a perfect recipe for cheating and infidelity.

Sexual addiction is like dependence on alcohol, gambling, or drugs. It’s a highly dangerous and destructive condition when they can’t control their sexual urges.

Being with a guy who’s sexually addictive is emotionally distressing as it creates a negative impact on your relationship and well-being.

According to Psychosocial Intervention For Sexual Addiction, people with sex addiction use sex as a way to escape from other emotional and psychological problems, including stress, anxiety, depression, and social isolation.

If you can see signs that your sign has sexual addiction, help, and treatment are necessary.

7) The thrill that comes with cheating

There seems to be an undeniable excitement that comes with having an affair.

The idea of being naughty, taking the risk, and the possibility of getting caught adds thrill to their sexual pleasure.

Unfortunately, the thrill of the chase and living life on the edge is taboo.

Men who cheat do something they know they’re not supposed to do. They seem to get a rise out of being bad.

According to a psychotherapist, Paul Hokemeyer, Ph.D.,

“The primary reason is that there’s a deficiency in their life and specifically, in their ego. They feel incomplete. The thrill of an indiscretion and the work it takes to keep it a secret can be as exhilarating as the person they’ve cheated on you with.”

8) What would a relationship coach say?

The reasons above and below in this article will give you a good idea about the complicated reasons men cheat instead of breaking up. 

Even so, it can be very worthwhile to speak to a certified relationship coach and get honest-to-goodness advice from them.

Relationship Hero is the best site I’ve found for love coaches who aren’t just talk. They have seen it all, and they know all about how to tackle difficult situations like cheating partners.

They can answer all sorts of relationship questions and take away your doubts and worries. Like, why is he being untruthful? Is he really the one?

I was blown away by how kind, empathetic, and genuinely helpful my coach was.

In just a few minutes you can connect with a certified relationship coach and get tailor-made advice for your situation.

Click here to get started.

9) Unrealistic expectations

Men expect their partners to meet their every whim and desire.

Sometimes, men fail to recognize the feelings and thoughts of their partner at that particular moment.

When this happens, your guy might feel neglected, ignored, and unimportant. Since his expectations aren’t met, he seeks to find fulfillment in others.

The feelings of detachment and low relationship satisfaction are the major reasons why guys cheat.

It’s purposeful cheating so they can get something – sexual satisfaction or emotional satisfaction – that they don’t receive from their partners anymore.

Knowing this reason, it’s important to make sure that both attention and communication are part of your relationship.

10) Once a cheater, always a cheater

Perhaps, we’re all familiar with that known saying.

The 2017 Infidelity Statistics, found that those who cheated before are likely to cheat again in their next relationship. The chances are 350% high that he will do it again.

The study found that when someone cheats, the act of lying about it creates patterns in the brain that makes it easier for that person to cheat again.

And beware of that so-called Cheater’s High. It’s when people felt a boost or a kick at getting away with a lie or some form of cheating.

So if your guy has cheated before, count that it will happen again.

While some guys change,  it’s rare, especially in this situation. So you have to be watchful of the reg flags and signs of cheating.

11) Closeness with a coworker

The workplace is high on the list of places where straying hearts crops up.

Office affairs and cheating on a partner with a colleague are relatively common.

According to a survey of people who admit to infidelity, 36% say they had sex with a co-worker.

If your guy spends most of his time with a woman he finds attractive, the likelihood of having an affair is heightened. The more they see and spend time with this person, the more attractive this person becomes.

And if they tend to work late nights and spend business trips together, the closeness they share can be tempting.

Also, based on what relationship expert Susan Winter shared in Insider:

“If your career allows for great mobility and world travel, it makes it easy to hide affairs.”

And you can’t keep your guy away from those situations.

So the question is, has your man given in to that temptation?

12) Being open to casual sex

These days more men and women have sex with no strings attached — whether it’s a friends-with-benefits situation, a tipsy make-out with an acquaintance, or a Tinder date that turned somewhere.

But men practice casual sex more easily than women.

While women seek emotional investment before hooking up, men just want to have sex as much as possible.

They find something sexy about getting down and dirty with someone else.

13) Unfulfilled physical and emotional needs

Sometimes, we tend to neglect our relationship and the needs of our partners when we get too busy with our lives.

Your guy could have physical, sexual, and emotional needs that are unmet.

Those unmet needs can also happen when your sex drives are different, or you often spend time away from each other.

Another reason for unmet needs in your man can come from not triggering his hero instinct.

I mentioned the hero instinct earlier.

It’s the silent biological driving force within a guy which dictates whether he’s be fully satisfied in a relationship or not.

The real kicker is, he cannot trigger this instinct himself.

That’s why learning how to bring this instinct out in your man really is a game-changer when it comes to creating a deeper and more committed relationship.

The best thing to do now is to watch this excellent free video.

This simple and genuine video shares some easy tips to get you started, such as sending him a 12 word text that will trigger his hero instinct right away.

14) Doesn’t see cheating as bad

When it comes to cheating, the line is not always as clear as we think it is. Not everyone understands what is considered cheating in a relationship.

Take note that cheating is anything you do with another person that you wouldn’t want your partner to know about.

Some men can even justify their behavior and don’t see anything wrong with what they’re doing because it didn’t involve actual sex.

For instance, men would rationalize their actions and say:

  • “It’s just sexting and flirting. There’s nothing wrong with that.”
  • “I was just reconnecting with my ex. What harm could it do?”
  • “Is watching a lap dance in a strip club infidelity? We guys are just having fun.”

This is alarming.

A man who won’t change his stance on cheating and keeps on defending himself may seek more situations where cheating isn’t wrong.

As what 2017 Journal of Family Psychology research shares,

“Compared with women, men were less likely to report that extramarital sex was always wrong and more likely to view it as almost always wrong, wrong only sometimes, or not wrong at all.”

15) Unresolved childhood issues

Your guy could have unresolved childhood issues such as neglect, emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, etc.

Those childhood wounds might cause him to have attachment and intimacy issues that stop him from committing fully to one person.

His sexual infidelity could be his way to self-soothe the pain created by those past wounds.

A 2015 study found that people who experienced childhood trauma – physical, sexual, or emotional – have higher chances of cheating with their partners.

If someone grows up seeing unfaithfulness in their parents or witnesses a divorce, this person may see cheating as acceptable; and thus triggered the likelihood that they will cheat themselves.

If this is one reason why your man cheats, help him heal and unlearn this habit. Maybe he’ll learn to trust again. Your sense of support, love, and understanding are all important.

This is one situation where undergoing therapy helps.

16) Desire to relive a first-time experience

Men cheat not because they want to hurt you.

They want to satisfy their natural desire and chronic need — putting their long-term, committed relationship at risk.

It could be because life’s not as unenjoyable as before or they’re unsatisfied with their lives. They resort to having affairs as a way to relive the thrill of flirting and dating.

In a survey, it was found that 87 percent of men seek sex and 39 percent explore new desires.

Boredom also can lead them to cheat.

They miss the excitement of first-time experiences. And those sexual chases are what make them feel alive.

17) Falling out of love

One reason that people say when they had an affair is that they had “fallen out of love”. This is hard, but it happens.

Sometimes, the person you love doesn’t feel the same way anymore.

The feeling of falling in love doesn’t always last forever. The excitement, passion, intensity, and rushes of dopamine tend to fade over time.

When their love and your emotional connection fades, they look for it somewhere else.

So if your partner confides in someone else instead of you, the likelihood of that relationship turning into infidelity increases.

A relationship without love, intimacy, and affection often leads a person to cheat.

According to social psychologist, Dylan Selterman:

“Lack of love is a powerful motivation — it’s definitely one of the stronger ones.”

If this is the case, the best thing to do is to talk to your man to know how he feels in your relationship.

On cheating but not leaving

One of the biggest issues a couple faces is the pain of infidelity.

For most men, there’s no single factor why people cheat.

Maybe he doesn’t want to deal with the situation maturely. Since leaving you is a big decision, he plays the bad guy instead. This seems twisted, but he could be waiting for you to break free.

When your guy cheats, you may feel that he doesn’t love you anymore — but it’s not always clear-cut.

But regardless of the reason is — cheating in any way is wrong. He didn’t have to do it.

There are reasons why cheaters don’t leave a relationship, including:

  • Men avoid difficult conversations, like having to say, “I’m leaving you.”
  • Men who cheat are selfish and don’t want to let go of their women.
  • They don’t want to face the consequences of the relationship
  • They feel guilty for breaking their partner’s trust
  • They fear the unknown that comes with having an affair
  • Men still find comfort in his routine with his partner
  • They fear that their partner will ruin their reputation
  • They don’t want to disappoint their families and their friends
  • They don’t want to start a new life with the other woman
  • Men have built a substantial life with their partners already and don’t want to be alone.

Sometimes, we are all inclined to believe that cheaters don’t love their significant others anymore.

But it isn’t always the case.

Men had an impulse to cheat yet still love their partners. This is possible.

And here’s another major reason why men who cheat won’t leave:

  • They truly do care for their partner and are truly in love with them.

This is where it becomes difficult to explain and understand men.

They still value the relationship. And if they had to choose, they’d stay with their significant other in a heartbeat.

But, no matter what, you can survive this infidelity.

Use this experience to take a step back, look at what went wrong, and decide how you want to move forward from there.

Repairing the damage

Being cheated on is nothing short of a devastating experience. It sucks big time.

But infidelity doesn’t always mean the end of a relationship – but moving forward takes time and effort.

So what can you do if your partner has been unfaithful?

If you’re not sure how to handle this situation, start here:

1) Accept your feelings

Your feelings and reactions make sense.

You’ll feel betrayed, shocked, disappointed, sad, confused, heartbroken, and a range of negative emotions. It’s normal.

It’s hard to accept the hurt, but these emotions will heal when you learn to accept them.

The infidelity, cheating, and affair happened — and you can’t change that.

Accept that things will suck for a while. Once you’re ready, try to focus your energy on mending your heart.

2) Talk to your partner

Sometimes we tend to believe all that secondhand information from other people. Or maybe, you just caught a glimpse of his messages (which made you feel that he’s already cheating).

If you’re ready, hear what your partner has to say. Let your man explain himself so you’ll find answers to your questions.

This way, you’ll know if your gut instinct is right or if you’ve jumped to conclusions right away.

Make sure to stay calm and refrain from any physical confrontation.

Communication is important in any relationship – and it’s equally important to know how your partner feels.

This way you’ll know if he wants to continue or end your relationship.

3) Ask yourself what you want

If your man wants to work it through, you can decide whether to keep the relationship or let go.

Look at the entire situation and ask yourself:

  • Do I still want the relationship?
  • Is our relationship worth fixing?
  • Can I still trust him?
  • Do I want to work on those underlying issues?

Trust will take time to rebuild. But if you know that you can’t trust him again, you probably won’t be able to repair the relationship anymore.

4) Learn to forgive

While it can be tempting to trash talk, ruin his image, or have an affair of your own, don’t try to get even.

Doing those things will just keep you in a state of negativity. You’ll just fill your life with anger and going on with your life will be much harder.

If you can forgive him, that’s better. This way, you can move on without carrying any burden on your heart and your mental health.

5) Do what you know is right

Consider what your heart feels and what your mind is telling you. Don’t let fear decide for you.

It’s not a good idea to keep the relationship when you’re just scared of being alone.

Recovering from cheating is hard — and could even be traumatic.

So if you need help, ask for it. Doctors and psychologists can help you sort through your feelings and emotions about the situation.

And if your partner regrets what happened, is willing to end the affair and change, and you’re both willing to work things out and commit, then, there’s a way you can save your relationship.

If you want to continue the relationship, professional help can be a game-changer for healing.

The psychology behind why men pull away

If you feel like you’ve tried everything and your man is still pulling away, it’s probably because his fears of commitment are so deep-rooted in his subconscious, even he’s not aware of them. 

And unfortunately, unless you can get inside his mind and understand how the male psyche works, nothing you do will make him see you as “the one”. 

That’s where we come in.

We’ve created the ultimate free quiz based on Sigmund Freud’s revolutionary theories, so you can finally understand what’s holding your man back. 

No more trying to be the perfect woman. No more nights wondering how to repair the relationship. 

With just a few questions, you’ll know exactly why he’s pulling away, and most importantly, what you can do to avoid losing him for good. 

Take our great new quiz here.

Put yourself first

The most important person in this situation is you.

Don’t blame yourself for your partner’s infidelity. It’s not your fault, even if your issues have made your partner stray.

No matter what your partner’s reason is, cheating is still his choice. Realize that you’re not responsible for his actions.

The burden is on him as he decided to cheat and put his sexual desires above you and your relationship.

See it as a situation you can reflect on and grow from.

Take care of yourself and let your bruised heart heal.


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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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