Being cheated on can destroy your self-esteem, your faith in love, or even your desire to date altogether. In addition to the actual betrayal, there’s always the question of why it happened, and it’s natural to wonder what you did wrong even though the answer is nothing at all.
To find out what’s really behind infidelity, I asked male friends, coworkers, and strangers what their reasons were for being unfaithful. Here are there answers.
“I cheated because I could.”
As one guy explained, “I generally hold the dominance in the romantic relationships I create. To cheat, I used an app that assured me that anonymity was going to work in my favor. It allowed me to continue to cheat with ease and I liked holding that power over a person. I felt superior and secure in my relationships knowing that I was the one doing something sneaky or shady. It made me feel like they couldn’t hurt me. In the end, I only ended up hurting myself. I no longer view power in that way. Being vulnerable has since made me stronger.”
“I cheated because I didn’t want to be with her anymore.”
“I was stuck in a relationship that I no longer wanted to be in. Part of me stayed with her for the comfortability,” another admitted. “The other part of me was afraid to pull the trigger and end things because I knew it would be a messy breakup. In the long run, I wish I had manned-up earlier, instead of preemptively hooking up with someone else. I now have to sit with that guilt.”
“I cheated because they did.”
Sometimes it’s about getting even. “It was purely out of spite, because my girlfriend cheated first. Instead of trying to work through our issues or ending the relationship altogether, I got revengeful. If she could do whatever she wanted, I could, too. I felt like I deserved to. Deep down, I knew I just wanted to hurt her. It all shows how much we lacked partnership.”
“I cheated because I was looking for the next best thing.”
Sometimes a lack of maturity is at play. “It’s embarrassing to admit how I was when I was young. I saw women as a prize to be won. Dating was like a game to me,” one guy told me. “I always had wandering eyes for something better. I hurt a lot of people being like that. Though I’m happy to say I’ve grown up a lot and my view of women is insanely different, it makes me cringe to think of the guy I used to be.”
“I cheated for the juvenile desire to be liked.”
“It feels good to be liked or lusted for. I cheated to feed my own ego. Some of my early relationships and friendships caused me a lot of fears and insecurities. In many cases, I reached out to women for some level of validation.” Well, that’s some brutal honesty!
“I cheated because it’s been normalized in today’s culture.”
Cheating is not only normalized but even promoted in a lot of media. It’s a twisted kind of clout-chasing,” one guy explained. “Celebrities, athletes, and musicians are glorified for their ability to be surrounded by lots of women and their freedom to treat others however they want because of their status. It trickles down into modern dating culture and makes a lot of us think that cheating is standard and not a big deal.”
“I cheated because I didn’t know what I wanted.”
“Past traumas have left me without a positive representation of what appropriate relationships are supposed to look like. For me, it was a lack of understanding who I am, where I’m going, and what I want for myself. Lacking that identity makes it harder to develop those feelings of love, trust, and respect with another person, because I often don’t feel those things for myself.”
“I cheated because I was drunk.”
An all-too-common excuse, another guy I talked to told me, “It took me longer than the average person to outgrow my college party phase. I was used to binge-drinking several days of the week, sleeping around, and generally doing whatever I wanted with little to no consideration for any consequences. When I tried to settle down in a real relationship, that all caught up to me when I had too much to drink and ended up cheating. It was a wake-up call to how much I was caught up in a party lifestyle, and I lost a good girl because of it.”
“I cheated because I didn’t feel satisfied.”
“My needs weren’t being met in my relationship, especially sexually. I felt like my partner just wasn’t enough. In retrospect, my dissatisfaction had everything to do with my own issues and very little to do with her. It’s like I was trying to fill a void with sex, and it wasn’t working. Cheating did offer some short-lived, instant gratification, but I ultimately continued to feel unsatisfied. It was painfully humbling to admit the involvement of my own shortcomings. What we truly lacked in our relationship was communication, as I eventually found out she wasn’t feeling satisfied either – emotionally, sexually, and otherwise.”
“I cheated because I felt like I deserved it.” “
The scars from old relationships can carry over into our behaviors in new ones. I had a skewed way of thinking where I validated everything I did by blaming other people, past relationships, or other external factors. ‘I need this,’ ‘I deserve this,’ ‘I DON’T deserve this.’ I thought that I was entitled to things that I knew were wrong. My feelings were even hurt when I found that I had partners who weren’t being faithful, despite the fact that I was doing the same things they were. Eventually, I saw how selfish I was being.”
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