Why are men unfaithful? Believe it or not, it’s not always about sex. In a study of cheating husbands, about half said they did the deed because they felt neglected by their wives. Only 7% did it out of sexual desire for someone else. So how can you keep your partner from straying? We went to the source—the husbands!—to find out exactly why men cheat and how you can keep it from happening.
1. He doesn’t feel sexy anymore. “It felt like my wife stopped thinking I was attractive. She kept telling me how gross my gut was and pining over George Clooney lookalikes,” says *Jeff. Think about how you would react if your guy compared you to movie stars and made you feel unattractive. So always treat your man like he’s a hunka, hunka burning love,and he’ll want to stay solely your hunk.
2. He thinks he can get away with it. For some men, the lack of consequences is all they need to be unfaithful. “My wife never made a big deal when I had to work late or even when I spent her birthday watching football. I knew she’d be hurt if she discovered my affair, but I had no idea that that would be it!” says Ed. The takeaway: Even though he should know you’re forgiving, set boundaries so both of you know where the line is.
3. His ego is bruised. Sometimes a difficult experience can cause your man to doubt himself enough that he looks for an ego boost outside the marital bed. Rick confesses, “My wife is amazing, but after a six-month bout of unemployment while watching her go to work every morning, I needed to escape from how bad I felt about myself. It was either drinking or another woman. In my case, it was an affair.”
4. He doesn’t make your feelings a priority. Ron admits, “I was greedy. One great woman wasn’t enough.” This kid-in-a-candy-store approach continued for years until his wife told him how bad his behavior made her feel. “My self-centeredness was hurting the person I loved most in the world,” says Ron. His wife made him realize that if he focused his efforts on caring about her feelings, his actions would change. She was right. He stopped cheating, and she forgave him.
5. He stops feeling important to you. Constant hectic schedules can make it easy for you to forget how much he means to you. Don’t let that happen. “When we started our lives together we were always thinking of each other’s feelings. I knew that intensity wouldn’t last, but just after a few years I started feeling taken for granted, as if I was tenth on her list of priorities,” says Andy. His cheating wasn’t motivated as much by sexual attraction for someone else as it was feeling “important to another human being.”
6. He’s angry but won’t talk about it. A husband who stews instead of shares what’s bothering him is vulnerable to committing a passive-aggressive cheat. “My wife backed out of my company’s Christmas party for the second year in a row. She could tell I was hurt, but she still didn’t change her mind,” says David. He ended up drinking too much and slept with a married co-worker, who was also solo for the night. “It never happened again and I didn’t tell my wife, but I will always feel like a jerk!” Since neither of you are mind readers, it’s essential to keep lines of communication open. Make sure your husband knows that if you do something to upset him, both of you need talk about it.
7. He feels underappreciated. Even if your sex life is strong, singing his praises will only make it stronger. Jim admits, “I had a six-month affair with a woman who made me feel like I walked on air.” Even though he stopped the affair, he still wishes his wife could show that she appreciates him every now and then. Remember to give your hubby at least one compliment a day—no matter how small—to remind him how much he still means to you.
8. You constantly accuse him of cheating. Norm was a faithful husband until he wasn’t. “From our honeymoon on, my wife voiced her suspicions that I was cheating. I knew this was because her father had an affair, but what did that have to do with me?” Since nothing seemed to make her feel better, he felt it would not have mattered if he cheated, so he did. If you’re suspicious of your husband, make sure you ask yourself why. Has his spending habits or working hours suddenly changed dramatically, or are you feeling insecure? Talk about what’s bothering you, and ask him his needs. Don’t deliver an endless harangue.
9. He wants you to know he’s unhappy. “I’d told her for months things weren’t going well. I even suggested marriage counseling, but she refused,” recalls Tim. His one-night stand was a last, desperate attempt to make his wife take his unhappiness seriously. Miraculously, it worked. The two went into therapy and eventually emerged with a stronger union. Paying attention and being a good listener to your partner could save time, money and possibly your relationship. A good marriage is a partnership, and both people need to work hard for each other.