Why Men Cheat Abroad

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Man or woman, gay or straight — anyone can cheat. But why? Men and women may cheat for very different reasons. It is likely more due to the way men and women are socialized than any innate differences between them. The more we as a society move away from that socialization and away from patriarchy, the less we are seeing those gendered differences in cheating behavior. There is reason to believe that men are much more likely to cheat than women. Let us look at what defines cheating. Cheating is different for every couple, so the only way to clearly define cheating is if you had a conversation with your partner about the things that both of you are okay with and things that you are not okay with. It is important that a partner does not overstep the things that was in the conversation.

When men travel very long amounts of time without seeing their partner it can be sexually frustrating and can make them seek ways to relieve their sexual frustration, which more often than not, could lead to cheating. Generally men have a lower tolerance for sexual than emotional infidelity, while women are much more negatively affected by a partner who is emotionally cheating than one who is sexually cheating. When it comes to cheating, secrecy and guilt is often involved. The more secretive your partner is the more likely it is that they are cheating, as well as feeling guilty about something.

Here are some reasons why men will cheat in a relationship:

  • They are looking for a way out of the relationship, with the cheating as a means to an end because they might be less likely to have difficult conversations.
  • They want to end their relationship but not until they are in another relationship.
  • They are looking for a connection, sometimes they feel unseen or disconnected from their partner.
  • Compassion and support from other women in his life might be all that could start something, it starts with a friendship, perhaps a neighbor, who starts to make him feel better and an emotional connection forms.
  • They have sociopathic or narcissistic traits, they could be someone who doesn't care about their partner's feelings, they want what they want and it is that simple. When an opportunity to cheat presents itself there are certain people that don’t have a good ability to be understanding of their partner’s emotions or the impact of them cheating.
  • Revenge cheating, some men cheat out of anger or a desire for revenge, more times than not their partner has not cheated on them, and they end up cheating to make a point.
  • They are seeking validation, feeling insecure and having a low self-esteem can drive someone to cheat, especially if they’re not getting that validation in their own relationship. If people do not feel attractive to their partner, they may cheat to look for external validation. Sexual issues can also drive someone to look for someone more exciting to prove to themselves that they are still sexually potent and capable.
  • They are denying a big part of their identity, cheating can be the result of one partner denying their own sexual identity or even their gender identity. Someone may be struggling with accepting that they are gay or bisexual and they want to experiment or explore their options. This could also be true with gender identity issues where you desire to explore sex as well as identity around that because it is a hidden part of yourself.
  • They are emotionally immature, society has outcast men talking about their emotions and creating emotionally immature people because of this and by the time a man has an affair, there has already been a long period of time when there have been issues and they have had an inability to talk about those feelings.
  • They could also have commitment issues or they do not fully understand that their actions have consequences like hurting a partner and they might think that it is fine to have sexual adventures.
  • They were abused in their childhood and they might be reenacting unresolved childhood trauma, such as neglect, emotional abuse, physical abuse, or sexual abuse or more. In such a case, their childhood wounds have created attachment and intimacy issues that leave them unable or unwilling to fully commit to one person. They might also be using the excitement and distraction of sexual infidelity as a way to self-soothe the pain of these old, unhealed wounds.
  • They are selfish, it is possible that their primary consideration is for themselves alone. They can therefore lie and keep secrets without remorse or regret, as long as it gets them what they want, it is possible they never intended to be monogamous. Rather than seeing their vow of monogamy as a sacrifice made to and for their relationship, they views it as something to be avoided and worked around.
  • They are terminally unique, they may feel like they are different and deserves something special that other people might not. The usual rules just don’t apply to them, so they are free to reward themselves outside of their primary relationship whenever they want to or feel like it.
  • They have unrealistic expectations, they may feel that their partner should meet their every whim and desire, sexual and otherwise, all the time, regardless of how she feels at any particular moment. They fail to understand that she has a life of her own, with thoughts and feelings and needs that don’t always involve them. When their expectations are not met, he seeks external fulfillment by cheating.
  • They are falling out of love, sometimes a deficit in an existing relationship leads people to have extradyadic affairs.

Here are some things what you can do about it:

  • Decide whether you want to stay together and work through the cheating, how couples handle cheating is completely up to both of them, some people are unable to accept the break in trust and others are willing to work through it, research shows that people who cheated in a previous relationship are three times more likely to cheat in a future relationship. But other people who work on their relationship after an affair are able to recover and feel happy in their relationship again, it can take years and help from a sex or couples therapist for a relationship to recover from an affair, but it is possible if both partners are willing to do the work, knowing when to walk away from a relationship is just as important.
  • Test if the partner is actually willing to commit to change, don’t just assume that the cheating would just someday stop and not happen again. It is a deeper issue and there are deeper roots that need to be addressed, it is important to understand the “why” that they cheat. The cheating could be a tip of a huge iceberg and there could be a form of disconnection from themselves or a disconnection in the relationship that exists when there is cheating. If the partner who cheated is not willing to work on things but rather is dismissive of their partner’s hurt, that is not going to be a situation that is ever going to lead to a healthy relationship again and you should not tolerate that level of caring.
  • Focus on the feelings of the person who was cheated on, oftentimes the partner who did the cheating may find themselves in a state of deep shame, but there is a difference between feeling guilty and feeling shame, healthy guilt is okay but it is important for the person who had the affair to take some time to make it about their partner’s experience and hurt as opposed to their own feelings of being a bad person.
  • You should be honest about why it happened. This is the hardest step and will largely dictate whether or not you will both be able to move forward, people can make poor choices at any time for any reason, the question then becomes: "Does that poor choice now have to dictate the future of the relationship?" And the answer largely depends on the motivation factors behind the affair, underlying unmet needs in the relationship, poor communication, attachment difficulties and outdated gender roles can all be something that makes an affair happen. Communication is key, find out why they cheat or what it was in the relationship that ultimately causes you to have an open door for someone else to walk into it. Having that insight in the relationship is going to be very important in the long run. But if the person who cheated isn’t willing to be open about why it happened or started to point the blame on someone else then repairing the relationship might not be possible. The reason for the cheating can’t and shouldn’t be over simplified by saying “I am a man” or “It just happened”. The only way to truly rebuild trust is to be completely clear as to why it happened so that when faced with a similar situation in the future, a different choice will be made.
  • Removing temptations to re-engage with the affair, if the affair is really over, taking the physical steps to cut off contact with that person and set up boundaries is crucial to your partners healing process, deleting contact information, blocking number and removing social media contacts will be essential in doing so, there needs to be transparency about any interactions.
  • Moving forward with brutal honesty and care, being cheated on is damaging for a lot of reasons, but one of the bigger factors that needs to be addressed in order to move past it is the lack of honesty. Lying is a massive part of the betrayal, which is why you need to encourage the person who cheated to be brutally honest about all the details of the affair in order to move forward, not just the details that will hurt the person the least. The cheater has to be completely transparent and answer any and all questions. This level of transparency needs to continue for as long as it takes to build that trust back up again. You are going to have to set other things aside for a while and you are really going to have to pour everything you have into the relationship in order for it to have a fresh, strong and new foundation.
  • You should be selective about who you tell, you gut might tell you to post that they cheated on you on social media for anyone and everyone to see, but if you do this it may seem as if you are a crazy person by the way you react. Telling everyone in your inner circle can backfire pretty harshly, so it is better and healthier to confide in to talk to a professional like a therapist. The more people you tell about it, the more they are going to have their own opinions based off of purely trying to protect you from getting hurt, coalitions and alliance amongst friends and family members really make moving forward difficult for both of you. Especially if you two do decide to work through it. You being the person that got cheated on, may be able to forgive and move on, but the family and friends will still hold an intense grudge against your partner that usually puts a lot of pressure on an already vulnerable relationship that is trying to rebuild and move on from the cheating.
  • Consider working with a licensed therapist, after an affair it can be hard to know what to do or even where to begin. If the conversations you are having with your partner feels like they are not getting anywhere, consider working with a licensed therapist who can help you and guide the process. The therapist’s ability to be a neutral party in the conversation helps identify what underlying unmet needs can be recognized and processed within your relationship. During this investigative stage of therapy, couples often have the ability to seek understanding, find compassion and have a greater potential to solve the problem and move forward. Once you have that insight on why someone cheats, how do you take the learnings from that and how do you put it into actionable change? Because the relationship is going to have to change, oftentimes you are going to bury that first relationship and think about starting a brand new relationship with each other. And in the new relationship you are going to have to put in the same intensity you did in the beginning of your relationship all over again, the same intensity of learning about each other and caring for each other and being intentional with each other. If you are truly wanting to move on and continue with life with your partner after cheating and have a loving relationship, it is entirely possible.

Here are three things that you should not do when your partner cheats:

  • Do not try to get even by having an affair of your own. Acting destructively to even the score will do no good, trying to get even will keep your anger alive and keeps you in a state of negativity, which will prevent you from moving on and going forward in your life. To recover from infidelity, you need to try to be on the same team, not opposing ones. Getting even will give the vengeful partner a momentary sense of satisfaction, but ultimately it is not going to move you towards any resolution and will only make things more complicated.
  • Do not fall apart, it is very normal to have a good cry or five after a break up, and when the breakup follows a long-term relationship, expect to need time to recover. Realize that this situation does not define you. Your life is not over. Staying in your home while eating ice cream with the blinds closed and showing no interest in answering your phone is a bad idea, while dealing with this new reality and learning how to get over being cheated may be scary but think of it as a chance for you to start over and who knows, things might even turn out for the better.
  • Don’t play the victim card, it is true that you did not deserve to have someone cheat on you, but it does not mean that you should roll about in self-pity. Playing the victim will keep you feeling helpless and damaged, and it will continue to keep you feeling bad about yourself. As a result, your self-esteem will drop and you will find it difficult to participate in your life in a fulfilling way.

While being cheated on is nothing short of a traumatic experience, and there can be so many reasons it might have happened in different relationships and contexts. But no matter the reason, one thing can be certain, infidelity forces both of you to take a step back and look at what went wrong and decide how you want to move forward from there if at all.

See also