Why Men Cheat On Their Wives

CHICAGO (CBS) – Infidelity is pretty common. One study found up to 60 percent of married men cheat. The question is: which men cheat? What do these cheaters have in common? CBS 2’s Susan Carlson found some answers.

RELATED STORY: Why Women Cheat On Their Husbands

A woman we’ll call “Kathy” didn’t want us to reveal her identity because of something that happened seven years ago. Right before their third anniversary, her husband dropped a bombshell.

Kathy says he told her, “I’m in love with somebody else and I’ve been in love with her since before we got married.”

So what drives a man to cheat?

People we stopped on the street had various opinions.

One woman thought that it was because men were “just being unhappy and wanting something more.”

A man said, “If she’s not being around him and spending time with him, man, he’s gonna look somewhere else.”

That’s what you might think, but not always.

When Kathy was asked what was different about her and the woman her husband left her for, she answered: “In terms of our status, I am far more educated, and I was in a very senior position at a big company, and she took a job as his paralegal.”

Kathy supported her husband and he left her for a woman who made much less money. She’s not alone.

A Cornell University study found men who depend on their wives or girlfriends for financial stability are five times more likely to cheat than men who are not dependent.

Therapist Dr. Alexandra Solomon from The Family Institute at Northwestern University said, “He may turn away from the marriage because he feels like he’s failing in that provider role, and he may seek that ego boost elsewhere.”

And in these tough financial times, Attorney Corri Fetman believes: “They may be cheating more, but they’re staying together and living in the same household. That’s what I have found.”

Fetman says divorces are down, but couples’ therapists at The Family Institute at Northwestern University saw a record number of patients last year.

When it comes to cheating, Dr. Solomon says there’s another key difference with men: their brains are wired to compartmentalize their relationships.

“Men can report normal or good levels of marital satisfaction and be engaged in an affair,” she said.

And for whatever reason, women tend to be more tolerant of a man’s indiscretions.

But staying together wasn’t an option for Kathy.

“I think I’m probably a stronger woman after all of this, but it was a high price,” she said.

When it comes to a woman’s motivation for cheating, it usually has to do with something else all together.

  • Independent Woman

    Oh come on, it really is just such a simple reason that men cheat- they are cads and they think with their little heads, not their big ones. They are just selfish- only caring about their immediate self-gratification. Yuck. How barbaric.

    • Eric

      A lot of women are becoming “successful” “powerful” or “independent”. They think men should be attracted to this. The truth is this is what a woman looks for in a MAN. A man wants his wife to be “hot”, “sexy” and “nice”… which are different values. A man who is successful powerful and independent will have more luck with a woman than a man who is hot nice and sexy. And vice verse.

      Where have all the real women gone?

  • joe

    well my thoughts are that men cheat because the sex gets boring A clasic saying for men is If you see a pretty girl there’s a guy right next to her that is so tired of doing the naughty with her. I think you need to keep it fun and interesting change it up some After marriage woman and men both get bored, No guy wants to come home from work and see his wife eating cheetos on the couch and she’s in her dorky jammies already what a turn off one more do you know why a woman is smiling so big during the wedding day cause in her head you bought the cow and your little weeney will never see her lips again

  • jeremy

    men cheat because they are tired of being put down and listening ton her complain about everything that don’t go her way when she needs to realize that the world does not revolve around her.

  • Tom

    Truth is, men just want to conquer different women. It has nothing to do with how good (or not) the sex is. A woman could be the perfect match, perfect woman for a man – it does not matter. It’s just that simple. It is a constant struggle for a man to settle down. It’s built into our DNA… and yes, it is barbaric. It’s a struggle.

  • Mike Fangman

    I know this is going to sound like I watch too much “Maury”, but some women accuse their men of cheating repeatedly. Some men figure that if they’re gonna do the time, they might as well do the crime.

  • Wil

    If there weren’t so many women willing to sleep with a married man, then we wouldn’t have this problem.

  • Kate

    Well, I believe men and women cheat for many reasons, but I think for a lot, it’s feeling unloved or under appreciated. If your spouse is so busy with day to day things and doesn’t notice you, it would make the most devout Christian look for some companionship, and that doesn’t mean sex. But eventually, that new found appreciation will seem so amazing, your going to feel “more”.

    I know in my own personal experience, I was so angry at my spouse for deserting me for his family who never accepted me due to cultural differences. I felt so betrayed by him that I thought cheating would betray him, which it did, but I hurt myself more because I felt so bad afterwards. Insummation…don’t cheat, it will never solve your problems. Seperate, break-up, divorce if your that unhappy. I got lucky because the man in my life knows me and loves me, but I could have destroyed all of it, and for what?

  • G-mang!

    Women cheat too? Why do they cheat?
    If cheating on your spouse was a felony, males would get the death penalty and women would get the, “you go girl!”

    Double Standard

  • http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2010/11/10/why-women-cheat-on-their-husbands/ Why Women Cheat On Their Husbands « CBS Chicago – News, Sports, Weather, Traffic, and the Best of Chicago

    […] CBS 2’s Susan Carlson reports, studies show that men are more likely to become involved in an affair because of insecurity, often b… They can be perfectly happy in their relationship and still seek a […]

  • iphish

    Humans are the only mammals that mate for life…..You can’t fool Mother Nature!

  • Sgt. York

    Hey Ms Carlson why do women cheat on their husbands they do don’t they or is it MEN ONLY ???????

  • Deborah

    my husband cheated because he could. I trusted him and he like the thrill of sneaking around and getting his ego stoked- at home he was just “Dad” or J, but to these women he was “a God” I think that men are weak, and need sex and attention. Women are connected differently, they seek approval and love- Men can separate love from sex- also, women can be at fault because we fall for all of the love linex men tell us, just to get in our pants!

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