Why I Cheated: 30 Men Share the 'Reasons' Why They Strayed

Wendy Robinson | Nov 15, 2018 Love & Sex
Why I Cheated: 30 Men Share the 'Reasons' Why They Strayed
Image: fizkes/iStock

couple fighting

My friend L. realized it when she found a sexy text from another woman on her husband's phone. Our other friend G. found out when her husband broke down in tears and confessed to having a one-night stand. Another friend caught her husband in the act. All of these women were surprised and heartbroken to discover their husbands were cheating on them with other people. And all of them ultimately wanted an answer to the same probing question: Why did he do it? Although I don't have a definitive answer to give my friends, I can totally understand the question. Was it about sex? Or boredom? Or, even worse, love?

I'm always curious about what really goes on behind the scenes in a marriage. So I did some digging and found 30 men -- some who got caught and some who didn't -- who were willing to share their reasons for cheating. I promised I'd keep their names anonymous and, in turn, they promised to be totally and brutally honest about the reasons they slept with people who weren't their spouses. 

Spoiler alert: Some of them totally seem like jerks (I'm lookin' at #6). But some of them had reasons that were shocking, sad, and maybe even a little understandable. Some of these men were utterly ruthless with their reasons, while others feel deep  sorrow and regret. While they did the deed, the story behind each and every story is unique (and fascinating to try and understand). Read on for some surprising insight into the minds of the unfaithful.

  • Problems at Home

    husband and wife in fight

    Sometimes, it isn't as complicated as one would expect; it just happens...

    "I don't have a very interesting reason, actually. We were having lots of problems. We weren't having very much sex. I had a coworker who made me feel excited again and one thing led to another. It feels pretty cliché, I guess." 

  • For the Kink

    submissive sex

    For some men, their wives just can't satisfy their every need. 

    "I love my wife, but she is pretty vanilla when it comes to sex. After 10 years of doing it once a week, I realized that she'd never be open to some of the things I wanted to try. I found a sex worker who let me try out some of the kinkier things I wanted to do. We're still happily married, and once a month, I get to be less vanilla."

  • Feeling Emasculated

    father braiding daughter's hair

    Subconscious feelings can sometimes cause husbands to stray, according to this cheater. 

    "I'm a stay-at-home dad. My wife works a lot. Yes, I got caught, and yes, we are trying to make it work. According to our marriage counselor, I felt less like a man and so I went looking for affirmation from someone else. I guess that's true. It feels like it was just a flirtation that got out of hand." 

  • Meeting the Dream Girl

    man and woman in bed together

    Temptation was just too strong for this unfaithful husband. 

    "I love, loved, my wife. But Nicole was this dream girl. She was young and hot and really liked my writing -- we met through my poetry blog. We had one really crazy month of online flirting and then we finally met in person and spent a weekend in bed, having sex, and reading poetry. I regret getting caught, but I'd totally do it again. You should see Nicole." 

  • Lack of Sex at Home

    woman with baby

    While some are serial cheaters, others made one regretful mistake. 

    "I sound like a [ahem] when I say this, but I did it because I felt like my marriage had changed after our son was born. We both loved him like crazy but it felt like we were sexless roommates for months afterward. I got drunk while traveling for work and hooked up with a coworker. I felt pretty gross about myself afterward. It's never happened again." 

  • Lost Attraction

    woman exercising

    For some husbands "for better or worse" excluded weight gain.

    "My wife put on a lot of weight after we had our kids. I just wasn't really attracted to her. It felt like she let herself go, you know? Like she didn't care anymore about being hot for me and I'm a visual person. I had a few flings through an online dating site until she figured out something was going on. We're separated now and she just started losing the weight. So ironic."

  • Feeling Trapped

    man and woman arguing

    Other men sought extra marital attention when they realized too late that their wives weren't the one for them. 

    "Honestly, we got married too soon. We never should have gotten married in the first place. I cheated because I was young, horny, and feeling trapped in a marriage. We split up and were divorced before our second anniversary." 

  • I Am Gay

    upset men

    Being in denial about who he was caused this man to stray. 

    "I was 'on the DL' for a looong time. I hooked up with men while married to my wife because I didn't want to admit that I was gay. I could have saved myself and her a lot of heartbreak if I could have admitted it to myself earlier."

  • Money Stress


    When times got tough, this husband took an ego boost outside his marriage. 

    "I lost my job and felt like sh*t. We were dead broke so my wife was working tons of overtime but we were still maxing out our credit cards. When an ex reached out to me on Facebook, I think it made me feel better about myself. Ultimately it made me feel even worse. I'm grateful all the time that my marriage survived." 

  • Booty Call

    woman at gym

    Sometimes when cheating occurs, it comes down to "irresistible" attraction.

    "She was a trainer at my gym, and she had the best booty I've ever seen. J.Lo would be jealous. When I had the chance to hit it, I did. I have zero regrets. It wasn't about my wife at all. She's great and I love her. But a booty call like that is a one in a million chance."

  • She Started It

    woman at work

    Sometimes cheating occurred as a reaction to other forms of emotional abuse. 

    "I cheated after I found out that my wife was having an emotional affair with a dude at work. Things were very rocky and I wasn't sure we were going to make it. We both created a situation where my cheating was inevitable; she just couldn't see it at first." 

  • Felt Like I Was Missing Out

    man and woman engaged selfie

    Abstaining from sex before marriage led one husband to pursuing his curiosity on what it'd be like with other women.

    "We were virgins when we got married. After five years of marriage, I started having a lot of dumb regrets about that. Like wondering what I'd missed, even though my wife was great. I had a few one-night stands and it made me realize that I actually wasn't missing anything. I just had to get it out of my system." 

  • She Won't Find Out

    man packing suitcase

    For this husband, what his wife doesn't know won't hurt her. 

    "I travel internationally for work. I'm gone for two or three weeks at a time. I don't count it as cheating when I'm outside the US. Those are my freebies. I'm safe; I usually see prostitutes, and my wife will never find out." 

  • Excitement of Finding Someone New

    man using computer

    Some men just simply want the best of both worlds. 

    "I've never physically cheated. But I've had online relationships that involved sexual talk and sometimes sharing pictures. I know why I do it. I like the attention. I like the butterflies that come with finding someone new who likes me. I like the feeling of falling for someone new. I like the security of my marriage but I like the new, too."

  • Difficulty Staying Faithful

    man sitting at ocean

    Cheating to some men is just part of "who they are."

    "I cheated on my wife because I've cheated on every woman I've ever been with. I'm not sure if I'm just an a*shole or if I'm not wired for monogamy. I'm working on trying to figure it out with a therapist. I'm single again and I want to know if I'm capable of staying faithful before I date again." 

  • Intense Relationship

    couple going for a run

    When a frienship grew into something more, this husband couldn't say no. 

    "It started with an intense friendship with a woman I met in my running group. I kind of didn't realize when it started turning into something more. We only hooked up once and I felt guilty about it. But, man, it was fun having that intensity of something new again."

  • Feeling Like Roommates

    family at dinner

    When the sex stopped happening for this husband, he simply turned somewhere else.

    "My family is awesome. I have the best kids ever and my wife and I are great friends. But we'd basically turned into roommates. Like, sex maybe every six months. I started having some hookups on the side because I miss sex. I'm only 42! I'm not ready to give up on having a sex life."

  • Raised by a Cheater

    two men in the woods

    This husband felt that cheating was just in his D.N.A. 

    "I think I'm genetically a cheater. My dad has been married six times and has cheated on every one of his wives. I always thought I'd be better than that, but I've cheated on my wife a few times and I don't even really know why. I'm my father's son, I guess." 

  • Drunken Hookup

    men drinking at a bar

    When alcohol got involved, his inhibitions melted away. 

    "Why did I cheat on my wife? Because I was drunk and it was a bachelor party. I hooked up with a stripper and I barely even remember it. I only know it happened because my buddy showed me pictures of myself making out with her. It was pretty gross, actually."

  • The Attention

    man typing on computer

    Even though it sometimes isn't physical, for this husband, he cheated for a very simple reason. 

    "I had an online relationship. I justified it to myself as not really being cheating because it wasn't physical. But I was sending pics and so was she. After a while, I had to admit that it was cheating and that it was just about the attention."

  • Finding 'The One'

    couple in bed

    Straying from his wife led this former husband to the one he truly wanted. 

    "I cheated on my wife because I found my soulmate. My now ex-wife was and is a great girl. But Sophie is the one. It isn't the most acceptable story to some people, but cheating is how I met the real love of my life." 

  • It Was Too Soon

    man by grave stone

    It's easy to hate a cheater, but sometimes, we really never know how it feels to be in another person's shoes. 

    "My first wife died in a car accident. I rebounded and got married again about a year later. Mostly just because I was lonely and sad. I ended up cheating on my second wife because I think I was still grieving and not really ready to be married again. I'm single now." 

  • Don't Know Why

    worried looking man

    Some men acted without thinking and it haunts them to this day. 

    "I cheated on my wife and I don't know why. It eats me up inside. I love her and I love our kids and I'd hate for us to not be together. Which makes what I did so freaking stupid. Maybe I'm self-destructive?"

  • Unplanned


    Some partners chalked it up to circumstance. 

    "Was a one-off thing, not organized. I was drunk, a girl came onto me and I was turned on, and my girl wasn't there. Doesn't mean I don't love her, doesn't mean I love the girl I did it with. Simply means I have bad self-control." 

  • Long Distance

    lonely man

    When the distance became too much, this man succumbed to his own urges. 

    "Long-distance relationship. I was not the most caring or appreciative partner. Went out with friends. Very sexually aggressive girl came onto me. Went home with her. Felt awful afterwards. Confessed to everything even though I easily could have avoided being caught. Tried to salvage the relationship but it just didn't work.

    "Considering how terrible it made me feel and how much pain I caused someone else, I don't think I'd do it again. Why'd I do it? Basically I guess a long-distance relationship gets lonely, particularly one with its own share of lingering problems. And when an opportunity presents itself, it can be very hard to turn down." 

  • Revenge


    For this guy, two wrongs made it right. 

    "Dated all through high school and it was the summer after senior year. Things have been going downhill and I saw her kiss someone at a beach party. It was the straw that broke the camel's back, so I walked back to my house and had sex with her best friend. And then proceeded to sleep with four other girls that summer before we broke up to go to college." 

  • Falling out of Love

    out of love

    When the love between this man and his partner wasn't there anymore, he looked elsewhere for the love he craved. 

    "I was falling out of love with her and in love with someone else. Luckily I did not go too far until I realized I was that as*hole and broke it off with my ex before I continued. Still in a relationship with the girl I cheated on my ex with after 6 1/2 years, so at least I know I made the right decision to move on, but the feeling of cheating on someone is awful and I wouldn't ever do it again."

  • I Felt Strongly for Someone Else


    Even though cheating can destroy a relationship, for this guy, it was worth it. 

    "Because I had been interested in the person I cheated with for far longer and it felt worth it. Looking back, even though it cost me the relationship, it was worth it. My current relationships just stay open, 'cause that's easier."

  • It Makes Me a Better Husband

    better hubby

    This husband justified his  cheating by claiming his extramarital affairs kept him married to his wife. 

    "Married for more than 25 years, and have had multiple affairs during that time. Some of them lasted for years. Why? Mostly due to a lack of sex from my wife and a need to feel wanted/attractive. Honestly, having affairs are probably a big part of the reason I'm still married to her. When things were at the worst between us, the affairs helped to keep me level.

    Many of the women I slept with were very good friends of hers. There were only a couple who didn't know her at all, but all of them knew I was married before anything happened. Big tip for anyone thinking of cheating -- never hide your relationship from the person you're cheating with."

  • I Wasn't Mature

    true love

    And some men were hyper self aware, like this man, who realized his cheating had more to do with him than it did his partner. 

    "Because I wasn't mature enough to treat her with the respect she deserved. It would have happened more than once had we not decided to come clean to our respective spouses. I fell in love with another woman.

    "We had some bedroom issues and she refused to sit down and talk about it seriously. Looking back, the issues had a lot to do with me as well, and had we been able to seriously talk about it, we might still be together. It's been 4 years and I still think about her every day. I feel terrible about what I did to her. Although it helped me grow and develop into the kind of man I wanted to be, there's still a huge hole in my heart for her and the sorrow I feel for what I did... It will probably always be there."

cheating relationships

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