31 Reasons Why Men Don’t Cheat


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There’s a lot of talk about what makes men cheat.

Pat Robertson said, “I mean, he’s a man”, and the world seems to agree: Men cheat because they’re men.

But wait a minute… We here at The Good Men Project know a lot of guys who don’t cheat—guys who are committed to being faithful to their partners. And knowing all these good guys, we certainly do not support the notion that masculinity=infidelity.

And so, as a response to The Huffington Post’s “Why Do Men Cheat: 26 Reasons Guys Cheat, According to Men“, we offer you 31 reasons men do NOT cheat, from men and those who love them.


First, GMP founder Tom Matlack explains why he doesn’t cheat:

I honestly think my wife is the most beautiful woman on the planet.

From Todd Mauldin, writer and Bluesman:

I don’t cheat for 3 reasons:

1. I really, really love my wife.
2. I respect myself too much to break my vows.
3. Cheating looks like way too much goddamn work.

David and Shanel – Jan Garcia Photography, Los Angeles


And here’s what we learned from our Twitter followers:


SPC. Brian Nieves, and his wife Erin. Brian is currently serving in Afghanistan.

And our Marriage Editor, Gint Aras offers us a number of reasons why:

1.) My wife doesn’t give me any reason. I have no interest in cheating on her. Whatever problem I might have, I’m aware, would only become worse, as I grew up in a house of infidelity.

My wife is not sexually possessive of me in the least. I have told her many of my sex fantasies, even the most idiotic ones. If Eva Green or Scarlett Johanson seduced me, enamored simply because of my looks or charm, demanded a one night stand of no-strings-attached sex in some swank hotel, the first person I would tell afterwards would be my wife. She would almost certainly celebrate this crazy experience and demand to know all the details. It would probably make her horny, and we’d have the best sex of our marriage. She’d announce it on Facebook, “Gint laid Scarlett!” No one would believe her. Scarlett would deny it.

(Scarlett and/or Eva, if you happen across this article and get turned on, please e-mail me. Discretion guaranteed.)

2.) My father cheated on my mother and I don’t want to “become him”. I have children of my own now. I know what damage it does to a kid’s self-esteem. It’s an act of extreme selfishness and disregard for a child’s need for security and trust.

3.) Here’s a shocker. I love my wife enormously. I worry about her daily. My love for her as a whole human being is greater than my sexual needs. I want my wife to have time to develop her musical career, and I don’t want her to feel that her primary role in the marriage is to fuss and fret over my every need, whatever it is. She gave birth to my children, and she does an amazing job raising them. Our little boy is still an infant, and the late nights exhaust her. The best gift I can often give is time for her to rest, and I feel I never give her enough.

4.) Let’s pretend I got so horny that I couldn’t handle it anymore and, rejected for the thousandth time by my wife, I found myself wanting a sex partner. Where the hell would I find one? I have two children and work daily. During my free time, I scramble to get writing done. What should I do? Ask women at work if they’re interested in an affair? That’s an inevitable cycle of rejections, and I get enough of that from querying agents and editors.

Even if the solution were an AdultFriendFinder account, I’d have no time to meet with this Adult Friend. And if I did meet with her, I’d probably be too exhausted for anything besides a quickie. Also, I would demand a clean bill of health, very recent notes from at least two doctors. Quite frankly, a Fleshlight is more attractive than this.

5.) I don’t find it empowering. Unless you find a married woman who must also hide the affair from her husband, you give away enormous leverage. A single woman, as we see again and again, can blackmail a married man, and if she has anything to gain financially, she’d be a fool not to. Now…a married woman who wants an affair? Really? With me? What a wackjob.

From Blogger and GMP contributor Atalwin Pilon:

I thought I did not cheat because it was the honorable thing to do but I learned that the other side is also true: I fear being a jerk, I fear losing love, I fear the shame and I fear the guilt. I used to think that my faithfulness was a cool thing but I now sometimes think that my inability to cheat is a weakness. I want to be faithful out of love, not because I simply dont have the courage to pick the forbidden fruit. But working on it.

Rip Wallace says:

Because it is the right thing to do. I know what it feels like to be cheated on and when I truly love someone their pain is my pain. I do not want to cause them any pain.

Shawn Peters adds:

I don’t cheat because even on the worst days, when our connection feels frayed and our rhythms are off and everything we say is abrasive and misconstrued, I know that even if there are some things I wish I could change… cheating would change everything, and that’s not what I want.

And finally, some wisdom from Michael Taylor:

The media generated perception is that men are incapable of being monogamous. The truth is that all men are capable of monogamy if they choose.

I choose to be monogamous because I took the time to discover the emotional and psychological issues that kept me from experiencing deep levels of intimacy with a woman. As a result of my “inner work” I am now able to experience deep levels of trust, intimacy and connection with my wife.

Nothing is more important to me than sharing my life with the woman who is absolutely perfect for me. Our relationship is perfect as a result of it’s imperfections and I love the emotional security that comes from knowing that my wife is deeply devoted to me and our marriage.

In answer to the question “why I don’t cheat” it’s really simple, I authentically love my wife and have developed a partnership that fulfills me in every way imaginable.

Contrary to popular belief I believe most men would like to have a loving, caring, rewarding and fulfilling relationship. Too many men simply aren’t willing to learn how to do so.


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  1. A lot of these responses suggest that men do want to cheat but don’t because of reason x, y, z…

    What about the simple reason that they don’t want to cheat? Full stop. No other reasons required.

  2. I dont want to cheat because i dont want to. I’m not attracted to other women, simple.

  3. Let’s be realistic, folks: I think you’re lying to yourself when you say you’re not attracted to other women. We all have that inner urge because we’re human. Our loyalty and commitment may far outweigh that urge, but that doesn’t make the urge go away. It’s important to acknowledge that urge so it never gets the best of you.

    • I’m not lying. I only can have sexual and romantic attraction with woman I have emotional connection with. And that’s my girlfriend. Every men are different, like every women are different. I’m not like you, fine. But don’t assume other men are lying if they are different from you.

      • @John:
        “I only can have sexual and romantic attraction with woman I have emotional connection with.”

        Me too. Although I didn’t know that until I’d tried it.

        • For John and FlyingKal,

          Have you used (and/or do you use) porn? If no, was it due to the lack of romantic/emotional connection? If yes, do you find the actors attractive? How do you view the experience of using porn?

          I mean this completely snark-free, I’m just really interested in your perspectives.

    • @Jim
      I can honestly say that I am not attracted to any other woman other than my wife and that is the honest truth. There is a distinction to be made between seeing someone as attractive and being attracted to them. I recognize that there are attractive women out there and I see them as such, however, I am in no way attracted to them and fantasize about being with them. There is no inner “urge” that I have towards other women. That urge is for my wife and her only.

  4. Some men are just wired differently than others. I just saw two men very close to me get into a heated argument about this. One simply didn’t want to do anything with other woman given any opportunity, the other wanted to have sex with every attractive woman he could. They both thought the other was crazy and tried to impose their views on each other.

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      Here’s the thing – not everyone is wired for monogamy, but if you’re in a a poly relationship, you’re still committed. Lying, keeping secrets and sharing intimacy beyond the bounds of your commitment to your partner – even if it’s a poly relationship – is cheating.

      • I did not cheat because:

        1) I loved my ex wife
        2) I respected my marriage and my vows to my ex wife, myself, and God
        3) I did not wish to commit adultery.

        When married an individual’s dedication to loyalty and commitment is like their dedication to other things in life. Some people are more determined and disciplined than others. I was just disciplined enough to honor my vows until the end.

      • The problem is that a lot of us weren’t raised in a culture where any type of poly lifestyle was socially acceptable, much less even an OPTION. We didn’t even know that you could actually have an honest, open, committed poly relationship. It’s still not very acceptable, and a difficult topic to address when entering a relationship. Secrets and lying seemed like the only options for a long time. On the other side, nowadays a lot of people in favor of some sort of poly lifestyle accuse monogamous people of lying to themselves and others and being suppressed in some way–when some people are simply happy being monogamous.

        • @Aya…

          While I certainly understand that a person can love and be in love romantically with more than one person, I just really do not get the point of poly. What I struggle with is this notion of a committed primary partner but yet you are free to be with other people. Seems to make a mockery of the committed piece. I know it is open and consensual. Which makes it all the more baffling. Why bother? Why not have an FWB with everyone?

          It seems as if you remove sex from the equation, then their is no real desire for poly. No? So, at the heart of this IS sex too. Which again I ask, why bother with the committed piece if the motivation for seeing others is largely sex?

          I actually do believe in polygamy. Just as gay marriage is now legal and respected in some states, I believe polygamy should be legal as well. With polygamy, you have formal relationships often with religious underpinnings. There is none of this seeing and having sex with other people outside of the committed relationship (marriage). Hence, the commitment is genuine. Under the poly relationship you are espousing, the commitment just seems flimsy and self serving.

          It’s not for me. But, if it works for you and others by all means proceed. I like my FWB without any kind of commitment. When the women have had enough of me, they are free to go. I will just find a new partner.

          It just seems to me that what ACTUALLY occurs in life is either serial marriage, serial relationships, and/or serial dating or some combinations. The bottom line is none of these things is of permanent duration for most people.

          So, to me I asked myself: why should I subject myself to all the emotional and psychological torment? Does it make me grow and develop as a person or does it retard my growth? I have concluded that it is negative and offers very little in the way of personal growth. Hence, I sought alternatives.

          • Thank you for responding, Jules. Why bother, you ask? I’m a romantic at heart. Some people just are. I love the connection. Having allies and a partner/partners. I love loving and being loved. The emotional and practical benefits of relationships and friendships. But sometimes, there will be sexual interests outside of a monogamous relationship. Maybe this will include several primary relationships. Maybe it will be one on one, but with a little room to stray (as long as he/she doesn’t abandon the person to whom he/she made a commitment). And there will be jealousy and fighting, of course–but isn’t there jealousy and fighting in every relationship? Sometimes a bit of leeway allows for a better chance of permanence. Not always. But sometimes. I’m still not entirely sure as to where I stand. But I’m trying to figure it out.

            • @Aya…

              I understand and respect your perspectives on poly.

              Our views on life often change with experience. Experience sometimes gives us a different take on life. I cannot go the poly route as it is just not for me. While I was once a strict believer in monogamy, I am now a non believer in anything committed.

              Best of luck to you.

          • @Jules Thank you for broaching the subject of polygamy, which gets such an undeservedly misogynist rap due to the radical stories which have colored the headlines I suppose.

            Probably some unfortunate souls do still live in inbred and abusive situations, who knows, though there are others of us than that, and any list of sexually perverted horrors which names bigamy in the same sentence as bestiality is an excellent illustration of a radically uninformed point of view .

            Muslim polygamists currently practice in open civil disobedience in many communities in America (for example) which often lack sufficient fit men because of over-incarceration for non-dangerous drug crimes. Free good fathers are reproducing rapidly with willing women, raising a strong generation in big loving homes, following the doctrine of the Prophet, whose words were so similar to the Buddha’s and the Christ’s; fine examples .

            The Old Testament Fathers practiced polygamy, as well they should have, having been such excellent leaders and providers. Krishna had 16,000 wives. Millions lived communally in the 60’s. More recently we have the polyamory movement, which seems to be so reluctant to be at all associated with any man with 2+ wives even if all they want is the One Dick for the rest of their lives.

            It’s not criminal to fuck or make babies with more than one woman in America (nor to try to emulate God). Yet our system discourages spiritual unions, and many unwed mothers raise children alone. Call my spiritual brides mistresses, baby mamas, whatever you like. But the separation of church and state was definitely meant to encompass the goings-on in our temple, that is to say home.

            Respect that / my harem bastards and i / prefer tribe.

            It ain’t pre-teen trafficking, nor coercion, we’re consenting adults. Committed to cornerstone-of-society freakin shit y’all. Why be jealous when one’s love loves another?
            When it’s so much better to be close.

            Americans are spiritually autonomous, free to pursue our happiness; We The People may do whom we choose.

            And hey, as you said, if one favors gay marriage why not this?

        • I think it is natural to want to be attracted to/want to have sex with a variety of people. That’s human nature. I kind of disagree that being poly is a “sexual orientation” because I think that is just an effort to use an impressive sounding label to legitimize a normal human drive. All people get hungry and some will overeat and some don’t. Some people have eating disorders. Most people obsess at least a little about their weight and their diet. Some have a completely healthy attitude toward food (I’d argue they are few!) So sex is the same kind of drive but even more complicated because while it is relatively easy to define over eating (it makes you fat) it is difficult to define a bright line between healthy sexing and over sexing. That line is different for everyone I suppose. Well, if you are religious there is a bright line but it is murky for the rest of us.

          • @Sarah…

            I am with you. While I do not wish to cast any judgement on the poly folks, I just view their arguments as flimsy and self serving.

            I know we as humans do have the capacity to love more than one person romantically at a time. Yes, this does exist. However, if you were to remove sex from the poly lifestyle, I think it would disappear. So, the motivation is not love and romance. But rather it is SEX.

            So, to me the poly life style is simply an argument for having sex with other people while being in a committed relationship. It’s like an open marriage with trust and consent. But at its core is SEX and not love.

            Anyhow, whatever makes people happy I guess. It’s their business.

            • That’s funny to hear, because I often wonder the same thing about monogamy. As in, remove sex from the monogamous lifestyle, and how many people would still be getting married?

              Would there still be love? or romance?

              Seems to me people would end up living/committing to their best friends instead and live out their days with those folks. After all, why limit yourself to only one best friend when you could have many? Maybe everyone would organize into tight little friend clusters and effectively end up living in poly relationships!

              Of course these thought experiments don’t do very much good because few of us can imagine a life without a sexdrive, let alone a species without one.

            • @Dan….

              “That’s funny to hear, because I often wonder the same thing about monogamy. As in, remove sex from the monogamous lifestyle, and how many people would still be getting married?”

              Nearly one third of all marriages are sexless (fewer than 10 times per year). Also, I can tell you as a divorced man that sex sucks in marriage. Yet, many of these marriages endure for many many years. Why? Because of love, vows, kids, loyalty, etc.

              You don’t get married to have sex. I can tell you that from experience.

            • Yes, but most people do not enter marriages anticipating it will be sexless. That’s an unintended and undesired eventuality.

              People will often stay married because getting a divorce can be a very messy and traumatic experience. They may also feel it’s better for the kids or for their social standing or their bank balance or something else, while supplementing the relationship with sex on the side. There are many reasons why people may stay together that has nothing to do with romance or love.

            • I think normal monogamous relationships are just as much about sex as poly ones are. Get rid of sex and those relationships would cease to exist too.

        • wellokaythen says:

          When talking about what goes on in someone’s marriage, especially their sexual relationship, the best you can say is “as far as I know.” For example, “as far as I know he’s never cheated.” Even within your own marriage, you can never know with absolute objective certainty, only with some faith and trust.

  5. I’ll add one more reason. It’s the surest way to crush your kids, lose their respect, and become a part-time dad.

  6. Finally, the other side of the story. The infidelity-obsessed media is really getting on my last nerve.

  7. Luke Everett says:

    Cheating is like divorce, divorce is like suicide, it’s selfless! All about the one who did it with no thought to the effect on everyone else. And like many said in this article, I won’t cheat because; I love my wife (even after she had a life changing, physical altering, brain hemorrhage and two strokes), she’s still my wife, I made a promise to her 28 years ago, “I promise to ALWAYS love you”. Many times when we marry and we say” I promise to love you in sickness and health”, we’re thinking of a cold, flu, pimple, not a life altering illness. “I promise to love you always”! I won’t cheat on my wife because; besides the fact I love her deeply, it would break my sons hearts, I will let down thousands of people who know me and what I do, many of them are young people, I would let down my staff and those who look up to me and work with me, but most of all How could I do this thing and sin against a Holy and pure God?

    • wellokaythen says:

      If that works for you, then don’t let go of that way of seeing things.

      I can tell you from firsthand experience, however, that a cheating person does not necessarily give no thought to other people. Not every affair is completely, absolutely callous and totally selfish. It sure seems that way to someone on the outside, but that hardly describes everything that goes on inside the affair. If we could just reduce infidelity down to selfishness, then the world looks really simple. On the other hand, if affairs are just caused by simple selfishness, there would be even more of them. Affairs come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. They are all wrong, but they’re motivated by different things, and they’re wrong in various ways.

      If the reasons for being faithful are largely external (don’t want to hurt other people, don’t want to let my community down, don’t want to be branded as an adulterer, don’t want to get dragged through an ugly divorce etc.), that may not be enough to deter someone who feels very tempted. Another danger with being too defined by other people is that it makes an affair seem at the time like an act of rebellion or independence.

  8. When the topic is monogamy between two people, the ones who believe in it and practice it because they like it and want to, often do seem to be accused of lying, of denying evolutionary biology, of being faithful only because society forces them to. Typically, those who do not believe in monogamy use the words “honest”, “mature” and “secure” to describe themselves. In other words, everything that individuals who appreciate monogamy are not.

    • wellokaythen says:

      I don’t understand how anyone can say that monogamy is perfectly natural or perfectly unnatural. It’s obviously possible for some people. Some people practice it and seem to be happy with it, and others try it and are not happy. Others have other kinds of relationships, and some of those people are happy and some are not. In some cases, there’s something wrong with the institution itself, and in some cases the people just aren’t doing it right.

      Just because something is difficult doesn’t mean that it’s impossible, and being difficult doesn’t mean that it’s contrary to evolutionary programming (as if natural selection actually “programs” anything, but that’s another matter). The fact is, if people do something and it works for them, then we can hardly say that nature is against it. If people do it, it’s natural for people to do it. How can something “unnatural” actually exist?

      If by “monogamy” we mean only being attracted to one person at a time, having no sexual feeling for anyone else whatsoever, then yes, monogamy is pretty much impossible for most people. If you’re depressed by the idea that your husband may in his mind find other women attractive, then maybe you shouldn’t be married in the first place — what you want is a very rare bird and a very rare relationship. But, if we define monogamy in terms of behavior, then sure, it’s much more possible to do. You can be happily monogamous without thinking or feeling monogamous at all times.

  9. I suppose it depends on what a man’s inner beliefs are…if he has any…

    My husband was brought up in a Reform Jewish household and around many women in his family….his family was quite liberal but principled…I admire him for his sense of moral obligation and duty….many things for him are a strict no-no and I love him for that….too many times I see other people breaking rules or trying to sneak around when they think no one is looking…

    To each his own….he is not perfect, by any means, but he has never cheated….nor do I think he ever will…that to him would be a violation of a vow…

    • My inner belief is that both people has to take equal shares of responsibility for a functional relationship.

      • wellokaythen says:

        And, it’s also a question of commitment to one’s beliefs. Are we expecting everyone to live consistently with their ideals at every moment in time? Quite a high standard to set for anyone. If a man cheats, does that mean he doesn’t really believe in monogamy, doesn’t believe in it enough, or is there something else besides belief going on?

  10. We can sit and describe all day long why we personally wouldnt cheat on a wife, but there is difference, in my opinion, when we are talking about high profile males or leaders. I believe the challenge is greater when we are talking about anyone who in the midst of the spotlight is attracting those women who dont care if you are married or have children.
    If women are enamored in you because you are President of the United States ( you know who) or a Popular Senator running for President, or even a now famous retired general and ex CIA Director, what does a man do? It requires more backbone, more value in himself and those who love him, more bigger integrity and having the strength in knowing the wisest ……is just saying no.
    When a man cheats, he cheats himself, he lessens the quality within his heart and in his soul. He loses himself to another who thinks less of him that he would even follow through.

  11. We choose not to be monogamous; he doesn’t cheat because he knows he can be honest. Non-monogamous people can be and are faithful. Cheating is about deception, not about how many partners you have. Also, “cheating” is not the same for everyone. I am not perturbed if my partner has sex with someone else, but if he engaged in an intimate domestic ritual of ours with someone else, I’d be devastated.

    And yes, I understand that the point of this is supposed to be to show that men do have self-control and aren’t walking erections.

    • How is sex not an intimate domestic ritual? To me, the thought of my partner caressing and kissing and making dirty talk ti and snuggling with to another woman makes me feel physically ill – I’m not sure I could ever want to have sex with him again if he betrayed me that way.

  12. I don’t cheat because I have regular and amazing sex with my very sexy beloved. Although it has to be said that if this wasn’t the case, I’d break up rather than cheat. I wouldn’t want to dishonour myself in that way.

    • @CmE..

      Good man and a very lucky man too!

      Most married men are not getting regular and amazing sex from their wives. Only the few and the proud.

  13. Because a commitment means something. It means giving something (sex with others) in exchange for a bond. That you give something up is what makes the commitment worth something.

    • @DLZ…

      What if you are giving sex in exchange for sex? Specifically I am referring to an FWB arrangement.

      Where does commitment enter? I say it does not at all.

      Just asking.

      • An FWB arrangement doesn’t really constitute “commitment” of any kind (hence me calling it an ‘arrangement’ and not a ‘relationship’).

        Commitment really only comes into play when the involved parties have previously agreed to exclusivity. If there’s no expectation of exclusivity, there’s no cheating, simple as that.

  14. I never even thought of cheating. I fell in love with the women I married and remain in love.”Cheating” is generally connected to sexual activity with another woman, other than your wife. My relationship with my wife of 38 years is not solely based on sex, our relationship is far more involved than just that. Accordingly, if I were to cheat, I have the potential of losing far more then just a sexual partner, I lose my best friend, my soul mate. Besides, I made a life long commitment to het when we took our marriage vows. Those vows were made in front of God and blessed by God. Besides, a women who would have an affair with a married man has questionable values, values that don’t match my own.

  15. What about us fortunate souls who have a woman that loves sex with their husbands? I’d never met woman who could match my needs/wants/desires/fantasies before my wife. She craves me and doesn’t just keep up, she exceeds me, which thrills me to the core. Not just lip service, either. I get all I need and then some in not just the purely physical sense, but mentally, emotionally and even spiritually, despite our different spiritual preferences. Luck doesn’t being to describe what I have found. I do hope everyone finds and revels in the type of happiness I’ve stumbled upon.

    • @Doug..

      You are indeed a fortunate soul.

      Few people are able to realize this type of joy and happiness. I would trade a seven figure net worth for such joy and happiness.

  16. jake wheeler says:

    ok, to be honest about it: I don’t cheat because then I’d have to either lie (at least by omission), or really really hurt my wife, whom I love so dearly. Look, I’ve been with a lot of women in my life, relationships and otherwise — before my marriage. And I know what sex means (which is never nothing), and what it doesn’t mean (which is only occasionally something significant). And I travel a lot, and I get some offers. And sometimes I’m tempted. but I don’t do it — because it would just be there, somehow, subtly, in the field between me and my wife. Maybe it is a gender thing. Maybe women are generally less able to have it be not a big deal — if they do it, I mean. But she just wouldn’t understand it that way, if I did it; she just wouldn’t. And I wouldn’ t put her — and us — through that. that’s the real reason.

  17. Mine is pretty simple, I don’t like the idea of being a total dirtbag and destroying my marriage vows because I had such little discipline that I couldn’t control myself. Plus I have daughters which is another total game changer. Cheating doesn’t exactly make me a better role model and guide to my children. Those reasons alone are enough for me.

    • Yes, it is very important to be unselfish and a great example for your children.

      Our society has become so narcissistic and unprincipled.

      Kudos to you! Happy Thanksgiving!

  18. I don’t cheat because there’s a certain type of man I want to be, and that type of man doesn’t cheat on his partner.

  19. Anonymous Male says:

    I probably don’t belong in this discussion, because at one point years ago I did cheat on my wife. I don’t get to say that I have never cheated.

    However, I am confident I will never cheat again, for all sorts of reasons. Some of those reasons for not cheating are noble and moral, and some of those reasons are practical and even selfish. Now that I know what it’s like, I have no desire to return to that kind of situation. For me, cheating was living half a life here and half a life there, not a full life anywhere. Every lie was like a little piece of death, a little piece of not being myself. I confessed to the affair and ended the affair all in one day. In that one day I broke three hearts, and broke my own twice.

    When any man says he will never cheat, I hope that is true. Before I had an affair, I was also a man who would never cheat, and I had been commended on my loyalty. Even the woman I had an affair with said I was a loyal husband. Based on my experience, I hope you mean it when you say you won’t cheat. I hope it’s not just lip service or compensation or a smokescreen.

    No man who cheats ever thinks he’s the kind of man who would cheat. If you’ve never, ever even been tempted, then you are very fortunate, and probably in the minority.

    I won’t cheat because I already know what it feels like, and I know the consequences. Been there, done that, no thanks.

  20. Nice post. Definitely needed. I’ve had enough of the double standard.

    Outside of being head over heels with my lady — these days, it’s just too dangerous to cheat. We live in a dirty world. Sex is never that serious. If you feel an urge to cheat, you and your significant really need to have a talk.

  21. wellokaythen says:

    If the men with these Twitter messages are a random sample, then odds are that about half of them have already had an affair or will have one in the future.

    You can never say for sure that you will never cheat, because you can’t predict everything about the future. People are incredibly bad at predicting how they will feel in the future, even when it comes to things they feel strongly about right now. You can give the reasons why you’ve never cheated, or the reasons why you probably won’t cheat, but you can’t give reasons why you never will. You can commit right now to never cheating, and keep focused on that commitment. The only 100% airtight guarantee against cheating on your wife is to divorce her, open up your marriage, or have one of you die.

    And, I can’t help but notice that these are sentiments expressed on Twitter, of all things. You know, that social network thing where everyone you know, including your wife, reads what you’ve written. So, perhaps these messages are meant primarily for their wives’ consumption. If I had a Twitter account and wanted to say something about infidelity, I would make damn sure I said all the right things. I’m not going to write, “Wow, that’s one hot biographer. How do I get one?”

    I’m happy for the men who are not attracted to any women except their wives. They are very fortunate, in many ways. But, that’s not really something to take pride in. You can hardly take credit for willpower or conscience or having a strong moral compass if you’ve never been tempted in the first place. You’re just wired in a certain way that you have no control over. It’s like taking credit for never getting drunk, when you hate the taste of alcohol anyway. I’m not sure what the advice would be to those men who are attracted to other women – just stop being attracted to other women? Just make yourself stop it?

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      I certainly don’t think these men are a random sample, because most likely if they were cheating, they wouldn’t have responded.

      Cheating is a crazy thing. Someone here earlier mentioned that no one (or most non-sociopaths, probably) think “I’m going to cheat. I’m just the cheater type.” Instead, people make mistakes that are caused by a a whole huge number of factors in their lives – the way they were raised, issues with substances, addictions to things like affirmation or sex, problems in their marriages, issues with communication, changes in their sex lives, changes in life in general… And, sometimes people just fall in love with someone they shouldn’t.

      Love is an overwhelming and overpowering emotion. Lust is almost as powerful. When you have both, bad things happen easily and quickly and logic goes out the window, and you start to compartmentalize the two different “loves” and it quickly can become a disaster.

      I think realistically, we’ll be tempted in life. Sometimes excruciatingly so. Sometimes we have to see the temptations as signs we’re not really ready to be fully-committed partners. But we have to recognize that for many people, temptation is real and they need to change their lives so that the temptation doesn’t lead them to make a choice that will damage everyone in the end.

      Ultimately, to me, a guy (or woman) who has an affair is not a “bad guy” – he’s just a guy who made a mistake. Some mistakes are hugely scorned by society (like cheating) and some aren’t. The measure of the person, I think, is the work he or she does to make amends, take responsibility, and work to make internal changes to no longer make the same mistakes.

      I think the good thing about the quotes above is that part of being faithful is having a deep understanding of why it would be bad. Not just for the wife or the marriage, but also for the emotional health of the cheater.

      As you asked above, what do you do when you’re attracted to the other person? I think you see the attraction, recognize that it’s very real and can be very powerful. Try not to put too much emphasis on it, don’t fantasize if you can avoid it (I think that feeds the attraction and makes it grow bigger) and realize that attraction is normal, but you have complete control over your choices. Let the attraction be there, then watch it lessen and eventually pass. As Hugo said once, one of my favorite things he’s ever said, is that Americans tend to think attraction and desire are like tidal waves – they can wash away everything else because they’re so powerful. But they’re only powerful if you let them be.

      Ultimately, if the attraction is that powerful that you can’t resist it, it’s time to see a therapist, make a change (so as to not see the attractive person that often), or leave the primary relationship. Though frankly, the people whom I know who leave a primary relationship for the person they’re attracted to are rarely happy in the end.

      • wellokaythen says:

        I think we generally agree about cheating and what to do about temptation. Everything you’ve said I’ve learned the hard way. I wish I had known all of it earlier. This is a much more realistic and concrete response than anyone can give in less than 140 characters.

        When people moralize about adultery or say they know they would never ever do such a despicable thing, they aren’t really helping anyone at all, least of all themselves. And, really, they may not be prepared to put temptation into perspective when they do feel it.

        As for unfaithful men saying those things on Twitter: I told a lot of lies during my brief affair. I was very moralistic about other people’s behavior, partly to compensate for my own immoral behavior, and partly to maintain the lie that I was living. I have no doubt if I had a Twitter account at the time I would have pretended to be the dutiful, loyal husband. It’s like those adamantly anti-gay evangelists who are outspoken against gay rights because they’re closet cases themselves.

        • wellokaythen says:

          Maybe I just have a wounded soul, but I just don’t believe in those relationships where one person says that the other is “perfect for me.” I roll my eyes at comments like those of Michael Taylor quoted in the article. I know that people feel that way, but that doesn’t mean that the relationship is on solid ground.

          Thinking the other is a perfect match for you and that you are both fused together seamlessly into one true whole? That’s just living an illusion. It can last for a very long time, but at some point you both have to face the fact that you’re human and that no one actually completes anyone else. In a whole lot of cases, one of the two spouses feels that fusing while the other doesn’t, or one wants it and the other doesn’t.

          The unrealistic fairy tale illusions about married love are some of the same delusional thinking that also drives affairs. The third person can become idealized just like any “lived happily ever after” mate. The person on the side maybe looks like your “soulmate” or “the one who really gets me,” when that’s an illusion as well. In some affairs, people turn away from a spouse because the spouse doesn’t meet the warped ideal of perfection and then turn to someone who on the surface seems to be perfect but really isn’t perfect either. Meanwhile, looking for the perfect person is a fundamental problem in the first place.

          There is no Prince Charming, neither inside your marriage nor outside.

          • @wellokaythen, I truly empathized with your comment and felt compelled to reply. Like yourself I used to believe that people who claimed to have “perfect” relationships were full of it. A lot of it had to do with some bitterness as a result of a divorce and a lot of it had to do with my own inability to have that type of experience.

            After being single for approximately five years I decided that I really did want to remarry and I made a commitment to understanding what it was about me that was causing my relationships to fail. As a result of going on my own inner journey, I discovered all of my “issues” that were keeping me from truly connecting with women.

            Fifteen years after my divorce and after some intense emotional and psychological cleansing I was ready to make the commitment of marriage. Fortunately for me I knew exactly what I was looking for in a woman and I found a woman with the same qualities and values that I cherish and we’ve been happily married for more than 10 years.

            Which brings me to this specific point: it is absolutely possible for two people to create a relationship in which two people recognize that they are perfect for each other. This does not mean that it is some sort of “New Age Soul Mate” relationship in which two people are fused together (your words), it simply means that two people come together with the same respect, qualities and values and they commit to being there for each other.

            The fact is, relationships are challenging, frustrating, messy and at times extremely difficult, at the same time relationships can and should be loving, fulfilling, caring and connected. When I mentioned that my relationship is perfect in it’s imperfections this is what I meant. There are always going to be challenges in relationships but if you find two people who are absolutely committed to the same thing in relationships they can be the source of infinite joy.

            The key is to first and foremost develop a relationship with yourself and feel complete and whole and then find that special someone to share your completeness with. If you do this there will never be a need to go outside of the relationship for sex or anything else.

            Don’t give up on love! It’s available to you if you will open your mind and heart to it. Good Luck!

  22. What a relief to read, especially after I just heard an interview on Power 105’s The Breakfast Club with Charlamagne Tha God, who repeatedly says polygamy should be legal and is ALWAYS asking guests the same. Blew my mind when The Game, who has a reality show coming about getting married, said he thinks it would be easier if women just expected for men to cheat. Talk about the lowest of the low standards. And every guy who cheats is forever talking about how he wouldn’t stay around if his woman cheated on him. The epitome of hypocrisy. To fellas who don’t cheat, I commend you. For those who do, stick to dating and stop wasting these women’s time. I’ve yet to catch anyone cheating on me, but my gawd, I really do think I’d flip out if I did. There’s no reason to just waste someone’s time and hurt their hearts in that way.

  23. As a woman, I hear so much about how men don’t want to be monogamous, or how it’s not even natural for a man to be monogamous, at times I despair. I know it’s not easy being monogamous for either gender: men and women both fall in love or lust outside of marriage and then they are in the grip of a riptide many aren’t equipped to swim out of. (Although I certainly have wanted to ask a few of those guys who say that monogamy isn’t natural for a man if he would feel equally understanding if he learned his wife was fooling around.) I just have to say, a story like this is balm. If polyamory works for you in your relationship, good on you, but it’s really a comfort to hear at least once that there are men for whom monogamy remains a goal. Thanks.

  24. There are many reasons why I don’t cheat.
    1. I stood before my friends, family, God, and my wife and made a vow to her. I took the vow seriously.
    2. I love my wife and hate seeing her upset.
    3. My wife is beautiful.
    4. It is my job as a parent to teach my children how to respect women. Cheating would be very disrespectful.
    5. I want my son to be faithful to his spouse someday. I’m an example.
    6. I want my daughter to be faithful to her spouse someday. I’m an example.
    7. The guilt would kill me.
    8. I’ve got a great life and I don’t want it to change.

  25. Hello, devil’s advocate here,

    cheating is deplorable and selfish and all that, and the bottom line is if you do it, it shows you are selfish and flawed in character.

    HOWEVER, many people make the choice not to be monogamous and have open relationships (where everyone knows it’s an open relationship, not just the one person). And the response form society, judgement (I’m talking to you Dr Phil).

    I don’t want to be in an open relationship myself, but I don’t care if anyone else wants to, just like many other life choices I don’t make.

  26. wellokaythen says:

    What I got from Gint Aras’ excerpt was that his wife would celebrate his extramarital sex if he did it with someone famous. Well, that’s one way to prevent cheating — define cheating as not cheating at all, and voila, the affair-proof marriage.

  27. As a man, admittedly a young man not quite finished with his first quarter century, I’m happy to say I’ve never cheated, and it’s fairly easy to state why: If you find yourself in a position where your genitals have more say than your brain then you are one or more of the following:
    A) Weak willed
    B)Inebriated/intoxicated in some way-again weak willed and ignorant of your limits with the intoxicant of the moment
    C)Not committed and therefore not in love with your partner

    If A is your problem; then tbh there’s nothing that can be done for you until you grow a spine
    If B is your problem; don’t get smashed off your face in situations where friends that give a damn about you arn’t present- good friends will haul you out of there before you do or say something you’ll regret when the grey dawn of sobriety reaffirms itself
    If C is your problem then wtf were you doing in the relationship in the first place? You should have left it at f— buddy status.

    To avoid being a cheat you basically just need willpower and, occasionally, the balls to realise that your relationship isn’t working and at that point either the drive to fix it or the spine to bail on it without sticking your hand into another cookie jar first.

    • Jaggy Thistle says:

      You missed: D) An animal whose sole and natural purpose in life is the same as any other animal’s — to reproduce as much as possible before dying.

      • Yes, but you are forgetting that as humans we have something called reason and free will. We don’t need to let our “instincts” control us.

    • wellokaythen says:

      Very good points, though it seems to assume that infidelity is never about love or that if you love one person then that means you don’t love another enough. Life really would be much easier if the only times people cheat is when they’re drunk or mindlessly horny or have fallen out of love. If only we really could reduce all affairs to that. Do you believe there’s such a thing as an emotional affair?

  28. To those posters/tweeters who think they are immune to cheating because of love or morals or will power, a weird of warning: sometimes life serves you a shit sandwich.

    if you ever fall in love with someone you shouldn’t, you might find those cosy notions you credit yourself with are worthless. You cannot know what your future holds and your life may not always be so perfect. If you open your eyes to this now, and drop the “shes my one true soulmate”, you wil find yourself better prepared

    • wellokaythen says:

      I suspect some of these expressions on Twitter are a kind of white-knuckling, positive affirmation mantra. I will not cheat, I will not cheat, I will not cheat. Methinks there’s some protesting too much.

      If a man told you loudly and often that he would never cheat on you, I’d be very suspicious….

      Whatever willpower, commitment, and conscience I have dedicated to fidelity is nothing compared to the benefits of horrible experiences that I don’t want to repeat. There’s a lot to learn from people who’ve made mistakes that others claim they will never ever make.

  29. I would just like to say thank you, you wonderful men for your 31 reason responses. They were all very touching. I don’t buy into the “men can’t be monogamous and they are inherently unfaithful.”
    Your wives are well loved. So am I :)

    • My husband cheated but swears he loves me. So that doesn’t fly for me.

      • wellokaythen says:

        Only he can say for himself if he really loves you. You can say he doesn’t love you in a way that you need him to, but it is possible to love a partner and cheat on the partner. It is possible to do both, though it’s hard in moments of pain to have room for that.

  30. I find men charting so hurtful and disrespectful. I, like the men, do not tolerate it even once they are gone. Men get no fee pass just because they are men. As a woman, I am tempted to but do not act on it. I’ve been cheated in three times which makes me hate men who trick women. I will write a book explaining the hidden truths of men’s lowest lives.


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