Live Your Most Beautiful Life
Why do men cheat in relationships? How powerful is the allure of another woman that would incline a man in a relationship to want to pursue her? Should you blame the other woman, or should you blame your man for cheating on you with her (or both)? Are men naturally inclined to cheat? Or are men pressured by society to cheat? Or perhaps do they fall weak when they see an attractive woman and feel the desire to pursue her, regardless of his prior commitment and the emotions of the committed woman on the other side of the ordeal? There are so many questions that women have when it comes to cheating men.
I'll back up first and make a point that women cheat too - but by no means would I argue that they cheat at the same level (although no one has perfect stats to really back up any argument on this topic, especially if you include "emotional cheating" in the mix). However, when it comes to all forms of personal stability, women are naturally inclined to prefer monogamy. They want a man that will be there for them financially, emotionally, physically, and the list goes on. It is simply how we are built. We are built to desire security in life.
Interestingly enough, people continue to debate whether or not men truly prefer monogamy. According to science, men are the more likely party to cheat even if they are socially inclined for monogamy. Dr. Paul J. Zak's provides such insight in "Why Men Cheat" in Psychology Today:
The distribution of oxytocin and arginine vasopressin receptors in the human brain reveals that we are a monogamous species. But is that socially monogamous or sexually monogamous? The large size of the male testicles and shape of the penis suggest that we evolved when females would have multiple sexual partners and it was a "let the best sperm win" all-out competition. We have socially monogamous brains but sexually promiscuous genitals.
Adding testosterone to the mix is like having a wild card in poker--anything can happen. Testosterone is in conflict with the bonding effects of oxytocin (literally--testosterone inhibits the uptake of oxytocin by its receptor). It motivates men and women, but mostly men who have five to ten times more testosterone than the fairer sex, to seek more sexual partners (and to be single-minded and to take more risks). Testosterone levels also respond to our social environment. Win a chess match, your testosterone goes up. Earn a million dollar bonus at your hedge fund, your testosterone goes up. Win the Master's tournament, your testosterone soars.
That said, is it possible to stop a man from cheating on his partner? Is the testosterone in his body so powerful that he cannot prevent being mesmerized by the allure of other attractive women and inevitably loses grip on the reins of social monogamy? Far from it. When all is said and done, men are not slaves to their chemical composition and they make their own decisions. Ultimately, they consider their options, make decisions, follow through on those decisions, and reap either positive or negative consequences from those decisions.
As a woman in a relationship with a man, you are not in control of his decisions nor are you his puppeteer. You are in control of your personal decisions and how you interact with your man in the relationship. Some believe that you can influence your partner to either keep his eyes on you or look elsewhere depending on how you "keep yourself up", how you respect him, how you communicate with him, as well as how sexually available you are to your partner. However, men will choose to cheat or not to cheat simply because...well, they can choose. Comedian and relationship expert Steve Harvey makes that argument in his best-selling book (and now movie), Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man:
Dress it up any way you want to, but men don't view sex the way you women do, plain and simple. For a lot of you, the act of intercourse is emotional - an act of love...By contrast, when it comes to men and sex, neither emotions nor meaning necessarily enter the equation. It's easy - very easy - for a man to have sex, go home, wash it off with soap and water, and act like what he just did never happened. Sex can be a purely physical act for us - love has absolutely nothing to do with it...
A man who cheats has most certainly calculated the collateral damage that would come from getting busted - potential loss of the woman he loves, his children, his home, and his peace of mind - and he recognizes that this would be a devasting blow to all the things that matter in his life...Still, men don't really ever think they're going to get caught. Basically, we think we're slick and we go to great lengths to hide our infidelity from you, always with this in mind: if you don't know about it, it can't hurt you. We're pretty confident that your willingness to be in a relationship with us supersedes all the things we do that look suspicious, because you'll work through the suspicion - that it's more important to you to be with us in our imperfection than to leave us and be alone. At least that's what we're hoping. And in the beginning, mostly, you will.
However, Steve Harvey does acknowledge that women may have a part to play in whether a man decides to cheat on her:
What's happening at home isn't 'happening' like it used to. That's right, I said it: it could have something to do with you. Your man may be walking around telling himself that your relationship just doesn't have that spark anymore, that you don't turn him on like you used to - that you don't come on to him like you did when the two of you first fell in love....The next thing he knows, the woman who used to wear and do little things to keep it hot and spicy isn't interested in doing that little thing she did when the two of the first got together. In fact, the sex has become uninspired; she's coming in from work, where she was dressed up in her nice skirt and heels and makeup and such, and she's breaking down before she can get to the door good. And now, after a long day at work, and even more work when she gets home, she's coming to bed in a head scarf and a T-shirt and is this close to hiring a firing squad to take you out for even looking at her with those bedroom eyes. In other words, what's back at the house has become ho-hum -- routine.
I personally believe that women play a big role in keeping the relationship alive by maintaining an allure of sex appeal and paying attention to their partner's needs. This makes sense: If a man is happy at home, why would he need to search for happiness elsewhere? Why ruin a good thing, especially if the woman set boundaries in place with a no-cheating policy? It is nevertheless essential to remember that cheating isn't always rational, and that ultimately, the decision to cheat falls on the person who chooses to engage in cheating. No one can stop another person from doing anything. They can only influence another person's actions. A woman is not her partner's master, owner or mother, and she cannot watch over every little thing that he does (if she tries, she'll inevitably drive herself crazy and/or push him away). If a man truly wants to cheat (for whatever reason) and believes he can get away with it, it is his choice to make.
-Written by: Cafe Belle's Relationship Barista