Infidelity can be a painful and devastating experience for anyone, and it's natural to seek answers and understanding as we try to heal and move forward. While we cannot generalize all men who cheat as having the same motivations and traits, there are some common patterns and mindsets that can provide insight into why infidelity happens.
By understanding these patterns, we can make informed decisions about our relationships and take steps toward healing. In this article, we will explore some of the common habits and mindsets of men who cheat and how to navigate the aftermath of infidelity.
Myth - Cheaters are in unhappy marriages
Discovering that your spouse has been unfaithful can be a traumatic experience, and seeking professional help is a natural step for many couples. However, not all professional advice is helpful or accurate, as I learned when my husband and I turned to a therapist for support after his infidelity.
The therapist we consulted told us that men in happy marriages don't cheat, implying that my husband's infidelity resulted from my failure to make him happy. This hurtful and misguided advice only added to my pain and gave my husband more ammunition to blame me for his choices.
It's important to recognize that a person's decision to cheat reflects their shortcomings and limitations rather than the qualities of their partner. While infidelity can devastate a relationship, avoiding blaming the victim and holding the responsible party accountable for their actions is crucial.
Through my research, I discovered that many men who cheat are, in fact, happy and satisfied with their marriages. This realization made me resent the therapist's ignorance and the harm his words caused me.
After the therapist's hurtful comments, I realized I needed to control my happiness and well-being. I stopped trying to make my husband happy at the expense of my needs and desires. Instead, I focused on self-care and ensured that I was taking care of myself physically, emotionally, and mentally.
Set healthy boundaries for yourself
Setting healthy boundaries was also crucial. I made it clear to my husband that infidelity or any behavior that could lead to it, such as emotional distance or dishonesty, was unacceptable in our relationship. I emphasized that trust and respect were essential to a healthy partnership and would not tolerate any undermining actions or mindsets.
Having open and honest communication was vital to maintaining these boundaries. My husband and I talked about our needs and desires, and I expressed my expectations and boundaries clearly. I also made sure to listen to his perspective and concerns, but ultimately, I made it clear that I would not compromise on my boundaries or tolerate any behavior that violated them.
Establishing these boundaries was difficult, and it required a lot of work and reflection. But ultimately, prioritizing my well-being and setting clear boundaries empowered me and strengthened my relationship with my husband. We were able to rebuild a new type of trust and move forward in a healthier, more fulfilling way.
Mindsets, traits, and habits cheaters have
It's essential to recognize that not all men who cheat will share all the same traits or motivations I have listed. Therefore, I have made a generalized list of habits cheaters can have. But we can create more safety in our relationships by understanding why infidelity happens and seeing some common symptoms and mindsets. Caring for ourselves can set the tone for healthy relationships with clearly communicated boundaries.
The Common Personality Traits of a Cheater
The most common factor of a cheating husband is that they feel entitled to cheat. Try answering the following questions to assess which personality traits your husband has that put him at risk of being a cheater?
Does your husband seem self-entitled or self-important?
Do they usually put their own needs above yours?
Are they always needing attention and flattery from you or others?
Does your husband lack empathy for you?
Are they unable to put themselves in someone else's shoes?
Do they overestimate their importance or their abilities?
Do they either exaggerate their sexual endeavors or need validation of their love-making skills?
Do you feel like an object to your husband?
Does your husband rationalize their behavior, even when they know they are wrong?
Would it be more typical for your husband to make decisions without checking in with you first?
Do they often make impulsive decisions?
Have there been significant consequences for their decisions?
Does your husband have self-destructive behaviors or habits?
Is it common to see them self-sabotage your relationship, their friendships, and their jobs?
Have you ever asked yourself if they are masochistic?
Would you say that your husband is always seeking the new, novel, or exciting?
Does your husband have an avoidant personality style?
Has your husband suddenly become more forgetful?
Do you know there is no medical reason for him to be so absentminded, so you feel something is off?
Have you ever heard someone say that your husband could charm the pants off anyone or some other similar phrase?
Do you feel criticized or manipulated by your husband?
Does your husband fail to share themselves with you?
When you think about it, do you have unanswered questions about your husband's private life?
Have you ever heard your husband lying to others?
Has he lied to you too?
The Cheater Rationalizes
The more you answer yes to the questions, the higher the risk that your husband is a cheater. When a man can rationalize that his wife isn't giving him what he thinks he deserves, along with believing himself neglected or under-appreciated, he will likely cheat.
The Common Physical Traits of a Cheater
What can you see happening in your relationship? Reading the physical traits common to cheaters supports us in protecting ourselves and making safe choices for ourselves.
Is your husband secretive, especially with their computer or phone?
The more they are on their device, keeping it locked, not sharing their passwords, ignoring incoming calls and messages when you are around, or purposefully leaving it locked in their car or office, the more suspicious you should be of them being in an affair. Cheaters keep their lives private because it is easier for them.
Did your husband suddenly stop holding your hand and giving you kisses goodbye but still have regular sex with you?
It is easier for a man to have sex than fake affection. So all the little things that he previously did, like snuggling while watching T.V., stop when he is cheating.
Did sex often feel like slam, bam, thank you, mam?
Has your husband stopped hanging around after sex to enjoy the afterglow with you? Did he usually make nice and bond with you after sex, or did he never do that? Men who have fewer receptors in their brains for the bonding chemicals oxytocin and vasopressin, which occur after sex, are more likely to cheat on their wives. Therefore, it could also mean that their relationship with their affair partner or partners is/was more physical than emotional for these men.
Did your husband suddenly become physically unavailable to you?
When you rang, they didn't pick up or stop showing you attention or spending time with you. Physical distance can be a sign of cheating.
Is your husband's ring finger longer than their index finger?
According to an Oxford University study, having a longer ring finger seems to point toward a man being more inclined toward unfaithfulness. The study shows a correlation between testosterone and the length of the ring finger.
What is or was your husband's hair color?
An online study of users done by cheaterville.com showed an anecdotal correlation between hair color and cheating. Males with brown hair made up 40% of cheaters, followed by black hair at 32%, then blonde at 20%, and redheads at 5%. (F.Y.I. my husband has brown hair.)
Is your husband bald?
Personally, I am more inclined to brush off hair color and ask if he is bald or getting thin on top. Balding can be associated with higher testosterone, too much stress, and a lowered self-image, all of which can make a man more vulnerable to cheating on his wife.
Does your husband keep himself well groomed?
If your husband suddenly makes an extra effort to look good, this is a warning sign of cheating. Serial cheaters, however, always make an effort with their physical appearance to attract other women.
The Common Social Traits of a Cheater
Knowing the character traits of a cheater supports us in protecting ourselves from the heartbreak of being cheated on again.
Is your husband overly dependent on you?
When we feel responsible for our husband's happiness, or they punish us for not meeting their wants, we are at risk of being cheated on. Husbands who are looking for affirmations are more likely to be unfaithful.
How much time does your husband spend pursuing their own personal activities and interests?
While it is necessary and healthy to enjoy our own pursuits, too much time apart weakens our relationship bond. Spending more time outside the marriage getting their companionship or personal needs met puts a husband at risk of cheating on his wife.
Did your husband cheat around a holiday, a birthday, or Valentine's Day?
Commitment phobic men cheat more often when reminded of their monogamous commitment to their wives or when faced with the stresses of being in a committed relationship after the initial high of the new or fun stage has passed.
Would you characterize your husband as handling monotony by always looking for something new and exciting to do?
Maybe your husband cheated because they lacked the emotional maturity to deal with your marriage slipping into what felt like a rut to them.
Has your husband already cheated, or does he have friends who cheat?
If your husband has already become desensitized to infidelity, they now have the potential to excuse cheating and to create justifications as to why cheating is ok. Being able to justify themselves is a dangerous mindset of a cheating man.
Does your husband lack strong social and family ties?
If your husband doesn't have a solid social network, they are a cheating risk. Being lonely or isolated creates an infidelity vulnerability. It is especially true when husbands don't communicate their connection needs with their wives, or for whatever reason, they fail to seek companionship with their wives.
Did your husband fail to express his needs and wants, dissatisfaction, or concerns about the relationship adequately throughout your marriage?
The risk of not sharing their needs can result in husbands feeling unfulfilled in the union and cheating to get those needs met or to end the relationship.
Is your husband emotionally distant from you?
Wanting to maintain an emotional distance creates the risk of sabotaging the marriage through infidelity. It shows a lack of personal boundaries and may stem from a failure to express their need for space. Or that they lack the ability for close connection and intimacy. Cheating is, therefore, an escape from their issues, not their wives.
Was your husband concerned that you would cheat on them?
Men who grew up with infidelity are at a higher risk of cheating in their marriages. A preoccupation with not getting cheated on actually makes a man more vulnerable to having an affair.
Does your husband lack self-control?
Having low impulse control puts a man at risk of cheating on his wife. When a man doesn't have self-discipline, he may immaturely think that he can get away with cheating.
Is living on the edge, extreme sports, or thrills a part of who your husband is?
Those who seek adrenaline rushes in their life may also cheat to get this chemical high. And sadly, when they get caught cheating, this type of man often won't feel remorse because the thrill of the affair felt too good for them.
Have you ever felt uncomfortable with how charming your husband is to your girlfriends, waitresses, or other women?
Cheaters can turn on their charm without missing a beat regardless of how you feel about it. And they will make you wrong for feeling uncomfortable with them 'just being nice' as they put it.
Cheater's are distant
A lack of healthy open communication with their wives, friends, and family is characteristic of a cheater, which spells danger for their marriages. And sadly, the easier it is for a man to cheat, the more likely they will cheat.
The Common Career Traits of a Cheater
While I am sure we don't agree with this part of the finding, there is evidence suggesting that intelligent men are more likely to cheat. Perhaps a definition of intelligence is needed because I think someone has to be pretty dumb to be unfaithful and destroy their marriage.
Is your husband the boss or a manager?
Statistics show that the higher up the ladder a husband is at work, the more likely they are to cheat. Being aware that this risk exists is important because with much power comes much responsibility.
Does your husband often work late or not have set hours?
If a husband has a job with long or flexible hours, they are more likely to stray, including working in the trades or being on call.
The top jobs of cheaters
- Business (CEOs, managers, etc.)
- Financial (Bankers, brokers, analysts, etc.)
- Aviation (Pilots, flight attendants, etc.)
- Healthcare (Doctors, nurses, social workers, etc.)
- Sports (Athletes, instructors, representatives, etc.)
- Arts (Musicians, models, actors, photographers, etc.)
- Nightlife Industry (DJs, dancers, waiters, etc.)
- Communication (Journalists, public relations, communicators, etc.)
- Legal (Lawyers, secretaries, prosecutors, judges, etc.)
Cheater's are vague
A cheater needs time to spend with their affair partner, no matter how long or short that time is. So often, these men claim not to have a schedule or one that constantly changes. A flexible schedule allows for windows of time to open for their freedom. Either they look for jobs that allow for this, or their lack of a set schedule provides the opportunity to act out.
So who can cheat? Anyone! Anytime! Any place!
- Dr. K Rosenberg
What to do About Your Husband's Cheating Traits
Factoring in all these common traits of cheaters helps us decide how or if we move forward with our marriages. Knowing your husband's habits, weaknesses, and a list of common cheating mindsets supports you to set healthy boundaries around your marriage. Self-care means we make the best decisions for ourselves and own what we will and will not tolerate in our relationships.
If you are not sure whether your husband is cheating or not, learn more about what cheating looks like in this article about micro-cheating, cheating when it looks like they aren't.
Do you feel like you said 'yes' to far too many of the questions? In reality, now you have something concrete to work with when setting boundaries for your future relationship. The more specific we are with our boundaries, the more effectively we can communicate what we want or don't want in our future—knowing the signs and risks of being cheated on supports us in creating firm boundaries.
Making our marriage a priority should be important to both you and your husband at all times. And they can show you how important it is when they address and take ownership of their cheating risk factors, mindsets, and habits. Being in a relationship where both you and your partner feel safe, listened to, and where boundaries are honored is the best way to ensure your connection is healthy and that you are healthy.
What to do next...
If you're feeling lost and unsure of what to do next after discovering your husband's infidelity, know that you are not alone. As a betrayed wife who has gone through this painful experience, I understand the overwhelming emotions you may be feeling. That's why I am offering you a free call with me as a gift to support you in this difficult time.
During our call, we can talk about your concerns, and I can provide you with guidance and understanding based on my own experiences. Together, we can work through the critical decisions you are facing and, most importantly, help you prioritize your healing and self-care.
Infidelity is a traumatic experience, and it's important to remember that healing is possible. Let me show you how to navigate this painful time and come out stronger on the other side. Don't hesitate to reach out and schedule your free call today. It's time to take control of your healing journey and start feeling better.
PS When is it considered cheating? Read about Micro-cheating ... when your partner says they aren't cheating but they are, or it looks like they aren't but your intuition says they are! If you know they are a cheater, read about safety.
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