Why Do Married Men Have Affairs?

couple arguing image by Luisafer from Fotolia.com

The media continues to expose celebrity males for participating in extramarital affairs. The individuals involved include religious figures, politicians, actors and professional athletes. Regardless of the status of the men involved, the effects of an affair can be devastating to a marriage. The reasons married men have affairs are varied and complex.


Marital affairs have undergone a change of definition with the popularity of making personal connections on the Internet. Traditional affairs consist of short-term one night stands, to long-term clandestine relationships. In any event, traditional affairs almost always include some form of sexual intimacy. The Internet, however, has made it possible for married men to become unfaithful without sexual intimacy. Activities such as exchanging pornographic materials and intimate chatting with another person can be considered violations of marital trust.


It can be quite challenging to pinpoint the exact reasons men are unfaithful to their wives. According to Diane Neumann, the founder of Divorce Mediation Services of Newton, Mass., husbands may have an affair if they suspect infidelity on the part of their spouse. Traditionally, sex with a new and exciting partner, has been a reason why married men have affairs. While this reason still exists, according to Neumann, men may be searching for ways to build their self-esteem. The ability to seduce a new sexual partner may boost a married man's ego and confidence. According to M. Gary Neuman, author of "The Truth About Cheating," men are likely to cheat because they feel unappreciated by their wives. In fact, according to Neuman, men are more likely to cheat because of emotional dissatisfaction than they are for sexual reasons.


When married men are discovered having an affair, the effects are profoundly detrimental to the long-term success of the marriage. In many cases, regardless of how contrite the husband may be, the bonds of trust have been broken. This lack of trust can cause bitterness, chronic jealousy and a lack of respect toward the husband. It can be helpful for couples to seek counseling after either partner has an affair.


Despite the excitement and thrill of an extramarital affair, men may have more difficulty adjusting psychologically than some might suspect. According to M. Gary Neuman, 66 percent of married men experience guilt during the affair. Also, a significant percentage of men become sorry that they had the affair to begin with.


Marital problems can develop when a married man is suspected of having an affair. Care should be taken to determine if the suspicions are true. Too often, a spouse will draw conclusions, only to discover that their suspicions were unwarranted.