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How good men end up cheating on their mates


Sometimes good men, with the best intentions end up cheating
on their mates.   Photo: / Daniel Laflor

How do “good men” like Tiger Woods, get caught up in a series of extramarital affairs? Sometimes, despite a man’s best intentions, he may end up cheating on his mate.

How does something like this happen?

This article, part 1 of a 2-part series, will address a seldom-discussed aspect of infidelity: how even a “good man” with the best of intentions can succumb to infidelity, and end up cheating on his mate.

Part 2 – the companion article to this one, entitled How to Keep from Cheating on Your Wife, covers over 28 tips to help a man avoid infidelity, and make it easy for him to stay faithful to his mate.

This Article is NOT an Excuse for Infidelity

Let me start by saying that this article is not an excuse for infidelity. I firmly believe that there’s never any valid reason for any husband to cheat on his wife – or vice versa.

Infidelity is wrong, regardless of the circumstances under which it occurs.

Having said that, let’s look at some of the contributing factors that come into play when a “good “man ends up cheating on his wife - a man whose friends, family and associates would never expect such behavior from him – a man who” just doesn’t seem like the type.”

How does a man with a stellar reputation, a good marriage, a family, a beautiful wife, a successful career, excellent prospects for the future – a man who has everything in his favor – a man society would label “a good man” - how does such a man get caught up in infidelity?

Why Good Men Sometimes Cheat

According to statistics, 50% to 70% of men cheat on their mates.

My research of almost 16 years, which includes interviews with thousands of cheating men, from all walks of life, reveals that a significant percentage of that infidelity falls into the 5 categories below.

I coined the terms below (which are interchangeable, and may sometimes overlap) to describe infidelity in which the cheating man was not originally seeking to have an affair, or did not purposely set out to cheat on his wife.

Opportunistic infidelity - he took advantage of an opportunity (or opportunities) that came his way where he knew he could easily cheat without getting caught.

• Situational infidelity - he allowed a situation to get to the point where he felt he had no choice but to cheat (peer pressure, alone with a woman who came on very strong or literally threw herself at him)

• Circumstantial infidelity - he found himself in circumstances that made it easy to cheat.

• Accidental infidelity – he cheated because he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol which impaired his judgment, and/or lowered his inhibitions.

• Unintentional infidelity – he did not set out to cheat, but allowed himself to get drawn into a situation where it was easier to cheat, than to stay faithful

On the other hand, the 3 terms below describe a different type of infidelity. These terms, may also overlap.

• premeditated infidelity – he intentionally set out to find someone with whom to cheat.

• willful infidelity – he considered the consequences of his infidelity beforehand, and cheated with full knowledge of what he was doing, and what he stood to lose.

• intentional infidelity – he had no qualms about cheating provided if he found himself in a position to do so.

How Some Cheating Men Could Have Stayed Faithful

Statistics indicate that the majority of men cheat on their mates. However after interviewing thousands of cheating men over the past 15 – 16 years, I’ve found that a large number of the men who cheated on their wives or girlfriends could have remained faithful if they’d done the following things:

Establish some hard, fast rules for themselves, and their behavior with or around other women.

• Set up some checks and balances in their marriage/ relationship which make it difficult to cheat.

Stop to consider the consequences of infidelity and all they stand to lose, regardless of whether they get caught.

Learn to use the word “No”

Put the same effort and energy into maintaining their marriage/relationship that they put into pursuing a relationship on the side

Dispelling Common Myths about Why Men Cheat

When a high profile man like Tiger Woods, David Letterman, Mark Sanford, or even the man next door cheats on his wife, people automatically assume he had marriage problems or his wife was somehow at fault. See the article Are Wives to Blame When Husbands Cheat?

Marital unhappiness is rarely a factor in why men cheat. See the article Happy Husbands Cheat, Too. Several recent infidelity studies published in respected medical journals bear that out.

Although there are always exceptions, infidelity studies make it clear that most men do not cheat because they are unhappy with their marriage or their mate.

Nor does a man cheat because of something his wife or girlfriend did or didn’t do.

For every cheating man who claims he cheated because of something his wife or girlfriend did or did not do, there are thousands, even millions of men out there whose wives or girlfriends did or didn’t do those very same things, yet these men remained faithful to their mates. See the article The Top 10 Reasons Why Men and Women Cheat

Regardless of what was or wasn’t going on in a cheating man’s marriage or relationship, the bottom line is that his cheating was a personal choice - a decision that he, and he alone, made. No one held a gun to his head and made him cheat

The saddest part of all this is that like Tiger Woods, most cheating men who get caught really have no desire to divorce their wives, dissolve a committed relationship, or leave their mates.

How to Keep from Cheating on Your Wife

The article you just read is part 1 of a 2-part series. The companion article to this one, How to Keep from Cheating on Your Wife, lists 28 tips - rules – guidelines – call them what you wish – that if followed, will make it easy for a husband to avoid infidelity, and remain faithful to his wife.

Be sure to bookmark this page, and/ or check back later to read Part 2

*** © copyright 2009 Ruth Houston

Ruth Houston is a New York-based infidelity expert who is frequently called on by the media to comment on infidelity issues in the news. She is the author of Is He Cheating on You? - 829 Telltale Signs, the founder of and publishes the Infidelity News and Views blog

For more information about infidelity, cheating husbands, and extramarital affairs, see:

How to Keep from Cheating on Your Wife

The Top 10 Reasons Why Men and Women Cheat

Happy Husbands Cheat, Too

14 Reasons Why Tiger Woods and Other Rich and Famous Men Cheat

Why Politicians Cheat and What Their Wives Can Do

Is There a Gene That Makes Men Cheat?

Are Wives to Blame When Husbands Cheat?

Is He Cheating? - Is She Cheating? - 21 Ways You Can Tell   (free tip sheet)

Free Infidelity Tip Sheets and Special Reports


  • INB 4 years ago

    Maybe someone reading this can help.
    My wife readily acknowledges that I am a good husband. (I thank her for it.) I am a passionate, unselfish lover whenever she permits me to sleep with her. I say "permits" because she has, throughout the marriage, controlled when we have sex or not. I am frustrated with this. If I please her, as she has demonstrated during and after sex, then why withhold?

    I am at a point where I am sick of arguing in this marriage-- about everything including sex. The old adage about if the relationship is good then the sex should follow has not been the case here. When the relationship was good, sex was still sparse. When we were unmarried-- the sex was plentiful. After our worst fight EVER, she came onto me for sex. The adage is BS. She controls sex: she is available when she wants to be.

    I am at a point of wanting to cheat for two reasons: my legitimate need that my wife refuses to fill and also perhaps, to deliberately give her grounds for divorce. Thoug

  • INB 4 years ago

    I provide for my wife. Again, I am unselfish in my sexual performance with her, but she withholds.
    I am not getting reciprocity in this marriage and am growing eager to end this. She is full of excuses and stipulations why it can not happen. I have done what pop psych suggests-- I clean, I take care of the house, I have even brought home flowers. I am usually affectionate, but I do pull away from her when we have stupid arguments over things that should be obvious.
    We argue alot! But even after our worst fight EVER, she came onto me for sex. If there was any time that she should have been sexually withdrawn from me, it was that time!! She came onto me. She refuses me or complicates the conversation when I approach her. I now feel that I deserve better. (Hear my heart, please-- I am not being arrogant.) She is withholding-- she lacks mercy when it comes to my expressed need. I want to go elsewhere.I want to drive this marriage under at this point. Advice? Thoughts?

  • dr 2 years ago

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  • Mick 1 year ago

    When we dont get sex and the intimacy that goes with it, we look at others, most of us fantasise about our partners even if we stray
    we crave love and attention, may be great dads, willing to do whatever in the bedroom but the truth is many woman just turn off the tap and think that thats ok
    most web discussions ignore that fact that women withdraw from sex and expect their relationships to survive
    I have done the relationship therapy, and have a compromise position but I do not look at other woman because I want variety, I look at them because they might provide an intimacy that is lacking in my life
    I am not alone
    I know many men who feel and behave the same
    ironically I have witnessed the behaviour of woman whose marriages have broken because they no longer 'do sex' only to find them a few months later dressing and behaving in way that are purely sexual in orientation to secure a partner
    deal with it

  • Anonymous 1 year ago

    What about the fact that most MEN start out as affectionate romantic partners, then eventually get "comfortable" and then become lazy and self centered , putting in none of the efforts that made their partners want it in the first place???? A grope with no affection and "teamwork" gets old and disappointing!!!! I am not the only woman who feels this.

  • Anonymous 1 year ago

    Both partners need to give what brought the sparks to begin with!!!! That takes a bigger peson than neglecting your own to get some on the side!

  • Anonymous2 1 year ago

    My situation is reversed from the men on here. I can't get my husband to sleep with me. He stays gone every night to avoid me. He won't let me socialize with him and his male and female friends. Once I went to the place he hangs out plays music, etc. He acted as though he didn't know me. He avoided looking my direction, didn't speak to me. A few people there knew I was married to him so I was totally embarrassed. It hurt so much. He doesn't work. I work full time come home to a dirty house, he should be cleaning up some but instead he keeps the roads hot and then complains about cost of gas. He says he is bored, why doesn't he do something to help with the housework. I work full time, take care of my son who is severely autistic and my elderly frail mom. I don't have time to do all that is needed to get done because I work all day and tied up with caring for son and mom all evening. My husband won't even pick up after himself. So tell me why he is so distant toward me, why he doesn't help with housework, why he won't let me go anywhere with him or won't go with me? I have to beg for sex and he makes me go for weeks without it. There is no way this man loves me with the way he treats me. These music/dance place is a jammin place but there are plenty of women there who are younger than him (and he doesn't look as old as he is either) I believe that is why he acted like he didn't know me. What do you think I should do?

  • Khanya 6 months ago

    I cant trust my husband

  • Shinai 6 months ago

    Hi I'm no expert, but it seems like she likes chasing you for sex once there is tension. Perhaps she has gotten too comfortable because you make a great effort to make sure she is happy. Perhaps you have made things to convenient for her, and she doesn't feel she has to try. You do sound like a great husband. Has she ever accused you of being "too nice" or "too accommodating?" Are you all compatible? Do you enjoy each other's company? How does she show her gratitude? Ever try stepping back and seeing whether or not she tries to meet you half way in your daily chores and such? I'm getting the impression that you are not the one to blame, but she may have things she needs to work on. Just a few questions. Do you excite her? Not sexually, but is there adrenaline in your relationship? Do you engage in arguments or debates? Are you too agreeable? Perhaps she is turned on by aggression. Perhaps she fell for a sexually assertive man who lured her in with aggression. Some may suggest downplaying your ability to show her that you want her and let her chase you. It sounds like she may have some intimacy issues that have nothing to do with you, but more so who she sees sex in general. I'd inquire about her past. Again, I could be wrong here, and it could be a variety of things. Hope this helps.

  • Shinai 6 months ago

    This is in response to INB.