Why Men Stray

What makes men stray?

Marriage counselor M. Gary Neuman surveyed husbands who had been unfaithful, and those who had not, to get at the real reasons behind men’s infidelity. Neuman dug through past research on male infidelity and found that most answers came from the wife’s point of view. Wouldn’t it make more sense to ask the guys? he thought. So for his new book, The Truth About Cheating, Neuman  unveils his findings — including what cheating men say could have prevented them from straying.

Here, some of his findings:

48% of men rated emotional dissatisfaction as the primary reason they cheated.

So much for the myth that for men, cheating is all about sex: Only 8 percent of men said that sexual dissatisfaction was the main factor in their infidelity. “Our culture tells us that all men need to be happy is sex,” Neuman says. “But men are emotionally driven beings too. They want their wives to show them that they’re appreciated, and they want women to understand how hard they’re trying to get things right.” The problem is that men are less likely than women to express these feelings, so you won’t always know when your guy is in need of a little affirmation. “Most men consider it unmanly to ask for a pat on the back, which is why their emotional needs are often overlooked,” Neuman says. “But you can create a marital culture of appreciation and thoughtfulness — and once you set the tone, he’s likely to match it.”

40% of cheating men met the other woman at work.

“Oftentimes the woman he cheats with at the office is someone who praises him, looks up to him, and compliments his efforts,” Neuman says. “That’s another reason why it’s so critical that he feel valued at home.” Luckily, there’s a clear warning sign that your husband is getting a little too cozy with a colleague: If he praises or mentions the name of a female coworker more than he would a male counterpart, your antennae should go up — and it’s time for the two of you to set boundaries about what is and isn’t okay at work, Neuman says. Is it acceptable for him to work late if it’s only him and her? Can they travel together to conferences? Have dinners out to discuss a project? Ask him what he’d feel comfortable with you doing with a male colleague.

Only 12% of cheating men said their mistress was more physically attractive than their wife.

In other words, a man doesn’t stray because he thinks he’ll get better sex with a better-looking body. “In most cases, he’s cheating to fill an emotional void,” Neuman says. “He feels a connection with the other woman, and sex comes along for the ride.” If you’re worried about infidelity, focus on making your relationship more loving and connected, not on getting your body just right or finding a sexy new nightie (although men find both very sexy).


#1 – Guard your heart. The Bible says “above ALL ELSE, guard your heart”. Don’t allow yourself to go there. If you start to have thoughts about a co-worker or friend – run, flee – deal with it. Be humble and honest with a mentor. See a pastor, counselor, friend, mentor or adviser quickly. Don’t let it go any farther. In addition, protect your eyes/mind from provocative tv, movies and internet. It WILL have an effect on your heart, and therefore, your marriage.

#2 – Stay emotionally connected to your wife. If you’re not getting the encouragement and support you need, go talk with a mentor couple, or counselor together. Find out why, and deal with it. Don’t wait until you have fallen to figure out what could have prevented it. You have to fight for more face time together and keep working on having fun in your relationship. Nothing, not even the children or your job, is more important.

#3 – Stay desperate for God. Jesus said in John 15:5 that we “can do nothing” on our own. Without His strength, wisdom and direction, we will try to figure life out on our own, and will most likely make some painful mistakes. He created marriage. He created sex. He knows our needs and how best to meet those needs. Stay close to Him…every day. Don’t become a statistic.

Your marriage matters.



About Rob

Married to my high school sweetheart for 40 years. Blessed to be a frequent speaker at marriage and men's conferences, retreats and seminars. Author of 4 books on marriage. Check out resources at allinmariage.org.

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