Seven Myths About Male Infidelity I Wish I Knew When I Found Out My Husband Was Cheating

1. Only jerks have affairs.

In fact, the opposite is true in most situations. One thing we hear often from betrayed wives is that others would be extremely shocked if they knew of their husband’s affair. Most often it’s the quintessential nice guy who has an affair. He is the guy that helps everyone out in the neighborhood and at work and is also a pillar in his church or synagogue. The guy who no one would believe would do this sort of thing. It’s usually their ‘good guy’ nature that gets them into the affair in the first place. Since they are naturally kind and thoughtful, affairs most often start when the married man is helping or being kind to the other woman upon meeting her.


2. Men who have affairs don’t love their wife.

In most affair situations the married man is still very much in love with his wife (and she with him) and has no intention of leaving his wife or family for the other woman. Married men who find themselves in affairs often find out after the affair is discovered, and they are uncovering the layers of their dysfunction with a therapist, that they have an uncanny ability to compartmentalize. This means they are able to keep the different parts of their lives in separate compartments in their mind. The wife and family are in one compartment and the other woman and the affair are in another. By keeping them separated in his mind he’s able to avoid guilt and shame and continue to love his wife and still carry on with the other woman because the two don’t cross over in his mind at all.


3. Men have affairs with women who are prettier, younger, smarter or thinner than their wives.

It’s often believed that a man will chose an affair partner that is superior to the betrayed wife. In most situations it’s just the opposite. Men will often “affair down” by choosing an affair partner that is much less in all areas than his wife. There is a deficiency to begin with. A woman who has it all together has no need to settle for less. She wouldn’t tolerate being a dirty secret in someone’s life. So where does the attraction come from? It initially comes from the other woman being different in some way than the wife. It can be that she’s more outgoing where the wife is reserved or a career woman and the wife is a stay at home mom. The deficiencies in the other woman are overlooked because of the allure of having something different that is available and willing. The actual seduction comes from ego strokes from the other woman in casual conversation. Eventually, the sexual attraction blooms from explicit and open sexual talk from the other woman or by her allowing the married man to do so. This opens the door to forbidden sex. 


Most men will tell you after the affair is discovered and they have time to come out of what is often referred to as “the fog”, that they weren’t so much in love with the other woman as much as they were in love with how they made them feel. The other woman will often strategically get clues on the married man’s dissatisfaction with his wife and marriage and will morph herself into the direct opposite. For example, if a man says his wife nags too much or is too controlling, the other woman will make a point to never ask questions or ask for him to do or be anything other than what he is in the moment – often at the expense of her own wishes and desires.


For many married men there is an unconscious element where they will select women who won’t compete in their own mind with their wives. Women they know they couldn’t love but can certainly lust for.


4. Men leave their wives for the other woman or wind up with the other woman once the affair is discovered and a divorce ensues.

Truth is, only about three percent of men who have affairs ever wind up with the affair partner. Again, the affair partner is often not the type of woman he wants to have as a life partner. Sex partner, yes; life partner, no. So even when discovery winds up in divorce the other woman is often dumped, and most often abruptly, as she becomes an icon for his shameful behavior that brought all that he loved and cherished to ruin.


5. Men are fully conscious of what they are doing and of all the consequences when they have affairs.

Most affairs are just a different form of addiction. Like people who are substance abusers or have a gambling addiction, affairs become a secret world of deception and take on a life of their own in the same way any other addiction takes hold. Men get into affairs and often find themselves in situations where they can see the destruction in it but don’t know how to stop it. And if they do stop it they are often drawn back into it just as in any other addiction. It’s not the person they are addicted to, it’s the ego strokes, the forbidden sex and the world of illusion where there are none of the demands of everyday life.  It’s an escape from reality, just like an alcoholic or crack addict. And just like other addictions, the abuser loses their objectivity and ability to see the destruction they are creating. They build walls of denial and deceit which often take years to dismantle. When caught, most men will say they never expected anyone to get hurt because they never expected to get caught. In other words, they never considered the consequences of what would happen if they were caught.


6. Men actively seek out affair partners.

Most men don’t actively seek out affairs or affair partners. Not on a conscious level at least.  They really do “just happen”, or at least in their minds they do. What they don’t realize at the time is how vulnerable they are to the attention of another woman. They don’t realize how damaged their self esteem is  and when a woman comes around and begins to posture herself in the role of confidant with a smattering of ego strokes, men who are out of touch with their own emotional health will bite hard on the bait. In return the married man will shower attention on the other woman who has little to no self esteem. With both sides feeding the ego beast the affair soon begins. This explains why we see so many successful men risk it all on an affair. Men are taught by our society that it’s weak to examine and be in touch with their feelings. Climbing the ladder of success or just getting through the demands of everyday life can trigger chain reactions of emotions from the past and present. When those emotions get stuffed there is an insidious decline in self esteem and self value.  Once it hits a certain threshold men begin looking for an escape from their reality without even knowing they’re looking.


You will often hear from the married man and the other woman that they didn’t plan for this to happen and that it “just happen”. It didn’t really. There is almost a formulaic process each affair is born from. It all stems from lack of self esteem on both sides, unaddressed emotional issues and a yearning to escape reality. Unfortunately the escape is often out of the frying pan and into the fire of delusion, denial and addiction.


7. Most marriages end when an affair is discovered.

There are really no statistics on this as most couples choose to keep the infidelity secret if they are going to reconcile. We see a great deal of these “kept in secret” marriages reconciling at Infidelity Mavens and feel that there is a very high percentage of marriages that reconcile after an affair is discovered. In fact, marriages can not only be repaired, but they can be better than ever after an affair. If the spouse having the affair is open and willing to let truth prevail and give up their “addiction”, the marriage has a fighting chance. There are many more steps to getting to “better than ever”, but in the very beginning, the openness and willingness in both the wayward spouse and the betrayed spouse to reconcile makes a huge difference.ont>