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amyyy's avatar

Question for men? Why do you tell someone you love them, then cheat on them ?

Asked by amyyy (27 points ) January 26th, 2009

This is out of the blue, with no warning; a seemingly perfect relationship, where the sex and communication were supposedly in harmony with the 2 partners.

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44 Answers

richardhenry's avatar

Question for women: Why do you tell someone you love them, then cheat on them?

funkdaddy's avatar

richardhenry has a good point, the question isn’t exactly fair – not all (or even most) men cheat on those they love, and the reasons one person, in a certain situation, does isn’t something we’ll be able to give you much valuable insight into…

I’m sincerely sorry you got hurt in a bad situation though.

Usually it seems it’s best to make a choice if it’s really that important to know “why?” or if you just need to put it behind you and move on. If you’re not looking to continue the relationship, moving on is usually less damaging for everyone involved.

Good luck and don’t let one douche bag ruin your outlook.

dynamicduo's avatar

As Richard points out, your question is not the right question you want to be asking. You’re wanting to know why the partner cheated. For this, you’ll just have to talk with the person, and if they don’t want to explain themselves or attempt to reconcile, then head off on your own ways.

DrBill's avatar

Real Men don’t cheat!

MrItty's avatar

Just because YOU dated a jackass, please don’t assign the jackass trait to the entire gender. Thanks.

bythebay's avatar

I am a woman, and I couldn’t disagree more with DrBill ^ up there. Cheating is not acceptable nor is it appropriate, but real men and real women cheat everyday. In the demise of any relationship there are always two sides. I’m not saying you deserved this or even caused this, but now -you both have ownership of the condition you find yourselves in.

There is no perfect relationship; it quite simply does not exist. And as for the love part, it’s quite possible that he really does love you very much. The “why” is the tricky part. Could he have been feeling vulnerable; lonely; scared; bored; tempted; distracted; or just plain curious. You see- none of these is an excuse, it’s just an answer and probably not a complete one at that.

As women, I think we feel the need to know all the whys in order to reconcile what has happened to us, but the reality remains – it happened. The why doesn’t change anything, it doesn’t prevent it from happening to us again, it just doesn’t matter.

You need to decide what direction you are going in and start on your way. Whether that direction is together again or apart; you need to keep moving toward that goal with purpose.

You deserve an apology, but an explanation doesn’t change your situation. Only you can decide what effect this will have on you. It’s sort of like you missed the party, but now you’re being asked to clean up the mess.

RandomMrdan's avatar

Question for “Name Goes Here”? Why do you tell someone you love them, then cheat on them ?

DrBill's avatar

@bythebay
It is unfortunate you think everyone cheats. I can tell you that is not true. For one, I was married over 30 years and never cheated.

bythebay's avatar

@DrBill: I NEVER said I think everyone cheats. I said “real men & women cheat everyday”. You’ve never done it, I’ve never done it myself but that doesn’t change the face that it’s a reality for a lot of people. Just look at the number of questions here on Fluther…it happens everyday to real people.

Again, I’m not saying it’s right – it’s just reality.

dynamicduo's avatar

@DrBill, Where exactly did bythebay say that they thought everyone cheats? It’s great that you did not cheat, but don’t assume that you are the same as everyone else (you know what they say about assuming, after all). All kinds of people cheat for all kinds of reasons.

jonsblond's avatar

There are many reasons why a person cheats, you will need to talk to your partner and decide for yourself if the relationship is worth saving. I don’t believe in “once a cheater, always a cheater”. Yes, there are the habitual cheaters, but some people do things out of desperation and truly regret what they have done. These people know how to learn from their mistakes. Hopefully this is the case for you.

wundayatta's avatar

The question asker may have a personal problem with her SO, but I still think the question in the title deserves an attempt at an answer. I don’t think the question presumes that all me cheat. I think that what she doesn’t understand is how one could tell one woman you love her, and then sleep with another woman. Clearly, this behavior does not compute with her.

There are many people who are in polyamorous relationships. These people believe they can love more than one person. I believe that jealousy is an issue they have to deal with, and I have no idea how stable such relationships are. Anyway, in such a relationship, it is clear they believe they can love more than one person.

I believe there are a lot more men who think the same thing. Or, are driven to feel like they need more than one partner. Urges built into us by evolution are what drive these urges.

Clearly, some people can resist these urges (drbill) and others can’t (me). I loved my wife at the time, and love my wife now, but I was still lonely. Anyway, there’s a whole long story about it elsewhere on fluther, so I’m not going to repeat it here.

I think that other men (and women, who also have an evolutionarily driven urge to cheat) feel these urges, and many are too weak to resist them. This does not mean they don’t love their long term partners. It just means they wanted the excitement of another partner. Maybe they even want the rush of falling in love (I did.. it was my attempt to fight off some rather horrible feelings I was feeling).

I think there are many reasons why people can cheat, yet still love their long term partners. I bet I’ve barely touched the surface here. A lot of these reasons reflect problems in a relationship. Some of them reflect a different paradigm about relationships. Some of them are pathological.

Our therapist says that most relationships can be repaired if both parties come clean with each other and are honest with each. However, he’s worked with a lot of couples where the man never even admits to infidelity. People can be very forgiving if they understand what happened; what motivated the infidelity. I know I’ve been lucky to be forgiven; indeed my wife took on half the responsibility for what happened.

If you want to repair the relationship, I’d say you both have to look deeply at yourselves, and both have to own up to some responsibility. In this way, you can move to address the real problems, and, if you are successful, move forward in a relationship where there is actually trust.

If both parties don’t admit to at least some responsibility; if one person puts all the blame on the other; I think there is very little chance the relationship can be repaired. In such a case, one person is being dishonest. A lot of people prefer to play the victim because it gets them a lot of attention from others in society. Unfortunately, it also kills any chance that the relationship can be repaired. You can not afford righteousness in these situations.

flameboi's avatar

People (men and women) cheat because monogamy sounds more like monotony maybe?

oasis's avatar

Men just gotta spread the seed.It’s built in.Hey i think i love you!

cwilbur's avatar

“I love you” is a statement of fact about his emotions, not about his needs in the relationship. Cheating is a sign that his needs are not being met.

bythebay's avatar

@cwilbur: Would you agree that it would be his responsibility to articulate to his partner what his needs are and which of those are not being fulfilled…before he moves in another direction?

It seems to me that often the lines of communication are only opened up after the crisis has occurred.

cwilbur's avatar

@bythebay: Yes, I would. On the other hand, it’s rarely as cut and dried as that: he may only be aware that he loves his partner but that he’s vaguely unhappy. It takes a certain level of self-awareness and emotional maturity to be able to work out what you need that you’re not getting, and not everyone has that.

pekenoe's avatar

Sex and…...... well, er….. Sex

wundayatta's avatar

Suppose you tried to work on the problems, but the effort failed, perhaps because the couple didn’t know how to deal with these issues, or perhaps because one member of the couple didn’t feel they had enough power to ask for what they wanted, or perhaps because one member of the couple was unresponsive and unhelpful in these discussions. Maybe the two just have no idea how to proceed. Maybe the man gets desperate, and despairing of getting what he wants in the relationship, he tries to take care of it himself, but he discovers that’s not enough, and he tries the internet, and that’s not enough, and when he has the opportunity in real life, he takes it.

Eventually, he tells his wife, not because he is guilty, and not because he wants to confess, but because he believes it is the right thing to do. And then they get counselling, which is what they should have done years before, but they didn’t realize how bad things were getting, and were ashamed to admit, even to themselves, that they were in trouble.

I think this story, and many similar versions, @bythebay, are why couples have difficulty communicating until a crisis forces them to. I think it is an excellent example of @cwilbur‘s point. It can happen to self-aware people, too, because sometimes they hide things from themselves, believing they will grow out of trouble. Maybe trouble just keeps on getting worse. A stitch in time might well have saved nine.

bythebay's avatar

@cwilbur: You’re absolutely right, it can be a lack of emotional maturity that allows someone to give themselves permission to stray outside of their commitment. But it does happen, and it’s never an easy situation – whatever the outcome may end up being.

cwilbur's avatar

And it’s also possible that he did bring it up, and nothing came of it. I’ve been in relationships like that, where I wound up spending a long time saying, “Look, this is what I need, and I’m not getting it,” before breaking it off.

Cheating is a sign that one partner is not getting what he or she needs. If you tone down the moralizing, and look at the practical side of things, it can serve as a useful decision point: is it possible for the cheating partner to get what he or she needs from the relationship? If the answer is “no,” then the relationship is best ended with as little acrimony as possible; if the answer is “yes,” then more moralizing and acrimony will only shift it towards a “no.”

bythebay's avatar

And I think it can also be true that while one person is saying what they need, the other person may be hearing something entirely different. Each partners perception is their reality, but their partner may not share that reality. If apathy or anger has already set in, they may not even be listening.

The true work is afterward. Healing is difficult under the best of circumstances; if the communication is not firing on all cylinders there is no hope for healing at all. To make a conscious decision to walk through the fire and then commit to healing is a brave one, I think.

jonsblond's avatar

@bythebay Very brave indeed!

pekenoe's avatar

Any man who gives a deep theological answer to this question is copping out, men think with their penis first, brain last. In my humble opinion.

There surely was a design plan in mind when we were created that way, I’d sure like to know what the reasoning was.

jonsblond's avatar

I think the evolutionary driven urge is just a cop out. I agree that some people can resist the urge and others can’t, but to use it as a reason is, in my opinion, hiding from the truth.

pekenoe's avatar

@jonsblond fair enough, if we all thought the same would be a boring fluther

wundayatta's avatar

@jonsblond: we are human beings with the power of reason. We don’t have to do what our genes push us to do. We can choose. Although, sometimes we get pushed byond the place where reason can help us. That’s not to say we aren’t responsible for what we do, just to help understand why it happened.

oasis's avatar

The furry triangle is responsible for all Mans Woes.

jonsblond's avatar

@pekenoe lurve to you

@daloon Reason does help. I know that we are all responsible for our actions, so to say that one of the reasons why a person cheats is based on an evolutionary urge is not being honest. That is to say for a person who cheats because they feel neglected or lonely. For a habitual cheater, that would be a great excuse.

wundayatta's avatar

It’s a reason, not an excuse. I don’t know if you’ve ever been on mind-changing medications, but drugs don’t just change your mood, they actually change the thoughts you think. I say this to indicate that the chemicals running around our bodies have the same power.

jonsblond's avatar

@daloon I would like to think that the mind is greater than any chemicals running through our bodies.

cwilbur's avatar

@jonsblond: the mind is the result of chemicals running through our bodies.

wundayatta's avatar

@jonsblond: I would love to think that, too. I believed that all my life, until this last year, when I discovered I wasn’t nearly as in control as I thought I was. As cwilbur said, our minds are made possible by the chemicals. Without them, we’d be brain dead. Yet, with them, we have to hope they work in a socially normal way, or we will do things that society doesn’t approve of, and I don’t just mean infidelity.

I’ve had the somewhat dubious distinction, over the last year or so, of expiencing my mind and my sense of identity and my behavior and my thoughts change as a result of changes in my brain chemistry, induced by meds. They say they are attempting to bring me back to the norm, and I do feel more normal now, but I’ve also lost something. I’m not as smart (things that it used to be easy for me to learn now leave me befuddled, and my memory is shot and I am constantly struggling to find words—it’s as if my brain has too much glue in it), or as motivated, or as competent as I was when I was seeking out women who were not my wife for love and sex.

Blondesjon's avatar

@cwilbur…Our minds are also the result of electrical impulses. Does this mean if I rub a ballon on my sweater I’m going to fuck Nikola Tesla?

@daloon…I really am sorry that God spilled a drink on your motherboard. My mother was very depressed and confused for alot of my childhood so I know how a person can lose themselves for awhile.

That said, there are 13,354,231,619 reasons why cheating happens and not one of them makes it any easier to cope with.

Cheating is a mistake.

Nobody wants to call it this because it seems to trivialize that shocked, raw pain that perpetually gnaws at you after it’s brought into the open. Nonetheless, it is a mistake and therefore something you can learn from.

how do you hold it all together and work through it?

shrugs

bythebay's avatar

@Blondesjon: Nikola Tesla? – he’s not cute at all
Aside from your poor choice in men, great answer. Your answer reminds us all that it’s a poignant and trying ordeal; whatever the cause.

wundayatta's avatar

I feel like I’m being double teamed. First @Blondesjon, then @jonsblond, unless it’s the other way around… Anyway, I think I don’t know who’s saying what anymore. My head is spinning. I have a feeling we are all agreeing, and yet, we sure seem to be tendentious for people who agree, so maybe we don’t agree…..

Blondesjon's avatar

@daloon…I believe it was Charo who said, “Ai-ai-ai-aieee!”

Or was it, “Confusion is the final refuge of the lazy.”

wundayatta's avatar

and Woody Allen said “I’d never be a member of a club that would have me as a member.”

what were we talking about?

mij's avatar

Hey c’mon were not all like that…

Blondesjon's avatar

@daloon…Groucho was funnier when he said it.

wundayatta's avatar

@Blondesjon: you’re right. I’d forgotten that’s where it originally came from. I’m of the Annie Hall generation, and didn’t see a lot of Marx Bros films.

Speaking of which, what happened to your other eye?

Blondesjon's avatar

@daloon…My Great Aunt on my mother’s side was of Cyclopian descent. The recessive gene was lurking for years in the “woodshed” until my parents act of successful coitus “opened the door.”

wundayatta's avatar

Jeez. I hope they don’t allow you a driver’s license!

CyanoticWasp's avatar

May I suggest, as I think others have already started to, that you’re asking the wrong question? Asking “Why is the world so screwed up?” gets you… depressed. You’ll learn (for as long as you keep the question open and in front of yourself and others) “all of the things that are wrong with the world, and (maybe) a few of the reasons “why”. But you won’t be even one step closer to resolving any of those issues, and you’ll be depressed from thinking how screwed up “everything” is.

So a better question to ask, an “enabling” question, because it leads directly to solutions and improvement in your life is: “How can I make a relationship where cheating doesn’t happen—or even change my mind as to whether it is ‘okay’ or not?” (Because you also have that option, you know. You don’t have to believe that a thing is bad automatically and just because someone said it was once upon a time.)

You might be able to fix your current relationship (obviously something is “wrong” somewhere—but you don’t need to know “what is wrong” or “why is it wrong”; all you need to do is make it better) or you might be able to start a new relationship with a man who won’t cheat, or you might be able to engage your partner’s desire for another into a richer fantasy and role-playing game—and you might even decide to have an open marriage.

(I’m not advocating for open marriage; I am saying that it’s a potential option, and that if you “change your mind” about “cheating”, then it doesn’t have to be “a bad thing.”)

What I am advising is that you change the question you’re asking yourself, and “look for solutions” rather than spin your wheels looking for problems. Lord knows we have enough of them already.

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