Research tells us that approximately 20 percent of people in supposedly monogamous relationships will cheat on their partner at some point during the relationship. Interestingly, the reasons for cheating often differ by gender. Most of the time, regardless of gender, cheaters have plenty of justifications and rationalizations that make their behavior OK (in their own minds).
Men in particular tend to engage in all sorts of “denial” when it comes to infidelity—blaming, minimizing, justifying, rationalizing, etc.:
- Every guy does this. It’s how we’re made.
- If my wife hadn’t gained so much weight, I wouldn’t be looking elsewhere.
- After the kids, my wife doesn’t want sex as often as I do. So what am I supposed to do?
- If my job wasn’t so stressful, I wouldn’t need the release that I get from porn.
- I’m only flirting. I’m not actually hooking up with anyone.
- Guys look at porn and go to strip clubs. It’s what we do for fun. It’s the same as playing softball or grabbing a beer after work.
This listing of internal self-deceptions could continue endlessly, getting more and more ridiculous as it goes. In fact, an outside observer could easily debunk any and all of these deceits, but cheaters either can’t or won’t. Instead, they stubbornly cling to their denial because they want to continue cheating.
Sometimes, their willful ignorance goes on for years, continuing until the infidelity is discovered and sometimes persisting even beyond that.
Importantly, this male version of denial has very little to do with the real reasons that guys engage in infidelity. Typically, men cheat on their significant others for one or more of the following reasons: