Forget Why Men and Women Cheat, Here’s Why they DON’T Cheat

why men and women cheat

By Jackie Pilossoph, Founder, Divorced Girl Smiling, the place to find trusted, vetted divorce professionals, a podcast, website and mobile app.

I feel like there are many, many articles written about why men and women cheat. Why? Because divorced people want to understand why their spouse broke up their marriage for another person, which is very understandable. Plus, people want to know the reasons so that they can prevent cheating from happening in their next relationship.

But instead of writing about why men and women cheat, I want to address why men and women DON’T cheat, to offer a different perspective on cheating.

Here are 4 reasons  not why men and women cheat, but rather why why men and women DON’T cheat.

1. They feel fulfilled both emotionally and physically in their relationship:

Everyone has heard the phrase, “Relationships take work.” I wholeheartedly agree. Here’s a scenario: a guy has been at his job for the past 10 hours. He gets home. His wife is cooking dinner for their young kids. She doesn’t even say hello, doesn’t even look at him, doesn’t ask how his day was. She is still in her sweats and hasn’t showered. She seems angry and annoyed and just starts complaining about the kids and about how tired she is.


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I’m not judging, because when I had young kids, I had days like this. But here is a better scenario, and one that will ensure a better marriage, hence, less of a chance of cheating. A guy gets home from his job where he finds his wife looking pretty. I’m not saying you have to do extensive hair and makeup everyday, but make a slight attempt to look nice (at least showering and wearing something cute). She stops what she is doing, gives him a kiss and asks about his day. She then serves him dinner, even if it’s something pre-made and heated up from Costco.

Small gestures, little physical touches, kind sentiments, and showing appreciation go a long, long way. Everyone wants to feel like he or she is appreciated and respected and loved.

The flip side scenario: A guy gets home from work and just starts going off on his wife because he’s had a bad day. He’s mean and angry and isn’t thinking about the fact that she has been with three kids under the age of 6 for 12 hours straight. That’s wrong, too. If a guy had a bad day, it might actually help him to bring his wife home some flowers, and then after the kids are in bed, talk to her about his bad day.



Couples also need to get babysitters and go out on dates. Romance needs to stay in the relationship. Sex needs to stay in the relationship. Remembering what it was like before you had kids is key in staying faithful.

2. They feel loyal and fully committed.

Loyalty in a relationship is huge. Let’s say 10 years down the road, the person you married is 10 pounds heavier, getting older, doing things that now bug the crap out of you. People who are genuinely in love don’t care about things like this. It’s the loyalty that keeps them together. It’s a decision you make in the back of your mind: cheating isn’t an option.


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The reality is, (and I think this is true for both men and women) we are always meeting people, through work or social functions, or even just at a local Starbucks. And some of the people we find attractive. But, if you are truly committed to your spouse, cheating isn’t in your realm of options. Yes, an occasional thought of “Hmm..wonder what he’d be like in bed” might enter your mind. Or, “I’d like to rip her clothes off this second.” I actually think that is normal and healthy. The difference is, people who are committed don’t act on it. They’re happy at home.

3. They are happy with themselves/their own life.

One of the reasons why men and women cheat is they are usually unhappy, and many times they blame their spouse because they think it he or she who is causing the unhappiness. These people need to look in the mirror. Big time. I firmly believe that when someone has something in their life that gives it meaning and that makes them happy, that leads to self-love, which causes people to stay faithful.

Whether it’s a career that is giving your life meaning and passion, or the fact that you take great pride in beingthe best parent you can be, if you have something you love and feel great about, you will be less likely to look for happiness in the wrong places-meaning sex or even a relationship behind your spouse’s back.

4. The guilt.

I ask people in relationships this question a lot. What if you could sleep with someone else (some hot guy or girl) and you had a guarantee that so and so would never, ever find out. Would you do it? Some answer yes, some answer no.

I, personally feel that if I cheated, the guilt would be so intense  that I couldn’t even enjoy it. I would be thinking about the fact that I was a cheater the entire time. And all that does is bring self-hatred and a bad self-image.


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Additionally, I would feel like I was betraying my best friend. Why would I want to hurt my best friend? Is the physical pleasure of hot sex really worth stabbing the person you love in the back? Don’t they deserve your commitment? Your monogamy?


In closing, I think there are times in life when everyone gets tempted, because relationships aren’t easy all the time, and they go in phases. Some months you might feel like a newlywed, other times, the person is getting on your nerves and driving you nuts.

The difference between those who cheat and those who don’t really comes down to two things: sticking it out when things are less than perfect, and making sure both of you work at your relationship, so that you have the kind of connection that makes it so no one wants to cheat.

Great Ideas to do for your spouse:

1. Make a “Welcome home” sign with the kids and put it on the door so he can see it when he gets home from a business trip
2. Buy her a card and handwrite something really sweet
3. Scratch her back after a hard day with the kids or at work
4. Let him spend a whole Sunday watching football while you make a big pot of chili.
5. Buy her a spa day
6. Attack him in bed and make him feel really wanted
7. Take her on a surprise weekend getaway and arrange for her mom to come watch the kids
8. Say “I love you” often
9. Say “I’m sorry” if you did something wrong
10. Hug him!

Like this article? Check out, “There are No Buts in a Healthy Romantic Relationship”

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    Jackie Pilossoph

    Editor-in-chief: Jackie Pilossoph

    Jackie Pilossoph is the Founder of Divorced Girl Smiling, the media company that connects people facing with divorce to trusted, vetted divorce professionals. Pilossoph is a former NBC affiliate television journalist and Chicago Tribune/Pioneer Press features reporter. Her syndicated column, Love Essentially was published in the Chicago Tribune/Pioneer Press and Tribune owned publications for 7 1/2 years. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism from Boston University. Learn more at:

    19 Responses to “Forget Why Men and Women Cheat, Here’s Why they DON’T Cheat”

    1. kim

      I did almost everything on your list and for twenty years. I found out he had a secret life for the twenty years we were together and slept with woman he worked with, hookers, and enged in on-line chats, strip clubs and hookers. When i discovered his world I saught professional help and he became physically abusive. He made up lies and had conspired to have me arrested for what he was doin. He got caught at everything and was kicked out of the Military for his abuse. When I asked him why he said it started because I was so busy doting over him and the kids it made it easy for him to do what he was doing behind my back for so many years. He also said almost all the men he worked with were doing the same to there wives. Simply because we set up a secure life for them where they could do it. I am finding more and more that what you described is the leverage many sex addicts seek out to maintain. You should reconsider some if not all that you advise. It didn’t work for me or many people today with the internet making a secret life so accesable while your distracted with trying to look pretty.

      • Linda

        I agree with Kim I did all that on the list after 15 yr marriage ending in divorce a year and half ago. I found out he is a sex addict offender and was even arrested and did time for sexually offending and it does set up for a perfect leverage for a sex addict to hide behind his home life. I am so happy I am no longer with him now and he is still out there setting up another victim and 30 years younger than him. I am Free and living my new happy life thank you God!!!!!

      • wendy

        Yes Kim it seems as though we lived the same way,I did it all also and ended up in the same situation..addiction and narcissist personality disorder are a killer to most relationship/marriages

    2. Karen

      You forgot the word respect. You don’t cheat on someone you respect. That simple. Some people do things to lose the respect of their spouses. And some men and women will never respect their spouses, no matter what their spouses do or don’t do. Those people will stray given the right place and time, and they will be able to put guilt aside and do what feels good because they don’t respect their life partner.

    3. Ted Williamson

      Must my woman be pretty? Come on! I have more serious issues to consider. The prettiest woman in the world, if she is the nastiest, that automatically triggers your psychology to consider that the ugliest being you’ve ever met.

    4. Maurice

      One of the biggest mistakes is for either person to get the idea that just because they’re finding other people attractive, fantasize about others (and they will for life) that it means somethings lacking in the relationship, that if they were really happy and in love they wouldn’t experience those feelings and temptations. As it’s mentioned in this article, these things are normal because we’re human. When people feel guilty about those feelings and temptations (as if it’s not normal for people that are in love) that’s when they begin to question what they already have, and start doubting. This is why It think it’s important, and realistic to openly express this reality to one another. Admit to one another they accept that reality, however are committed to not giving into it, and also very important committed to avoid those red flags; situations and opportunities and even some associations with that egg on temptation. There are people “that will” actively try to get you in bed, trying to convince you anyway they can, they know when you’re attracted to them (don’t think they don’t) because you will lose. Those are people to avoid or at least minimize contact because they may seem nice, they may seem innocent, could be a friend, a friend of a friend, a co-worker, or someone you notice in passing every day; but these types don’t respect you, your spouse or what you’ve built together. It’s simply a matter of self preservation and protecting your investment of the relationship. Personally, I’ve found such disrespect to be offensive, not attractive, drawing me closer to the one I’m with and appreciating them. It may be difficult to believe in this day and age, there are actually some of us that love so , and much and take so much pride in being that strong, that committed. The only way I can explain it in short is that it’s like finding personal fulfillment in the fact that you’re that committed, faithful, that you’re stronger than many others. There is a great inner peace and sense of pride in that. I’m a guy 45, I’m a home owner, I’ve been a professional personal trainer for over 20 years (so don’t assume Im like the 40 year old virgin. I’ve got both looks and talent, in and out of bed. I’ve never cheated in any relationships I’ve had in my life, I have no reason to lie about that. It’s simple, cheating simply never has been something I pursued, not gave into the occasional temptations. MO, never has been, and I take great pride in that. I have been in a long term relationship before (in my 20s) were we practiced abstinence. I have no regrets about it, I learned a lot about myself, and my limits. Also if could handle that, have that much self discipline, I certainly could resist temptation from outside the relationship; because it was temptation and desire to f… my girlfriend’s brains out was killing me for a couple years while in that relationship. It simply helped me prove that if I could resist that, I could resist cheating. I was right. Either way I know it can be done, people have to “want” to be loyal, faithful, find self fulfillment in it, and actually self pride in having such strength.

    5. Maurice

      Sorry for the typos. Oh well, better than being a cheating bastard.. ;-))

      • Lily

        I think honestly Maurice that is something that you should be proud about. It’s the thing that makes men real men and honestly an awesome human being. And, I say this not only because you have self restraint and a strong will. But, because you took initiative to be that way. It is a characteristic that both men and women need to develop. I took that stance that I wanted to be committed in my relationship. It is when you put yourself to the test in these situations that you realize your true potential in all areas of life. When I decided to go down that path I knew I would be hit with a lot of resistance, but it helped me in other areas of my life where I hit similar resistance (eg: my career, and lifestyle choices). I have just started off in my marriage and I hope it will be a successful one. But, time will tell and the will power of my partner will also tell. I wish every who chooses to take the road less traveled success and also I have a lot of respect for you man and woman a like. The results might not be up to date with the instantaneous gratification trend, but you will be successful in lots of areas in your life when you see what self control can help you accomplish.

    6. jac

      why do people do what they do? who cares?
      you only live once, enjoy your life, love who/when/where you want, stop worrying about what someone does when they aren’t around.
      I think it’s ridiculous to think that loving one person takes away from loving another. If that were true how could we love more than one child
      or more than one friend. If this was true then our current love for someone could be lessened by who we had loved before. It is our ego and fear of losing that makes us believe if someone loves us they won’t love someone else and that’s not love it’s obsession.

    7. TARA

      I lost my innocence by our neighbors grandfather whom later died and i had no realization of the significant damage until twenty or so years later. I went about my life being taken advantage of by many boys and men which i cannot blame dew to curiosity. Men, older guys always saw it in me, that spark of curiosity, that intrigue, and most times i led with that. It sounds cynical but for a child who knows no different it is as normal as a snow cone in summer. It was what i was TAUGHT to think was okay. My normal parents had no idea and the shit that happened after was worse. point is … I don’t cheat because i cannot accept that kind of betrayal and I would rather die than live with such! I have been violated in may ways by many men and I have yet in the darkest of my hours been blest with the love a forgiving, strong, greatfull, and determined man who has not only taken upon himself the broken shell of a women but her her child as well…. i am a jealous woman but i am even more so a believer in karma and i have lost enough to know all i have is to gain 🙂

    8. Ouch

      People cheat because they choose to. Nothing else. No one forced them to promise their spouse they would be faithful. They chose to do it. Then there are all these Forums on “Why did He/She cheat” which blame the victim. Truth is that either partner has 1,000,000 to cheat. The faithful ones found ONE reason not to: Their Word. Guess that means more to some than others.

      • Dogfairy

        Ouch has made a good point. There are so many articles on the Internet about “why men cheat”. I don’t care why men cheat. All I care about is whether they do or not. If they do, I’m not interested. Period.

    9. Edward Estrada

      I only read the first one and this is already untrue to me. Whether or not if she makes an effort to look nice means nothig to me. I can truely see beauty in the person I’m with regardless of what she is wearing. I’m a man that despately saught loyalty but never found it in women. God prefers us to be single so I’m giving that a try. All women do is lie and cause me stress on top of slowing down my progress as an individual. I know not all women are like that, some reason when they get with me they become that. I’m not changing who I am cause I know I’m a good person, so I’ll stick close to God, that’s where the true loyalty has always been. I just kind of lost interest in the whole marriage thing, but before I was in love with it. I guess deep down women have kind of killed that flame inside of me. I know somewhere down the line they’d eventually cheat on me and I refuse to be put through that, so much that I just won’t participate anymore.

      • Sad blondie

        I’m sorry that you feel that way. It sucks but I totally get what you’re saying. I’m a female and I can say the same about men. I’m married with many kids, and my spouse is the one cheating, serial cheater over the years we’ve been married, empty promises, does whatever he pleases and says it’s all work and that I should just be happy while he fucks around at work with a married woman (that had kids) I attempted suicide more times than you can count, but life is temporary and I put it in my head that I don’t care anymore, let the kids grow up without being damaged in a broken home, God will take care of me, i did everything right, and he finds a way to say I’m the problem, I never once strayed, I truly think this time around he let the seed of doubt that our last kid wasn’t his to go into a relationship at work. He talks to her and sleeps with her and calls her babe, then minutes later drives home and pretends like nothing happened, like we are a perfect family. He’s a good dad, but I will never love him again. I will respect him but I won’t event open my heart to him again. He doesn’t take care of it, every time I do, I drown myself in alcohol because I find out he’s lying again, and says he is getting rid of her at work. I don’t know how Hosea did it, but my husband is like Hoseas wife in the Bible.. sad world we live in. A lot of hoes pretending to be working. Husbands, be careful.

        Signs she’s cheating based on the women I’ve seen:
        Change in how much time she wants to spend with you
        Too happy all of a sudden
        Change in phone habits, hiding it, there’s a lot of ways to hide it with the current way of technology. Get a recording devise(camera) or pay a PI, or clone her phone. Listen to your gut, set her up and see how she does, ask you friend to talk to her and see if she will take the bait. A true women won’t even flirt back. I promise you that.
        No guilt, will go out with anyone but you
        Doesn’t want to stay home, or take care of house/cooking cleaning

    10. Frank

      This article is so sexist. Why do you presuppose that women want spa days because they are so busy taking care of kids and cooking? Have you ever thought about working women and their desires. We. We need to stop perpetrating a culture that enforces outdated gender stereotypes; the same goes for the implication that all couples who are happily raising a family have to be heterosexual!

    11. The real reason

      Women cheat because it’s in their nature. They can’t help it. It’s all conditional based on how they feel in that particular moment. So instead of finding ways to prop them up to delay the inevitable, accept it. Accept that they might not think it’s ok, but can justify it for any reason. Accept that they can be genuinely good, but cannot stop their “special connections” that may wreck havoc. Accept that it is who they are and live accordingly.

    12. Moulton Mayers

      Cheating is fundamentally oriented around falsehood and false living: People cheat because the world is a lie; it is unawareness of this basic fact why people get themselves into a range of problems and tight corners. It is because the world is false why people lie: Most women who cheat don’t even know why. If you really know that you were born with a false nature, would that concern you? People cheat because they do not know the essence of their nature–and for that reason, people will cheat. At the core of cheat is a lie and a false person whose word is no good. It is against this backdrop that I strongly recommend that you read the Book, “Crashing Streams of Change, ” it will fry all your eggs. People cheat because their perception and understanding of the world is wrong. When you truly understand the world’s false nature and why it is false, you will never cheat on your husband or wife again.


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