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When it comes to men, relationships, and cheating, I could write a book. In it would be plenty of information on the types of men who have affairs and how to spot them. This way, you won't have to experience the devastating emotional trauma of betrayal.
I’ve been cheated on, and I’m not ashamed to own the experience for fear of judgment or getting blamed for his infidelity. Cheating is a choice. You can’t make someone have an affair, yet men commonly blame their partners for their extramarital indiscretions.
There’s always a risk a man will stray from the relationship. Unfortunately, men don’t come with an infidelity warning. This has caused some women to become cynical and avoid heterosexual relationships altogether.
I enter relationships mindful of the risk after being blindsided and utterly devastated when my ex-husband cheated. I was unprepared to deal with that type of emotional crisis and struggled to cope with the betrayal.
To keep you on your guard, I’m going to describe the three types of men who are prone to love affairs. Also in this post are the reasons for cheating, red flag signs he’s unfaithful, and the emotional effects on the faithful partner.
What Is an Affair?
The widely accepted definition of an affair is when one spouse, or partner in a committed romantic relationship, engages in sexual activities with someone else. It is an act of infidelity and a serious relationship offense that includes kissing, fondling, oral sex, and intercourse.
The decision to do so without their primary partner’s consent is what makes it cheating, says psychologist Mary C. Lamia, Ph.D.
For many people, the gender of the outside partner, the number of times the partner cheated, and whether or not it was intentional or emotions were involved don’t matter. It’s still cheating as long as there is any type of emotional or sexual involvement, in person, via text messaging, or online (cyber affairs).
Ultimately, what constitutes an affair may differ depending on an individual’s belief system and relationship core values. A couple can determine at the outset what constitutes cheating in their relationship. This will help guide their conduct and prevent one party from saying “I didn’t know you considered that as cheating.”
You can choose not to enter the relationship if you and your partner have different ideas of what an affair means and are unable to reconcile those differences. Taking these steps is part of setting relationship boundaries.
Of course, NOT all men cheat, as some people believe. Or is it that all men cheat but not all men get caught or admit their indiscretions? Regardless, it’s not healthy to conclude that all men cheat even if your previous partner had an affair.
However, the statistics aren’t encouraging. Reports on surveys find that married men cheat at a rate of between 25 and 72%. The exact percentage is hard to pin down as it requires men to confess to the deed.
Is It an Affair If You’re Not Married?
A frequently asked question about affairs is “Do you have to be married for sexual or emotional intimacy with another person to amount to an affair? Again, the answer will be subjective, depending on the couple’s core relationship values. In a strict and narrow sense, the term ‘affair’ applies only to marriage. Sometimes it’s called an ‘extramarital affair’ or ‘adultery’.
The problem with this narrow definition is that unmarried partners can use it to justify cheating. The core difference between a relationship and a marriage is the latter is a legal contract. It provides legal benefits while imposing legal obligations on both spouses.
There’s a belief that marriage means there’s a higher commitment. That’s not entirely factual since married and non-married people alike cheat. Overall, it comes down to your definition of an affair.
It’s cheating for some individuals if they agreed to an exclusive, committed relationship with a partner who later engages in any of the agreed-to offensive conduct.
How Does Relationship Cheating Affect You?
For me, as it may be for others, cheating is the ultimate form of betrayal and I have zero tolerance for it. It’s grounds for divorce or ending the non-marital relationship since I lose all loving feelings and respect for my partner.
Infidelity is a breach of trust in the relationship and is almost impossible to restore. It doesn’t matter if it was a casual (hook-up), emotional, romantic, or cyber affair.
Discovering your partner has been unfaithful is linked to significant emotional distress even if you’re a resilient and confident woman. Ultimately, it will take a toll on your mental health regardless of if you’re married, cohabiting, or living apart as boyfriend and girlfriend. Feeling utterly betrayed is only one of the first of a long list of negative emotions that will surface.
Relationship experts and researchers agree an affair has damaging long-term emotional effects on the non-cheating partner. Common emotions include anger, self-blame, shame, guilt, regret, grief, and loss.
These emotions can surface at different times or all at once and are difficult to cope with. Things can get worse if your partner says you caused it. Getting blamed may make you feel not good enough or unworthy.
“Mental health conditions such as anxiety, chronic stress, and depression can result, according to Psych Central. A study published in 2015 found that major depressive episode (MDE) was common in the partner who discovered the affair. Besides the psychological trauma and impact on self-esteem, the cheating partner also exposes his partner to sexually-transmitted diseases.
Does Having an Affair Lead to Divorce?
Both partners and the entire relationship suffer as a consequence. However, research by the American Psychological Association found that an affair triggered 20-40% of divorces. Surprisingly, “61% of men who cheated are still married,” according to a Psychology Today article, “Is Your Marriage Doomed After an Affair?”
Although infidelity is often an emotionally devastating event, many couples stay married for other reasons, including children and to avoid shame. In some cases, they’re able to genuinely work through the betrayal.
Regardless, a relationship rocked by infidelity is never the same again. You never really get back that innocence with your partner. Usually, the partner who gets cheated on continues to experience a persistent lack of trust.
Three Types of Men Who Have Affairs and Signs Not to Miss
Are you like me, wishing men came with a label, disclaimer, and warnings? At least, you would be aware of the risks involved in dating them. You’d have the choice of entering into a relationship with full disclosure or refusing to date them, period. Oh, “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.” (British Proverb, Nursery Rhyme, 1628)
Familiarizing yourself with the personality type and characteristics of men prone to cheating will have to suffice for the time being. Hopefully, you will dodge that bullet by increasing your awareness of the red-flag signs of infidelity.
Type 1. The Horny Guy
As the description suggests, this is a guy who has a high sex drive. Nothing is wrong with wanting to romp in the hay every chance he gets. His problem is that he seeks out multiple partners to help satisfy his sexual cravings.
Catch him cheating and he’ll have the perfect excuse. “I have a high sex drive, what do you want me to do?” he might brazenly ask you as he attempts to defend his sexual indiscretions.
Infidelity for a horny guy isn’t linked to relationship problems. He would cheat on the ‘perfect’ woman on a ‘perfect’ day. He could be intimate with his partner, then leave to seek sex with someone else immediately afterward.
Cheating is more of an impulsive act to satisfy uncontrollable sexual urges. It’s a sport, a game of how many women he can conquer. There’s usually no emotional connection to their other sexual partners. It isn’t uncommon for controllably horny men to have sex addictions or sleep around with prostitutes.
Reasons why the horny guy cheats
Don’t let him try to convince you it’s his sex drive. The main reason is a lack of self-control over his raging hormones. There are also those fantasies of getting laid every chance he could. Guys have confessed that liking variety in the bedroom and pure boredom are some reasons for straying. Others admit that sexual attention from different women gives them validation.
Watch out for this guy. He’ll defend cheating as simply trying to satisfy his natural urges. He may even blame you by saying he’s ‘playing the field’ because you’re not providing him with enough attention or sex.
Warning signs your man is potentially a horny cheater
Don’t try to fix or reform him. You’re already playing a losing game with this guy. What’s that saying again? “A tiger cannot change its stripes.” Unless you’re okay with your man casually sleeping around, then the only choice may be to cut Mr. Horny loose.
Type 2. The Frustrated Guy
The frustrated cheater cheats from a needs-based point of view. He feels neglected or his partner isn’t meeting his physical, sexual, or emotional needs in the relationship. In fact, 70% of male and female participants in a study noted their infidelity came from a lack of attention by their partners.
He may lack the self-awareness and ability to introspect and ask if his sexual needs or relationship expectations are reasonable. For all you know, he’s acting impulsively because he’s in his feelings.
He may not consider that his wife or girlfriend works full-time or is exhausted from taking care of the home and children. Women also lose interest in sex periodically due to hormone changes.
He could discuss his concerns regarding a lack of intimacy or emotional neglect with his partner. If he’s not confident about asserting his needs, he may get them met outside the relationship. Stepping out could also come from passive-aggressiveness, especially if he’s cheating out of resentment towards his partner.
Reasons why the frustrated guy cheats
Unlike the horny cheater, the frustrated cheater usually doesn’t want to cheat. He normally feels guilty afterward. He’s not cheating because he fell out of love or is emotionally attracted to someone else. He isn’t chasing the thrill of an affair. Usually, he’s feeling sexually starved inside the marriage.
Some of it may link back to feeling lonely in the relationship, which can happen even if their partner is doing the best they can. Low self-esteem or feeling rejected or unworthy as a guy are other factors. Even though the Frustrated Guy knows having an affair is wrong, it provides a boost to his ego and self-esteem.
If he has been experiencing long-term anger, frustration, and unhappiness in the relationship as a whole, cheating may be his ticket out of the relationship. He just doesn’t have the confidence to say the relationship is no longer working for him and end it amicably.
Warning signs you’re dealing with a frustrated cheater
He could defend his action as a form of coping with negative feelings about his relationship. However, the problem with this method of coping with frustration and low self-esteem is that it could turn him into a serial cheater. Whatever explanations or justifications he may have, you may still consider it cheating and suffer the psychological effects of an affair.
Type 3. The Opportunistic Guy
Why does ‘narcissist’ comes to mind? Well, my ex exhibited a lot of narcissistic tendencies, plus he had, not one but, several affairs. It took me a while to find out because he was so clever at hiding it. In the end, he wasn’t so clever after all, because extramarital affairs led to our divorce. He was an opportunistic cheater who got caught.
An opportunistic cheater is typically one who has a happy marriage or relationship. However, he has cheating tendencies due to his belief system or negative personality traits.
For example, sleeping with multiple women is a way of asserting masculinity and control in the relationship. Or he’s a narcissist, otherwise known as a man who constantly seeks attention and validation to boost his fragile ego. One woman is never enough for an opportunistic guy.
The difference between him and the horny guy is that he doesn’t actively seek to have affairs. But bet your bottom dollar he won’t pass up on the opportunity if a woman invites him to have sex. The fact that he was sought after gives him someone to blame–the woman…just in case he’s caught cheating!
Reasons why he’s an opportunistic cheater
He likes the thrill of nabbing a quickie here and there without having to actively seek out a partner. He thinks he can step out and not get caught because of his environment or maybe he thinks you’re not smart enough to find out.
At the core of his behavior is a tendency to be deceptive. The thrill behind a quick hook-up in the right place at the right time also plays into this cheating dynamic. I think of this guy as a slippery eel who can’t be trusted. Men who fit into this type of men who are unfaithful include businessmen who travel for work and those who work in closed-door offices.
He’s the type who will sleep with the secretary, the babysitter, and the housekeeper, every time the opportunity presents itself. He engages in this conduct because he believes he won’t get caught. There’s a power dynamic between himself and these women. He’s the boss, which makes him believe they won’t tell anyone or they’ll risk losing their jobs.
If he gets caught, he’ll tell you it was a mistake, he was drunk, or the women threw themselves at him. Not true! He’s simply a “quickie” kind of opportunistic cheater.
Warning signs your man may be an opportunistic cheater
I hate to break it to you, but since opportunities for a sexual tryst can present themselves at any given time, you’re likely dealing with a long-term, serial cheater. That’s if he doesn’t grow in emotional intelligence, recognize what he’s doing wrong, and quits.
Something to note…
From my reading on the subject of types of men who have affairs, those with a certain type of personality are more likely to stray. They include men with insecure attachment styles, have a family history of infidelity, have a fear of commitment, or struggle with intimacy issues.
Men who have personality disorders with low self-esteem as an underlying factor are also prone to having affairs. These include males with narcissistic personality disorder.
Final Thoughts on Types of Men Who Have Affairs
Even women who have a thing for ‘bad guys’ want nothing to do with guys who can’t keep their pants up. You should never agree to date a cheater!
Be confident in yourself and know you deserve a loving and faithful partner. Cheating is a form of emotional abuse. Hopefully, you never have to deal with infidelity or the risks.
And now that you’re aware of the types of men who cheat and how to spot them, continue educating yourself and discover the 13 Early Red Flags in a Relationship You Should NEVER Ignore. It may surprise you!