What really makes some men cheat?

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Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter

It's a topic rarely out of the British press, and this week photos have emerged of film director Tim Burton sharing what looks like an after-dark kiss with someone who isn't his long-term partner, Helena Bonham-Carter.

The quirky director was papped kissing a woman near his car after attending a cinema screening with her in early October 2013, but after 12 years together, why would Tim jeapordise his relationship with Helena?

And of course it's not the first case of an A-list man cheating on his wife. In 2011, 'Family man' Ryan Giggs was one of four celebrities hiding behind court injunctions to limit the press from outing his affair, after the press got wind of his extra-marital relationship with model Imogen Thomas. Arnold Schwarzenegger, John Terry, Mark Owen and Ashley Cole, were among others trying to keep details of their affairs out of the press but with the popular force that is social media, it appears nothing stays secret for long.

Woman magazine takes a look at this fundamental relationship problem and asks what it is that makes men cheat...

In this digital age, having an affair is easier than ever. Infidelity has now become a problem affecting 40% of marriages with men more likely to be the culprits than women. But what's most worrying is that men don't have to be unhappily married to do the dirty. The sad truth is that you can be the best and most glamorous wife in the world, and your man may still stray.

Take Tiger Woods for example. He admitted to cheating on his model wife, Elin, 30, and it appears the sporting legend may have had more affairs than golf clubs. Thirteen women have already emerged with torrid tales of wild times with Tiger. He was the man who had everything: beautiful kids, stunning wife, success and wealth. But, because of his appalling behaviour, Elin sought divroce, was awarded a $100 million settlement and Tiger lost several lucrative sponsors.

Why do men cheat?

So why exactly do men risk everything for a quick fling or an even riskier second relationship? It's complicated. There's no one answer but there are common causes, or excuses, as some would see it.

Affairs rarely happen 'out of the blue' - psychotherapist Janice Hiller believes there's something in human nature that looks for familiarity and comfort, but the drive to seek out new experiences is very powerful too.

Lack of sex within a marriage is a huge risk factor for betrayal, but even great sex won't guarantee a faithful husband. A man can have the most doting, sexy wife on the planet and will still succumb to the 'novelty factor' warns Janice.

According to The Relate Guide to Better Relationships, here are some of the main reasons that people already in committed relationships seek someone else at a critical moment. Some point to serious problems while others suggest something is missing in the relationship, but it might not even be anything major...

- Protest: There are times when one of you can feel positively entitled to have an affair. If you are rowing a lot over money or other issues to do with living together and homelife becomes fraught rather than a restful haven, being with someone else somewhere else might seem like a welcome option.

- Insecurity: If a partner feels rejected for some reason (for a man, if he loses the main focus of his partner's attention during pregnancy, or while she is caring for young children) he might look for attention or closeness from someone else. He might also be drawn to an affair if he's feeling vulnerable about his age or waning sexual attractiveness: only the excitement of a new relationship and the admiration in the eyes of someone new can seem like proof that all is still well.

-Sex and 'love': If one of you has gone off sex, or neither of you can be bothered to make time or space for sex, or if sex just seems dull, an affair can seem the answer. If the feeling of 'being in love' and being sexually aroused has gone, one or you may start to look for it elsewhere. In most of these cases it is what is sometimes called the 'fun' that is missing from the relationship. The true one-night stand, a one-off that happens in extraordinary circumstances, can be a case of sexual curiosity, and is usually the only kind of affair that means nothing to the one doing it but can have a devastating impact on the other person in the relationship.

- Growing apart: Couples can grow apart and develop differently until they feel they no longer give each other what they need.

- Breakdown of a relationship: One or both of you can feel the relationship is completely dead. An affair at this stage is often about lining someone else up so that you have somewhere to go when you walk out.

The following reasons are why some people are 'affair prone', and continue to have affairs throughout a committed relationship, although they usually have no intention of breaking it up.

- Excitement: Some people recognise that the heady, exciting feelings of first love don't last, but they are hooked on them. They don't want to leave the steady partner, so go for a series of affairs or one-night stands. These are usually exciting, hurried and secretive meetings with the focus on sex, plus the overwhelming feeling of joy of finding, once again, someone who thinks you are wonderful and who can't wait to see you.

Continued below...

- Fear of intimacy: Some peole find the intimacy of a committed relationship hard to handle. An affair becomes a way of creating distance and privacy. Some people in long-term affairs, effectively have two part-time relationships, which means the person is not fully intimate in either one.


Read over the page for real life stories and relationship advice on cheating...

All pages in this article

  1. 1. What really makes some men cheat?
  1. 2. Why some men cheat: your stories

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hurt and confused

why would a man cheat with someone from his past, never told you about her but risk it all in your 20 years with him and yet give you STD and say she is only a whore.


She made a huge mistake and she has paid the price for it but now she is happily settled down with a child. I highly doubt she is going to make such a dumb mistake again.


NO excuse. Your pathetic. Any decent woman would come clean to her partner and dump the other guy.


Thats no excuse.


I'm having an affair which has gone on for 17 years. I am desperatly trying to end it but he blackmails me so I don't know what to do. Recently I found out that he got married last year and I was devastated. He lies and lies all the time and when I tell him I want to end it he says he will tell my family.


Theres no real reason for cheating and it's unacceptable either way. Theres no excuse. If someone has cheated there simply not happy in their relationship.


I personally think they should take imogen thomas out and tar and feather her she is the type of person that gets woman a bad name and make men think we are all like her. Like Nicola my ex had numerous affairs and it took me ages to realize I could live without him "BUT" in this case she only went with him to get in the press because if that was not true nobody would have ever found out about it At least now men should see her for what she is a very expensive lady of the night and not go near her with a barge-pole

nicola totten

i lost count of the affairs and flings my ex-husband had. he would always blame the woman for throwing herself at him and i was quite happy to accept that for years, especially when he was crying, begging forgiveness and faithfully promising it would never happen again. it took me years of hurt, anger and disappointment over and over again to realise it would never change. every time he was caught just made him that bit more careful the next time but i got more and more suspicious and found i was spending all my time trying to prove i was right in not trusting him which just gave him another excuse. i genuinely think that there is no man that has existed either past or present that has been 100% faithful his whole life. i don't think they can be and if they do get caught and forgiven for it then they'll do it again and you'll torment yourself waiting for it.


I second that annemarie,for some reason,some man just want a younger model.


i think some men are like a child in a sweet shop, when they think anyone younger or whatever than their present partner fancies them, they lose all sense of reality and grab the chance. sometimes i think they keep their brains in their jeans rather than their heads. most men seem to get a sort of midlife thing that convinces them they need more attention and they havent the brains to think what could happen when they are caught cheating.

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