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Cheating happens. And according to Dr. Fran WalfishBeverly Hills-based family and relationship psychotherapist and author of The Self-Aware Parentmen are more prone to straying than women are. Of course, they cheat for a multitude of reasons, because relationships — and people — are complex. It's two people from two different families of origin, [and we] expect them to live harmoniously together under certain rules.

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I assumed cheating was mate-shopping for their next partner. Why else would they seek another partner given the expense, stress of lying, and time involved?

As most public cheating scandals go, a person — usually a man — feels dissatisfied in their marriage or relationship, so they cheat, get caught, and get their way out. After recognising a lack of academic research on this topic, I decided to gather my own data to learn what cheaters actually hope to accomplish by stepping outside of their marriage.

With their help, I spoke with nearly self-identified cheaters and learned first-hand how much grey area exists when it comes to infidelity. My conversations with Ashley Madison members have produced two books, detailing the behaviors and rationales of both female and male cheaters, which, for the most part, go against what we typically believe to be true.

Where a lack of sexual satisfaction at home motivates women to seek out affairsmen crave the emotional connection and support their spouse neglects to provide. I address the latter in my latest endeavour, Chasing Masculinity: Men, Validation, and Infidelitywhich reveals the surprising truth about male infidelity, and flips the script when it comes to what we think motivates men to cheat. For this research, I spoke to 46 men ranging from 27 to 70 years of age, all either married or partnered, and all very eager to share their experience with me.

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While these men report a fondness and deep love for their spouse, they also report a very low or nonexistent amount of validation, and an inadequate amount of attention and praise from her. Perhaps an inequality of the division of household labour resulted in some long-held resentment on the part of their wives. Regardless, these men internalised the dynamics in those relationships as a condemnation of them and their masculinity.

Their decision to cheat comes from the desire to experience the love and affection they expect to receive from their wife, but has faded over time.

After years of enduring those unmet needs, infidelity became a way for them to be doted on while not having to give up a partnership that still means the world to them. However, where their own orgasms and sexual pleasure motivated women, hearing praise for their sexual prowess made men feel worthy and manly.

To them, their wives treat sex as a chore and lack all enthusiasm about it.

Their outside partners function as the person to whom they go for that praise and recognition. That is not to say, though, that the decision to cheat functioned as the first step men took when they felt unsatisfied in their marriage.

And when you pass that hurdle and then face a spouse who simply turns a blind eye, is the next step to file for divorce and upend your life? A total disinterest in changing their home life exists as a common understanding between affair partners.

That is, they prefer the life they share with their spouse. One participant says:.

My wife is my best friend. I enjoy her immensely.

Our personalities match well. Our goals are well aligned, as I believe are the goals of my outside partner.

Hey, guys! cheating is not the only option.

Would these men be happiest with just their wife? But circumstances change and reality sets in.

Infidelity works as a viable path for them to preserve their happiness and ultimately their marriage. Alicia M. Subscribe to marie claire. Get more from Marie Claire.