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Men who are caught cheating will often try to minimize, rationalize, and justify their behavior with a million excuses, but in the end, cheating is ultimately a choice. The decision to cheat can be driven by multiple factors, none of which are an excuse for the careless decision, but it can help explain why it happened in the first place. To understand the explanation behind what percentage of men cheat, we spoke to Briony Leo, a psychologist and head coach at Relish , a relationship coaching company. Meet the Expert. Briony Leo is a psychologist from Melbourne, Australia, and head coach at Relish.
She has a background in trauma counseling, addictions, and health and wellbeing. In the aforementioned study, men were less likely to report that extramarital sex was always wrong, and more likely to view it as almost always wrong, wrong only sometimes, or not wrong at all. A study from the Institute for Family Studies IFS uncovered some surprising data about when married men are most likely to cheat. Before 30, the of married men and women who cheat is about the same 10 percent versus 11 percent. However, as we age, men become more likely to stray not just in mid-life, but later in life as well.
IFS reports that the infidelity rate among men in their 70s is the highest at 26 percent, and it remains high among men ages 80 and older, as 24 percent of men admit to being guilty of infidelity. Older men are part of the Baby Boomer generation and came of age during the sexual revolution, which could explain their chronic indiscretions. Cultural ideas about marriage change with the times, as many couples can see from the way their marriage is different from their parents, in ways that could be seen as both positive and negative.
People stray for a multitude of reasons, and sometimes those reasons do correlate with marital dysfunction, like insecurity, conflict avoidance, lack of connection or sex, or just plain loneliness. Other times, an affair can be a way—albeit, a potentially destructive one—of self-discovery and searching for a new or lost identity. Why would someone who is supposedly in a happy marriage risk it all for a cheap thrill?
In either case, understanding why the infidelity occurred and making sense of the actions that led up to it will most likely lead to some clarity that helps light the path for where two people go from here. The future of a marriage post-affair is completely dependent on how both people process the transgression. These earth-shattering events have a way of bringing about the most honest, deepest conversations two people in a relationship can have.
Of course, this all depends on if both people are willing to do the work necessary to rebuild things. Renowned relationship therapist Esther Perel says that sometimes an affair can actually help to re-shape a relationship and make it new again. In some instances of infidelity, the breach of trust and betrayal was so deep that it does, in fact, break that first marriage. The question then becomes: Would you like to create a second one together? J Fam Psychol. Wang, Wendy. Who Cheats More? The Demographics of Infidelity in America.
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What Percentage of Men Cheat?