why women cheat

Why Do Women Cheat?

One of my favorite movies is When Harry Met Sally. There are so many famous lines and funny moments. In one scene, Billy Crystal’s character, Harry, is at a football game with his friend Jess talking about how he and his wife are separating. Among a cheering crowd doing the wave, he tells his friend the humiliatingly, sad story of his wife deciding to move out and leave him. He describes his wife as saying she wasn’t sure she wanted to be married anymore. It was not personal; she had just become unsure about the institution of marriage. When a moving company immediately shows up to move her out, he knew something was up. He eventually finds out that she left him for another man. That’s when his friend Jess responds, “Marriages don’t break up on a count of infidelity. It’s just a symptom that something else is wrong.”

There are always things below the surface that cause people to cheat. Nothing ever justifies cheating, but there are reasons it happens. There’s a big difference between the two. Knowing the reasons gives our marriages a better chance of not falling into this unfortunate end. Next week, we will cover men; however, today, we are going to answer why women cheat.


More than anything, women are fulfilled in a relationship from the emotional connection. When they feel like their husband no longer listens to them, hears them, or understands them, they feel alienated and alone. The only thing that relieves the pain of loneliness is connection. If it does not come through their husband, the temptation to relieve the pain somewhere else is born.

Win Early: While there are some women who cheat while regarding their husbands as “the perfect guy”, the chances are significantly reduced when there is a connection. Listen to her and communicate as much as possible.  


Everything has gotten comfortable. The day in and day out monotony leads to her being bored with her life and marriage. When everyone is tired, it can be hard to create romance and experience new things. Women long for the excitement of being pursued and feeling attractive. Some go searching for it and some have their head turned in a moment of weakness.

Win Early: Switch things up and try new things together. Let her know how passionate you are about her and never stop pursuing.


This is simple. The husband cheats and the wife sets out to get him back by doing the same. Women that engage in revenge affairs rarely end up feeling better. Normally increased emptiness follows.

Win Early: Stop yourself immediately if you are doing, or even thinking about, something you wouldn’t like your wife doing.

Unmet Expectations

They have desires from their husband that are left unfulfilled: sexual, emotional support, or time together. The list can go on and on. Disappointment and, sometimes, bitterness sets in so they go looking somewhere else to meet the need.

Win Early: Communicate openly about expectations. Meet expectations where you can, but there should also be give-and-take. Some of her desires may need to be sacrificed, yours as well. A spouse can never fill the needs of another completely. That’s why forgiveness and grace are so important.   


Deeply embedded wounds resulting from abuse include a low self-esteem and dissatisfaction in sexual relationships. Oddly enough, validation is sought out through promiscuity and attention from men. This may even happen when the husband gives his wife significant validation and attention. It is just not enough to heal the wound.

Win Early: Validation is good, but it is not treating the symptom. Both of you need to see a counselor regularly.   

Sound Off

Has your wife ever expressed any of the traits above?

BJ Foster

BJ Foster is the Director of Content Creation for All Pro Dad and a married father of two.

  • Jift Gyt

    SELFISH! This the one word that explains any of the EXCUSES and POOR ATTITUDE provided for why women or men cheat (infidelity).I find it horribly amazing why counselors, intellects, researchers, best friends, etc attempt to explain why a person commits infidelity in any form outside of the word of “SELFISH”. God has given and even if you don’t believe in god, the ability to choose. It is given to us from birth. All people make choices. Dealing with the consequences of their CHOICES (selfish behavior) is what should be addressed. Take responsibility and hold yourself accountable for your choices. These excuses and not my fault attitudes allows selfishness to breath more than it should.

    • Kim

      Self righteous much? I agree with you that excuses are simply that….excuses. But God also gave us a higher level of understanding and intelligence, and we are discarding a valuable tool to analyze WHY these things happen if we don’t utilize it. Human beings are complex creatures. We are also highly imperfect. Identifying our feelings and thought processes is a priceless tool so we can get to the root of certain behaviors so they aren’t repeated. If you simply want to scream and shame people from atop your pedestal, that is your choice. If you’re a genuine follower of Jesus, then you would understand that He listened to the wicked, prayed for them, and spoke to them with love and humility. Jesus didn’t come here to pat perfect people on the back. He came to offer love, acceptance, and guidance to the broken. It’d serve you well to remember that. People are imperfect, but who does it serve to belittle them and shun them? Only yourself, and that’s a form of selfishness as well. It makes you feel better about yourself to feel hateful. The irony in what you’re preaching is comical. We’re meant to offer a forgiving hand to one another, and help each other through the worst decisions and the most difficult times. Your anger isn’t in line with the teachings you’re using to lift yourself up. Judge not, love much. Peace.

      • dudeintexas

        Best not to claim the commentor is self-righteous..you’re doing that same thing you state you oppose. The point they are making (and rightly) is right that it is selfish behavior…and the cheater must fix it (deny themselves) rather than point out the offended needs to cure “boredom” or “revenge”, or “unmet expectation”. The Husband can only deal with abuse…

      • Eric J. Martindale

        I think that if we use this rationale, we would have to keep backing up the clock to blame someone or something else. The wife cheated, because her husband wasn’t emotionally supportive. The husband wasn’t emotionally supportive, because the wife was sexually cold. The wife was sexually cold, because her husband worked too much and didn’t give her enough attention. The husband worked too much, because the wife had a spending habit. The wife had a spending habit, because her husband left her alone far too much every day.

        Infedility is ultimately destructive, in a way that these other issues aren’t. The others can be worked through if both parties are willing to try. That is not always the case with infidelity.

  • Jift Gyt

    Again. hold yourself accountable. to be self righteous is to believe you are not at fault. you have free will which is god given. u make the choice. to do what you know is wrong and then claim it is about imperfection it is all about being selfish and not wanting to held accountable for your selfish act. that is the thinking of children.

    To choose to have your cake and eat it too, is all about being selfish. is is not why gluteny is one of the 7 DEADLY sins. the scriptures and life itself forwarns. There is nothing new under the sun….scripture. Read , head and do your best to follow it. Amen

  • Absolutely

    A woman that cheats is such a low life.

    • BryanEW710

      What about a man?

      • Eric J. Martindale

        A man can never expect to explain infidelity in the context of his spouse’s mistakes. Imagine reading a post, where women are told that men cheat because their wives spend too much or don’t ‘put out’ enough. The author would be run out of town.

        • BryanEW710

          Honestly, I agree with that part. My question was more: “is a man who cheats ‘such a low life?”.

          • Eric J. Martindale

            I guess I totally missed the question. (I realize it was rhetorical anyway.).

            Personally, I don’t think I should be calling anyone a ‘low life’ for any reason. I also don’t think I can justify tracing infidelity to a spouse’s failures. It is what it is.

          • BryanEW710

            Totally agree. I was basically just making the point that a woman who cheats is no better (or worse, really) than a man who cheats, so making the distinction is kind of pointless.

          • Eric J. Martindale

            Very true. I suppose that’s the other side of the coin.

    • dudeintexas

      The point isn’t to label this person, they are broken much like we may have been or still are. Please recognize this is to help an understanding rather than to pile on. Bible says man’s best righteousness is filthy rags to God, so no one is clean despite the Devil’s attempt to set different grade levels of sin.

  • Tony Bright

    Chances are, if one is suffering from the excuses presented here, so is the other. So the real question is why did one, but not the other choose to cheat and how to you fix it. Just as we would never accept excuses from a husband who cheats, we should also reject such excuses from the wife.

    I recall back in 2003 when I found out my now ex-wife was having an affair my pastor asking what I did to force her to have an affair. I am sure my list of complaints was no shorter and no less legitimate as hers. The difference was in how we sought to address them.

  • Eric J. Martindale

    I understand the concept behind this post, but we’re walking a fine line between explaining it and justifying it. …although I realize justification is not the intention here. My ex-wife was severely abusive and severely prescription-drug-addicted. Those issues were not my fault, despite my own significant human limitations. She brought them into the marriage. After an overdose and subsequent intervention, she went out and cheated. Then she could no longer live in the marriage, so she left. It took me several months to figure out what happened. I also found out months after the marriage that she had been institutionalized before I met her for both drug dependency and an undisclosed mental health diagnosis.

    Again, I would never say that my wife was married to the perfect man. After a lot of reflection, I realized I was missing the mark in several areas. But I can’t quite believe that infidelity is always traceable to some mutual pre-existing flaw in the marriage.

    • BJ_Foster

      Eric – I was sorry to read about your painful road. Thank you for sharing your story. And no, of course her cheating wasn’t your fault. I never said anything about cheating ever being the fault of the offended spouse. I merely suggested things men can do that can potential lessen the chances. That doesn’t mean if he fails to do these things that her infidelity is his fault. It also doesn’t imply that these activities are fool proof. Some people have an affair regardless of how great their spouse is, as it seemed to be in your case.

      • Eric J. Martindale

        Hi BJ,

        Thank you for your thoughtful reply. Yes, I understand. I’m not sure where my response came from. I haven’t exactly repressed the pain of that experience, but my ex-wife did a lot of blaming and justifying, and I think my reply was a reaction to years of that.

        I don’t think I was a great husband, but I was trying, and I definitely took my responsibility of loving my ex-wife seriously. To be fair though, the mistakes I know I made – working too much, not listening correctly, etc. – should probably be balanced against the help with housework, the random gifts, regular words of affirmation, etc. In other words, in some ways I blew it, in others I did okay. I just tend to think now that people cheat Due to their own inability to cope, sacrifice, love, etc. We’re all screwing things up, and we have to hope our spouse has the character to love us anyway.

        Anyway, I do understand what you were saying – that men can contribute to a caustic environment where cheating ultimately results.

        Thank you again for taking the time to reply!


        • BJ_Foster

          Very well said Eric. I completely agree.

  • Eric J. Martindale

    If you’re a human being, and that’s a big ‘if’, then you’re making big money stakes in your marriage. That is an unfortunate symptom of the human condition. But to say that to be unfaithful is the result of a spouse’s mistakes is to excuse it. I would never expect to see a woman’s blog contend that a husband cheats, because the spouse ‘doesn’t put out’. I also wouldn’t expect to see a women’s blog claiming that husbands beat because their wives burn dinner too much. I really don’t think infidelity should be tied to any ’cause’ outside of ones’ self. We’re all screwing up in our marriages, but infidelity should never be rationalized, excused, or even explained through a context of someone else’s mistakes or failures.


    Now write an article on why men cheat. Be sure to make as many excuses for them as were made here for women.

    • BJ_Foster

      I did. Here you go: http://www.allprodad.com/why-do-men-cheat/

      And I specifically said that nothing excuses cheating. However, there are reasons (not justifications) that they do it. If I were to say that guy 1 killed guy number 2 because of he was seeking revenge that doesn’t justify the murder. It just explains what led him down that road.

  • Jeremy

    I’ve never asked my wife for the reason she had her affair. I’m pretty sure it goes along with her tendency to embarss me and make me look like a fool whenever she can.

    • Thorpe Connor

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