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< Back to question Why do men cheat on women? Show more Show less

Heterosexual infidelity is increasingly common. Statistics vary, but most estimate that 20% of married men have secret extramarital sexual relationships at one point or another. Why? This illicit betrayal can ruin lives and tear families apart. So, what drives men to cheat on women?

Infidelity is not a gender issue Show more Show less

This approach believes that cheating is not a gender issue.
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Infidelity is situational

There is no single cause for infidelity. Just as every relationship is unique, so are the causes for betrayal.
gender infidelity men relationships women
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No argument can sufficiently capture what it is that motivates someone to cheat. That is because each instance is unique, resting upon a complex of factors that no one but those involved can fully understand. To look at infidelity as a single category undermines the range of ideas it contains. As well as the range of people, their motivations and behaviours, that it claims to describe.

The Argument

It is reductive to believe there is a single explanation for infidelity. This is simply untrue. Analysis must be made on a case-by-case basis. The reasons another person chooses to do anything are impossible to know. This is typified by the term "cheat", which itself can mean a number of things. Would we class a long-standing emotional affair in the same category as a sexually charged encounter, and how might our reading vary depending on the state of a person's existing relationship? Answering these questions is not straightforward, but it does point to a single conclusion. That is that without knowing the links between these disparate forms of infidelity, they should only be looked at as stand-alone examples.

Counter arguments

Infidelity may be situational. But so are most real-world events, ranging from crime to divorce. That does not mean that more general conclusions can be drawn about these subjects. Rather, it reminds audiences to maintain a level of caution in how they read into things.


[P1] All cases of cheating are distinct [P2] There is no single reason for why cheating happens

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P2] We cannot rule out there being points of similarity across all cases of infidelity


    This page was last edited on Friday, 22 May 2020 at 12:28 UTC

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