Why Women Cheat

Why Women Cheat

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to reveal the motivations and reasons women cheat.

First a quick update:

The relationship poll”
Read the interview I gave to the Daily Vanguard about the relationship poll it took with college students and with surprising findings when males and females identified trust, loyalty and honesty as the most important thing they look for in a partner. 

Does your marriage or relationship suffer from the putt putt syndrome?”
I have been appointed the exclusive relationship expert for the new movie, “The Putt Putt Syndrome.” What is it? How do you prevent it? How do you get out of it? Read the transcript of the interview I gave to Joanie Winberg CEO of the National Association of Divorce for Women and Children and host of “Single Again! Now What?” Talk Radio Show.

Now, let’s talk about why women cheat.

When we mention the word cheating, we often immediately think of men – Tiger Woods, John Edwards, Elliot Spitzer, Governor Mark Sanford, ESPN’s Steve Phillips, Robert “Mutt” Lange, Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, Peter Cook and the list goes on. From politicians, athletes and musicians to corporate executives such as Oracle President Charles E. Philips, it seems as if men are cheating all the time and much more than women.

But what about women? Do women cheat?

The latest statistics reveal that women cheat on their husbands equally as much as men – one in five married women has had an affair according to the National Opinion Research Center.

Why do women cheat on their husbands and are their motivations different from men’s motivations?

Yes, women cheat for different reasons to men!

As I have outlined in various media interviews and articles, men cheat first and foremost because of power, opportunity, narcissism and a lack of self-discipline (i.e. they can’t say no and thus they give into temptation.) Listen to the various radio interviews I have given about men, cheating and power at Radio-Interviews

In 2010, the celebrities and the powerful have found the way to excuse their behavior by claiming they are addicts – i.e. Tiger Woods and Steve Phillips. In fact, both Tiger Woods and Steve Phillips have attended the same rehab clinic. This is like the Monopoly game’s “Get out of Jail free” card; the ideal way to cry “I am not responsible for my behavior, I have an excuse and I do not need to be accountable; It’s not my fault, I am helpless.” And for high profile people such as Tiger Woods and Steve Phillips, it is also the perfect way to try and win back the public’s support, empathy and affection. And yes, Tiger Woods and Steve Phillips may have other emotional issues but their primary issue is not addiction.

So if the primary reason men cheat is due to narcissism and lack of will power, what about women? Why do women cheat?

Women cheat when they feel invisible and their emotional needs aren’t being met – and that is part of The Putt Putt Syndrome.

The Putt Putt Syndrome is a new movie, a dark comedy by director and producer, Allen Cognata; it had its New York City screening last Friday and is coming to Los Angeles in March. Allen and his team chose me as the exclusive relationship expert to the movie.

And although the movie is a dark comedy, it has a powerful message, and a startling wake up call to men.

The Putt Putt Syndrome is a real and common occurrence where both partners putt putt along on contentment, idling and just getting by; the man is in mid-life crisis and the woman is disillusioned by a one-minute romp. She feels lonely, isolated and neglected by her husband who is lost in his work while she is lost in the children and maybe her own career. Gone is the romance and excitement and now both husband and wife have become roommates – the woman feels invisible, she’s not being heard, and with plenty of opportunity and temptation around her, she seeks to have her needs met elsewhere…cheating occurs. Remember, today, women have more opportunity than ever before; in decades past, the joke was that the wife, stuck at home, might have an affair with the milk man but today, she is surrounded by men and opportunity at work, the gym and even in the supermarket.

In the film, The Putt Putt Syndrome, Johnny (played by Jason London) thinks he lives the perfect married life until his friend Tony (played by David Chokachi) whose wife cheated on him, plants a seed of doubt in Johnny’s mind. One day, tired of hearing his bitter friend’s nagging about why wives cheat and marriages fail, Johnny decides to check out Tony’s theories only to discover he has got all the symptoms himself. Suddenly, Johnny’s perception of suburban marital bliss comes tumbling down, as he finds himself trying to save his marriage in the midst of a midlife crisis.

Vicki, the cheating wife (played by Heather Tom) reveals in the film why she cheated when her husband stopped giving her attention and stopped noticing her. Vicki confides in her best friend Sam (played by Thea Gill) when she tells Sam that she felt invisible in her marriage and her husband Tony never noticed her or listened to her.

When women feel neglected and unloved, they can also feel ugly, unwanted and worthless. When a woman loses all of the emotional intimacy and bond, she also feels like a shell rather than a whole or full person; she feels unfulfilled even if her career is going well and even if she has a close and healthy relationship with her children. For women, bonding, relationships and nesting are critical to their sense of happiness and mental and emotional health.

And one of the key things a woman wants is to be adored, to be feel, know and be reassured that she is the one, the only one. She wants to be heard, wants to be noticed and wants her man to listen and be empathetic. She also wants him to respect her body and love and express affection without it always having to lead to the bedroom. She wants him to be with her.

Thus, when another man comes along and starts to provide her with her emotional needs – he gives her the attention, listens to her and makes her feel alive, treasured and special – then she will give in and have an affair. And as Vicki in the movie, The Putt Putt Syndrome explains, her affair wasn’t about love or the pure physicality – they were both using each other –she was using him for the attention, the compliments and for making her feel like a woman again.

Of course, in every situation, we decide how we are going to respond. And one of the mistakes many people make is the failure to communicate to their partner about what they feel, what they are experiencing and what they want and need. It is okay to ask your partner for what you need. Too many women make the mistake, out of false pride, of refusing to ask their partner to give them what they want, falsely believing that “He should know what I want and do it naturally.” This is the misconception: “If he loved me, he would naturally do it.” Sorry ladies, but sometimes, we men are Neanderthals, and we need to be reminded.

In fact, the major mistake most men make is to think that as long as they are working and providing for the woman and family, then they are fulfilling their role. In other words, men quickly forget about providing what cannot be bought; providing for her emotional needs – love, praise, attention, compliments, encouragement, support, affection, bonding, romance, and so forth.

So yes, there are strategies to get out of the Putt Putt Syndrome and to prevent an affair. In order to relight the fire, both partners must make the romance and marriage the priority. Many parents put their children first but then the marriage falls apart and the children end up being hurt, lonely and parentless. Think of the airplane analogy – put on the oxygen mask and then turn to your children and give them the mask.

Accordingly, awareness and action are the answer.

For men, here are some key tips:

*Listen and pay attention to your wife/girlfriend

*Notice everything about her – when she does her hair, it’s for you; when she has her nails done, dresses up or buys a new dress, it’s for you

*Make her your priority once more, put her first; the better she feels about herself, the better she will feel and respond towards you

*Stop thinking that marriage is SOD (sex on demand) and romance her once again; be creative

*Block time to discuss bills, problems and responsibilities and then switch off and become a romantic couple

*Compliment her, give her attention and affection without expecting or trying to lead to sex

*Take the lead and organize romantic getaways or dates

For women, here are some key tips:

*Stop taking the children to every single co-curricular activity on offer

*Start putting the marriage first

*Tell your man/husband how you feel – neglected, invisible, not heard

*Ask your husband for what you want and need; he will express his real love by responding accordingly

*Create a weekly date night

*Reserve a hotel room once a month for that “afternoon delight”

*Use texting to create anticipation and mystery for a surprise meeting with your partner

*Play roles and fantasies

*Revive the mystery and flirting

Finally, remember, we all need to be loved and men need to feel needed. Let your man know how you need him and what you need to feel special.

If you would like more information, tips and strategies, read the transcript of the interview I gave about the Putt Putt Syndrome and how to get out of it.

If you would like to comment on this newsletter, click here. If you have received this newsletter as a forward and would like to receive all of my newsletters please enter your email address on the home page at PatrickWanis.com.

I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & Clinical Hypnotherapist

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12 replies
  1. Avatar
    Anon says:

    I have a relevant story to share both on this subject and on Patrick Wanis’ ability as a hypnotherapist. I was away from my wife on business and found an old female friend. I knew I was attracted to her and had consciously thought in my mind, think “the secret”, how the evening would go without incident. Thru alcohol and a late evening with her and other friends we ended up fooling around.
    I was very distraught the next day. I did not feel particularly bad for my wife (who would never find out), I felt horrible for me and my horrible behavior and was very frustrated how I could let this happen, even though I had mentally prepared for it not to happen (so much for the Secret).
    At the next opportunity I scheduled a session with Patrick and with his guidance flushed out the issue which allowed, in fact led, this to happen. It quickly came up that it was related to my father’s behavior. Patrick investigated my opinion of my father as a young child to find out that I had intense respect for him, idolizing him, like I believe most boys do. In fact I idolized him so much I wanted to do everything he did, in fact my identity as a man was tied to imitating him. This works out really well until I was 19 and learned that my father had been cheating on my mother for most of their marriage. They divorced and with Patrick’s help I was able to understand that my need to imitate him also doomed me to cheat, just like him.
    This is a horrible revelation, and believe me I understand how it sounds like a cop out. What Patrick was able to do next was guide me, using his process, to understand that in a great many ways my father is a great role model. And there are certainly a number of ways in which he is not. I can look up to my father and extract my identity as a man from him and his behavior. I can be the man I want to be because it is only I who defines what a man is and what man I will be.
    Having experienced this process before I knew the conscious understanding of this was easy and would not lead to real resolution. It was at this point with Patricks process that we made sure there was continuity in belief from me as a young child, to me as a teenager, to me as the 19 year old, to me now. It was only when Patrick was able to guide me to this continuity that a felt a real shift and a real sense of relief that I had truly made a change and that I was not doomed to imitate my father’s horrible behavior.

  2. Avatar
    Katrina says:

    I am starting to feel like you perceive all relationship problems as men’s fault. When men do bad things it is their fault, their ego, their narcissism. When women to bad things it is their mate’s fault.

    Most relationships are two imperfect people. Both sides make mistakes.

    I think you do women a disservice by holding them accountable. If they have nothing to fix, then they are destined to repeat the same patterns.

    This is a wonderful book that address how both men and women can improve their relationship without making either one the bad guy.

    How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It

    • Avatar
      Patrick Wanis says:

      Dear Katrina,

      thanks for being open. And I think you meant to say “I think you do women a disservice by NOT holding them accountable.”

      And you would be right if that were my approach. I also understand that based on this article, it sounds like I am blaming men for the woman’s actions; but if you also read my latest success newsletter you might change your opinion – “angry nagging men” https://patrickwanis.com/blog/index.php/2010/03/03/angry-nagging-men/

      In my newsletter, I do say:

      “Most men do not want to change and are surprised that their wife has changed. But then they refuse to accept that they have negatively affected the outcome and that they can now affect it in a positive way. Again, please note I am not here saying that the man is all wrong and the wife is perfect nor vice versa. However, when a person waits for the other one to change and she does, too, then the stalemate occurs. ”

      I agree with you that each and everyone of us must be held accountable for our actions and choices. We cannot blame someone else for the way we respond (women cannot blame men and vice versa.) We can explain why we did something but that does not justify it.
      I am also saying that we influence people. If a man or woman constantly ignores the other person or criticizes them constantly, then the love is detroyed and there is a good chance he or she will look outside the relationship to have his needs met.

      If you feel that I am tougher on men than women in my writings, then I might say you are right, because men need to be pushed to accept that they must change. Women welcome change and growth while men fear it and are shocked to learn that their wife or girlfriend has changed.

      Now, I also haven’t read the book you mentioned but I am guessing that the way to “Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It” is quite simple: work on yourself. And Katrina, if you read my other books and articles, you will be aware that my key platform is that we cannot change anyone else, we can only change ourselves and we must always be open and willing to work on ourself. And another of my key teachings is that when you change, often people around you will also change or at the very least, if you change and your relationship does not improve then you can walk away knowing you did your best and you have a gift and treasure to take with you – your growth and change.

      All the best,


  3. Avatar
    Erol says:

    Great stuff! I’m curious, it seems our culture is so PC now, no one has the guts to suggest that maybe Tiger’s wife had anything to do with him straying. Only comedians have grazed it, like David Allen Greer or SNL. If anyone were to suggest that the wife actually has power, that she has influence, would be seen as a woman hater.

    For example, is there any remote possibility that dead-beat dads could be co-created by ex-wives? My mother wished my dad was dead when they divorced. She did everything to make him a dead beat, except for him being a revenue source.

    The point: Is it possible that women are not complete victims? That they actually have power through the immense love in their hearts?

    • Avatar
      Patrick Wanis says:

      Dear Errol,

      You have raised some valid points. And the first point I would like to make is that we must all accept responsibility for our actions and choices. In other words, man or woman, we cannot blame anyone for the choices we make should we choose to cheat. People can influence us, they can contribute to our decisions, they can even push us into a corner, but, on the final count, we are responsible for our choices and actions. And again, this point refers to both men and women.

      Accordingly, Errol, I agree that we need to remember that in any relationship, there is a dynamic, and energy and both partners affect and influence each other; they can bring out the best or the worst in each other. I don’t know what role Elin played in Tiger Wood’s marriage and whatever she did, we must ask ourselves if that explains or justifies in any way, Tiger Woods choosing to cheat and have affairs, trysts and sex with over 14 women. That goes beyond Steve Phillips case where he had one affair with a young girl. In other words, Elin cannot be blamed for her husband having 14 affairs.

      You also raised another valid and insightful point: “is there any remote possibility that dead-beat dads could be co-created by ex-wives? My mother wished my dad was dead when they divorced. She did everything to make him a dead beat, except for him being a revenue source.”

      I would respond by saying that again, a man can affect a woman in a long-term relationship and vice-versa. I have heard many times from women, stories of how their boyfriend or husband destroyed their confidence and self-esteem and sense of self-worth via mental, physical, verbal or emotional abuse. So, of course, a woman can do the same to her husband. Constant berating, criticism, judgement or condemnation can destroy a person’s self-esteem.

      So, finally, yes women (and men) are not complete victims. They do, as you asked, “have power through the immense love in their hearts.” And in my Success Newsletter and article above, do not want people to think that I am saying that women are victims but I am saying that women have needs and if those needs are not met within a marriage or relationship they will look to have those needs met outside. I am also not saying that it is OK, correct or an appropriate response; an affair will almost never do any good for a relationship. The result is always painful and only a few select marriages and relationships can recover and learn from the experience.

      Thanks Errol for having the courage to speak out and state your truth!


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