Why Do Cheating Men Risk A Lifetime In The Doghouse


By Lisa Earle McLeod

Why do men cheat? With two high profile affairs making the headlines these days, that of former presidential candidate John Edwards and that of reality star Jon Gosselin of “Jon and Kate Plus Eight” fame, everyone from Oprah to my 11-year-old is asking, “Why?” The Edwards affair is a rehash, re-ignited with the publication of Mrs. Edward’s new book “Resilience,” and the Gosselin affair is, as of this writing, still somewhat speculation. But it doesn’t matter whether it’s old news or unconfirmed news, people, well, mostly female people, still want to know why. Why would a man risk his career, his family and a lifetime in the doghouse simply for a meaningless fling? In her recent interview with Oprah, Elizabeth Edwards said, “I’m a puzzle doer, I had some pieces of the puzzle, and I felt it was going to make sense if I had all the pieces.” However, throughout the interview it became obvious that Edwards, like so many other wives, couldn’t reconcile the loving husband she knew with the man who put his career and family in peril just for a romp with a star-struck staffer. Is it only we women who don’t understand this behavior? I’ll refrain from commenting on the Jon and Kate saga, since nothing has been officially confirmed, although I’ve certainly enjoyed having to explain to my “Jon and Kate” loving fifth-grader what an affair is. Reality stars aside, it’s an all too familiar story. The high-profile man cheats, gets caught, expresses remorse, saying that he can’t believe he hurt his family like this, and then the couple may or may not try to put their marriage back together. What causes these men – men who claim to love their wives – to do something so stupid? Why would a man risk ruin for cheap sex? The obvious answer is, well, cheap sex. However, in most of these situations, the sex actually ends up being quite costly. One look at John Edwards’ face when Oprah and her camera crew showed up, and you know that guy is going to be paying for his mistake for the rest of his life. (Reader aside: women cheat too, but it’s usually because they’re looking for a relationship, not just a romp.) Yet most of the cheating men claim that their affairs were meaningless. However, their cheating was clearly not meaningless to their wives, revealing, yet again, another fundamental difference between men and women. I asked several male friends why so many high-profile guys cheat, and the most common answer I got was, “They cheat because they can.” One friend summed it up, saying, “Men are dogs.” Hey, he said it, not me. But maybe some men really are dogs, and the more powerful they get, the harder it is to keep them chained to the porch. Perhaps some of these guys need a choke collar to go with their wedding ring. Whatever the case, perhaps it’s worth reminding all the cheaters out there, cheating doesn’t make you stud, it makes you an animalistic mutt. There’s a place worse that the doghouse, and men who can’t control themselves usually wind up there. It’s called the pound, and they have quite an efficient system for dealing with dirty old strays.

Lisa Earle McLeod is a syndicated columnist, author, keynote speaker and business consultant who specializes in helping individuals and organizations create happiness and success. Her latest book is Finding Grace When You Can’t Even Find Clean Underwear – For more info – <>

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