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Why Would Tiger Woods Cheat?

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Charles Orlando: While the recent news about Tiger Woods' reported "transgressions" is renewing our interest in the subject, it is really an age-old question: What makes a person in a marriage or committed relationship cheat? Despite what a recent guest on "The Tyra Banks Show" wants to say (that there is a "cheating gene"), the real answer depends on whether you're talking about a woman or a man.

sad couple

Cheating was one of the subjects I covered in interviews with 1,200-plus women and 400+ men to write my book, The Problem with Women ... is Men; the results were fascinating, and coincide with many other university-sponsored studies on infidelity. The sad truth is that being caught -- albeit subconsciously -- is evidently the long-term goal.

Women reported that they cheat mostly for emotional reasons, which highlights the contrast between how the genders identify the "reasons" for sex ... the top reasons women cheat are:

• Lack of emotional intimacy
• Marital or relationship unhappiness
• Reaffirm her desirability
• To re-experience feelings of romance
• Loneliness.

Of the men polled, 80% openly admitted to cheating largely for physical or sexual gratification with no emotional tie (the #1 answer). And for the men who were perceived as "powerful" or "influential" (executives, professionals, politicians, etc.), the justifications amplify, and the reasons are (according to them) "justifiable," as they would set their own limits (or not, as it were).

Rounding out the top reasons men cheat are:

• Just want to have sex or sexual variety
• Presented with an opportunity to have sex, without getting immediately caught
• Satisfy sexual curiosity about having sex with a particular person
• The "thrill of the chase"
• The desire to feel important or special (an ego boost).

However, in delving further into the mens' motivations, I discovered that most of them were "unable to get out of their relationships" prior to their infidelity, which translated into the simple fact that they lacked the skills/respect to maturely discuss their unhappiness with their significant other. In short, they acknowledged that they were unhappy and were looking for a way out ... but they couldn't bring themselves to pull the trigger on the relationship. If they cheated and got caught (most long-term cheaters do end up getting caught), they were able to quickly turn the tables, telling their spouse how it was THEIR fault they cheated because [insert reason here: not enough sex, boredom, etc.].

next: Life Lessons from 'Precious'
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