How different are the affairs that men have, in relation to the affairs that women have? Are the reasons for cheating different depending on the gender of the person having the affair?
There are several different types of extramarital affairs:
Rocking The Boat - This can happen when one partner isn't entirely satisfied with the relationship and unconsciously seeks to redress the balance by having an affair. They don't usually set out to intentionally have an affair.
The Exit - This type of liaison happens when one partner actively decides to use it as an excuse to end the relationship. It is a way of skirting around the problems in the relationship, rather than confronts them head-on and work things out - usually because the guilty party doesn't want to resolve things.
The Thrill - This happens because of the 'buzz' that the cheating partner gets from having an adulterous affair, usually because the relationship isn't exciting enough for them and they look elsewhere for affection or spontaneity. It is a way for them to experience the initial thrill of sex with a new partner and the 'loved-up' feeling that comes with a new relationship, without the heartache and intensity of a 'real' relationship.
Three's-A-Crowd - This is the type of involvement that can last for months or even years before the guilty partner is found out or decides to do something about the flawed relationship. It can happen for a number of reasons: they may find it hard to commit to one person in the long-term; they may feel suffocated by the prospect of a life-long union, or they may fear being dumped at a later date and decide that they want to be the one to hurt someone else, rather than be hurt themselves.
Many feel that men's affairs fit all but the first category, and that women are the only gender that doesn't consciously set out to have an affair. The truth is that men and women often have intimate affairs for the same reasons - they aren't happy with their current relationships. However, research has shown shed some light on why some attached men may be more likely to have affairs than others. Men whose father cheated on their mother are alleged to be more unfaithful than those who parents had a straightforward monogamous relationship.
Married men also use factors such as workplace inadequacies (being sacked, for example) or lack of confidence as reasons to embark on an extramarital affair. In these kind of circumstances, having an affair makes them feel more attractive and boosts their masculinity. It's been suggested that attached women have adulterous affairs for more emotional reasons and because it boosts their self-esteem. They also want to feel an emotional connection which is obviously lacking in their current relationship. They might feel lonely because of this. They also fear getting older and can embark on an affair to help them feel younger and more attractive.
Lastly, no matter which category you fall into, the one common thread between us all is women are no more likely than men to be 'in love' with their lover. This seems to make sense considering that this type of involvement is not about love, it's about desires.