People tend to have very firm rules about monogamy in a relationship and, generally, are fairly non-negotiable in their reactions to infidelity.
It's crap when someone cheats on you. You're likely to be hurt, angry, and of course, take the betrayal personally. But there is more than one reason for infidelity and cheating doesn't always need to mean that a relationship is over.
Who's to even say that monogamy is natural? Couldn't the idea of a person vowing to have sex with one person for a lifetime, be seen as less natural than a person having a number of different sexual partners throughout their life, as their tastes, interests and maturity changes?
A persons reason to cheat is individual and not always as cut and dry as many people would think.
Because it's there.
Of course women cheat too, but when considering men and infidelity, the truth is that often when men are offered sex, they take it - according to research, the reason being that men are less likely to be propositioned and so more likely to take advantage of an opportunity when it arises. Nothing boosts a man's ego like a person who isn't their wife suggesting a quickie in the stationary cupboard, and despite being possibly, the most hopeless of reasons to cheat, is often the root of the infidelity.
Talking of egos.
Just because a man gets married, it doesn't mean that he loses all want to be desired. So even if the stationary cupboard isn't on the cards, the thrill of a chase doesn't, necessarily, disappear the minute he walks down the aisle. And sometimes, it can be the familiarity and monotony of a relationship that drives a man to cheat, in itself stirring the fear of 'is this all there is' and the temptation of one last adventure.
Cheating is fun.
It hurts people, it's selfish and potentially devastating for everyone involved - however, it doesn't matter how you wrap it up, what makes an affair so tempting is the excitement and thrill that comes with it.
There will never be the same level of 'naughtiness' from an honest relationship for the simple reason that it's not a secret. And, for a lot of men, an affair is less about the person or even the sex, it's about the thrill - of the chase, of the secrecy and yes, even the deceit. This being the case, it has absolutely nothing to do you and everything to do with a compulsion that needs to be satisfied.
Complacency within a relationship.
I'm in no way blaming the 'victim' for the infidelity but sometimes, when in a relationship, it's easy to get comfortable and stop making an effort. Sex, appearance, communication - all the things that we invest so much time in at the beginning of a relationship but drop by the wayside the more 'comfortable' we become.
Relationships need effort, whether you've been together for three months or three decades and domesticity isn't always the golden chalice of happiness. Similarly, raising children, paying mortgages, arguing about sunday lunches at the in-laws, isn't alway the sexiest of things to have on your mind when trying to keep things alight in the bedroom.
Yes, keeping the romantic side of a relationship in this situation alive is the better thing to do but it isn't always the easiest - and is, arguably, one of the main reasons men cheat.
Lack of communication.
Infidelity is often a symptom of something much bigger, a problem within the relationship that has manifested itself in one person feeling that they are unable to communicate. It's amazing to think that a couple who have lived under the same roof for 10 years feel unable to voice a concern about their relationship. But sometimes, burying your head in the proverbial sand (or something more fun) is easier than a face-to-face conversation about your emotions.
Having an affair can be either a way of escaping the problems or a way of finding comfort and reassurance from someone who will prioritise you - make them feel either valid and needed again or give them space to breath, away from the tension and animosity.
Should you end a relationship because of an affair?
No, not always - all situations are unique and one persons reason for cheating will always be different from another. But an affair doesn't have to mean the end of a relationship and in some cases can act as the trigger to turn things around.
Thinking beyond the sex, learning to forgive the betrayal and trying to understand the reasons behind a person cheating can lead to a level of communication and understanding you might never had had before - yes it's a hard way to get there but if you think it's something worth saving, don't let people tell you it's black and white - grey is a colour too.