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Love, Lies, and Lust: The Inside Story of Why Wives Cheat

Table of Contents

So you’ve been wondering why your wife had an affair. What went wrong in your marriage that she felt compelled to find intimacy elsewhere?

The reasons may not be as obvious as you think. Before you blame yourself or make assumptions, take a step back and look at the bigger picture.

Affairs are complex and often happen due to unmet needs, lack of emotional connection, boredom, low self-esteem, or a combination of factors. The truth is, her affair says more about her own personal struggles than it does about you or your relationship.

While that may be difficult to accept, knowing the underlying reasons can help you both heal and rebuild trust. The journey forward won’t be easy, but with work and commitment you can get your marriage back on track.

Why wives cheat - couple in bed

How many wives cheat?

The more recent studies show that the percentage of married couples having an affair has equalised, and is more or less equal between husbands and wives at approximately (and still alarmingly high) at ~ 20%.

A research study conducted by The Kinsey Institute at Indiana University discovered that among participants with an average age of 31, there were no statistically significant gender differences in the reporting of infidelity, with 23 percent of men and 19 percent of women acknowledging instances of infidelity.

Mark KP, Janssen E, Milhausen RR, Arch Sex Behav, 2011, 40(5), 971-982)

Furthermore, data from the National Opinion Research Center’s General Social Survey (GSS) in 2018 revealed a nuanced picture. It indicated that women in the 18 to 29 age group were slightly more likely to engage in infidelity compared to men in the same age bracket, with rates at 11 percent and 10 percent, respectively.

Infidelity among women increased by nearly 40 percent

Intriguingly, additional GSS data demonstrated a notable shift over time: between 1990 and 2010, the rate of infidelity among women increased by nearly 40 percent, while men’s infidelity rates remained relatively constant at 21 percent.

The General Social Survey: https://gss.norc.org/

These findings offer insights into the evolving dynamics of infidelity, highlighting variations across age groups and genders.


Why do wives cheat?

When a wife’s emotional needs are not being met in a marriage, it can drive her to seek affection elsewhere.

Feelings of loneliness, lack of intimacy, and craving excitement are common reasons wives may turn to an affair.

The top reasons wives give for their affairs;

  • Lack of emotional intimacy and connection with spouse
  • Feeling taken for granted or neglected by spouse
  • Desire for excitement, passion and validation
  • Need for independence and autonomy
  • Boredom. Relationship has become stale and predictable
  • Lack of shared interests and activities as a couple
  • Revenge. Get back at spouse for real or perceived transgressions
  • Midlife crisis. Desire to reclaim youth and vitality
  • Need for personal growth and change Stress and anxiety
  • Affair provides temporary escape from family pressures
  • Lack of communication. Issues go unresolved due to poor communication
  • Unmet expectations in marriage.
  • Disappointment over how relationship has developed.

As you can see from the reasons given above many are similar and can summed up as basically feeling neglected and / or bored.


This particularly occurs in the empty-nest situation, where any children have grown up and the role or requirements of mum and dad have changed significantly.

It’s at that time that our need less for a reliable and dependable parent to your children are diminished, and need for a partner that is more exciting and vibrant to live with are increased. This is true for both men and women.

Child hiding from parents fighting

Addressing Problems in the Marriage

Sometimes life gets messy, and marriage problems arise that drive a wife to have an affair. It’s rarely a simple situation, but often a combination of factors.

Communication breakdown

Without open communication, resentment builds up. She may feel unheard or misunderstood, like her emotional needs aren’t being met. This disconnect can drive her to find intimacy elsewhere.

To improve communication:

  1. Make time to really talk. Put away distractions and listen without judgment.
  2. Express appreciation and affection. Say “I love you” often, give hugs, hold hands. Physical intimacy leads to emotional intimacy.

Lack of intimacy

In a healthy marriage, sex and physical intimacy are important. If she’s not getting this at home, she may seek it in an affair. Some solutions:

  • Go on romantic dates together.
  • Try new activities to reconnect and rekindle the spark.
  • Initiate physical intimacy. Don’t just wait for her to make the first move.
  • Surprise her with a hug, kiss, or flirty touch.
  • Be open to trying new things in the bedroom.
  • Discuss your desires and fantasies.
  • An exciting sex life translates to a happy marriage.

Unmet needs

Perhaps her emotional needs for affection, attention, and excitement aren’t being met. Or she feels taken for granted, like a housekeeper or nanny rather than a wife and lover.

Make her a priority:

  • Express your love and appreciation daily through words and actions. Compliment her, give her your full attention.
  • Share responsibilities and make time for fun together. Go on dates, take a dance or cooking class together, travel and experience new adventures side by side.

By improving communication, intimacy, meeting each other’s needs, and making the relationship a priority, you can reconnect and avoid problems that lead to affairs. A happy, healthy marriage takes work, but with two willing partners, it’s possible.

Couple consoling each other

Rekindling Intimacy and Passion

To rekindle intimacy and passion in your relationship, focus on connecting with your partner emotionally and physically.

Communicate openly

Talk to your spouse about your feelings, desires and needs. Let them know you want to strengthen your emotional and physical bond. Discuss ways you can support each other in meaningful ways, through active listening, empathy and quality time together without distractions.

Flirt and compliment

Flirt like when you first started dating. Make eye contact, smile, tease and laugh together. Offer sincere compliments and express your affection and attraction. Tell them how much they mean to you and ways they enrich your life.

Engage in physical intimacy

Hold hands, hug, cuddle and kiss. Engage in foreplay and sex. Try new activities together like massages, baths or showers. Physical intimacy releases oxytocin, the “love hormone”, strengthening your connection and desire for each other.

Date again

Go on romantic dates, try new restaurants or activities together, get dressed up and go dancing. Do things that ignite that spark of excitement and new relationship energy. Make date nights a priority in your schedule.

Seek counseling or advice

If needed, consider relationship counseling or advice from a trusted friend or family member. A third party can help identify issues, provide useful strategies and tools to build greater intimacy and guide you through challenging conversations. With time and effort, you can rekindle passion and improve satisfaction in your marriage.


So there you have it. There are many reasons why wives may stray and have an affair. The issues are complex, and often it’s not just one thing. Maybe she feels unloved or unappreciated. Maybe the spark is gone. Maybe she craves intimacy or adventure. Maybe she’s just not happy.

The truth is, every relationship has ups and downs, but if you’ve noticed the signs, now is the time to take action. Have an open and honest conversation with your wife about the state of your relationship and marriage. Make the effort to reconnect emotionally and physically. Seek counseling or therapy if needed.

An affair doesn’t have to be the end – it could be an opportunity for a new beginning. But you have to be willing to listen, understand, forgive, and work to build something better.

If you both want it, you can get your relationship back on track and reconnect. But you have to start now.

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