The Real Reason Why Men Lie and Cheat

why men lie and cheatWe’ve addressed shame a few times on this site but never from the standpoint that it is the reason why people cheat.  That’s probably because we never really considered that a person would cheat because of shame.

Dr. D. Ivan Young provides us with his viewpoint that shame is the underlying reason for cheating and various other undesirable behaviors.  Making matter worse is the fact that the partners of these individuals often enable their bad behaviors.

Please read the article and then offer us your thoughts and opinions in the comment section. 

The REAL Reason Your Man Lies and Cheats (And 6 Ways To Handle It)

By Dr. D Ivan Young

One of the number one questions women ask me is why men lie and cheat. The answer, in one word is — shame.

Now you’re probably asking yourself, “Dr. D, how in the hell does someone who lies and cheats do so out of shame?”

From your perspective, cheating comes across as caring only about one’s own self, one’s own activities, and not giving a damn about the rest of the world. But the truth is … beneath it all, the exact opposite is driving his cheating behavior. Such behavior is merely a mask.

Beneath it lies a very insecure man (or woman) who fears rejection, criticism, and abandonment.

Now don’t think for one minute that I don’t understand how you feel. More than likely you think the self-centered jerk who lied to you, broke your heart, and made you feel like a fool over and over again has no clue of what “shame” is. Herein lies the conundrum. How can a person operating with such a lack of emotional intelligence, a high degree of false pride, and an over inflated ego be ashamed of anything? Put simply, he doesn’t know any better.

Here are a few signs of a man with a serious shame problem:

  • Everything he does is someone else’s fault
  • He gets mad and defensive when you correct him
  • He over inflates his abilities on a consistent basis
  • He over promises and under-delivers
  • He’s unreliable

The behavior outlined above is that of a man who ultimately feels inadequate. And, let’s face it. Who in their right mind likes to feel inadequate? Nobody! Not even you.

When people feel inadequate and ashamed of themselves, it has rippling effects. When men, in particular, experience this toxic emotion, they often project it outward, by taking it out on you (treating you poorly or making you feel responsible for his actions) and by seeking external relief from shame (by hiding out and numbing out in an affair). In order to protect the ego, people (especially men) come across as narcissistic.

Making matters worse, women involved with men like this often enable the bad behavior. More than likely that’s exactly what you’ve done or are doing if you’re dealing with a man who has shame related behaviors/issues. Here’s why — you’re projecting on him the nurturing and attention you desire for yourself. By the time you realize what’s going on, it’s too late. You’re caught up in a dysfunctional, co-dependent relationship.

To begin the process of fixing this, you must first understand what “shame” is — shame is a painful feeling that’s a mix of regret, self-hate, and feelings of dishonor. Here are a few powerful things you can do to help pull him out of shame (and protect yourself along the way): 

  1. Use the word “we,” not “you.” More than likely the man you’re dealing with grew up in an environment latent with criticism. By using the word “we” you’re fostering a team dynamic in your relationship. This helps him feel accountable for his contribution to circumstances and situations, without having him feel like he’s being ostracized. Saying “we need to get back on track” achieves an entirely different outcome than saying “you need to get back on track.”
  2. Lower your voice. Don’t shout or raise your voice when confronting him. In other words, talk to him the way you would a little boy. After all, it’s the little boy inside of him who needs reassurance and understanding. It’s the wounded child within that keeps sabotaging his interpersonal growth.
  3. Use negative reinforcement to get his attention. As with most people, “punishment” such as cursing a man out, hitting, or threatening him, only adds to the problem. Negative reinforcement, however, allows him to see healthy natural consequences of his behavior. It involves you holding your boundaries, allowing him to see the positive things his selfish behavior causes him to lose.
  4. Lead by example. Just because he’s an adult doesn’t mean he always thinks like one. By nature men are competitive, use this to your advantage. Meaning, as you pull your weight following through on responsibilities and obligations, demand that he pull his.
  5. Stop accepting mediocrity. Make clear your expectations, while being that which you seek.
  6. Lastly, never use the phrase “a real man.” This is one of the most shaming phrases men hear. “A real man” would do this, or “a real man” would never do that. Coming at him with this phrase will only lead to a useless confrontation. It’s the equivalent of him comparing you to your mother.

On some level, we’re all a work in progress … including you. Just because your man seems broken now doesn’t mean he’s incapable of fixing himself. Your job is to make sure that you empower him, not enable him. Trust me, when he knows better, more than likely he’ll do better.  (Article originally found at Your Tango)


Don’t forget to share your thoughts and opinions in the comment section below.  Thanks!

Dr.-D Young

Dr. D Ivan Young is a Master Certified Coach, Credentialed Master MBTI Practitioner, and a Certified Master Neuro-Linguistic Programming Practitioner. You can visit his website at





Be Sociable, Share!


22 Responses to The Real Reason Why Men Lie and Cheat

  1. TryingHard August 7, 2015 at 10:32 am #

    What a great article “Dr” because you know what? There just isn’t enough information out there, both stated and implied, that puts the blame for a man cheating directly on the betrayed spouse. Heck your information even makes the cheater the victim!!

    WOW it’s all so clear because of this definitive, even erudite explanation of why men cheat. Thank you for your wisdom.

    But you left some things out. Undoubtedly by using the pejorative “you”, raising your voice, being negative and being less than adult in any marriage we undoubtedly got fat, quit having sex, certainly didn’t cook their pork chops the way they liked and didn’t keep house, do his laundry or raise his children properly either. Shame on us for deriding his decision to quit graduate school because he wanted to open a Llama farm. Shame on us for being angry that he doesn’t help around the house or with the children when we too have worked all day and he wants to lay his ass on the couch. And don’t even try any lame excuses for not getting that Brazillian wax!! Shame, shame on you ladies!!!

    You know whose fault this whole mess really is? Ministers that’s who. Because why, when we were taking all those bullshit vows, didn’t the clergy inform us about all this FOO and tender male ego issues and what we really should be doing is vowing to bone up on the psychosis of men? I blame the marriage industry. It’s their fault we are in this mess.

    Of course this is the women’s fault because affairs NEVER happen in “good” marriages, right? Maybe this theory explains the break down of some marriages, but is certainly not a reason for cheating. Cheating is all on the cheater, male and female by the way “DOCTOR”. Cheating is all about lack of character, integrity, moral compass and an over inflated sense of entitlement. PERIOD end of story. It is not a function of some poor sap’s sense of shame.

    Ladies who are new to this shit show of betrayal, lying and infidelity if you are seeing a therapist who is telling you this bull shit do yourself a favor, GET UP, RUN, DON’T WALK AND LEAVE THIS “THERAPIST”. You know what they call the person who graduated in the lower 50% of medical school don’t you? DOCTOR!! Beware!!!! This is exactly the kind of information you do NOT need right now.

    • Gretamahs August 27, 2015 at 4:34 am #

      I too am sick of so many articles making it the woman’s fault after all- especially the “you enabled him” bullshit.

      That article says, “women involved with men like this often enable the bad behavior. More than likely that’s exactly what you’ve done or are doing if you’re dealing with a man who has shame related behaviors/issues. Here’s why — you’re projecting on him the nurturing and attention you desire for yourself.”

      What kind of crap is that! Behaving in a nurturing and attentive way to one’s husband because one loves that person is not actually being simply nurturing and attentive as as sign of actually caring for and loving someone, but rather something one is doing WRONG in a marriage?!?!?!?!? So, instead, we wives should be inattentive and non nurturing. Oh, but wait, then isn’t that then the reason the husband will have an affair?

      Basically, that article is a BS and probably was written a man who cheated.

      This article is more making the victim (betrayed spouse) more of a victim by telling her that no matter what she did or did not do, it was her fault. And anything wrong the man did, was because he was simply incapable of acting better.

      Don’t fall for this anyone!!!!

  2. Lynn August 8, 2015 at 4:56 pm #

    Thanks for calling that one out! Agree with much of what you said !

  3. exercisegrace August 8, 2015 at 8:37 pm #

    First, I want to qualify my opinion on this article. Understanding why our spouse cheated on us is important because it helps us understand that it was not about US. It was about THEM. I also believe that while the circumstances and setting of each affair are different, at their core they are all the same (kind of like a Danielle Steele novel). Cheating usually occurs when life stressors have built up. Some of us rise to the occasion and use healthy coping mechanisms and appropriate support systems. Others choose to escape into alcohol, drugs or affairs. In my husband’s case, he had a toxic mix of an abusive childhood and a sudden storm of quite a few life stressors, added to an opportunistic “friend” who admitted taking advantage of the situation to press her agenda. Interestingly, I lived through all the same situations. Certainly I could have chosen to cheat, after all I had opportunity as well. Some would argue I had even MORE reason, after he became distant and cold.

    Having said all that, I am completely and totally exhausted by the articles that want to tell ME how to fix things. Articles that present a “to do/don’t” list for ME. Let me be perfectly blunt here. I am not the problem. I didn’t break this marriage. IF you read the majority of the articles out there on affair recovery, you will be left with one impression or the other……….. You (the betrayed spouse) either did not do enough for your spouse, or you did TOO MUCH. Let me translate that for you: You. Can’t. Win. Cheating spouses want to blame us for their affairs. Almost immediately in the recovery period and marriage counseling sessions they will want to jump to “fixing the problems that existed in the marriage before the affair”. To be very clear, all marriages have “issues”. None of us are perfect. We ALL have room to learn, grow and improve as a spouse. But cheating removes that opportunity. How many of us would even be here if our spouses had communicated their dissatisfaction (real or imagined) and been willing to talk it through and get professional help without resorting to cheating with some whore? Very few.

    Each of us, along with our spouse, now has to find our own way to navigate out of this hell we have been thrown into. For me, three years down the road from d-day, I can say my initial strategy has worked. I laid down my firm boundaries for staying, and the top of that short list was that he OWN what he did. No blaming me or the marriage or anyone else. Own it. That meant figuring out what and why he was vulnerable and addressing those character/childhood/etc. issues. It meant understanding the areas he will always be vulnerable and putting concrete strategies in place so I can feel safe and develop trust again. Working on any marital issues (for us the only real issue was making more time for us as a couple) came way down the road. If he wanted to stay in the marriage. If he wanted ME to stay in the marriage, he knew right up front HE had a lot of heavy lifting to do. And please don’t read this as me not owning my own mistakes. I know I have made them, but not a single one or even all of them piled together made me deserving of being cheated on.

    • didntdeservethishell March 7, 2017 at 7:33 pm #

      This is the best “article” I have EVER read on the subject! You are SPOT ON! I applaud your candor and transparency!

  4. TheFirstWife August 9, 2015 at 7:53 pm #

    Amen exercise grace. Well said.

    I think there should be a how to guide, written by many of us here on his blog, who can put together a step by step in how to deal with your spouse’s affair and mid life crisis.

    We are the experts here.

  5. Rachel August 10, 2015 at 7:55 am #

    Good Morning all!
    I need some advice. I am invited to my friends daughters wedding. Unfortunately the ex will be there. I was going to decline because ta-ta ass will be there but I’ve been thinking, why should I miss a good time because of him???
    I can ignore right???

    • CBb August 10, 2015 at 12:05 pm #

      You go with a new outfit, looking stunning with your head held high. If he tries to chat be polite but distant. Don’t stay in his space for more than 1 minute.

      Dance, mingle, laugh, have fun and in the classiest way possible, make him eat his Heart out.

      That is what I would do.

  6. TryingHard August 10, 2015 at 12:43 pm #

    What CBb said!! Only take your new boyfriend too!!!!

    • Strengthrequired August 10, 2015 at 5:34 pm #

      Exactly, take your new boyfriend. No need to hide him, show him off, and let your exh see you the happiest you have ever been.

  7. Rachel August 10, 2015 at 2:22 pm #

    Thank you CBb and trying!!!! Love the advice! Unfortunately my man wasn’t invited.

    • CBb August 10, 2015 at 4:59 pm #

      Too bad for that (no guy invite) but showing up alone & looking good, strong and classy is even better.

      I understand why you may want to avoid it (as I probably would do) but just being present at n event with him shows him he cannot keep you down. He did not beat you b/c you beat him.

      He will be in the same boat soon. He will hop from girl to girl. As soon as they figure him out, they will drop him. If they don’t figure him out, he will cheat in them.

      My cousin was married to the same type of guy. Police officer with an attitude. She kicked him tom the curb and he remarried. One day 2 years later his second wife is calling my cousin crying, b/c he was doing the same thing to her. Well what did you expect? I felt bad for wife number 2 b/c she was just young and naive and about 10’years younger than him. Too stupid to know better.

      Live & learn.

    • Strengthrequired August 10, 2015 at 5:37 pm #

      Rachel, just noticed this, why wasn’t he invited? Can you ask if you can bring him? That is strange for a friend not to invite the man they know your seeing. Are they trying to get you back together with your exh?

      • Strengthrequired August 10, 2015 at 5:49 pm #

        Ohh and Rachel, go, but make sure they do not sit you near him, make sure they seat you far away from him.

  8. Rachel August 10, 2015 at 5:52 pm #

    Well….. My ex is friends with the brides father. I am friends with his wife and the bride.
    I don’t speak with the brides father. He ignores me. At the beginning of my divorce he said that he won’t take sides and he ended up doing it.
    He’s an ass, ex cop cheated 3 times on his wife.

  9. BeckyB2 August 22, 2015 at 7:33 pm #

    I call this as full of crap as any other excuse a bit narcissistic I’d say . Since the shame is the cheaters hmm I still don’t see cheating covering the shame only adding to it but since I’m not a cheater or filled with shame I’m never gonna understand it and I have to say that does make me happy and proud to say I’m not a cheater . The cheaters aren’t publicizing their cheating so I don’t see thier hiding and lying as a way to not be adding more shame it looks like all cheaters are love avoidant and being childish to get what will make them have to hide even more all I see is their insanity .

  10. Strengthrequired August 22, 2015 at 11:52 pm #

    Someone said, they cheat because they want to and because they have the opportunity to. In a way I believe it. Midlife crisis or not, they had the chance and took it. Plain and simple.

    • Strengthrequired August 23, 2015 at 12:02 am #

      I also don’t believe that affairs don’t just happen, if your not looking for it, it won’t happen.

  11. sophia September 15, 2015 at 12:03 am #

    Great article Dr D. See men’s are like a plants in order for we to achieve from it we have to nurture it. But yet again we do all that yet they cheats. Some men believe it’s ok and they’re man they can do what they want then put the blame on we, we push them away, we’re too miserable. I’m happy this support the ladies.

  12. Felicia September 15, 2015 at 1:04 am #

    While I do think Dr. Young presents an interesting perspective that may certainly be worth consideration and examination, I must agree with most of the dissenting comments made. To summarize, regarding men who cheat, I will simply say, HIS SHAME, HIS PROBLEM. Dr. Young, perhaps you could pen an article that explains to men how to deal with such shame in ways OTHER THAN CHEATING. Just a thought.

  13. Carlotta September 15, 2015 at 4:50 pm #

    Wish to follow and learn more about the opposite sex I am a woman that has been broken even as a child from her father just absent not consistent and seeing how it affected in my marriage I became a codependent with a man that has shame. Is very hard to save a relationship when the man does not see that he has these shameful hurt experiences I find the article to be very useful true

  14. Tu October 1, 2015 at 10:45 am #

    I agree with boundaries being put in place. How did we know that our spouses were not grown up, but BIG WHINY, DIAPER-BABIES??? I’m not sure about this family of origin stuff when most of us have NO CLUE.
    They are Masters of Manipulation. We thought the LOOKED AND SOUNDED PRETTY GOOD.
    Guess that’s our fault, too. Even though We have issues from our own pasts such as anise, abandonment, and rejection, we held on in the midst of the CRAZY.
    And now we are called CODEPENDENT.
    I doubt seriously the Author has a real clue. Cheating is a choice. The addict has the mind of a teenager. Unless, we put our foot down, neither of us have a chance to heal much less reconcile.
    Here This World, Therapists, Friends, and Relatives:
    I DID NOTHING WRONG. I WAS LIED TO AND PLAYED WITH BY SOMEONE I TRUSTED AND PEOPLE WHO I NEVER DID ANYTHING TO DESERVE THIS. Stop blaming me, calling me codependent, or telling me that WE both have a part in the destruction of this marriage!!!
    If you insist on telling me that I am somehow at fault, you may
    Want to back away from me quick.
    I have been GASLIGHTED for the LAST TIME.
    You may have a degree, but I KNOW ME BETTER THAN ANY AUTHOR OR THERAPIST.
    Peddle your blame game elsewhere

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Web Analytics