Why do people cheat? It’s not an easy question to answer. Maybe it’s a crime of opportunity, or it stems from low self-esteem. There’s no blanket answer.
While every situation is different, these 14 guys open up about the specific reasons they cheated.
1. For a long time, it was how I ended relationships. I know that’s bad, but when I was younger, I would just let relationships take their course and when things got boring and stale and it didn’t seem like we were putting any effort into it, I’d start seeing someone else. If I’m being totally honest, I think back then I just thought it was easier than having a talk about things and the relationship. I thought it was better to just act shitty until they left.” — Tom, 28
2. “The relationship I was in wasn’t going very well, and I met someone that really gave me a lot of attention and it felt really good. I felt wanted again, and instead of taking a step back and figuring things out, I thought with my dick and just followed it.” — Derrick, 27
3. “I cheated a lot when I was younger because I kept getting away with it. It was a case of having my cake and eating it, too. The blame falls on me, don’t get me wrong, but since the women I was with never broke up with me, I was like, ‘Well, why wouldn’t I cheat? What’s the downside?’” — Seth, 29
4. “I honestly don’t know. I was dating this really great girl. I thought she was the one. I thought we were going to get married. All of that junk. I was out one night visiting a friend that lived hours away and an opportunity presented itself and I felt like I could do it and get away with it. She found out and we broke up. It’s the only time I’ve ever cheated and I’ve been in more casual or ‘worse’ relationships and didn’t cheat. It’s something I think back to sometimes. Maybe subconsciously I wasn’t ready to commit? I don’t know, but it fucks with me.” — Nate, 26
5. “I was feeling trapped in my current relationship. That doesn’t really excuse cheating but I really felt like I couldn’t leave but I wanted to. I met someone who really showed me my value and helped me through it, and it got romantic before we meant for it to happen. We dated for years afterwards, but it’s something I still feel bad about.”— Kyle, 25
6. “I’ve cheated on more than one occasion. And it’s because I never feel invested in the relationship. I’ve never cheated on a serious girlfriend, but I don’t feel bad sleeping with someone else just because I’m ‘seeing’ someone. Especially if I don’t see it going anywhere.”— Nathan, 27
7. “I was young and we went to different colleges and I convinced myself that she was going to cheat on me anyway. So my thinking was, if I do it first she can't hurt me. And I ‘win.’ And I had it there in my back pocket so that if she did cheat on me, I could say I did, too. Looking back, that’s obviously such an unhealthy and immature way of looking at it.”— Aaron, 28
8. “It’s funny, but asking me this question now, years later, I have a real answer. Back when I did it, it was just because it looked cool. Like, that was alpha to me. But honestly, in hindsight, it was because I had a really bad view of relationships; my parents' relationship, my early relationships. I just felt like they weren’t going to last so I didn’t bother.” — Luke, 28
9. “I was drunk and she was hot, and I’m not going to lie, I mostly saw it as an easy out of my current relationship.” — Tim, 25
10. “I was a serial cheater for a while and it was because I needed this… I don’t think ‘boost’ is the right word… but I needed vindication. I needed to know I was wanted. In a relationship, I felt like I had ‘won’ already and that made me feel restless. I had a lot of problems to work through.” — Anthony. 28
11. “I cheated because she cheated. Unsurprisingly, our relationship didn’t last very long.” — Ethan, 26
12.“I promise I’m not a piece of shit or anything. I was seeing someone I met on Tinder. It was pretty casual. I liked her and I was having fun and had just come out of a long self-inflicted dry spell after a bad break up. And I thought she saw it as casual, too. I ended up meeting my now-wife when I was out one night. It was instant sparks, just animal chemistry. I broke it off with this other women and she was so upset. I felt awful. I honestly didn’t even realise I had really ‘cheated,’ but she saw us as being in a relationship. I still feel bad about it.” — Joel, 28
This article originally appeared on Men's Health US.