Is Infidelity Different for Men and Women?

13 March, 2019
If you have clear objectives within your relationship and there is enough love, a problem such as infidelity can be overcome without problems, no matter if you're a man or a woman.

Many men and women who’ve experienced infidelity ask themselves: “Can I forgive and forget?” The answer is very complex. After all, turning the page around depends on many factors.

For every couple, infidelity is a complex moment, which in many cases can lead to the dissolution of a relationship. However, not everyone perceives infidelity, sexual or emotional, the same way. Furthermore, some believe that men and women are affected differently by infidelity.

Frustrated couple.

How Do Men and Women Perceive Infidelity?

Men and women often differ in how they react to it.

Men suffer more from sexual than from emotional infidelity. In contrast, for women, emotional infidelity may be perceived as just as negative as sexual infidelity. In both cases, it’s hard to regain the lost trust and to forgive that many people prefer to end their relationship.

Emotional infidelity occurs when a member of a couple develops an important connection with another person, much more intimate than friendship. Sexual infidelity is when a member of a couple is involved sexually with another person.

Read this article: When You Should Forgive Infidelity and How to Do It


Unfaithfulness can cause dissatisfaction in a relationship and, subsequently, separation. However, in some cases, the problems may be due to the different ways in which genders define this betrayal.

In this sense, we can classify it in three ways: sexual infidelity, intimate infidelity, and mental infidelity. Each case has its own variables, but an act of unfaithfulness always belongs in either one of these categories.

Women are more prone to label certain actions as cheating. The explanation to this is that they score higher than men in terms of communion (the degree to which a person wants to form and maintain positive interpersonal ties).

Facing Infidelity

Distressed woman

The context in which infidelity happens is a key factor in assessing the seriousness of this, both the length and the degree of emotional involvement.

No matter what the differences are between men and women on this matter, there are some things that both have in common:

1. Reflection and distance

Once cheating is confessed or discovered, it’s important to give time and space to the affected person so they can decide if they want, or can, forgive the deception.

The initial reaction tends to be one of rejection and disbelief.

2. Sincerity

Knowing the facts is of the utmost importance in order to be able to forgive. It’s essential to be as sincere as possible, but this doesn’t mean giving out every detail. Furthermore, extreme detail will produce gratuitous pain and won’t help restore confidence.

3. Breaking ties with the third party

It’s necessary to break any link or contact with the third person. If you wish to continue with your current relationship, then you must allow it to be closed and focus your efforts on rebuilding trust.

4. Understanding why

It’s important that the affected partner understand the reasons and the causes that led to your infidelity. This way, you can use this knowledge to strengthen your relationship.

Don’t miss: How Do Couples Overcome Infidelity?

5. Starting over

After infidelity, the foundations of trust must be recreated from scratch. You both must commit to moving forward together. This implies that the one who was unfaithful doesn’t do it again. The injured party must make an effort to look ahead and avoid falling into accusations and reproaches.

Marriage counselors recommend going to therapy with a professional after dealing with infidelity. If you have clear objectives within your relationship and there is enough love, a problem such as infidelity can be overcome without problems, no matter if you’re a man or a woman.

  • VV.AA. (2017).Forgiving the Unforgivable: Couples’ Forgiveness and Expected Forgiveness of Emotional and Sexual Infidelity From an Error Management Theory Perspective.