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How Does Cheating Affect a Man?

* I generally write using the pronouns he/him when referring to narcissists, but females are just as likely to be narcissists or exhibit narcissistic traits. So please don't think just because article uses the word him or he that it could not be a woman in that same role.

The phrase “man up” is used so frequently that it is almost expected that men should be Stoic in the face of hurt.

How Does Cheating Affect a Man

Men are “supposed” to have tough shells, and because of this, a lot of people expect that men shouldn’t get hurt emotionally in the same way that women do. 

However, just because a man has a tough outer shell, it doesn’t mean that they don’t feel hurt.

At the end of the day, most people are soft on the inside. So actions that would hurt most women will also hurt most men. 

A man might appear strong, but this doesn’t mean that an action, such as cheating, won’t hurt them.

Cheating can affect men just as much as it can affect women. In this guide, we’ll be taking a deeper look at how cheating affects men. 

How Does Cheating Affect a Man?

So, how does cheating affect men? Well, most people who have been cheated on will feel pain in the same way.

When you cheat on somebody, you cause them immense pain. Pain that is so hurtful emotionally that it can cause physical pain too.

The list of ways in which cheating affects men is long, and ultimately the pain that is caused depends on two factors. 

The first thing that will impact how cheating affects men is how deliberate the act was, and how much pain the cheater intended to cause the man.

While the action of cheating cannot be accidental, the pain that it causes can be both intentional or unintentional depending on the circumstances.

The second thing that will impact how the man is affected is his self esteem. We’ll take a further look at this a little later on. 

Even if the action of cheating wasn’t intentional, it will cause huge pain to the person who has been cheated on.

While the pain itself is emotional, it can exhibit itself in a variety of different physical symptoms.

Immediately, finding out that your partner has cheated on you might cause you to experience dizziness, headaches, nausea, and vomiting. 

However, this pain does not go away immediately.

While some of these physical symptoms might pass, a man will feel long term effects after being cheated on. This may include heightened anxiety, lack of energy and ambition, and depression.

As we have said, the feelings that a man might experience will depend on the intention of causing hurt by the offending party, and the man’s self esteem.

What Men Are Most Affected By Cheating?: The Impact on Self-Esteem

What Men Are Most Affected By Cheating?: The Impact on Self-Esteem

All people will be affected differently by cheating depending on their personality.

This includes men. All men are different, but there are a number of shared personality traits throughout both men and women.

Depending on these personality traits, you might feel this pain more intensely than others. 

Everybody will feel pain when they are cheated on. Even if you try to deny it.

This pain might be something that you want to keep to yourself, or it might be something that you want to share with others.

No matter your preference, most people will feel pain when they are cheated on.

However, some will feel this pain more intensely than others.

Generally, men who will be most affected by cheating are those who have anxiety and attachment issues.

You may also feel cheating more intensely if you are insecure.

If you are incredibly invested in the relationship, with your heart and soul, then you may feel the pain more intensely.

Not only has your heart been broken immediately, but the future that you had planned with that person has also potentially been ripped away.

Men with codependency issues may feel cheating more intensely.

If you experience issues with codependency then you may begin to live for the recognition of that person. You might find yourself putting their happiness before your own.

Men who do this tend to feel pain from cheating more intensely, and they might find themselves asking “what can I do to love him/her more?”, rather than acknowledging the pain that that person has caused. 

Ultimately, men who are most affected by cheating tend to be men who have low self-esteem.

How Does Cheating Change a Man?

The effects of cheating are not only immediate, you will also feel it in the long run.

Cheating has a huge impact on the self-esteem of the person who was cheated on.

Even if you previously had high self-esteem, it will take a huge hit once you have been cheated on.

Men in particular will see themselves as the problem when they are cheated on. 

Men are fixers. If a man is cheated on, then he will usually try to fix himself because he must have done something to cause the person to cheat.

If a man is cheated on, then he might start to alter his behavior or appearance, because it must have been one of these things that caused the person to cheat.

This change is even more intense if the person cheated on the man with the intention of causing hurt. 

In the long run, cheating can also have a huge impact on trust.

When somebody cheats on you, it can be difficult to trust people in the future.

You trusted that person not to hurt you, yet they did. So it can be very difficult to place that trust in another person.

This partnered with the feeling that you must have done something wrong can cause heightened anxiety and severe depression.

This might cause a man to seek, and even crave, validation in future relationships. 

The impacts of cheating are not only immediate, they have the ability to change a man (or woman).


In short, cheating can affect a man in many different ways.

In the immediate moments after, it can cause physical symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, and even vomiting.

In the long run, it might cause a man to change himself and it can cause low self-esteem, trust issues, and codependency.

Cheating is wrong, and the pain that it can cause the other person is immense.

Emergency Numbers

Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) is the nation’s largest organization fighting sexual violence: (800) 656-HOPE / (800) 810-7440 (TTY)

988 Mental Health Emergency Hotline: Calling 988 will connect you to a crisis counselor regardless of where you are in the United States.

911 Emergency

The National Runaway Safeline: 800-RUNAWAY (800-786-2929)

Self Abuse Finally Ends (S.A.F.E)

American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Trauma & Child Abuse Resource Center

Domestic Violence Shelters & Resources

Futures Without Violence

National Center for Victims of Crime

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

National Network to End Domestic Violence

National Sexual Violence Resource Center

Prevent Child Abuse America

Stalking Prevention, Awareness, and Resource Center (SPARC)

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) HelpLine: 1-800-950-NAMI, or text “HELPLINE” to 62640. Both services are available between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. ET, Monday–Friday

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255); www.suicidepreventionlifeline.orgOr, just dial 988

Suicide Prevention, Awareness, and Support: www.suicide.org

Crisis Text Line: Text REASON to 741741 (free, confidential and 24/7). In English and Spanish

Self-Harm Hotline: 1-800-DONT CUT (1-800-366-8288)

Family Violence Helpline: 1-800-996-6228

American Association of Poison Control Centers: 1-800-222-1222

National Council on Alcoholism & Drug Dependency: 1-800-622-2255

LGBTQ Hotline: 1-888-843-4564

National Maternal Mental Health Hotline: 1-833-TLC-MAMA (1-833-852-6262)

The Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 678678. Standard text messaging rates apply. Available 24/7/365. (Provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning—LGBTQ—young people under 25.)

The SAGE LGBT Elder Hotline connects LGBT older people and caretakers with friendly responders. 1-877-360-LGBT (5428)

The Trans Lifeline is staffed by transgender people for transgender people:
1-877-565-8860 (United States)
1-877-330-6366 (Canada)

Veterans Crisis Line: https://www.veteranscrisisline.net

International Suicide Prevention Directory: findahelpline.com

The StrongHearts Native Helpline is a confidential and anonymous culturally appropriate domestic violence and dating violence helpline for Native Americans, available every day from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. CT. Call 1-844-762-8483.

‘Find a Therapist’ Online Directories


UK & Republic of Ireland

  • Emergency: 112 or 999
  • Hotline: +44 (0) 8457 90 90 90 (UK – local rate)
  • Hotline: +44 (0) 8457 90 91 92 (UK minicom)
  • Hotline: 1850 60 90 90 (ROI – local rate)
  • Hotline: 1850 60 90 91 (ROI minicom)
  • YourLifeCounts.org: https://yourlifecounts.org/find-help/

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