Your Call: Why Do Men Cheat Down?

We get a lot of advice questions coming in at EMandLO.com, but sadly, we just can’t answer them all. Which is why, once a week, we turn to you to decide how best to advise a reader. Make your call by leaving your response in the comments section below.

Why do guys cheat down? Meaning, picking a woman less attractive. My husband cheated on me with a woman twice my size. He said he found her unattractive but couldn’t help himself. Another friend of mine (she is a model) had her husband cheat on her. It was while he was out of town and all the women were less attractive. Of course these are just two examples. I was always under the impression that if you are going to cheat, at least make it worth it.

What do you think? Do you agree that men “cheat down”? Why or why not?


  1. I’m an attractive woman… always have been. I’ve always been in shape, never “let myself go” (even after 3 kids), I’m 38, but often, regularly mistaken for much younger. I’m what most would call “beautiful” “youthful” and I don’t consider myself the typical married with kids housewife. I like sex, I enjoy it. My husband and I have sex very, very regularly and always have (we’ve been together 6 years, married almost 4) and yet he cheated. (We had sex 2 days before he cheated) and nonetheless, with some ratchet looking “Tuesday night special” (I say that because it happened on a Tuesday night, at a ridiculously trashy bar) with the most disgustingly, trashy, unattractive 23 year old. He is 32. I’m guessing the appeal was 23, because I certainly cannot see any other. Like seriously, I have very seriously stalked this girl after learning of my husbands affair, and she is not only, not attractive, but has nothing going for her besides being a waitress at a fairly large food train (applebees.) But that’s not even where he met her. NO. She has since stepped UP to work for Applebee’s. I don’t get it. Why do men cheat down? I’m very much in love with my husband, still, even after the infidelity… but it bothers me that I don’t understand. How could he stoop so low? It’s not like he wasn’t getting sex from me. Was the allure of a 23 year old (no matter how unattractive and seriously yuck this girl was/is) just unsurpassable? I mean, damn it, if you’re attractive, in shape, and love sex, is that still not enough to keep a man happy and around? Is there seriously no hope? Any disgusting, yuck looking 23 year old can swoop in and have your husband at any given time? Simply because she’s 23? I mean, please let me know if this is where we are headed, cuz damn, this is just not worth my time.

  2. I’m currently in a relationship and fantasizing about other women. My girlfriend is beautiful, easily the most attractive girl I’ve ever dated. The reason I found this article is because I wanted to know why I was fantasizing about other, uglier women. Why did I have a desire to cheat down?

    I can’t fully answer the question but I can tell you it’s purely sexual for me. One comment I read was that you could just use and abuse the other for sex with no commitment. This is true and part of why cheating sounds tempting. It’s the freedom to just get absolutely nasty with another girl with no worries of taking care of her. Just pure hot and steamy sex. 100% lust, 0% love.

    Another comment was a lot more than looks comes in to play. This is true as well. I don’t have a desire to cheat with just anyone. The girl has to have a certain package, and personality, to go with her to make me tempted. She has to seem welcoming to the idea. She has to seem almost devious. Bonus points for knowing I have a girlfriend and not caring. That kind of selfish and narcissistic attitude is insanely attractive to me.

    Don’t get mad, I haven’t cheated. I am only entertaining the thought and trying to figure out why I have these urges. I love my girlfriend, more and more every day. But I don’t lust my girlfriend as much anymore.

  3. I think it goes definitely beyond sex.

    Some men are stronger than others when it comes to temptation.

    Maybe the reality is that if a wife/s.o. becomes emotionally unavailable, or a nag! and another (less pretty, sophisticated or smart) woman REALLY listens to him, praises him, makes him feel good about himself…he becomes interested, even obsessed with her.

    This new, less than beautiful (even homely) creature makes him feel good about himself. She is full of admiration for him. She’s his friend who does not criticize him – and only notices his good side. She comments on his virtues and strengths. In her own way she compliments him on his manliness.

    I certainly am not advocating cheating but we are all human; we all have an ego and we all have the desire to be appreciated!


  5. Just reading through the BS from some on here. Cheating down is not always only about looks (or whatever the standard of beauty is). It is about intellect, sense of humor, personality…the entire package. I was recently cheated on. The woman i was cheated on with was someone who was a complete psycho, nut job. She is stupid and ignorant on top of being physically ugly (by societies standards). The woman had nothin going on. Why? Why did he do it I asked? Why with her? The answer was that he knew he couldn’t continue a relationship with her because she was such a mess in every way. I was going through a bad time and wasn’t fully emotionally available to him. He said he wanted me, and she was a substitute to fill in the time until I was there. He said he wasn’t even sexually attracted to her, but he could use and abuse her sexually, and so he did. He even told her she was a booty call and he would never love her, that he loves me. We are trying to sort through the issues, and as it stands I don’t know if we will. The explaination makes sense to me even if it is embellished for my benefit. Is it plausible?

  6. Well im a plus size young woman who has many options but was intrigued by a nice looking military man. I met himand he chased me for MONTHS no dating just texts n calls here n there. Im a busy single woman with no kids. So i have a life but he checked on me and every other day asking about meeting me again. I gave him his chance and we dated for months he was at my home almost everyday then one day I decide to get on my fb acct. And look for his name so we can be friends. Look at his page he has a NEW woman he had bought a house with a month before he meet me and she is pretty but frail. Im big but beautiful. On his page you can see he was going through a divorce and seen his wife she is cool woman nothing out going as my self but like i said, in this situation all his cheating has gained him two pretty ladies. But his first love was plus size woman. He love big pretty women. Now his first love is like myself outgoing. So now i think his personal interest is big beautiful women but his heart got hurt so he parades around with small chicks and now cheats on them with big chicks and im not the only big woman he has been cheating with but i gave him a run for his money now he got caught but inlike of me and confused. So never assume that these men are cheating down. They can cheat up or cheat with ehomever. Theres a reason he cheated. You either find it to fix your relationship or leave him alone. And sad to say ugly is the characteristics if a persons behavior. Any woman is capable of having some attractiveness.

  7. Low self worth. Low self esteem. Very very low self esteem. No self love. I wonder what a man like that thinks of himself. He is probably someone who hates his own reflection when he sees himself in the mirror. He sees himself as trash.

    1. eww. your comment is pretty repulsive. what kind of person could you be to even entertain it to be true that looks improve ones value. just because you think someone is not as good looking as yourself doesnt mean they arent a better person than you. you need to get a grip with reality and stop being so vane.

  8. PS – Who am I to say who is better or worse? I’m a person who is free to have opinions that others frequently agree with. Whether you like it or not, there is a pretty standard set of ideals that exist. “But I’m big and beautiful!”, you say. “I’m pretty on the inside” Sorry. That’s not really as big a thing as some people want it to be. It seems that guys will do almost anyone as long as they can hide the less attractive ones from others’ judgments. I guess that’s what dating down is: getting to bang someone else (easily, I might add) and getting to hide them so as to not be judged for it.
    At the end of the day, I’m kind of glad for the trend. Because if I ever got cheated on, it’d be so much better to see all your mutual friends quietly whisper what a downgrade the new one is and how your next fling is better than him. Every time I’ve seen this scene, the guy tries to crawl back. Luckily my friends usually have moved across or up and can rub that in the cheater’s face. If you cheat, you cheat. I don’t really have a problem with it. Just don’t expect the other person to take it lying down or to not move onto bigger and better men.

  9. It’s true. Men cheat down. It’s weird. I once cheated (I know, I know. Hubububu cry me a river. It happens. We’re adults here and I stayed out of the shark pit since) but it was a GIANT upgrade. The guy I was dating was a misogynist asshole who manipulated me and once made me apologize for getting angry at him for calling me “jokingly” a c*** in front of our friends. The guy I cheated with was a drunk one night stand who I now talk to on a weekly basis and visit often even though he lives across the country. I don’t get cheating down. You cheat because you want to see what else is out there and get an ego boost. Sleeping with an ugly or less intelligent man wouldn’t be what I’d pursue if single and it sure as hell won’t make me feel better about myself. Let’s be honest. Most of us know who catcalls us and who gives us attention. Usually it’s the average to low tiers. So, if you’re going to do something wrong, go for someone you’d struggle to get otherwise. Yes, it’s more work. But, what do you really get from ugly sex other than novelty? Cheat up or across, gentlemen. I get that sometimes people have different tastes but a 2 and a 10 just aren’t a good matchup.

  10. My soon-to-be-x-husband cheated on me twice with the same woman. I took him back the first time he cheated then he cheated on me again with the same woman which made it doubly painful. I assumed she was much prettier than me. I finally saw her and I was astounded. She was short, had an acne-pocked face, dressed shabby, no womanly figure and had a pronounced prominent lower jaw that made her resemble an APE. Literally! She looked mannish and talked loudly in a booming masculine voice and walked like a man. I am now thinking that my x is a closet homosexual who is attracted to a woman who resembles another man! I had been too feminine for him!

  11. I notice the jealousy-thing come up again and again. The beauty queen I was in University was not something I bragged about- it was the college men who called me the most beautiful in college!! I should have married the man I loved in Florida whose family owned a string of clothing stores.He was not UGLY like the broke fat farting man I was told to marry by Dean of students. I have now learned to please myself as well as others. And be with more upper-class men. A LESSON WELL LEARNED!

  12. Cuz men like slam pigs…. Sorry to say, but its true… My husband did the same thing to me… The girl was a insecure about herself & my SOON TO BE EX HUSBAND liked the “RUSH” of her wanting him…. & she enjoyed telling all about it, well he lied to me…

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