George Mallory was the famous 1920’s mountain climber who attempted Everest in his words, “Because it’s there.” This is the reason many women think men cheat. Much like Mallory who ultimately succumbed to the world’s largest mountain, relationships are swallowed whole by such trysts. But is sex drive and opportunity the real reason men go astray? Or is there something more than the need for variety? Marriage counselor M. Gary Neuman noticed that most of the studies that looked at male infidelity examined the woman’s point of view. He decided to instead to go right to the source. Neuman interviewed 200 husbands, both those who practiced infidelity and those who remained faithful. He not only asked the cheaters why but also what could have kept them from going astray. What he found was, although we often blame insatiable lust coupled with mere opportunism, 48% of men said they did so out of emotional dissatisfaction with their primary relationship. Only 8% said they did so purely due to sexual dissatisfaction.
Neuman said that in our culture the social message we get is that all men need is food and sex to be happy. But guys are emotional creatures too. Neuman found that they also needed positive affirmation from time to time to feel appreciated by wives or girlfriends. When men felt underappreciated or their efforts unrecognized, was when their eyes began to wander. Neuman also pointed out that unlike women men are less likely to speak out about this need. It’s considered emasculating to seek appreciation or approval. Instead, women in relationships who want to solidify them should consider what her man brings to the table and show her appreciation for him. In fact, if she does so he will likely reciprocate, setting up a virtuous cycle dynamic. 68% of those who went astray said they never dreamed of cheating. Almost every cheater interviewed said they felt remorse. Most responded that if they could do it all over again, they would have remained faithful. Though they are emotional, the male of our species is different. Men are able to compartmentalize feelings in ways women cannot, the counselor said. These feelings are boxed and shoved away, to be dealt with at a later date. The takeaway is if you think you’re guy will never cheat, think again. But if you both put a little effort into having the kind of relationship you want, trussed with kindness and appreciation then you have nothing to worry about.
Want to get a sense of whether or not your man might cheat? Take a good, hard look at his friends. 77% of cheaters had a friend who cheated. This subconsciously legitimizes the act. Certainly you have to trust your husband or boyfriend and can’t tell him who to hang with and who he can’t. However, be aware of things, spend time amongst other happy couples and invest in your love. That should be more than enough to cheat-proof your relationship. 44% of cheaters met the other woman at work. “Oftentimes the woman he cheats with at the office is someone who praises him, looks up to him, and compliments his efforts,” Neuman said. This is even more reason to validate him at home. If he starts mentioning a female colleague very often, it may be time to have a conversation. Find out how he has been feeling. Talk about boundaries with a coworker of the opposite sex, for both of you. Find little ways or some time where you two can be more loving and feel connected. 6% cheated the same night they met. That means for the majority they got to know her. They developed a relationship. Notice when you two aren’t connecting. Don’t ignore it, clear the air and work on it together. There is a timeframe before most men cheat. If when things ebb you can reconnect, you’ll be faithful to one another and have a long and happy relationship together. To learn more, pick up a copy of the book, The Truth About Cheating by M. Gary Neuman.