According to Sigmund Freud, human beings seek out pleasure to avoid pain. That is well and good, but in a relationship one partner’s pleasure may cause the other’s pain.
Most long term relationships follow a familiar pattern. They begin with two people on their best behavior, blissfully in love (and often in lust). They dote on each other, are blind to each other’s flaws and fascinated by each other’s wit and intellect.
As this honeymoon phase winds down, imperfections that were once overlooked or embraced as ‘cute’ become annoying. Minor disagreements sometimes escalate into major arguments. Unsettled issues foster resentments. Eventually, those butterfly feelings you once enjoyed fade to memories, and physical intimacy becomes infrequent, almost an afterthought.
Then comes the moment when a woman wonders to herself: “Is he cheating on me?”
There are a multitude of reasons why men are ‘fidelity challenged’. Some are reflections of everything that is wrong with a relationship; some are instinctual tendencies hardwired into the male beast; still others are learned behaviors.
If you sometimes wonder whether your man is cheating, or if he may be prone to it, keep an eye out for one – or a combination – of these common factors:
Your relationship is built upon lies
Okay, lies may be too harsh a word. But half truths and hidden truths about who you are or who he is, about finances, family, or friends can be as damaging as an out-and-out lie. It is a shaky foundation for a relationship.
If lying is a character trait in your man, cheating may come very easily to him, because a good liar actually believes his own lie. When he denies an affair, he literally believes it didn't happen. And if it didn't happen, there is no guilt. If there is no guilt, he'll likely do it again.
He believes the world owes him and that he should be able to have what he wants, when he wants it, regardless of the consequences.
As a risk taker, he’s someone who gets a rush from living dangerously. Tiger Woods comes to mind. From the outside, he seems to have it all, but internally he’s lost, looking for something he’ll never find. If there’s any hope for this guy, he needs to focus his attention inward on the unresolved issues he has yet to face.
In the struggle between Nature and nurture, Nature has won this round.
This guy is driven by the biological instinct to spread his seed in order to ensure that his bloodline and legacy survive. He hasn’t caught up to the evolution of monogamy yet, and there’s a good chance he never will.
He Lacks the Ability to Empathize
According to psychotherapist Rhoda Mills Sommer, “Part of what creates a bond between two people is being able to be vulnerable and share intimately.”
Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another – to place yourself in their shoes. If a man is not able to empathize, then he doesn’t understand how cheating might hurt his partner. He’s in his own world, and what others think or feel are of no consequence to him.
Cory is a marriage, relationship and monogamy coach at Where Love Happens, using innovative, game-changing strategies to revolutionize 21st century marriages, one satisfied couple at a time.