As I shared recently in an interview with Washingtonian magazine, Oprah is one of my heros and I've enjoyed watching her since the mid-1980's. Last week, Oprah dedicated an entire show to why it is that men cheat. Her guest for the show was M. Gary Neuman, expert and author of "The Truth About Cheating". I was surprised to learn that 1 out of every 2.7 men (so roughly about 1 out of every 3) will cheat, and that most wives will never know! Also shocking was that 92% of men who cheated said that their primary reason for cheating was NOT about sex!
I have never cheated on a man, but I have gotten into situations where I unknowingly was "the other woman". I'm sure many of the ladies have found themselves in similar situations where the man doesn't come clean about being in a relationship with another woman, or even a married man pretends he is separated and in the process of getting a divorce. Anyone who has been in a relationship for close to a decade knows that with time, the mystery, lust and excitement that you find at the beginning of a relationship will turn to the expected, comfortable and ordinary.
Cheating isn't so much the problem, as it is a symptom of a problem which is men and women not appreciating each other. On Oprah, Gary said, "The majority said it was an emotional disconnection, specifically a sense of feeling underappreciated. A lack of thoughtful gestures." But most likely there is a reason women stop making thoughtful gestures and take their husbands for granted. Likely, these women are also underappreciated. The husband and wife are both out earning a living, and taking care of household chores and the kids, and start taking one another for granted. The expectations we take with us into marriage don't necessarily all pan out, so then we are disappointed and want to blame our partner.
When we feel taken for granted at home then we are weak when someone at work, or while we're traveling takes an interest in us. We haven't felt like a hero at home, so it's flattering when someone seems to "get us" and takes notice of qualities which haven't been noticed by our spouse in a long time. Before you know it, we look forward to escaping our home life to be around this other person, a crush develops, and before you know it a full fledged affair.
For couples who don't want to give into the temptation of cheating, and don't want their spouse to give in, you have to break the vicious cycle. It's hard to give when you aren't getting. So Gary suggests that couples start giving to each other. When you give, you get in return. Gary suggests using positive reinforcement, by praising your partner when he or she does something nice.
I highly recommend reading Gary's book. I think it's very insightful.
- Miss A
Published On: February 15, 2009