- What Makes Love Last?
- Cheating - Why do Men and Women Cheat?
- Relationship Counselling - Why it's a good idea
- Relationship Counselling - How To Communicate Better
- Change In Relationship Counselling
- All About Love
- Couple Intimacy Exercise
- Relationship Counselling - "Be here Now"
- Stuck Relationship Patterns
- Affairs and Betrayal
Cheating - Why do Men and Women Cheat?
The reason men cheat isn't simply because they want sex. Men often cheat because they miss the feeling of being admired and feeling a woman positively responding to them. Usually with their partner they feel criticised and undermined. Men need to feel they can make their partner happy and to feel admired and trusted. Men are motivated by knowing 'they can get things right' for their partner.
A lot of arguments are not really about the surface things, rather they are about a woman feeling the loss of an emotional connection and bond with their man. Not enough connection feels like abandonment. In an attempt to regain a connection women complain, and tell their men what they "are not doing right". Unfortunately men don't know that the complaining and criticism is actually a desire for connection. Men begin to believe that they, 'can't get it right for her' and lose self-esteem. Once the pattern starts of a man distancing and a woman complaining the man can become discouraged. When he tries to 'do the right thing', he soon gives up when the appreciation he longs for doesn't come instantly. He needs to perservere and appreciate his partner more in order to break the cycle.If he continues to distance it makes the lack of connection worse and his partner feeling more abandoned.
At these times some men are vulnerable to cheating on their partners to get a sense of self esteem and affection they long for. They attempt to re-experience what it is like to have a woman's positive attention. It's not really about sex at all. It's about the need to be admired.
Women cheat as a last resort when they feel taken for granted by their partner. Women wish to feel appreciated, desired and special to their partner. Some women are more vulnerable to cheating if they have a friend who cheats as makes it seem more acceptable. The key factor for a woman deciding to cheat is that their partner has ignored their attempts to emotionally re-connect. Women cheat because their partner doesn't listen to them. It's hard for women to repeatedly bring up issues as they fear being seen as 'nagging'. Some men have learnt to avoid conflict so rather than listening and sorting things out they do something temporary or wait for the issue to die down. What they don't realise is that a bit of the love and connection their partner feels for them also dies when issues are not taken seriously and addressed. Women reach a point where their feelings for the partner has been eroded sufficiently for them to be vulnerable to getting their needs met elsewhere.
On the unconscious level an affair is an attempt at problem solving. It's curious how cheating partner's unconsciously let their partners' know they are cheating as if they want the main issue to come out into the open.
Cheating interrupts the emotional bond between a couple. The break in trust hurts, shocks and shakes the betrayed partner. A break of trust can be worked through in relationship counselling resulting in a stronger partnership. It's a tough process and it takes time to work through the root issues to a develop a more realistic informed trust. Informed trust replaces blind trust.
If you have friends of the opposite sex the golden rule is: "If my partner was standing watching me with my friend, would they would have any issue with what we are talking about or how we are together" If so I need to look at about what is going on.
You need to nourish and protect the special emotional intimate bond you have with your romantic partner. This means not having a secret life away from them, or sharing emotional intimacies with others. You need to be vigilant to work through difficulties with your partner and avoid using opposite sex friends as emotional support. If you use opposite sex friends as emotional supports it's easy to build a wall between yourself and your partner and start fancying your friend.
I've heard the excuse many times: I didn't tell my partner I was seeing my ( opposite sex) friend because, they feel jealous, get upset, accuse me ...etc etc. You need to keep your partner in the loop, talk through their concerns, let them meet the friend, reassure them. Secrecy builds mistrust. If you are spending time with your partner, feeling emotinally close and communicate what your friendship is about they will feel more at ease with you seeing opposite sex friends. At the same time you need to be honest with yourself about your friendship is for. If it's about flirting and feeling good about yourself , no wonder your partner would be concerned.It's worth discovering how you can feel better about yourself in your romantic relationship.
When affairs occur they usually get discovered because our unconscious wants us to get discovered. It takes a lot energy to live in deceit. It causes the betrayer a lot of inner conflict. An affair is not something that is easily compartmentalised. If you cheat, the excuse, 'What my partner does know won't hurt them'. isn't true as they will be affected by how it affects you. An affair effects how you feel about yourself , living with deceit. It lives on in your unconscious and an affair at some point is likely to be unconsciously communicated to your partner.
What can you do now to strengthen your relationship and reduce the possibility of cheating?
There are steps you can take:
Schedule in time in your calendars each week to have special time together/go on a date/do something that nourishes your relationship.
Take an interest in the emotional life of your partner, ask them what they would like more of/less of in the relationship. Take an interest in what is important them.
Learn how to express your feelings and needs in a way that your partner can give to you rather than feel they need to defend against being attacked.
How To Express What you Need
Get in touch with your needs by taking time to notice the felt sensations in your body. By tuning into ourselves we can discover what we need. We all have needs, yet society conditions us not to listen to our needs. Women are conditioned to think of others, not themselves, Men are conditioned to be in control and be strong. If we are not in touch of our needs and are unable to express them, we tend to unconsciously act them out
- Notice any tightness in your stomach and chest. Just keep your attention on the area and wait expectantly to see what feelings arise.
- Put what you are feeling/needing into words.
- Shape those words into a doable request. E.g. You notice some tightness under your rib cage..it's fear that your partner is meeting some friends tonight and you are wanting to feel emotionally closer to them. You realise you are some needing reassurance and closeness. You risk saying how you are feeling and make a request to your partner..I want to feel closer to you, I value spending time with you yet I feeling scared that you don't want to spend time with me. I'd really like it if we could do something together on Thursday ? and I could really do with a hug right now.
The surprising thing is that when we risk coming from our heart with what we want without attacking our partner, they feel connected to us and usually respond lovingly.
It's basic and powerful. Women, men want to be admired ( they want to know they can "get it right for you" and be appreciated for it). So if you are woman, ask your partner to help you with something that will make him feel good as a man and appreciate him for it.
Men,women want to feel special. So tune in to what makes your partner feel special: Does she respond to loving words,
appreciations,gifts, you doing something for her, spending time together, surprise night out, physical touch? Women need to be told over and over that they are special. It's hard for men to understand how important it is for women.
Do You Have Trouble Expressing How You Feel?
Why not take steps to address it and get support. It's so much easier to work things through before drifting apart or resorting to "cheating" to bring what isn't being spoken about into the open
Copyright Richard Cole (2011)