Cheating, lies, lust and infidelity

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As the author of a relationship advice column, I often receive letters from women, sick with worry that their husbands are cheating on them. The cheating itself seems to hurt them deeply, as it indicates a violation of the marital vows the wife holds dear. However, I believe it’s the lying which accompanies the cheating that is the most destructive element in the situation.

Bewildered women who wonder how love could have gone so wrong sometimes become depressed and end up in clinics on antidepressants. Having never planned on dealing with such confusing emotions, most don’t know how to express their anger without feeling even more fearful of losing their man. These women don’t want to throw away years of marriage or take actions which they feel would make them responsible for the destruction of their family and the ruination of their children’s lives. So they swallow their hurt and resignedly accept their husband’s cheating.

On the other hand, some women are so devastated by the hurt and so furious that they end the marriage on the spot. Often though, they express later that they have regrets about reacting so quickly and wish they had tried to work things out in marital counseling.

There are also different types of cheating situations. Some men cheat just once because the opportunity presented itself and they chose to go for it. However, they are appalled at their own behavior and vow NEVER to do anything like that again. Those marriages can usually be saved.

Other men are habitual philanders with no intention of being committed and married on a spiritual level or any other. To these men, marriage is merely a social or financial convenience, something that one does to appease ones family or to appear respectable to superiors on the job.

With infidelity, it is difficult for women to find the middle ground between denial and overreaction. To me, trust is one of the most important ingredients in marriage; thus when infidelity or even the suspicion of infidelity rears its ugly head, the trust has been damaged. Sometimes irreparably.

Infidelity is a sign that something is wrong. Admittedly, some men are womanizers and what is wrong with them is that they have issues with commitment and intimacy that they refuse to deal with. These guys escape into a responsibility-free fantasy relationship with other women time after time.

Other men though are seeking something they feel is missing in their primary relationship – understanding, excitement in bed, a woman that is interesting or challenging to them, etc.

Women often want to know how they can verify their suspicions and find out if their man is cheating. After years of providing advice on this subject, I’ve narrowed down a list of about a dozen things that often indicate that your man is a cheating man:

  • When he no longer wants sex with you.
  • When he suddenly has to work late and has all kinds of new obligations that take him way from home repeatedly.
  • When he gets mysterious phone calls.
  • When he suddenly needs a cell phone or pager and you are discouraged from ever looking at it.
  • When he arrives home smelling faintly of perfume or another woman’s body.
  • When he arrives home and runs straight into the bath or shower.
  • When he has strange hairs on his clothing or in his car.
  • When he gets too nice all of a sudden.
  • When he breaks dates, stands you up, shows up hours late with no reasonable explanation.
  • When he starts to dress differently and/or does or requests wildly different things in bed.
  • When he begins to talk to you or treat you abusively all of a sudden.
  • When he gets cleaned up and shaved to “go fishing.”
  • When his established routine changes with no plausible reason.
  • When he becomes suddenly forgetful and you have to tell him everything 3 times!

Keep in mind that some of the behaviors listed above could also indicate drug use, porn or gambling addictions, or a mid-life crisis. However, if you are sure he is cheating, confront him immediately. Don’t wait until you catch him in the act with his drawers down! Don’t pretend you don’t know what is going on either.

The longer you wait, the longer he will keep it up and think that what he is doing is okay. He will become attached to this woman, and he will get the secondary adolescent thrill of getting away with something right under your nose. This thrill is exciting, and often a motivator which keeps men cheating again and again.

Men who cheat frequently say “if she had done something about it - gotten my parents or the priest on my back or threatened me with divorce or disgrace or something before I got so good at lying to her, I would have stopped.” Does this mean it is your responsibility to keep him from cheating? Absolutely not! All it means is that he is so out of control that he needs someone to step in and take control of the marriage and family. That person would be you.

So think hard about what exactly you will do if you find proof that your man is cheating, or if he admits to cheating after you confront him. How important is fidelity to you? You’ll need to have a very clear idea of what you are dealing with first and what your goals are, then carefully map out a plan of action that may include marital counseling, a temporary separation, or even a divorce.

But it does no good to seek advice on how to find out if your man is cheating if you are too afraid to actually [do]{.underline} anything. Those of you too scared to confront their men, or too weak to fight for your marriage will most likely find yourselves hanging on nervously and going along with the program until he gets tired and leaves.

(c) 2008 Deborrah Cooper. Deborrah has worked in the relationships field for close to 20 years. She’s written dozens of relationship articles and writes a weekly advice column using the pen name “Ms. HeartBeat.” Her works appear on the website AskHeartBeat.Com, which focuses on modern dating issues and relationships for both teens and adults.

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