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Cheating and the male psyche

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CheatingI recently came across a book called - “The truth about cheating” by M. Gary Neuman. The book is about why men cheat and what women can do to stop them from doing so. Like everybody else in civilized society I was also aware that some men cheat but I didn’t think the problem was important enough to be written about. But, life is full of surprises. My very good friend Paromita (name changed) confided that her husband was having a roaring affair and that though things had gone very far she was sticking to the marriage because of their daughter Raima.

I think the fact was as shocking for me as it was for her because Arvind (Paromita’s husband) was a common friend and he played the devoted boyfriend and husband to the hilt. After this revelation I decided to go through Mr. Neuman’s book to find out more on the subject to see if I could reduce the plight for my friend. And guess what, according to the book one in about 3 men cheat on their partners and most of the time they are so good at covering up the affair that their partners never find out. Now, that is scary indeed!

Another very interesting finding that the book talks about is that most men do not cheat for want of better sex but rather because of the lack of an emotional connection with their partner. Very often as couples go through their married life they become less sensitive to each others subtle emotional needs as the nitty-gritty’s of the business of living gain priority. For instance Ashok was terribly hurt when his wife Preetha completely disregarded the rather expensive bouquet of red roses that he got her saying, “what was the need to spend so much money on this when you knew that we had so many additional expenditures this month.” In Ashok’s own words,” this is not the Preetha I married.” I am not suggesting that the next day the man goes and has an affair. But, in such a vulnerable mental state it is quite possible for the man to get attracted to someone who he feels “understands “him better.

Some women feel that men have affairs with better looking women than themselves. This also is a misnomer. Because all the men I spoke to said that looks did not matter. What did matter is the emotional connect or understanding nature of the person.

A few men said sometimes men cheat to reassure themselves that they are loved and cared about. This happens when they feel they are not given enough importance/or they are being neglected by the spouse. In a situation like this they develop an inferiority complex. So, when they develop a relationship outside they feel more confident in themselves.

Some men strike up an affair when they feel they are aging. They feel that having an affair helps them to ward off aging. In this case they like to start an affair with a young partner.

Though there are other minor reasons as to why men cheat the most important one seems to be the men who are in conflict ridden marriages. According to Dr. Gale Slatz, “This is their way of prolonging indefinitely the early and intoxicating phase of infatuation in a relationship. But men also have affairs to avoid intimacy, recover their lost youth, or escape an unhappy marriage.”

So, ladies here are some tell-tale signs you could look out for – when your partner spends a lot of time away from home, when he frequently makes excuses for avoiding physical contact, is very critical of everything or often leaves the mobile phone behind and neglects to either return or answer phone calls.

However, an extramarital affair does not necessarily mean doom for the marriage. For the man who has gone astray the first step is to put an end to the affair. This is not easy but neither is it impossible. For the woman you may not be able to forget but work on forgiving.

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