I’ve been with my husband for six years and I just found out he’s been having an affair.
I’m heartbroken and I can’t figure out why he would need to cheat when he had a real live woman at home who loves him. He says he can’t explain it himself and doesn’t expect me to forgive him.
To give perspective, I think I’ve been a great wife: I’m hot, I’m youngish (38), I take care of my man in the bedroom … and plus I’ve seen the woman he cheated with and she’s really nothing special. She has wrinkles and she’s kind of pudgy.
I’m heartbroken and all I want right now is an explanation. I could understand if it was with a supermodel or something, but her?
Thanks for your question.
Actually, thanks for your questions, because reading between the lines here you’ve got a lot going on that you’re want answers for.
So let’s break it down one question at a time (and in no particular order, because my brain works in weird ways like that.)
Here are the questions I see in your letter, and the answers to those questions:
1. Why the hell do men cheat in the first place??
Okay, first things first: you know that idea that ‘men cheat because they’re "evolutionarily" wired to spread their seed’?
Well, it’s nonsense.
(For a start, the numbers are in, and we women actually cheat just as much as men do, and we don’t have penises or balls full of sperm screaming to be let out into the gene pool at large.)
So … it’s NOT NOT NOT just about the sex.
In fact, for reasons I’ll go into in a sec, sex is only a teensy tiny (but very sweet) slice of the pie.
The truth is, men cheat for the same exact reasons women do – and the biggest reason of all is EMOTIONAL DISCONNECTION.
In no particular order, the most common reasons for cheating include…
- Because he’s unhappy at home
- Because he wants to break up but don’t have the balls to do it so he’s going to make YOU do it
- Because he’s bored
- Because he thinks he won’t get caught
- Sometimes (rarely, but it does happen) because he genuinely meets someone special and falls in love and it feels like turning your back on life to refuse something that could be super special.
- Oh, and because maybe you’re not having sex with him any more – or maybe when you do, it feels forced and disconnected and unloving and lonely and weird.
So yeah, sex is usually a part of it – I’m not going to be the one to try and tell you that if a man is getting ZERO sex at home, that he’s going to be able to turn it down indefinitely, but is it the main reason?
What it really comes down to is, assuming your man is basically a good person and not a garbage human, emotional dissatisfaction and disconnection.
And even though he’s a guy, he feels those things in just the same way that you do.
In other words – assuming that your man is basically a good person – he probably cheated because he feels lonely and sad and unappreciated and undesired.
Now, I don’t know much about your exact situation (your letter was kind of light on the details) but I can pick up a few things just from what you’ve said.
And one of them is (this is going to sting a little bit …)
2. Um, you sound kind of self-righteous and arrogant.
Yup, the gloves are coming off now, and I’m going to tell you the truth: I know you’re heartbroken and I know you’re sad and confused and hurting, but you also sound kind of…
All that stuff about ‘taking care of your man in the bedroom’ and laughing at the other woman because she’s ‘pudgy’ … it just doesn’t paint a great picture. It’s kind of contemptuous (I’ll get back to this theme in a sec, because it’s important) …
And also it’s kind of patronizing. The idea that your man would be justified in cheating on you as long as it was with someone really ‘hot’ – it just doesn’t say a lot of great stuff about the way you see your man.
Almost as though he’s someone who thinks and feels with his dick instead of his actual brain and heart.
(And I can tell you right now – although a man’s penis is VERY important to his sense of self, I can’t think of a single man who would be flattered by the idea that he’s not capable of making decisions using his big brain instead of his little one.)
Now, I’m going to cut you some slack because, yeah, your man just cheated on you.
And I know exactly how awful that is, because I’ve been there myself and it sucked.
But at the same time, that feeling of CONTEMPT that I detect in your email is actually a huge, huge, and crazily common factor in an otherwise-great man deciding to take the plunge and cheat on his wife or girlfriend.
Which brings me to …
3. Contempt, crud, and the burden of unmet expectations
Fact: men have kind of been played a cruel trick on by nature, because as men, their happiness is tied directly to yours.
To understand what I mean, you have to know something VERY simple about men:
Men are hardwired to feel the most pleasure when YOU are feeling pleasure.
A lot of women don’t know this, but most men feel HUGE surges of pride, self esteem, triumph, strength, success and sheer, face-splitting joy every single time they make you smile.
(Yeah ... it’s kind of adorable.)
But, the river runs both ways, if he’s NOT pleasing you (or even if he just FEELS like he’s not …) then that means he’s going to be pretty unhappy, have doubts about himself, stop feeling good when you’re around, stop loving you so much, stop confiding in you, and generally feel like kind of a FAILURE.
And since guys are simple creatures, and are largely driven by a desire to WIN in life, feeling like a failure is kind of the death knell to most men’s ability to feel happy, loved, and give YOU love in return.
(Incidentally, this is also why the average man’s sex drive goes waaaaay down if he gets fired, made redundant, or even just retires – because he just doesn’t feel like a man any more.)
Now, I’ve been a relationship and dating expert for nearly ten years, and I’ll tell you one thing right now:
If a man is in a relationship with a woman who he just can’t make happy any more, like if there’s a burden of unmet expectations, or you kind of act contemptuous of him a lot (remember how we just talked about that?) … or he just gets the sense that he’s not succeeding at his primary job of making you HAPPY and giving you PLEASURE, then that’s a man who’s primed to cheat.
Because men are driven to FEEL like MEN.
And guess what makes a man FEEL like a man??
Yup: pleasing you.
4. So what the heck do you do now?
So what’s the next step?
Should you break up with him?
Does he still love you?
What’s happening with this other woman? And why would he choose someone ‘uglier’ than you anyway??
(The answer to that last one is super simple, by the way, because even an ‘ugly’ woman who can make a man FEEL like a man is going to have WAY more success at getting his heart than a beautiful woman who makes him feel like a failure.)
So here’s my answer (and it’s probably going to annoy the heck out of you) …
It kind of depends.
It depends on a whole bunch of things.
I mean …
Do you want to be with a man who cheated on you?
What’s your relationship normally like?
Do you make each other happy?
When he walks into the room, does your face split into an adoring smile and that sense of warmth and happiness just rise up inside of you?
Does he make you feel like a woman?
Do you make him feel like a man?
Do you WANT to stay together?
Or do you just find yourself feeling kind of … irritated and disappointed and unloved and uncertain about your feelings for him more often than not??
I can’t answer those questions for you. But I can tell you how to answer them for yourself:
You sit down with your man and you have a really awkward, really honest conversation with him.
You talk about what’s been missing in your relationship over the past months or years that caused this infidelity.
And you talk about it until you can decide, together, what both of you want to do now.
Will cheating break you up?
Maybe. Maybe not. But as a relationship coach, I can tell you that I’ve seen relationships bounce back from an affair and literally improve as a direct result of one or both partners having an affair.
It all comes down to what you say during ‘the conversation’ about cheating itself.
If you want to know EXACTLY what to say to a man to ‘cheat proof’ him against infidelity (and fix things if one or both of you has already strayed), then go here:
Worried he’ll cheat?
Maybe he already has, and you don’t know what to do?
Maybe YOU were the one who cheated, and you’re terrified you made a huge mistake he’ll never forgive you for?
If so, then go check out this cartoon I put together for you Wrap Him Around Your Finger.
In it, I’ll teach you about the 8 incredibly simple words that are proven to ‘fix’ infidelity forever …
… eight tiny little words that inspire a level of desire and connection in any man and will drag his attention 100% onto YOU (where it belongs.)
Here’s that link again:
How To Wrap Him Around Your Finger
A step by step guide for women who are either dating a man or are committed to one, and who want MORE love and BETTER behavior from him.
The program aims to empower women with practical tools and step by step advice to ‘reprogram’ their man’s thinking and behavior in the relationship, allowing them to own their power in love, get off the relationship roller coaster, and experience true, life-long love with their dream man.
A step by step practical guide to powerfully attracting a man, connecting with him deeply, and inspiring him to give her the affection and adoration she craves, Wrap Him Around Your Finger is designed to help any woman liberate herself from relationship anxiety and experience a life-long love affair with a man who can’t get enough of her.
Discover dozens of practical, hands-on methods for awakening a man’s desire to chase you, spoil you, and continually EARN your love, including:
- How to use The Mysterious Mute Method to get a bored boyfriend (or husband) to CHASE you again ... without ever saying a word
- How to use the Cheeky Smile to stop a man’s bad behavior dead in its tracks (works on anything from flirting with other women to working too much to acting aloof and unloving)
- How to get whatever behavior you want from a guy (including a marriage proposal, a second date, better sex, or simply curing him of ‘annoying behaviors’ like slobbiness around the house or acting distant and disinterested in her) using a secret 8 step method known as ‘emotional flooding’
Packed with top-quality information and backed by solid relationship science and proven behavioral change methodology, and interspersed throughout with funny real-life stories, eye-opening ‘Attraction Facts’, and interactive tools like quizzes...
Wrap Him Around Your Finger is a top seller for all women of all ages who want more love and better behavior from their man.