|Sign-up, its free!||Close [x]|
I previously wrote a column addressing a letter from a reader asking why men stray and what can be done to keep them from doing it. I explained the behavior and then gave suggestions on what women could do to guard against it. Upon further reflection, however, I feel that I was invoking a cause and effect relationship that frequently doesn't exist. I tried to tie in "what guys look for in a relationship" with the issue of fidelity, and frankly, that was a mistake. They are two separate, usually unrelated topics, and I should treat them as such. Therefore, in an effort to not muddy the waters with confusing rhetoric (we get enough of that in a Presidential election year) and speak directly to the question, I have revised my answer. Apologies to those I confused or frustrated with my previous dissertation.
Generally speaking, men cheat because they have the opportunity. That doesn't mean that a guy will definitely cheat just because he has the chance, but rather that availability of a ready and willing partner is the primary motivator in moving men toward infidelity. And they may be unfaithful, even if they are perfectly content in their relationship with their significant other. In other words, their cheating is not reflective of how they feel about you. It simply indicates their unwillingness to exercise a little discipline and resist temptation – no matter how into you they may be. I repeat, they MAY cheat even if they are incredibly happy in their relationship with you and you have an incredible sex life. It is not a failing on your part or indication that there is something fundamentally wrong in your relationship. It has to do with the fact that monogamy is counter-intuitive for men, and therefore committing to have sex forever-after with one woman and only one woman is a challenge. And that challenge is one that many men are just not up to.
So what can you do to absolutely insure your guy won't stray? Precious little. There is no product warranty on guys. His fidelity is based on his ability to embrace monogamy, no matter how unnatural it may seem to him. If he wins that battle, you have a faithful partner. It's as simple as that.
That being said, not all men are equal in the potential-for-cheating department. Guys tend to fall into one of three groups: 1) Those who are open to the possibility, itching to cheat, or actively pursuing "extracurricular” activity; 2) Those who like to think they wouldn't cheat, but who can and do succumb when opportunity knocks (by far, the largest group); and 3) Those who have the discipline to resist temptation...even when opportunity is present. For this group, remaining faithful is a matter of honor. Betraying you would be betraying themselves, and they will avoid doing that at almost any cost.
Obviously, the men in group number one are a lost cause. These unrepentant horndogs will cheat. Period. If there is no opportunity they will make one. What you do or don't do is of little consequence. It is not, however, so cut-and-dried for group number two. While they are certainly vulnerable to temptation, if they are satisfied in their relationships they are unlikely to actively go on the prowl. Sure, if something (or someone) drops into their laps, they may give in to their desire, but their happiness with you and their relationship (and to no small extent, their sex life) may give them strong incentive to resist. Conversely, if they feel unhappy or unfulfilled in their relationship, they are likely to use their dissatisfaction as an excuse to cheat. While this is obviously a rationalization, it is all many men in this group need to justify doing what their penis is prompting them to do anyway. In group number three, however, the opposite is the case. Short of physical and mental abuse, many of these guys will remain faithful almost to a fault. And while that is certainly an admirable quality, their dogged adherence to a strict moral code could annoyingly extend to other parts of their life, including areas in which you might rightly wish they were a bit more flexible.
So, as you see, groups one and three are virtually unfazed by what you say or do. Group two, however, may be influenced by lack of contentment in their relationship, but contentment alone is not enough to guarantee their fidelity. Members of this group would be wise to avoid situations that would test their ability to resist temptation.
One final word: While I paint what may be perceived as a dismal view of men's ability to remain true to one woman, the fact is that statistically speaking, there are millions of men who never cheat. Perhaps you are involved with one of them, and if so, count your blessings and treat them well. It may not impact their fidelity, but don't they deserve a little kudos for being one of the few, the proud, the faithful?
If you have any questions about men, relationships, dating or a related topic, please feel free to email them to me at: david@EveryManSeesYouNaked.com. I will try to answer as many as I possibly can here in my column.
(C)2008 David M. Matthews. All Rights Reserved.