In the movie Closer, Clive Owen’s character grills Julie Roberts’ character about the nature of her infidelity. He bombards her with a barrage of questions about the frequency, timing, whereabouts, type, quality and orgasmic nature of the sex she had with the interloper until she finally asks, “God, why is the sex so important?!”
Men and women react to infidelity differently. Women are more concerned with the emotional side while men care more about the sex. This is a result of hardwiring to a certain extent. Females want to know if their male can still be a provider and protector for their young. Males, on the other hand, are primarily invested in the preservation of their genes. This is why, like Clive Owen’s character, men will ask about the sex and women will ask about the romantic feelings involved.
Once you understand the differences in how men and women react to an infidelity, the next question becomes, “What should I do if I find out that my husband/wife has cheated on me?”
First, you need to know that it’s possible for a marriage to survive an affair. In fact, the healing process can even improve the quality of the marriage. However, in order to improve the chances of your marriage staying together, you and your spouse need to seek professional help.
Therapy helps you have adult conversations and develop skills to resolve your problems. When choosing a therapist, try to find one who has been in a long-term marriage. Be aware that therapists who have been recently divorced have a higher percentage of their patients and clients divorce.
I recommend high quality professional assistance because in order for you and your spouse to truly work through your challenges, you’re going to have to see and accept that both of you played some role in the infidelity. I am not saying that somebody had the right to cheat; I simply mean that if you decide to stay with each other, you have to figure out why things got so bad to the point that someone cheated. The success of your marriage pins on your ability to change the behaviors that alienated each other in the first place.
If you truly think you did everything perfectly, then dump your spouse. You’re either right and this person is just a bad apple, or you’re not in touch with them enough to work it out. Either way, the relationship doesn’t have a chance of succeeding. Don’t sit around playing the blame game for your unhappiness or their lack of a moral compass – it’s a recipe for disaster.
However, if both of you are willing to work, there are some common mistakes you should try to avoid:
Don’t spend your time humiliating, debasing, challenging, and assaulting the cheater. Instead, try to get to the bottom of what hurt the relationship in the first place (e.g. lack of affection, being too busy to be sweet, etc.).
Contacting the person they had the affair with is usually futile. It rarely uncovers the whole truth, and oftentimes, the exposure alone will make them back off.
Naïvely taking your spouse’s word that he or she has ended the affair is one thing, but constantly following them around and checking their phone and email every five minutes is another. Yes, most people need help disengaging from an affair because there is a tremendous amount of physical and emotional investment. However, hitting them with guilt nonstop isn’t going to help anything.
Finally, realize that it’s going to take time.
Ultimately, if your spouse has cheated, you need to ask yourself the following question: Is this a pattern of behavior (i.e. a reflection of their character), or is this a single event which indicates that something seriously wrong in the marriage wasn’t respectfully dealt with? Between work, the kids, and everything else going on, did one or both of you stop paying attention to the relationship? With better communication, better decisions can be made and priorities can be adjusted. Hopefully, in the end, you can both look back at the affair as a slap on the back of the head reminding you that you weren’t paying attention to the relationship.
Women today seem to believe that work, the kids, the house, their friends, etc. are more important than their husbands, and that somehow a sexless marriage is perfectly acceptable. Unfortunately, this attitude eventually leads their men to look elsewhere to fulfill their needs. But there is a different perspective a wife can adopt… Watch:
Read the transcript.
In today’s world, you meet someone, you text, you think they’re the greatest thing in the world, you have sex, and it’s over. You don’t even bother to get to know them – it’s just, “Hello. Do you have 15 minutes? Let’s hook up.” The romance of actually trying to build a relationship is not much in season. Of course, there are shack-ups, but those are really just fake relationships.
I want to talk about the difference between real love and the fake stuff. Fake love is the immediate chemistry. We all know what that is – the chemical rush of horniness that can last from three weeks to a year and a half and then “Poof!” it’s gone. It’s a little different for males than females because they are each biologically focused on different things. Males are focused on their sperm taking over the world one female at a time. Females, on the other hand, are biologically concerned with safety, security, and being provided for so their babies will be safe. Although the biological system in human beings can be somewhat overridden, chemistry for a male is still a) she’s a hot babe, and b) I’m going to look hot walking around with her. It’s initially superficial, and it lasts longer the younger the male is. For the female, a male’s attractiveness is semi-irrelevant (I mean, “piggy dirty” is not acceptable, but other than that, she doesn’t care). She just wants to see if he can take care of her.
Men are perfectly capable of engaging in sex without emotional bonds. That’s why prostitutes have always existed. Today, a lot of women are behaving like that, and it’s one of the many reasons why female depression is so high. “Just having fun” leaves a lot of women feeling used up and lonely. They engage in multiple meaningless situations of physicality, which don’t make anybody – men or women – feel better. It takes time to develop a relationship, and a lot of you folks aren’t doing that. You are just trying to get some physical and emotional needs met. The problem with that is there’s no giving involved – the cornerstone of a real relationship.
The onset of real love and fake love can feel very similar. It’s obsessive – you can’t think about anything else, and you might lose weight, sleep, or time. However, when it’s fake love, you are both only projecting fantasies and assuming things about each other. You can’t see future problems because you are both idealizing all of each other’s qualities and insisting that the other person is the best you’ve ever met. However, you haven’t actually “met” them. You are only seeing an idealized version of that person.
That is why courting is so important. It’s how you learn more about a person other than just, “She’s beautiful and a bombshell in bed.” You have to let the dust settle. Until that happens, you really have no idea if you’re right for each other.
When two people immediately start planning for the future within weeks of meeting, it’s a sign that they don’t know a damn thing about each other. I’ve always told women that if a guy is proposing that quickly, it isn’t because he loves them. Real love evolves into (and I know this word is going freak some people out) service. You see, fake love is all about how the other person makes you feel. Real love is about your commitment to making someone else feel good. Real love involves two people focusing on the needs of each other and doing loving acts over and over again without anyone keeping score. That’s why fake love ends up being such a bummer and a letdown – you hit a wall because all you’re thinking about is how you feel.
Now, just because fake love is largely about physicality doesn’t mean it’s unimportant to real love, especially in the case of men. I find it really annoying when women call my show saying they’ve gained between 30 and 50 lbs and still expect their husbands to love them exactly the same. Your husband may have deep feelings of caring and commitment toward you, but it doesn’t change the fact that your blubber is not a turn-on. If you would have asked him, “What would you think if I gained a lot of weight,” I guarantee you that his answer would have been, “I want you to be fit and nice-looking like you are now.” Women get all mad and upset when I tell them that because they think, “If he loved me, he wouldn’t say something so hurtful.” Come on! All he’s doing is telling you the damn truth. As a spouse, taking good care of yourself and being healthy are very important. Chemistry still matters later on, and a lot of it has to do with how you look to your spouse.
On another note, what happens when you don’t have chemistry with someone?
Well, some people hang around for a while to see if the chemistry will evolve. I’m not a big believer in that. I think there are probably some circumstances where that does happen, but beating your head against the wall to make it happen is probably not a good plan. When you hear about two long-time friends who start feeling sexy about each other one day, that is not really chemistry developing – it’s just chemistry they weren’t aware of that is now coming forth. In my opinion, the chemistry was probably there from day one, but their brains were not functioning on that level.
If you have persisted and still don’t feel chemistry, don’t try to force things. It isn’t fair to you or your potential partner to do that. You can’t manufacture or counterfeit passion, and there is no substitute for chemistry. Give each romantic experiment a good try, but don’t wait forever. If nothing happens, you have to move on.
Wondering how to find Mr. or Mrs. Right after discovering the first one was Mr. or Mrs. Wrong? Here are my suggestions…
How many movies have you seen where a man sees a woman across a room filled with people dancing and he thinks, “That’s it, I’m in love.”
I believe that men are a lot more likely to say, “I fell in love at first sight,” and women to say, “Gee, he’s really hot.” Guys are visual – “I fell in love at first sight.” They fall in love with what they see and what they feel right after seeing it. If a man sees a woman who he finds attractive and he feels she is sexually interested in him, he’ll think he’s fallen in love right then and there.
However, no matter what he thinks, at this point he is not in love. “Over 90 percent of a man’s decision at this stage is purely based on visual cues. Some men get super glued on boobs, others on booties and others on legs, etc. Physical features and bouncy behavior that suggests youth, health and vitality… It’s just pure sexual chemistry. At this stage, you are still dispensable and interchangeable. You’re still just another woman in the pack, and he is still very much attracted to several other women at the same time.”
A lot of people call into my show saying, “Oh my gosh, I’ve been seeing him/her for three weeks and we’re totally in love,” but my answer is always the same: “No you’re not.” There could be a romantic or sexual attraction, but that’s all. This is just the fantasy stage – you think he or she is what you fantasize you want. It’s the stage where you’re wearing rose-colored glasses and ignoring things. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told callers, “You ignored these things, didn’t you?,” and after denying it several times, they eventually say, “Well, yes, but I didn’t know they were going to be this bad. I saw what I wanted to see.”
If you’ve got a guy who wants to do the settling down process by shacking up, humping out of wedlock, and making babies without any commitment, then I’ve got a news flash for you: he’s not in love with you. No man in love with a woman does that. When a man is in love, he stakes his claim. All throughout the animal kingdom, males make it clear who is their woman. Men enforce it by giving their woman a ring, a ceremony, and a commitment of fidelity.
So, for all you silly girls out there thinking that a guy who wants to hook up or shack up is in love with you, you are so unbelievably wrong.
Downsizing and reorganization in companies sometimes brings lay offs or underemployment which can foster humiliation. How can you help your loved one – particularly a real man – through these tough times? Here’s my advice:
Are men chivalrous anymore?
The answer is largely “no.” The reason: women’s behavior.
“Chivalry is a quaint word dating back to the days of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, referring to gentlemanly behavior towards women. We think of Sir Walter Raleigh gallantly spreading his cape down on a street so Queen Elizabeth of England could walk across a puddle without getting her feet caked in mud. Over the centuries it manifested itself in such common courtesy as opening the door and letting a woman enter before you, pulling the chair out so the man’s date could sit down, or helping a woman take off her coat.
It’s hard to believe now, but in the early 1960s John and Jackie Kennedy era, chivalry was a huge part of our culture, along with men wearing suits and hats to baseball games and women wearing gloves, hats and mink stoles. Then the whirlwind of women’s liberation swept over the land the next three decades.”
Now first off, I want to make it perfectly clear that I think there is absolutely nothing wrong with women having equal opportunities. If they have the ability, then the opportunity should not be closed to them. That goes for everything – gender, race…whatever. If you have the ability, you should not be denied the opportunity. That’s basic civil rights, and I am very big on that. All I’m saying is that women shouldn’t automatically have the opportunity just because they are females. For example, if a certain number of push-ups is required for a particular job, then the number of push-ups that male and female applicants have to complete should be the same. If a woman can’t do what a man can do physically, then she can’t be a firefighter. You can’t have quotas for things just because it seems fair. We promise equal opportunity in our country, not equal outcome. I mean it’s silly – should you really be allowed to get a job just because you want it?!
And it’s this feminist attitude that has made respect and admiration between men and women take a nosedive. Women’s studies programs teach women that when men act graciously, they are attempting to control them and keep them down. They encourage women to be hostile, become major ball-busters, and think they can have babies without men because kids don’t need a daddy. If you listen to them, they say just about every woman is beaten, raped, and cheated out of everything (just read Who Stole Feminism by Christina Hoff Sommers if you think I’m nuts). And when these women dress like pigs, talk like pigs, and act like pigs, it is a little demoralizing for men to put them on a pedestal, take them out on dates, and treat them like they’re special. Think about it. Chivalry has to do with respect, and we don’t see women behaving with much dignity when they hook up and have multiple sexual partners.
Although chivalry is dead, there are still nice guys out there who would act chivalrously, but they simply don’t know what the hell women want. Today’s men are very frustrated and scared because they accept women’s equality, but they are afraid that if they act romantically, they will come across as sexist and offensive. I don’t blame them. I mean it’s just the stupidest stuff that makes women angry with men.
For example, when I was just starting to date boys, my dad was very clear with me: “If a fellow opens his car door, then go out on the date with him. If he doesn’t open the car door, turn around and come back inside the house. Don’t have a conversation about it, don’t argue, and don’t demand anything. Just say thank you very much and wave goodbye.” However, if a guy tries to open a door for a woman today, she tells him, “No, I can open it myself.”
All I can say is if you’re a guy and a woman behaves obnoxiously like that on a date, just let her open the door herself. In fact leave her there. Tell her she can call a cab herself too because she’s equally competent to do that. If a woman acts in an ungracious way, dump her. Don’t waste your time, money, and effort on her. If you go out of your way to be chivalrous, kind, and thoughtful, and she doesn’t behave in a way that shows she respects, admires, and appreciates it, she’s not a woman – she’s just a female.
It makes a man feel good to be protecting and taking care of a woman, and it should make a woman feel good to know that a man is being respectful and thoughtful of her. If I walk into an elevator and a man lets me walk in first, I turn around and say, “Thank you very much.” Most of the time they look utterly surprised to get the compliment.
We’ve lost something beautiful and it’s something so essential in a love relationship. If you treat your husband like he’s a man, you’ll get more manly behavior. If you treat your wife like she’s a woman, you will get more womanly behavior. The polarity between men and women actually means something despite what social trends say. I don’t care how big of a feminist you are – we are still hardwired.
Women should expect men to provide, protect, nurture, and love them. If they don’t want to allow that, they are going to miss out on a lot.
I want to write about how there are no men. (Well, there aren’t no men, there are just few men). And a lot of women don’t even like real men; they like feminized men – - especially if they’re gay. That’s even better. And many women marry mama’s boys because they don’t want a real man. Then they get shocked when his mother can push him around better than they can. Well… his mother has had a lot more practice — his whole life.
Betsy Hart, one of my favorite writers, recently wrote a great article about this topic. She begins:
Whatever happened to men? That’s a common question today, being asked by social commentators, parents and single women everywhere. They are lamenting young men’s shrinking status in academia, the workplace and, maybe especially, marriage….
She goes on to say:
…it’s simply the case that too often today’s males are living up to the low expectations the culture has for them.
This is true particularly since feminism arose with the attitude of “we don’t need men.” Gloria Steinem said: “A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle”. That was feminism. It rarely had anything to do with equal pay for equal jobs. It had to do with hating being a wife… hating being a mother… and hating men. That’s what feminism primarily has always been about. Don’t kid yourself.
Betsy Hart goes on to quote from Bill Bennett’s new book: The Book of Man: Readings on the Path to Manhood. In it, there’s an essay by:
David Gelernter, the renowned Yale computer-sciences professor who was injured in an attack by the Unabomber[. He] talks about how he is bringing up his own sons against the culture. He writes that ‘a man’s role in respect to women is to protect, to help, to support, to cherish as opposed to consume. We are a consumer society and the number one consumption is that of women.’
…Families need to teach young men what it means to be responsible, to work hard and to be prepared to someday get married and care for a wife and children….
I would argue that we also might teach our daughters to respect men. Real men, not the men concocted for treacly romantic comedies. And to respect themselves enough to wait for that man in every sense of that word.
Please take the time to read Betsy Hart’s entire article: Lamenting the Demise of Manliness in America
And then my staff got me information on traits of real men and I want to share this article with you. It’s from the blogger MochaDad:
Men were made to be bold, strong leaders. However, our society has attempted to repress these traits. (Sidebar: Look what happens in schools with little boys and girls. Schools are organized for little girls who can sit quietly and sweetly with their hands folded at the desk. Of course I was never one of those little girls, but generally speaking the schools were. And the little boys? Well, we say they have ADD and we drug them so they’ll sit like little girls with their hands folded sweetly.) If you look at the way men (especially dads) are portrayed on TV, you’d think we were all a bunch of irresponsible, befuddled, nincompoops, who can only function with the help of a “smart” female partner, friend, or spouse.
He titles his blog: The 7 Traits of Real Men. Women — I want you to read them because this is the guy you should look for. Men — I want you to read them so you can stop being weenies and take back your masculinity, your parts, your giblets — if you get my drift. I can’t believe how many women who have called my show over the years who I’ve told they should have married another woman because the traits they wanted in their husband are not masculine.