Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Why Men Cheat

Ever wonder what drives a married man to stray? You might be surprised.

The following info comes from M. Gary Neuman's research with a diverse population of 25,000 men from 48 states. You can learn more in his book The Truth About Cheating.

Let me start with this quote: "Of the men who cheated, 69% never thought it was even a possibility they would cheat on their wives." In other words, most of these men are not "players," but decent men who were deeply in love with the woman they married ... until something changed.

Let's start looking into that part of the research.

Perhaps you are already assuming frequency of sex changed after the honeymoon period and that was his reason for cheating. Well, let's look at what they said when asked the following question:

What sort of marital dissatisfaction contributed to your infidelity?

  • 48% said Mostly Emotional Dissatisfaction.

  • 32% said Equally Emotional and Sexual Dissatisfaction.

  • 8% said Primarily Sexual Dissatisfaction.

  • 12% said "other" or that there was no marital dissatisfaction of any type.

    • So, only 8% of the men strayed just for the sex. Meanwhile, a whopping 80% of cheating husbands said a lack of emotional fulfillment within their relationship with their wife contributed to their decision to stray. Don't miss this - they weren't just looking for sex or excitement elsewhere, they were looking for love ... admiration ... companionship ... appreciation.

      Are you surprised?

      The cheating men lamented that over time, their wives stopped showing them love with simple gestures like a heart-felt compliment, a quick shoulder rub after a hard day at work, or taking the time to cook his favorite meal. They said touching decreased both inside and outside of the bedroom. They reported they no longer felt appreciated by their spouse, and felt no matter what they did, their wives weren't satisfied. In short, their wives were making them feel like a disappointment.

      Work harder; earn more money. - Spend more time with the kids.

      Help out more with the housework. - You aren't doing that correctly.

      Later this week we will look at what these men had to say about physical intimacy, but I don't want us to miss this huge lesson about men and emotional intimacy. We tend to think of women as the emotional ones, but it is a grave mistake to assume that a husband doesn't have a tender part of his heart that craves nurture and appreciation from the woman he loves.

      You'd probably be amazed at how much your touch, and your opinion of him means to him.

      So wives, your challenge for today is to make sure your husband unmistakably feels your appreciation. Think for just a minute, I bet you can come up with one or two ways you can connect with your husband emotionally and show him you care. Feel free to leave your plans or ideas in the comments so we can all be inspired.

      I'll be back with more from this research by Thursday. Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to your reactions!


      1. AnonymousJune 02, 2009

        Gosh, that is kind of eye opening. Thanks for posting this today and for your devotion.

      2. This is so enlightening.I will start to find ways to be emotionally close to my man.Thanks Rachel....

      3. Hmmmm, I am not perfect like most of us, but I enjoyed this, I know I do some of this already for him, Good example is when I call him I say "Hey Hansome" "Hey Goodlookin" when he helps me with something in the house I always thank him, I fix him beautiful meals serve him,, He tells me and says to others I know I have a great woman, I am a lucky man. I don't feel as though I give him any reason to cheat, but in some cases we just never know what triggers.........Buttttttttt, I would like to switch this role
        I know myself I would like the same treatment, I would like him to say "Hey Beautiful" I would like him to help with the house without me asking for it, I REALLY would love for him to fix a dinner and clean up afterwards, hahahahaha shall I go on,,,hahaha
        This is a Two~way street for sure, and it takes two to make it all work. We have discussed it, sometimes he listens, does good for a week and well you know the story.
        I Love my husband very much, we have been married for 10 years, alot of things I have learned to just handle myself :) I am sure others do too.
        But yes this is a great lesson and I'm looking forward to hearing more.
        There's always something else to be learned in this area.

      4. Rachel...this is so true. Thank you for this reminder to love on my husband today. He's been having a tough time recovering from this back surgery. While I'm just busy working my 2 jobs I often put him on the back burner.
        Your post is so important! I hope a lot of wives read it and take your advice seriously.

      5. Thank you Rachel for the reminders. For me, life simply leaves me not focusing on my husband as much as I should. I think sex is it primary need, I forget he needs me emotionally as well. I just emailed my husband, he too busy for me to call, and I left him a love note. A note of thanks for just a few of his worthy attributes that I know God gave him to give to me, well, because those are my short comings. I praise my Father for my man, he is so gracious and patient with me and my faults. Thanks for encouraging me to fight for my marriage even when the fight isn't on.

      6. My friend has a note on her fridge that says "My husband needs my respect just like he needs air." They need us to admire and encourage them just as much as they need the physical affirmation. What a great study to be reminded that none of us are as one-dimensional as we tend to think.

        Sometimes we need to speak the right dialect to get the message through though. I've had to learn the ways that best make my husband "feel" loved because they are different than the things that work for me. He's an acts of service guy, I'm a time gal. Gary Chapman's Love Languages is a great place to start if you need some ideas of how to best let your husband really understand that you love him. And maybe he'll learn what works best for you too.

      7. Rachel, this is so timely!

        We were talking about this in Bible study last night and one of the women shared her experience. She has learned a very hard truth (for her anyway and for many of us strong-willed women) that we need to allow our husbands to be "king of the castle." Yes, he will tell the same joke for the 50th time; yes, he may ask the stupid question at the worst time (like what's for dinner right when you have had a REALLY hard day and have just gotten home yourself). But, he is your husband, the one who is your soulmate and about whom it is written "Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to his church, not by domineering but by cherishing." (Ephesians 5:22-24 The Message) and "Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. " (1 Peter 3:1-2).

        When we relinquish the "kingship" of our homes to our husbands, showing them love and respect, we gain the blessings of the peacemakers. We win hearts by our actions, including the heart and respect of our husband. "Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her" proverbs 31:28

      8. This is so good!!! I haven't always realized how much my husband needs my appreciation, touch and respect. I used to think, "He's an adult. He's fine." Now my kids, they need me.

        Wrong!! He's not a kid but he needs me the same - just in a different way. Now that I know, I try to remember to just walk up to him at random times and wrap my arms around him for no reason. Sometimes I'll tell him, " I really respect the way you handled that." Or "I am so glad you are mine!" "That spoke volumes about your servant leadership in front of our sons when you decided to go get a few groceries last night."

        Thanks for posting such valuable topics Rachel. Your research i so valuable! Way to go girl!!

      9. While I completely agree with all of the comments about respecting and communicating with our husbands... I am a wife whose marriage was rocked by an affair. And here's the thing: I did ALL of these things. Our marriage was not bad. And my disagreement with this book (which I read) is that it represents that there's something you can do to "affair proof" your marriage. The only thing we did not do was put into place CLEAR boundaries to prevent either of us from slipping off the edge into adultery. My husband truly and fully believed he was "in love" with two women (which is common for men in affairs). This book represents that there is something that I could have done to keep him from straying and that's just false. Absolutely, 100% false. Many people -- men and women -- who have spouses that commit adultery read things like these and think "if only" and they take on SO much guilt for something that they should not. So ladies, if you're reading this: It is NOT your fault that your husband cheated. There is NEVER any reason or excuse for a spouse to stray. Please hear that clearly and release the condemnation that Satan continues to try to throw at you. Contact a counselor who SPECIALIZES IN DEALING WITH AFFAIRS... Many good, well-meaning Christian counselors will try to "fix the marriage" without ever dealing with the infidelity and it's impossible. Many of these counselors will try to express the same things as this book, and they're just flat wrong. For resources go to: www.affairrecovery.com or contact the Beyond Affairs Network. But do NOT take on any additional burdens when you read articles and/or comments like these.

      10. Hi Jennifer - thanks for posting your comment. The book I referenced is a secular book - not a source I would necessarily call THE manual on marriage (that would be the Bible). Nonetheless, the research he has done is comprehensive, well conducted, and illuminating. It's helpful and motivates me towards loving my husband.

        But I agree that one person's sin is exactly that - their sin, not yours. Thanks for offering us the affair recovery link. Blessings ~ R

      11. At my local MOPS meeting a while back we had Kathi LIpp, author of the Husband Project, come in and speak about this. She is a Christian woman who wrote a book on changing the way you treat your husband in 21 days, that's how long it takes to make something a habit. There are wonderful ideas in here. Something so simple as a post it note in his car to say thanks for an amazing day. You are a wonderful father to our children. I really enjoyed her speaking and helping us. The book is a great help too. One of her suggestions is to get a friend and help each other out with this.

      12. AnonymousJune 03, 2009

        Juanita said...
        In response to Jennifer's comment. My husbands affair/leaving after 12 years of marriage hit me blindside. I also thought like the other lady my kids need me and he is an adult and didn't need me to mother him, boy was I wrong. He also said, "he was in love with both of us" but after he left everything was my fault. Story made short he came back about a year after she had left him,(gone about 18-24 months) said he loved me at first then said he didn't, he doesn't know if he wants his feelings to change and looks like deer in headlights when I asked him a year ago if he even wanted to be there. He doesn't want me to tell him that I love him, I try to show him that I do, but no response from him. Most of the time we just do normal things with the kids, work, etc but I feel every empty. He is not a talker, I suggested counseling but to no avail and he does not believe in God. Do I just keep loving him and praying for him? We have seen the Fire Proof movie and I thought about getting the book, "Love Dare" but then sadness overwhelms me and I think what for, should I even try?

      13. Jennifer, Thank you so much for that reminder. I watched a very close family member walk through that same situation and yes, take on that guilt. It does come down to choices (or a series of choices) that one person makes. And there is no way to guarantee that it can't happen.

        Your reminder about boundaries is a good one. My husband and I have agreed on some very clear limits together plus we have the "call it" card - the permission to say "I am not comfortable with how you behave, etc with that person." It's not always easy but accountability never is and it has kept us talking through the years. I also have a girlfriend that is free to confront me if she suspects my emotions are hitting that slippery slope with someone else. Those boundaries have been invaluable. I know they won't foolproof my marriage but they are a great defensive strategy in trying to protect it.

      14. AnonymousJune 03, 2009

        My husband and I have been working through his emotional affair since February 1 with the help of a wonderful Christian counselor. We did learn his affair stemmed from our inability to communicate well. We were both trying, but neither one knew the other's real needs or how to meet them. We attended church together faithfully, I had read ALL the Christian marrage books I could find, and we meet with a Bible study group every month. I thought I had built a fortress around us but it still happened! We used a lot of information from HIS NEEDS HER NEEDS by Harvey and the greatest resource we found is the Eggrich video series based on their books LOVE AND RESPECT and CRACKING the COMMUNICATION CODE. I'd recommend these books to ANY couple either going through a hard time or just wanting to strengthen their marriage. We were good people who love God and each other very much and we both decided to let God help us through this difficult time to forgive and commit and to making our marriage last. It is the hardest trial I have ever had, it would have been easier to work through his death but I am trying to love him like God does.. I don't always succeed but God has given me grace and peace every day that I ask as I've worked through this. I pray these resources are a help to someone else. Please pray for us as we try to hear God speak to us on how we can use this horrific experience for his glory!

      15. AnonymousJune 04, 2009

        Hi Rachel, I feel like I have been walking on eggshells since I found out about Christmas time,my husband was talking on the phone with his X. When I thought it all ended for my sake,it began again but perhaps it did not end.She changed her phone number,I found out but he denies it. How can I trust him?He says he is a one woman man.We have only been married for almost 2 years now.She tried to break us up before we even walked down the isle,along with her one sister.He is not a believer. But,God has a plan.I want to live so close to Him that my husband will notice I do forgive no matter what.I was going to go to a counselor but decided just to place this whole matter in the Lord's hand.I did have stomach problems that lasted almost a week but I go see his doctor today.
        Please pray for me as I decided not to tell him all I know as when it happened before he told me these things may break us up.Thanks.

      16. AnonymousJune 12, 2009

        I would say just a couple of things in regards to other comments...
        Showing love and respect to your husband is a command from God. We cannot expect to get the same in return. (However, I've found that if you keep on giving, eventually you start getting in return). Even if our husbands don't cook and clean or help around the house, those are not his jobs. I don't mean to sound sexist, but ladies, WE are created to be HIS HELPMEET. Not the other way around. God made us to help our husbands and that is our first ministry to serve God faithfully~serving our husbands and our children. Once we do those things, we can take our service into the world. These are Biblical faoundations and even though what is acceptable in the World has changed and evloved...God's Word is everlasting and unchanging.

      17. Do Truth in LoveJune 17, 2009

        An Emotional affair RARELY happens because of the choices of just one person! Every Relationship involves 2! BOTH make choices, have feelings, thoughts, beliefs,doubts, fears, heart needs! BOTH need to be nurtured and cared about. Every sinful choice causes pain and damage! When we experience being sinned against,or neglect the pain grabs and demands our attention! Anything that relieves that intense pain in our hearts, becomes intensely attractive! The truth is that the pain in your own heart can paralyze you and prevent you from being able to reach out to meet your spouses needs FIRST! It's crucial to pour out your heart to Jesus telling Him all about what's happened and how you are feeling, asking Him to help you identify any false conclusions you've come to about your spouse, etc. Confident false conclusions greatly add to our pain and cause us to make choices that communicate rejection to our spouse! He then reacts to his pain, communicating by his choices a rejection of us! That vicious cycle often spirals us BOTH down into a pit of pain and damaging choices! The pain is REAL! The damage is REAL! We need to be people who dump on people a lot of guilt for their unloving choices, but rather weep with those who weep and help take them to Jesus for the healing they so desperately need from being sinned against! God tells us that, "It is in giving that we receive." To take the initiative to give your spouse what he needs and longs for, because you sincerely care about his heart needs, is the best way out of your emotional affair. Yet, often the healing to your own heart has to come FIRST! "We love BECAUSE He FIRST loved us!"

      18. My husband cheated 11 years ago and there are stil days that Satan holds me down with it. I think that when the affair first comes out it's just an intial reaction to take the blame. Affairs happen for a reason and God can make them a great lesson in our marriage. It showed me that I do need to show him love more, he loves the touchey feely stuff, I'm the one that don't care for it too much but I needed to learn that it's not all about me it's about us. She listened to his every woe and whim where I wouldn't make time for it, I was always too busy. I had to take time and look at the whole picture not just the sex. That was a very hard thing to do but with God's guidance I got it done. I realized it was both of us not just one.

      19. AnonymousJuly 13, 2009

        Well I have been married almost 11 years and I believe we have role reversal in our marriage. I seek everything to make things better and he just exists. We have went to counseling and to a Love & Respect seminar and nothing changes!!! He is not affectionate and I don't even know if he is really a christian. He says he is a carnal christian I believe that is his escape for not having to try. Needless to say I have had 2 men from my past entering back into my life lately and I keep trying to overcome all this confusion. I just feel like he has sucked everything from me and never gives anything back and I am so torn. I feel like I can't turn to anyone I am so ashamed of even feeling as I do. I am a christian and I know this is an attack from the devil but how do you fight it all by yourself?

      20. I agree with the article and the comments above..There is a limit to what we, as women, can control. My husband has had 6 emotional affairs in the last 7 years. They are like clockwork, all the same signs, different type of women, all end when I find out and he begs for forgiveness. He will not go to counseling and thinks I snoop too much (really?). The last two turned slightly physical. The current (I found out about yesterday) I believe is full blown. He has been going to her apartment. We have been married for 18 years and have sex at least twice a week. I am a stay at home mom, I cook, clean, and take care of his needs, as well as the kids. We travel, have a beautiful home and people think we have the ideal marriage....No one knows of his "indiscretions." So what I am doing wrong here? The books don't have an answer here. I offer it up to our Lord every day. But, I am hanging on like a thread....


      Chime in.