Is it a sex blog? A mommy blog? A bitch & moan blog? Um, . . . yeah. This is my place to be totally honest. In my real life, I feel like I'm always lying to somebody about something. Here, I am totally honest. Brutally so. However, no matter what bad things I say about my kids, I adore them and would never ever really, say, sell them on Ebay. The husband, often referred to as Spousehole, is another story. Oh yeah - if you are under 18 (or if you are my husband), please leave now.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Why Do People Cheat?

Interesting article by Dr. Laura Berman on why people cheat. It's a somewhat simplistic analysis, though that makes for a nice short article. She suggests that cheaters fall under one or more of the following categories: those feeling unappreciated by their partner, those seeking revenge on a cheating partner, and those bent on self-destruction because they cannot accept a good relationship.

I guess I fall under her first category, those who feel a need for appreciation. For a short time, I feel wanted, desired, and desirable when I am with PiC. He appreciates me and what I can do for him. I appreciate him and what he does for me. My husband, on the other hand, appreciates nothing I do. An example: Since having a second child, I have been washing and ironing his shirts at home, to save the money spent having them laundered. I hate it. Hate it. But his shirts need to be clean and pressed, so I do it. Yesterday I ironed seven shirts in the basement laundry room and carried them up to the living room on the main floor. Spousehole was sitting on the couch, watching the first Harry Potter movie for the umpteenth time. I handed him his shirts to take to the second floor and hang in our closet. He stared at me, initially refusing to take the shirts. He finally grabbed them, stomped upstairs, and yelled "What a lazy-ass bitch. You can't just carry them up one flight of stairs and hang them in the closet. Shit." No "Thanks honey for ironing my shirts for me, today and week in, week out, all year." Just bitching because I wanted him to carry them upstairs and hang them up.

Fuck him.

But I also see myself in her last category, those bent on self-destruction. I also seem to destroy the good things in my life. Maybe unconsciously I am looking to destroy my family. I sure hope not, but I could use some of the "love, praise, and affection" Dr. Berman suggests partners of a self-destructive person offer.

Her other category is revenge cheaters. There may be a little of that for me. Although he probably didn't complete the act, he wanted to and, I believe, intended to cheat on me. That's enough to spur me to revenge, I suppose.

If you have cheated, or have contemplated cheating, which category do you fall under? Or do your reasons not fit into Dr. Berman's simple framework?

24 comments:

Fex said...

Interesting post. I haven't cheated. I'm trying not to. But when those feelings tack hold, I'm like you, it's typically one of the three or a combination of them depending on the moment. The majority of the time, it's due to need to be appreciated. But every once in a while it is mixed with the revenge element and the struggle with the grass is always greener syndrome.

Interesting post - led me to some interesting thoughts and self-discovery. Thanks!

Fex said...

Actually, I had one more thought on this. You know, I hear someone describe their spouse's actions in the way you have here, and I think, "how could she deal with that? I'd have to leave." But yet, it is not that simple. It is way more complicated than that. These bad things are all mixed up with otherwise good things, etc. And I know that if I went with the greener grass route, that eventually that grass would start turning brown if not cared for properly too. The perfect wonderful lover changes once he becomes the same guy, day in and day out, and starts taking things for granted. It makes me wonder if marriage in general is fundamentally flawed. It seems like even the best of relationships can get fundamentally screwed up if you lock up two people together in the same house for long enough. Can it ever work? I mean, we hear about long "happy" marriages that do appear to work, but are both parties truly "happy" or has one just given up and settled?

Sorry - I'm not normally such a pessimist. But I'd love it if someone has some good news from the optimist perspective.

terry said...

i came close to cheating once, before my ex-husband and i were married. and it was all about the need for appreciation.

and fex brings up an interesting question about the very nature of marriage. i don't know anyone who has the answer.

The "Mind" said...

This is a great, thought-provoking post. I would imagine for most people it's a combination of things.

Edtime Stories said...

I think that the incidence like this I hear that makes me worried about you. I can't understand not appreciating someone doing things for you.

Eye Candy's MILF said...

Your post really resonated with me today. I have not cheated on my husband, but the temptation is SO there! Why? Because of the lack of apprecition from hubby. I want to be wanted. I want to know that I've still got it. I want to feel that desire and lust again.
I agree with Fex's comment as well in that the grass seems greener, but in reality you know that that too will eventually dry up.
So glad I found your blog!

John said...

I have never cheated on my wife, although I have often thought about it. Since our second child was born 15 years ago my wife has avoided sex. This is largely, I think, because of the medication she has been receiving since following thyroid problems. Of course she may just have gone off me.

We have had sex maybe two or three times a year since then and after a while this rejection is intensely painful and thoughts turn to finding comfort elsewhere. But I haven't cheated because I love her and I'm not going to risk all the good that we have just to get my rocks off.

curious said...

Another question: why do people stay with spouses who clearly hate them?

George said...

The revenge theory is a pile of shit in my opinion. That is so childish ... well, you did it to me so I'm doing it back so there ... Hmph

Nobody can make you cheat it is self willed and self controlled. Certainly you may be at a party, get insanely drunk and have somebody fuck you and not really be aware. But that is once and there is a sort of reason. But more than once and it's no longer an accident.

Nor are excuses like ... I couldn't control myself ... it just happened ... I was drunk (yeah, we heard that one before) ... you are responsible for your actions.

I completely agree with reason number 1 ... and I am positive that this is the one that most women can relate to because, unfortunately, it is true that after time spent together we tend to take a lot for granted with our partner. She always irons my shirts, 52 weeks a year ... if she didn't enjoy it she wouldn't do it ... etc

I don't know anything about people doing it for self destructive reasons because they cannot accept being in a good relationship. I can understand the psychological side but that's about all

Dates Bubbas said...

Many moons ago I was the "other" woman. Why did the men I was with cheat with me? Probably because I was there, paid attention to them and responded positively to their overtures. Most people cheat because their marriage is lacking something. Love, affection, communication, positive strokes, help with the dishes - you name it. It's apparently too much work or they're too afraid to try to fix what's wrong, so they go elsewhere.

On the flip side, almost all of my exes have cheated on me. My ex-husband cheated because "men are the sexual butterflies of life." The guy I lived with for 7 years because he never really wanted to be with me in the first place. I was just good enough until the woman he really wanted relented and would have him. The boyfriend between, because he didn't want to be committed to anyone or anything, including me.

There are people with good marriages. They're the ones willing to make compromises and make sure their spouses feel valued. If I felt truly valued at work, I'd be thrilled to show up there every day. Same goes for being around someone day in and day out. If I felt valued and appreciated at home I'd be sure to fly out of the office every evening just to be with them. It's too bad there are so many unhappy people in the world.

Vixen said...

For me #1 and #3. I would never and *COULD NEVER* bc of #2...it's just not in me.

To feel unappreciated eats away at you.

To be on a path of self destruction I find happening to myself and all the while going "why?! STOP"!.... but unable to.

I would call that "stupidly unhappy"....in my case.

Very thought provoking post.

Vixen said...

I just read through your comments and saw "curious" comment...

Until you are walking in that same person's shoes you don't know. You.do.not.know.

*sigh*

Don't judge other people. It's not fair and it's not right. What you read on a blog is a *portion* of someone's life and thoughts, what they chose to share with you.

Just sayin.....

Mr Gently said...

You're right it is a simplistic article.

I'm not condoning cheating, but there are several more categories, the one that sticks out to me are those people who thought that they loved their SO but meet someone that they either actually love, or love a lot more than their SO. and rather than breaking up with their SO straight away, they start something with a third party.

Mr Gently said...

Oh, and tell him to iron his own Fucking shirts

Jim said...

Door number one, definitely.

XO

denae said...

I was an under appreciated cheater. I was in an abusive relationship for years, and I cheated to get the appreciation that I desired. I only physically cheated twice, but I gave myself emotionally to other men. When I found out my significant other was cheating on me, I wanted to revenge cheat, but I left him instead. It was the best decision to make, and now I am married and have decided if I ever feel the need to cheat, I am going to leave him, too.

Miss Lucky Mommy said...

you know, I don't care how much of an ass he is or whether you're cheating or not (but frankly I don't think he would care). But I just have to say since no one else did, him calling you out of your name is absolutely unacceptable! "lazy-ass bitch"?! BITCH? No. No way should he ever speak to you or anyone else like that. My man can be such a dick,but that kind of name calling is unacceptable and abusive. I hope your children don't ever hear him speaking to you in that manner. I really can't ever over him taking it that far. There are other things you've mentioned that he's done that just falls into the category of abuse.
I mean, I can totally understand why you would cheat on him. Right or wrong,you're a hot blooded human who needs that physical connection. We all do.

Loving Annie said...

I think all three of those are USUALLY the reasons...

Appreciation or lack of it, leads to the cherishing or the destoying of love...

Spousehole is making a big mistake. Being rude like that/thoughtless isn't impressive behavior. Let him iron his own shirts from now on.

But then there is also self-destruction, (which may include selfishness and immaturity) and revenge...

I cheated once on a Wednesday, and broke up with the guy 5 days later on Saturday. He bored me in bed, and the new guy didn't. I knew I had to leave, because I didn't want to live without passion.

Elizabeth Black said...

I was the mistress, too, when I was college. I think that guys who cheat do it because they feel entitled and because they can get away with it. Their marriages may be in trouble, but not necessarily. Their marriages WILL be in trouble if wifey finds out.

I was much younger than the men I had my affairs with, and I know that I appealed to them because of my youth, my openness about sex, and my energy level. The affairs were not their wive's faults. They were their faults. That's the way I view it now, as a much more mature adult.

I'm sorry your husband treated you like crap when it came to the shirts. I had an ex who treated me like that, which is one reason he is now my ex. It took me a long time to leave, but that was the time period that I needed. I don't condemn a woman in the same spot I was in because I don't know her entire story. I hope things work out for you better in the end.

curious said...

Vixen said, "Until you are walking in that same person's shoes you don't know. You.do.not.know.

*sigh*

Don't judge other people. It's not fair and it's not right. What you read on a blog is a *portion* of someone's life and thoughts, what they chose to share with you.

Just sayin..... "

I just want to say that I understand all that. I know that I.do.not.know. In fact, that's.why.I.asked.

I'm not judging. I'm curious. So I asked.

Bunny said...

Thanks everyone for your posts.

Curious: Why do I stay? Because we have two children together. Because he used to be a great guy and I think that guy is still there somewhere. See: http://rabbitgonewrong.blogspot.com/2007/07/my-husband-does-have-redeeming.html

Bunny said...

Yeah, ok, screwed that up. The post is My Husband Does Have Redeeming Qualities. Search for Redeeming and you'll find it.

Professor Fate said...

Hey Bunny, I was cruise through the TMIs and someone mentioned this post, so I am back. Her analysis is simplistic, but it is easy to understand.

My marriage went into the shitter because my ex-wife emotionally left and then she physically left (not the house just the marriage bed). One of the marital counselors assigned her "homework". She was supposed to sleep in the same bed as I did just once in a two week period (she could not, would not do it).

I didn't cheat, but I was tempted. I was physically and emotionally ignored (I guess that is one) and I caught her on the couch (lets just say she and a friend were making out PLUS). So I guess we'd need to add a little two.

The reason that I didn't is because I always thought that in the end she'd come back and the possible guilt of me not being married for one day (one hour) prevented me from misbehaving.

In the end I got divorced because I didn't want our "relationship" to be imprinted as "normal" on my daughters. I also got divorced because I could not trust her anymore. I did have an fluid exchanging "date" the within 9 hours of the judge signing the divorce decree.

p.s. Well that turned into a bit of a ramble. I haven't read everyone else's comments. I hope no one lectured you.

Easily Aroused said...

It is simplistic ... overly simplistic. But as you say, that is possibly a result of fitting the subject matter to the medium - a short Internet article.

I'm no counsellor or psychiatrist, but there's at least one more category to include in Dr Berman's list: mismatched libidos. I guess if you're of a mind to, you can fit this underneath her 'appreciation' header, but I'd say it's a different issue altogether.

What if all the other necessary factors in your relationship - enjoyment, humour, common interests, mutual respect, emotional closeness and support - are all present and correct, but one of you needs a good deal more passion and lust and the raw excitement and satisfaction that comes with those things? What do you do? Should the partner with the lower libido spend his or her time acting like they're far more interested in sex than they really are? Or should the partner with the higher sex drive suppress, even strangle, a facet of their inner self that's incredibly important to them? What should that person do when they've tried everything to coax their partner towards some comfortable middle ground? What if a sense of compromise hasn't been achieved for more than a decade?

Time on this planet is so damned short as it is. Should anyone have to go through their lives aching for something that's missing? But what do you do if everything else in your relationship is there? Do you throw it away and start over, in the hope of finding someone who ticks *all* of the boxes? Or do you compromise with yourself, find someone with whom you can satisfy that missing thing in your life?

Answers on a postcard please....