Infidelity: Who's to blame?

February 16, 2010 4:28:47 PM PST
Infidelity -- who's to blame? What he's thinking when he decides to cheat. Plus, tips to spot an unfaithful partner.

Q&A WITH Charles Orlando & Danine Manette about infidelity:

What is cheating?

Charles:
The most common definition is the act of committing adultery (read: having intimate relations with someone other than your spouse or significant other). However, emotional infidelity-having an intimate affair not involving sex-can also be classified as cheating.

There are three "types": Flings, Affairs, and Online. Flings being short-term (often times, event-driven and devoid of emotion), Affairs being longer-sometimes only physical, but often involve emotional investment... and Online being nearly completely emotional.

Danine:
Cheating is anything you are doing in relation to a member of the opposite sex which you would not do in front of your spouse or partner.

It does not have to be sex, because as we all know, many affairs involve cyber or emotional infidelity. It's an issue of intent and whether or not you have an ill intentioned heart.

You know what you're going for when you're going for it and if your behavior is such that you know your mate would not appreciate it, then you are on the wrong road.

How do men define cheating?

Charles:
Most men define cheating as having sex with another person. But many know that just pursuing another person would be viewed as infidelity. Some men view oral sex (receiving) as "not cheating"... but that's ridiculous, and I'm quite sure that men would view their significant others receiving oral sex as infidelity. Many men don't "count" emotional cheating as real infidelity.

Danine:
Typically when describing their OWN behavior, it's sex. Anything short of that is just "innocent flirting" in their eyes. I can't tell you the number of times I've heard a man excuse his behavior by saying, "I was just kidding around, I wasn't going to do anything!" after they've already taken the woman's number, made a date, and engaged in intimate touching.

When men are describing their woman's behavior, however, cheating is anything which resembles inappropriate conduct or interaction. Doesn't usually have to be sex for men to feel their woman is cheating.

How do women define it?

Charles:
Unless the couple is in an open relationship, most women agree that sex with someone else counts as cheating. However, many women consider emotional infidelity to be the most damaging and potentially the hardest to get over. With the rise of Social Media and community-based websites, connecting with others in remote locations isn't just the activities of a small subculture, it's ingrainged into our everyday lives.

Numbers vary, but Facebook boasts some 700M+ users worldwide (and since their acceptance into the mainstream, high school reunions have fallen by over 60%). Online Cheating-without any physical contact-is the most damaging type of infidelity. The reason? The entire "connection" between the two parties is emotional.

Danine:
Typically as a single standard, regardless of whether they are describing themselves or their mates behavior. Now, this definition varies according to the perimeters of the relationship and what is generally accepted, however women tend to have a more rigid definition of what constitutes cheating and men are usually on the wrong side of that line in the eyes of a woman.

Who cheats more (men or women)?

Charles:
Men have had the majority of affairs, but women are gaining ground. With the rise of the Women's Movement, feminism alive and well, many men putting less and less into their relationships, and women being more outwardly in-touch with their emotional and sexual needs, those number are only going to rise.

Danine:
It's pretty much equal, however, it seems like it's mostly men because men don't discuss it as much. Women are more interactive and communicative with those close to them and therefore tend to discuss these things more often with their friends, sisters, mothers, etc. Men, on the other hand, often view their mate cheating as an emasculating event and connect it to a perceived inability to satisfy their partner.

Men are therefore usually embarrassed or ashamed to talk about the fact that their woman is stepping out on them and prefer to suffer in silence. When I do talk radio segments the majority of my callers are men because this is a safe environment for them to talk about what is going on in their relationship.

Although women seem to be the majority of infidelity victims, there are almost as many men out there suffering as well.

What are the reasons men cheat? (What about women?)

Charles:
Of the men I've polled, 80% openly admitted to cheating largely for physical or sexual gratification with no emotional tie.

Rounding out the top reasons men cheat included:

  • Just want to have sex or sexual variety
  • Presented with an opportunity to have sex, without getting immediately caught
  • Satisfy sexual curiosity about having sex with a particular person
  • The "thrill of the chase"
  • The desire to feel important or special (an ego boost)
In contrast, women reported that they cheat mostly for emotional reasons, which highlights the contrast on how the genders identify the "reasons" for sex? the top reasons are:
  • Lack of emotional intimacy
  • Marital or relationship unhappiness
  • Reaffirm her desirability
  • To re-experience feelings of romance
  • Loneliness
However, in delving further into the mens' reasons, I discovered that most of them were "unable to get out of their relationships" prior to their infidelity, which translated into the simple fact that they lacked the skills/respect to maturely discuss their unhappiness with their significant other. In short, they acknowledged that they were unhappy and looking for a way out, but they couldn't bring themselves to pull the trigger on the relationship.

If they cheated and got caught (most long-term cheaters do end up getting caught), they were able to quickly turn the tables, telling their spouse how it was THEIR fault they cheated because [insert reason here: not enough sex, boredom, etc.].

Danine:
The main reasons people cheat is not necessarily because of the person they are cheating with, but more so the way they themselves are reflected through the eyes of their affair partner.

They like the way the affair partner makes them feel about themselves and about life. Unless you are dealing with a narcissist or a socio-path, an affair is not usually the problem in the relationship, but rather is a symptom of the problem. The cheating spouse believes that bringing an outsider into the marriage to make them feel better is the solution when in actuality it is creating a greater problem.

For women, cheating usually comes from a need to feel emotionally connected to someone and the physical relationship develops from there.

For men it is often a physical relationship initially from which an emotional connection later grows. However, younger women today (early 20's) cheat for the same reasons as men do: ego boost, excitement, variety, attention.

What should you do if you suspect your spouse is cheating?

Charles:
You would need to be pretty sure before you start breaking trust and privacy... but get the evidence. Hiding text messages, unusual changes in behavior, late-night phone calls, new friends are signs.

Danine: Take your time and gather all of the facts and information possible. Take a complete overview of your relationship and make note of whether there has been a change in physical or emotional intimacy or if your marriage is going through a vulnerable phase.

Start listening, watching and being aware of changes in your partners habits, attitudes or activities and gather whatever evidence you can for a possible further confrontation. You must be pragmatic and patient and make sure you have all of the facts prior to taking your next step.

To what lengths should you go find out if someone is cheating?

Charles:
Some individuals need a visual confirmation, even if the already KNOW that the other person is cheating. Sometimes it helps to get closure. Other times it just adds to the damage taken. The bottom line: Never sacrifice your own morals or self-worth to catch a cheater. If you need to go to extreme lengths to catch them, you need to evaluate your own need to "catch" someone you obviously deeply distrust.

Danine: Whatever it takes to obtain the information you deem necessary to make the appropriate decision for you, your marriage and your family. Some people hire private detectives while others snoop themselves.

But it is an individual decision as to what lengths you need to go to uncover a cheating spouse... just try to keep them legal and sane.

How do you confront him?

Charles:
Direct and matter-of-fact. They will most likely not want to admit it, so the choice is ultimately yours as to what you do next. If you have the proof.

Danine:
It depends on what you want to happen in the end. If you believe your spouse is cheating, have no intention or working on the marriage and have one foot out the door, then you provide them with the bare minimum amount of information, take no questions, entertain no rebuttal and cut your loses.

If however you are interested in giving them an opportunity to plead their case then you wait until you've obtained all of the necessary information, plan an appropriate time and location for the confrontation, and present numerous pieces of indisputable evidence.

Do not give up everything you've found, and definitely don't EVER reveal your information sources. Also, never let them flip the script and pull a Jedi Mind Trick on you -- that's the number one trick used by guilty spouses to make the victim spouse appear crazy or deranged.

How do you distinguish between "I'm sorry" tears and "I'm sorry I got caught" tears?

Charles:
They're ALWAYS "I'm sorry I got caught" tears... otherwise, they: 1) wouldn't have done it; or 2) ended it before you found out.

Danine:
"I'm sorry" tears usually come before you find out about the affair or have to confront your spouse with evidence of infidelity. These affairs typically stop on their own prior to you finding out/confronting them because the cheater truly is remorseful.

"I got caught" tears on the other hand are usually the ones which come after the cheater is busted and you are packing your bags.

You might get "I'm sorry" tears later on (MUCH later on) after you've caught your spouse in an affair, but typically, at the time of confrontation, he/she is still so wrapped up in their affair partner that they are pretty much sorry you caught them at a time when they were still having so much doggone fun.

Should you (can you) ever trust him again?

Charles:
The question is: Why would you WANT to trust them again? Anyone who is so innately selfish that they need to disrespect someone they claim (had have promised) to love has a lot of growing to do.

Danine:
Yes, as long as he does the things it takes to rebuild trust.

Additional Articles from Danine & Charles

Signs of infidelity:

One of the first steps in determining the likelihood of your mate being unfaithful is to focus on their patterns and potential infidelity signs. Note whether or not they have begun to exhibit behaviors that are inconsistent with their previous routine yet have become more frequent in nature. For instance, ask yourself:
  • Does he have some new activity that occurs on the same night every week, and to which you are not invited?

  • Has she started wanting to do alone things that the two of you used to do together?

  • Has he suddenly begun wanting to do his own laundry?

  • Is he experiencing a sudden, unexplained interest in getting in shape, going to the gym, or changing his hair and general appearance?

  • Has he begun washing his car more frequently?

  • Has he started leaving his cellular telephone or pager in his car at night?

  • Is his cellular telephone address book or call log locked?

  • Does he hang up the telephone or switch computer screens as soon as you walk into the room?

  • Does she constantly check her voice mail or E-mail messages?

  • Does he constantly erase the telephone numbers on his caller-Id box or otherwise sabotage your ability to access the last telephone number dialed?

  • Has he begun to pick petty fights with you, after which he storms storm out of the house, remaining gone for extended periods of time?

  • Do you suddenly find the need to adjust the passenger seat in his car every time you get in?

  • Is he extremely suspicious of you, or does he often accuse you of cheating on him for no apparent reason?

This is a partial list of signs which might indicate a cheating spouse or partner. If you answered "yes" to more than a handful of these questions, you might already be in serious trouble.

Although there may be valid, legitimate reasons for your mate to have exhibited some of these behaviors, you should still make an effort to recognize and note them as they occur. View the complete list of signs, and get help uncovering the truth.

Flings, affairs and online infidelity:

Except from Charles Orlando's Article

First off, allow me to state that monogamy isn't for everyone. In fact, many argue that it's not a "natural state" for men. In many ways, I think those people are right. DNA-wise, both genders are driven by primal instincts to continue our species, not concentrate on the sanctity of marriage.

However, humans now claim to be civilized and if a person decides to delve into the world of commitment, marriage and fidelity, they should hold to the ideals that accompany that choice. However, that doesn't seem to hold true in today's world of disposable marriages.

Alvin Toffler wrote the best seller Future Shock in 1970, and with matter-of-fact conviction he wrote of the rising trend of "trial" or "temporary marriages"-first marriages of young people, lasting three months to three years; and of "serial marriages" that would take place after the dissolution of the "trial marriage," happening at specific turning points in people's lives.

Toffler's views hold true today. Having accurately predicted the coming trends, he could see how men and women would begin to view marriage as a temporary state of being. And as the State of California tries to figure out if Gay Marriage is "legal", the divorce rate for heterosexual couples still hovers at just over 50%. What most don't consider is how the rising divorce rate provides the quintessential example for children of just how temporary marriage-and all relationships-can be.

For the full article, go to www.theproblemismen.com

For more information about Danine Manette, visit www.ultimatebetrayal.com

Buy Danine's book on Amazon: Ultimate Betrayal: Recognizing, Uncovering And Dealing With Infidelity

For information on Infidelity Repair go to www.ultimatebetrayal.com/Participants

Buy Charles' book on Amazon: The Problem with Women... is Men: The Evolution of a Man's Man to a Man of Higher Consciousness

To read Charles' blog go to theproblemwithwomenismen.com


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