Straight From His Mouth: Why Does It Take So Much Work For Men Not To Cheat?

December 24, 2012  |  

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Is it really work not to cheat?

My coworker has a friend whose husband told his wife he will not go to dinner or for drinks when he’s on business trips if the crowd is mostly women because it’s too much temptation.

Another guy friend has a similar rule. In the work plac,e he won’t ever go to lunch with women and they basically have the mindset that every day is a battle or there’s always an opportunity to cheat so they won’t put themselves in those situations, even ones that seem harmless for most people.

Like the relationship statuses of so many people on Facebook, the answer to this question is, “it’s complicated.” Since this is the Internet, I must open with an obligatory statement of fact: “cheating is wrong,” and yet people cheat every day. Even conservative estimates suggest at least 20 percent of men and 15 percent of women will cheat during the course of their marriage. While this still means that between 80 to 85 percent of married people are faithful, why is it so difficult for men like the ones described above not to cheat?

Well, when it comes to cheating, there are three types of men…

1. The Faithful Man – As the name suggest, the Faithful Man resists all temptations to cheat. This type of man has rarely, if ever, cheated on any girl. Remaining faithful is a natural part of his character. He may be morally sound, stubborn, or simply a man of his word; but whatever his justification, this man finds it easier to remain faithful than to cheat. This is not to suggest he is is perfect. In fact, he might entertain the idea of stepping outside of his relationship like most normal people; however, he never lets these mental lapses or weaknesses of character manifest themselves in reality. For him, honoring the commitment of his relationship is what’s most important.

2. The Selective Cheater – The Selective Cheater is faithful, for the most part. His past is usually checkered with opportunities to cheat – some of which he chose to entertain, others he passed up. There is usually no rhyme or reason for why the Selective Cheater strays, but it’s usually coupled with the fact that he can get away with it and other women likely provide something the current woman in his life doesn’t – whether it’s love, sex, companionship or some other arbitrary void his current love interest isn’t completely satisfying. The Selective Cheater is generally passive in his cheating habit, usually preferring to choose whether to cheat as the various opportunities naturally arise rather than aggressively pursuing other women outside of his relationship. Because cheating doesn’t define him or his happiness, there are usually long stretches where he’s completely faithful.

3. The Compulsive Cheater – Unlike the Selective Cheater, the Compulsive Cheater often feels like he can’t control himself. As such, he is usually careless in his actions and cheats with a large number of women regardless of the impact it might have on his current relationship. It’s not that he doesn’t care about the woman (or women) in his life – although it’s possible he does not – but he is more likely drawn to cheating as most others are drawn to any number of destructive habits. In his case, cheating is like a drug. The highs, lows, peaks, and valleys of cheating, sneaking around, and getting caught or almost getting caught sustain him. He can break his addiction, usually temporarily, but it isn’t easy. In order to change, he has to want to do so himself; otherwise, as with most addictions, he frequently relapses.

Taking a guess, it seems like the men mentioned in the reader’s question are types 2 or 3. It’s also possible they’re both type 1 now, but they have been or can relate to the lifestyle of the other types from when they were younger. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, seeing as how both men recognize their character flaws and have taken proactive steps to avoid temptation on behalf of themselves and their relationship. Avoiding temptation is not the same as admitting defeat. For example, if you’re a former chain smoker, avoiding smokers isn’t an admittance of failure; it’s simply a recognition that it’s easier to resist temptation when it’s not right in front of your face. I see nothing wrong with these men, or any man, avoiding situations that make them uncomfortable. As the saying goes, “out of sight, out of mind.”

I’d be remiss not to end this post without pointing out that some women are just as drawn to men in relationships as some men in relationships are drawn to cheating. This isn’t to say men can’t be faithful when confronted by women who knowingly or unknowingly tempt them; but why test your resolve when you can avoid the situation completely, especially if you know you’ve fallen victim to similar invitations before? I’m sure most men would prefer their wife be upset with them for avoiding the temptation of other women rather than welcoming it and failing to draw the line before it’s too late. At the end of the day, better safe than sorry.

Is it really difficult for men not to cheat? Is it any easier for women to remain faithful? Is there anything uniquely different between what men and women face when trying not to cheat?

WisdomIsMisery aka WIM uses his background as an internal auditor to provide objective, yet opinionated, qualitative and quantitative analysis on life, love, and everything in between. As a Scorpio, many women wish death on WIM and some have attempted to hasten its arrival. WIM is not a model, a model citizen, or a role model. See more of WIM on his weekly write-ups for SBM and on Twitter @WisdomIsMisery.

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