Infidelity. Affairs. Dalliances. Scandals. Improprieties. Cheating has assumed many forms throughout human history, but the common thread among them is a betrayal of trust. Trust is what keeps relationships solvent, relationships keep families together, and families help communities and society function.
Every exchange among us, be it financial or interpersonal, is predicated on trust. No matter what form cheating takes, and no matter the depth of an affair, the act of cheating corrupts one thing that makes a man a man: his trustworthiness.
For any society to grow, the actions of its people must be characterized by trust. Modern men have not found fulfillment in the superficial, and they are beginning to look inward for the meaning we all crave. But to deny the ephemeral pleasure of an affair is becoming increasingly difficult as scientific findings insist that cheating is in our DNA.
So the greatest challenges modern men face are to find their own reasons to be faithful in relationships and to ignore the voices that tell them to settle for less. To get at the heart of how men feel about cheating, it’s important to learn how they feel about being cheated on.
Different forms of cheating
But the milieu of cheating is far wider than just physical affairs. Many claim that emotional affairs hurt worse than physical betrayal, and that is because emotions are what keep us bonded to our lovers for life. Maintaining an emotional connection is hard, but the moment we step outside of our relationships for it, we place faith outside of our partners for one of the things we crave most in life. In that sense, emotional cheating is the most pernicious form that men need to be aware of.
Another aspect of cheating not considered by most is pornography.
Bobby Angel, blogger and husband, says, “Pornography is cheating on your family, cheating on your spouse, and ultimately cheating on yourself. I really believe that pornography is the ‘silent killer’ of our generation, stripping men of their vitality to become the men they’re called to be.”
Dr. Phil has this to say on internet porn: “It is not OK behavior. It is a perverse and ridiculous intrusion into your relationship. It is an insult, it is disloyal, and it is cheating.”
A different viewpoint
There are celebrated figures who claim that cheating can be a good thing. Dan Savage, famed sex columnist, says that cheating is the right thing to do in certain circumstances.
“If one person is completely done with sex and the other person is not done with sex, what do you advise people to do in that circumstance? Divorce? Traumatize their children?” he said. “I look at that and I say ‘You know, do what you need to do to stay married and stay sane. And maybe that involves cheating, but as the lesser of two evils. Divorce is an evil, cheating is an evil, there are circumstances in which cheating is the lesser evil.”
Many modern men accept this line of reasoning because it seems convenient. But choosing the lesser of two evils implies that a man doesn’t have the creativity or courage to face the challenge of choosing a better way. It is a limiting belief that prevents a man from genuinely expressing his full potential in living a worthwhile life.
According to Cathy Meyer, certified marriage educator and divorce coach, one of the reasons men feel inclined to cheat is their sexual needs aren’t being met. Women are the more emotionally connected of the sexes, so sex for them is more typically rooted in emotional connection. Men can have difficulty expressing their emotions and acknowledging their partner’s emotional needs, which can result in a waning sex life.
Rather than putting in the work to re-establish an emotional connection, men often take the easy way out for sexual gratification. But that short-term thinking leaves them with less trust and meaning to build satisfaction. For many men, the option of cheating is becoming less attractive as they become more emotionally attuned to themselves and their partners.