Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Why Do We Always Blame The Other Woman?

Why is it that when men cheat we always blame the other woman? Yes the guy will get some stick but will more than likely be forgiven depending on the circumstances, whilst the lady involved is hated. Surely it's a two way thing? When I caught an ex of mine texting an associate, I was less than impressed. This to me was unacceptable behaviour and whilst it wasn't a deal breaker it was an easy excuse for me to end the relationship as I wasn't happy anyway. The point is whilst I was angry and didn’t talk to him for a long time I found it easier to forgive him than the girl. Every time I'd see her I'd feel a surge of anger and bitterness. My reasoning was that she knew I was in a relationship yet still entertained his advances and flirted/texted him. When it came to him my emotions overtook my anger and I eventually forgave him. Add marriage and children to the equation and it’s a whole different ball game.

One of the reasons is because it's easier. We don't want to believe that the man we love could deceive us like that. It's easier to shift the blame onto the woman than deal with the fact that your boyfriend played away. It has a lot to do with denial; we just don’t want to accept that our partner would/could cheat on us. So we shift the blame onto the woman in order to think that the man wasn't at fault. We don't want to believe that our partner rejected us...right?

Or maybe because we're so besotted with our partners and we're blinded by the facts. If we shift the blame onto the woman we won't have to face the responsibility of dealing with the issues at hand. The fact is the other woman did not drag the man to bed. I doubt she drugged him or held a gun to his head. Let’s not forget that some men lie about their relationship status. How can you blame the ‘other’ woman if she had no idea they guy was already spoken for? I bet some women do still shift the blame and convince themselves that deep down the mistress did know.

Is it because that woman has done/given your man something that he felt you couldn't. This affair has highlighted that your relationship isn’t going as strong/good as you once thought. Or because the woman may have known the guy was already in a relationship. It still doesn’t make her solely responsible.

It takes two to cheat and shifting the blame onto the woman won't change the fact that your man did the dirty. Thoughts?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Infidelity Part Two.

Last week I touched on how people make the decision to cheat. I'm not trying to excuse people's behavior or judge them. I'm just trying to understand what drives people to act a certain way. Understanding peoples behavior is a key concept within Counselling. I'm ambushed with various readings and The Truth About Deception has been a real eye opener. This week I'll focus on some of the factors that will influence a person to cheat
  • Attractiveness An individuals attractiveness influences whether they're likely to cheat. Attraction comes in many forms and isn't just the physical appearance. It could be money, social skills or status, all these things can fall into whether a person finds someone attractive. Of course physical attraction plays a very important role as this is what draws us towards people. Apparently people who have successful careers, higher incomes, better educations are more likely to cheat than people who are less successful. Not sure whether I agree but this is what research has shown.
  • Opportunity The more individual free time people have the more likely they are to cheat. I know some couples who are simply too busy to cheat. Of course you can always find the time if that's what you desire to do but it's going to be a lot more harder than the person who has more time on their hands. Couples who have separate careers, travel plans, friends, social lives are more inclined to cheat than the couple that spends most of their time together. I'm not suggesting you spend every minute of the day together but don't go to the extreme where you hardly see each other, find a happy medium. 
  • Risk Taking People who have a sense of adventure and like to take a risk are more inclined to cheat than people who are more fearful and timid by nature. Risk takers don't dwell on the negatives and the worse that could happen too much. Yes they consider the pros and cons but don't let it affect their final decision. You could go as far as say that the risk takers in this scenario are not thinking through the consequences. They act in the moment and deal with the backlash if/when they get caught. 
  • Sexual Desire is different for each person. Some people have very high sex drives while others are less inclined. This is a big hurdle in some peoples relationships. I guess it's obvious to say that those with a higher sex drive are more inclined to cheat then those who aren't. People who have multiple affairs are addicted to the novelty and excitement which infidelity can provide. I have a friend that constantly cheats on his girlfriend of 10+ years. I think the secret lifestyle drives him. The sneaking around, the attention he doesn't get at home, the feeling of being constantly wanted is the excitement he craves. 
  • Attitude Toward Love Some people view love as a sacred bond between two people. Unfortunately there are a few who view love as a game, to gain emotional power and manipulate them. (Got to be careful who you hook up with). People who view love as a game are more likely to have multiple partners, they view it as another form of control over their spouse. As well as the different types of love attachment.
  • Attachment styles go back to how we are loved as children. When caregivers are responsive and constantly there for the children. The infants form secure style of attachment. When they get into adult relationships they are more likely to have satisfying and loving relationships. When caregivers are inconsistent or overly protective the child may form an anxious or preoccupied attachment. As an adult they may go on to be constantly worried and anxious about their love life. They crave and desperately need intimacy and never stop questioning how much their partner loves them. Finally if parents are neglectful the child is likely to form a dismissive style of attachment. Once they hit adulthood they may form dismissive attachments to their partners. They may be uncomfortable with intimacy, may not like it when people get to close and don't like being dependent on a partner or vice versa.  
  • Relationship Problems We all have them unfortunately some of us deal with them the wrong way. As problems emerge people are more likely to cheat. Whether it's a feeling of being misunderstood, lack of time spent together, sexual desires, under appreciated and where there is constant fighting. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Infidelity Part One.

In light of recent infidelity reports I'm going to discuss cheating over the next few weeks. For many years I was under the thesis that there is no way you can love your partner and cheat on them. My thoughts were if you cared for someone why would you do anything to intentionally hurt them. I admit my mind set was either black or white with no room for grey areas. The fact is not everyone who cheats intends to do so, especially the first time. It may sound absurd but it’s true! The truth about deception is an interesting site which raised some interesting facts. 

All infidelity is bad but I think I could cope better with a one night stand than a long time running affair where feelings become involved. I'd like to think that it wouldn't happen again and we could hopefully resolve what went wrong and move on. If it could only be so simple. Everyone’s got their reasons for why they’ve been unfaithful. So let’s look at how people make the decision to cheat.

The truth is that our emotions get the better of us. Whilst out brain says we're in a committed relationship our feelings say something different. Your emotions can get you into a whole heap of trouble if you’re not honest with yourself. They can influence your actions and have you walking down the wrong path. When it comes to our emotions there are three types involved with cheating-sexual desire, romantic love and attachment. In a nutshell most infidelity happens not because people plan it but because they find themselves in situations where their emotions overwhelm them. I always believed that when a person cheats they've planned it but that's rarely the case. It may be that they've fallen into one of the categories below. 

Forming a really close relationship with some one other than your spouse.
Spending a lot of alone time with some one else.
Being around someone who is sexually interested.
Not feeling close to your spouse.

Situations that create the sense of opportunity - the feeling that one will not get caught (e.g., meeting someone in private, out of town trips, etc.). 
Situations involving alcohol or drugs.

Some would argue it’s simple practice self restraint. Well it seems that self restraint goes out the window when placed in the above situations thanks to our emotions. Poor decisions are often made and people are left hurt. We can sometimes be na├»ve to what’s going around us. That person that we flirt with at work seems harmless in the office environment. However add a work party, a few drinks and who knows what might happen.

Some people are better with self control while others fool themselves into thinking they can control the situation. It’s kind of like playing with fire, keep doing it and you may get burnt. You may be able to be around someone who is sexually interested for 3 months and nothing happens. Then the next day you find yourself in each others arms. It reminds me of when you split up with an ex and you convince yourself you’d never go there again. Yet you could meet up with them after a year of not talking and all those emotions come flooding back. While it’s not the same as cheating I’m trying to illustrate that we’re not always as in control as we’d like to think.

So the best way to try and control infidelity is to avoid the situations listed above as will power does little to influence our behaviour. Some cultures don’t view will power enough of a deterrent for cheating. That controlling the situation and avoiding the above scenarios is the best way to control behaviour and I have to say I agree. If you can avoid certain environments/people/situations your less likely to cheat. In western cultures we place greater value on individual responsibility. We allow the above situations to happen but then we hold individuals accountable for their behaviour and we expect people to behave appropriately. There are going to be times when we entertain the thought of infidelity but the key is to avoid situations which bring out the worst in our behaviour.  
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