Friday, December 12, 2008

WHY MEN CHEAT- and how to stop them

You're not as young as you used to be. Sex hasn't been great lately. He simply got his kicks elsewhere. Besides, she's probably prettier and slimmer than you anyway. These are the reasons women think men cheat - but according to best-selling author and marriage counsellor M Gary Neuman, they're all wrong.

For his new book, Why Men Stray And What You Can Do To Prevent It, Neuman spent two years studying 100 men who had affairs and 100 men who were faithful. 'Only eight per cent of the cheating men said it was sexual dissatisfaction at home and 88 per cent said the mistress was not better-looking or in better shape than their wife,' says Neuman. 'The number one reason behind their cheating was the emotional dissatisfaction they felt in their marriage and the emotional connection they unfortunately developed in the affair.'

Around 69 per cent had thought they would never cheat and were surprised at their own insecurity. 'They didn't think they'd fall into an illicit relationship because they were in need of some appreciation and admiration,' Neuman explains.

Although his findings should make some women feel better about themselves (his affair probably wasn't a direct result of your attractiveness or bedroom abilities), the book's title does seem to suggest some of blame lies with the woman. Neuman denies this is the case; many women, he says, are interested in learning what they could have done to prevent their partner's adultery.

'It tells women that emotional connection at home is by far the most important way to develop a happy marriage and reduce the risk of cheating,' he says.

The book may focus on men's infidelity but women aren't innocent: a 2006 survey of 46,000 people found one in ten married women - compared to one in five married men - had strayed too. So should we all expect to be cheated on? Or will we stray? What happened to monogamy?

'Nothing,' says Neuman. 'Alfred Kinsey's studies from the 1950s stated half of married men would cheat by the age of 40. What I have always found strange is how society understands that to be successful at everything in life, whether it be parenthood or a career, takes a lot of time and effort but we don't have the same view towards marriage.'

For some women the book will be a fascinating read. For others it will reaffirm what they've always thought - but we won't put words into their mouths. You've probably worked that out already.

The Truth About Cheating: Why Men Stray And What You Can Do To Prevent It by M Gary Neuman (Wiley, £16.50)

Appreciation is key
One cheating husband told Neuman about what had happened on his wife's birthday. 'He got up at 5.30am to prepare a surprise birthday breakfast for his wife. They'd been in a bad way and he thought it would be a good gesture to show her that he'd heard her complaints; it was a peace offering. But he accidentally left the microwave on too long. By the time he caught it, the kitchen was smoking and the alarm began to blare. His wife woke to chaos at 6.11am on her birthday and - understandably - she was pissed off. But the husband was so angry that she couldn't even take a moment to appreciate his good intentions that he left the house that morning and didn't return until the evening. It was that day he had his first sexual meeting with another woman.'

The signs
He spends more time away from home.
You have sex infrequently.
He avoids contact with you.
He criticises you more often.
He starts fights with you.
He may start talking about other women.

Neuman's action plan
The role his friends play: Neuman found that 77 per cent of cheating men have close friends who have also cheated. Here's one woman's story:
'Roger was his friend since childhood. How was I going to tell my husband who he should or should not hang out with? I was a blind fool.'
Ellen wasn't fond of her husband's closest friend but felt it wasn't her place to do anything. It was after their third child that she got suspicious and, after a few months, discovered her husband had been cheating. He'd found his girlfriend while visiting clubs he probably wouldn't have frequented had it not been for Roger.

Neuman's action plan: If your husband is part of a group of cheating men, his social circle is sending him a strong message about the normality of infidelity.

Step one: Invite his friends and family into your home so you can learn more about them. Some wives dislike their husband's friends and choose to stay far away but we have learned that you improve your odds of fidelity by knowing as much about his friends' lifestyles as possible without being overbearing.

Step two: If he has close friends who are cheaters, introduce him to new friends by going out with other couples. The more time he spends with new faithful men, the less significant his cheating friends become.

Muhammad Mahtab Bashir
Voice: 0300 52 56 875

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