A prevalent belief among social scientists is that extramarital affairs are tolerated more by men than they are by women. Some research suggests that women are more likely to tolerate a partner’s cheating now than they did thirty years ago. Research also argues that if men are aware that their infidelity will be tolerated, then they are more likely to cheat. Up to seventy five per cent of men admit to cheating at some time in their relationship. For many men they are not unhappy in their current relationship but are often classified as having poor or low impulse control in comparison with women.
Modern technology such as the internet, dating sites and apps, mobile phone and email also contribute to the potential opportunity for men to cheat on their partners. Through modern technology, people can be in contact 24/7 without their partners ever becoming aware. Also in the modern office environment there is increased numbers of women and men being crammed into small spaces. This is acknowledged as being a contributing factor in the increase of infidelity. The innocent lunchtime meeting can sometimes develop into a full blown affair.
American psychologists identify five different personality types who may have difficulty in remaining faithful.
THE COMPULSIVE: A man who may feel inadequate and who needs a steady stream of sexual conquests to boost their ego. Unfortunately the feelings do not last and constantly require new experiences to receive fresh validation.
THE NARCISSIST: A man who constantly needs to be admired. If he doesn’t obtain a regular supply of new admirers he feels empty. Once the narcissist possesses a woman he devalues her, so sex becomes dull.
THE PRINCE: This man may be the son of an overly indulgent mother who diverts all her love to him from her husband, when he is born. He becomes overly dependent on her, and no women in later life can live up to her. He requires two women in his life to meet his expectations.
THE HE-MAN: Believes that womanising is what real men do. The he-man hangs out with the boys, and parades his conquests as proof of his masculinity. More sophisticated he-men behave in a similar way but have more charm, women are viewed as ornaments to be flouted.
THE MISOGYNIST: Is hostile to women and may have been emotionally abused sometime in the past by a woman. He engages in one-night stands to emotionally hurt women. He turns on the charm to keep them hooked, then rejects them.
Although there are many different psychological theories and profiles on the reasons why men cheat on women, and many women’s magazines regularly run articles and questionnaires there is always one issue that is failed to be acknowledged. Unless a lot of men are engaging in same sex infidelity then women must take their equal share of the responsibility. In this context, whether a woman is single or in a relationship, they are engaging in sexual relationship with a man who is cheating on his partner.
Christopher Swane - Couples Counselling and Psychotherapy - Wellington New Zealand