Following are leftover questions from my online chat, Why People Cheat (July 30):
My wife cheated on me. I was in a different world, never saw it coming. She kept telling me they were just good friends but hung out all the time. She started spending more time with him than with our family.
I feel like such a fool. Eventually, I caught her by looking at her cell phone and saw everything.
We’ve never really connected, but have two small kids, so I stay with her to protect my kids. The other guy’s long gone, used my wife up and blew up the relationship.
She cheated on me because…?
You asked the question, because, despite feeling hurt and disgusted, you recognize there had to be some reason. If it were just irresponsibility and lust, it’ll happen again. But what if your admitted, “I was in a different world,” is a clue? This is the time to find out why you two “never connected,” rather than stick it out, resentfully.
I was at home with a sore throat so started clearing stuff out of our joint computer and found some of my boyfriend’s long-ago emails with his ex.
I was shocked to learn from their exchanges that he’d cheated on her several times, lied about it, and tried to say it was his friend, not him, who’d been guilty.
I thought we’d disclosed all our past baggage so we’d have a full understanding of each other.
We’ve even talked about what we’d do IF the other ever cheated, though we both said we never have. Now, what do I do with this information?
Confront. You were clearing, and the lie popped into view.
Why did he hide this long-ago fact? Did he not believe you could handle the truth? Could you have?
This is now about what you two are willing and capable of accepting, and which issues you can and cannot discuss.
Better find out now if there are forbidden conversations, or if hiding facts is the method of running from blame.
Couples can change a negative pattern, once both acknowledge it.
Men who get the physical intimacy they need at home don’t cheat. I’m a widower whose late wife understood my needs, and was eager and responsive whenever I wanted to make love.
We had sex at least four times a week and sometimes more. Even though I had a stronger sex drive than hers, she was a willing partner.
I’ve been living common-law with someone for the past three years. I met her two years after my wife passed.
She’s a nice woman and good companion for everything else but sex. She says her libido’s been low since menopause (we’re mid-50s), but I’m lucky if we have sex even once a month.
I’m ready to look elsewhere. I don’t feel “finished with all that,” as she says about herself.
Neither of you has truly attempted a solution.
She could’ve seen a doctor about ways to boost her libido (unless she’s on medication that quells the sex drive, there are creams, alternative therapies, and/or medications to deal with menopausal dryness and lessened libido).
Also, sex therapists help couples deal with this divide.
You haven’t even mentioned a willingness to compromise through cuddling, emotional intimacy, self-stimulation, and accepting less frequency of intercourse.
If you continue to none of the above, make sure she understands that she’s to become just a sidekick, while you direct passion elsewhere.
I was married very young, had three kids right away. We socialized with a fast crowd – there was a lot of cheating.
I got together with one of our friends, and we married. But he turned out to be an alcoholic and I left him.
I’ve been in a settled, happy marriage of over ten years. I think people cheat for many reasons – married too young, overwhelmed by kids/work, etc., feeling neglected, outside attractions through friendships and work, etc.
It’s not what most newlyweds dream of, but it’s a reality.
It’s a tough reality, hard on everyone involved.
And it doesn’t always lead to the happiness you’ve fortunately found.
We need to see marriage less as a melding of two people (which often feels limiting), and more as a partnership of equals.
Both will have a lot of learning to do along the way, but can enrich each other’s journey.
Tip of the day:
Relationships require periodic “check-ups” and pro-active strategies to stay connected.