Why are all the stories about cheaters only about men being adulterers?
They’re not always about men. In recent columns, for every married man who’s cheated, there’s a woman who knew he was married and agreed to the affair.
Also, some of the recent stories were written by men about their experience of being betrayed.
However, more women than men are willing to bare their pain about how a partner’s infidelity hurt them and their children.
Perhaps the long-held myth of men being “stronger” (more probably, afraid to look weak), is why so many won’t reveal how a woman played them.
Generally, men’s stories of an unfaithful spouse, center more on issues of money and property that the women went after in the divorce, not how these men were left feeling belittled and emotionally devastated.
But men do bleed just as much as women. If a man has a story to tell, if he too knows the pain of realizing that he and his children are going to be living through a breakdown of their life as a family, let’s read it and empathize with him.
Men’s stories are as important as women’s.
I’ve been with my spouse nine years, we have two young children, he’s in his 40s, significantly older than I am.
Ever since I was pregnant with our first child, I’ve struggled to get him to “grow up.”
His “extracurricular activities” take him away from our family up to ten hours weekly.
He previously drank quite a bit and uses marijuana (neither in front of the children, or when home alone... rules I had to insist on).
He’s improved his behaviours, but it required a lot of nagging from me. He loves his children, helps around the house, and makes a decent income.
Recently I was using his phone and a porn website came up. I discovered hours of viewing. I understand watching some porn, occasionally. I’ve asked for counselling before and he’s outright refused.
I feel like I’ve been cheated on, even if it’s with himself. It feels like my relationship is too good to leave, but too bad to stay.
Lost, Disappointed and Sad
Your instinct about getting counselling is right on, even on your own.
I believe from your account that it’ll help you (and him, too, if you share insights).
Perhaps because you married and started having children while still young, you feel the responsibilities of family life very strongly and find it irritating that he’s more casual about it.
In fact, 10 hours weekly for an adult’s outside activities, so long as they’re not harmful activities, are really just an hour and a half a day. Many people do fitness or sports that often.
You could get a babysitter (given his “decent income”) and have the same amount of free time, which would be healthy for you.
Hours of porn-watching IS disturbing for a partner to discover. It may be an addiction, or an escapist pastime. It’s not the same thing as cheating with another woman. But I understand that it’s hard to accept.
That’s why talking to a therapist can help you realize that porn-watching isn’t about you, it’s about him and fantasy.
Meanwhile, he’s a good dad and participates in chores.
Consider whether you love him, and can forgive him.
Once you feel better about yourself through the insights from counselling, tell him how his porn-watching habit hurts you, since you are there for him.
My cousin, 56, smoked a lot of weed from early teens. He later got a job in sales but had mental health problems after his child was in an accident.
He started having flashbacks of dangerous situations he barely escaped when he’d been high.
He spent time in a mental health facility, was on medication, but couldn’t hold a job. He was divorced, after becoming aggressive with his wife.
I know he’s not broke as he had an inheritance. But I’m worried that when the money runs out, he’ll end up on the street.
What can I do?
Mental health issues are complex. To be supportive, you need to get informed. Research what’s available in your locale for accommodation, financial help when needed, and activity programs.
Meet with a mental health counsellor to explore your own expectations and limits (financial? time? emotional?) when he turns to you for help.
Tip of the day:
Men suffer pain and humiliation from a cheater, just as women do. We need more of their stories.