According to a recent study by CompareCamp, 20% of married couples will experience infidelity. 20% of male respondents reported that they have engaged in extramarital sex compared to 13% of women. And the older you are, the more likely you are to cheat. Apparently, even couples who seem perfect from the outside cheat.
Firstly, let me be clear. I am not condoning or justifying the behavior. If a spouse has sex with another person, it’s wrong, and it's on them. However, have you ever considered that cheating is a symptom of deeper problems in the relationship?
Cheating is often a symptom of a problem in the relationship.
Let's look at some of the main reasons that cause men and women to cheat to gain a deeper understanding of the behavior and how to avoid it in the future.
We All Have Needs That Only Our Spouse Can Meet
According to Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, author of Love and Respect, men and women have different emotional needs in a relationship. Women need love, but men need respect, which sounds right if you think about it.
It's the reason why women love romance (think how happy you feel when you receive flowers, for example), and why we love being told we're beautiful. It makes you feel loved and desired. If you're neglected in this area, a small piece of you dies. This can cause you to seek validation elsewhere and in illegitimate ways. Some women will do this by posting images on social media to attract attention from other men, while others will spoil their children to try and receive love in return. The worst-case scenario is they'll seek a full-blown affair.
Women need love, and men need respect.
On the other hand, men need to feel respected in their relationship. A husband may feel disrespected when his wife continually nags, or when she doesn't trust his decisions, or they do not have an active sex life. If a man doesn't feel accepted and respected by his wife, this can push him to seek validation elsewhere.
According to former escort Samantha X, this rings true. In an interview with The Mirror, she explains that the main reason why men cheat is "because they have zero intimacy with their wife, sometimes for decades, and feel like a walking credit card but refuse to leave because they don't want to lose their money or hurt their children. The second reason is some just need variety."
So yes, there are some men who are serial cheaters and probably shouldn’t be given a second chance, but what if your husband felt like he wasn't getting his needs met? Neither of you understood the cause of the problem or how to resolve it. Of course, this works both ways; what if he neglects you and pushes you into the arms of another man? We're only human at the end of the day, and if pushed to the brink, we can sometimes do things we don't mean to out of anger or pain.
The void of wanting to feel loved and respected is real and can only be fulfilled by our spouses.
The void of wanting to feel loved and respected is real and can only be fulfilled by our spouses. It's the reason why we get into relationships in the first place. If you stop meeting your spouse’s most basic needs, the relationship will lose its spark, and at that moment, things can start to crumble.
Keeping the Spark Alive
There are many things you can do to protect your marriage from losing its spark. Marriage is a living and breathing entity, so you need to put in the work and give the relationship the love and respect it deserves. Here are some ways to do that:
Show Your Husband Respect and Appreciation
How do you do that? Tell him, it's that simple. Statements that start with “Thank you,” “I’m proud of you,” or “I respect” are excellent for building him up. Also, strive to be specific as this is a better indication of your sincerity and it pinpoints the positive behavior. He wants to know what he did right in your eyes!
He wants to know what he did right in your eyes!
You could say something along the lines of "Honey, I respect how hard you work for us. I respect all the hours you put into your job and how well you're handling everything, especially during these crazy times. Thank you for being my rock." This not only makes him feel respected and seen for his efforts, but it also makes him feel like a hero.
Date nights can easily fall by the wayside when busy or stressed, especially if you have children and during a pandemic. Block out one night a week to spend some quality time together, free of distractions. Stuck for ideas? Read our articles here and here for some fun and creative ideas.
Some couples are so busy that they genuinely forget to have sex. Scheduling sex is a fantastic and simple way to keep your intimacy and satisfaction alive. According to a study, the happiest couples have sex at least once a week. Don’t forget to initiate sometimes (here are some fun suggestions)! Men, like us, also love to feel desired.
The happiest couples have sex at least once a week.
The truth is, you can't control whether or not your husband will cheat. If someone is determined to do something, they will find a way to do it. But having an understanding of what our spouses need and appreciate in a relationship can help us to become better partners for them.