WRITING - COSMOPOLITAN MAGAZINE
IS ANY MAN TRULY CHEAT-RESISTANT?
When I was 24, I was seeing four women at the same time. I have to admit I thought I was incredibly cool. What made it more intriguing was the fact they all lived very close to me. The sense of danger, the sexual thrill at the thought I might get caught, was like a drug and I quickly became addicted. After a few weeks of near misses, juggling my four love lives became so confusing I realised it was only a matter of time before I was discovered and rather than lose all four women I decided to choose just one. Ironically she left me a few weeks later, but I suppose that's poetic justice for you.
"So what makes men cheat? Aside from the obvious lustful indulgence what makes us decide to risk hurting and betraying a woman we care for deeply for the sake of a few hours of carnal pleasure? The truth is, while some men will always be two-timing rats, most men only cheat if they find themselves in certain "high risk" situations. The most common reason I've come across is when a man is in a relationshp he's unhappy with, it's not so much that he's seeking what's missing but more likely he's unfaithful as a subconcious way of bringing his existing relationship to an end.
I've seen it a dozen times. A friend will begin to mention he's tired of all the rows and he'll start flirting. Why doesn't he just leave his girlfriend? Because men are basically the weaker sex when it comes to dealing with emotional issues so a lot of men behave badly and cheat as a way of constructively dumping their girlfriend. He'll make the relationship so unbearable for her that she has to end it, because he is simply too cowardly to end it himself. Sad and pathetic, I know but ths is the way some men behave.
"Another reason why a normally faithful man will cheat is if he's given an opportunity he can't refuse. Every man puts together a blueprint of his perfect women. (My type is a brunette with green or hazel eyes, over five foot six, size 10, who plays sport and the piano.) If we get the chance to sleep with a woman who fits the bill, our 'fantasy woman', I could name only about four friends who would refuse and remain faithful to their girlfriends.
"Many men are used to being rejected when they make a pass, so if we get the chance to sleep with a sexy attractive woman it seems to fly in the face of fate not to take the chance. A couple of years ago I was seeing a woman I really liked. She was pretty, fun and easy going and the relationship was really going well. Then one evening at a party, I met up with my teenage crush. I'd fantasised about this woman so much that when she started flirting with me, I couldn't bring myself to resist her and ended up cheating on my girlfriend. I'm not proud of it, I just know that if I'd turned down that opportunity I would have regretted it for a long time. Thankfully the girl I was seeing never found out.
"It's a brutal truth, but if sex is handed out on a plate with no strings attached, it's a rare boyfriend who will refuse it. Lust and love are easily separated in a man's mind. To us a one-night -stand doesn't have to affect our relationship. It's difficult for men to empathise with the emotional betrayal a woman associates with something we consider to be a purely sexual fling.
"But assuming your partner doesn't normally get lusty offers from Cameron Diaz lookalikes and he's happy in your relationship, the other motive for cheaters is if he's going through a phase when the sex cools and the relationship becomes routine. If he's having a hard time at work, or money pressures are getting to him, then this too is a high risk time. Sex and confidence are strongly linked for men and if a man has low self esteem an affair can offer a huge confidence boost.
In fact, it's probably quicker to say there's only one real reason why men don't cheat. Men are only immune from temptation when they are genuinely and utterly in love.
"I strongly believe you have one true love in your life and every relationship other than that is a compromise. You can try as hard as you like to be faithful and, if you avoid dangerously tempting situations you may well succeed. But real complete trust can only come with real love.
"From my own experience, I know if you honestly love a women, you will not be unfaithful. We're so filled up to the brim with emotion for that one person, the lustful thoughts that creep into our everyday routine just seem to disappear.
"And for some couples, that can last a lifetime. Like those four friends of mine, each of them with a partner he loves so deeply, he's totally immune from the lust that can overwhelm the rest of us. Now a romance like that really is a tempting offer."