This post is a little off from the regular fare usually posted here, but I think many married men will be able to relate. While reading some archived posts from Alex Peck’s Average Married Dad blog I came across the quote below from this post.
“Women’s needs and men’s needs in relationships are very different. If you aren’t getting these needs met within the relationship, you open the door for usurpers coming in.
- Men want and need (in no particular order): sex, companionship, physical attraction, domestic support, and admiration
- Women want and need: affection, conversation, honesty/openness, financial support, and family connection”
While I have never strayed in my marriage, I am surrounded by those who have (and do). The funny thing is my wife has found a similar dynamic among her female friends, though maybe not quite as prevalent. I have never wondered why cheating is so common, temptation is everywhere these days.
There have been times in my marriage when things were not going so well that the thought was there, at least briefly at times. However, I always knew that cheating was wrong and in my opinion a sign of weakness. I say that because if you look at a marriage as a business deal, if you were to write what you want in a contract, many men and women would include the things stated above. If the person you signed a contract with failed to deliver on their end in any other setting you would end the contract and find another willing to provide their end of the deal. You would tell the person who failed to deliver that they disappointed you and you are moving on by voiding the contract. You would not go find another business associate until you ended the contract with the original party who failed you. Why? Because that would get “messy.” Guess what? Cheating in marriage is messy too. I always felt that if I got to the point I felt was going to stray, I would fix or end the marriage first.
Many men will say “but what about the children?” To this I say you are setting an example. They will know if you are miserable in your marriage. They will think that is normal. If you decide to cheat, then get caught, how could you ever give them guidance on honor, or doing the right thing? In my opinion you lose all your credibility in that scenario. Better to end the marriage and show them settling for a lack of respect, no sex, or whatever you are missing, is not acceptable and no way to live.
Look, I get it, divorce rape sucks and men get fucked over bad financially in a divorce, particularly one involving children. I have three kids (one 21 and one about to turn 18) and there is no way I spent what some men I know pay in child support for just one child. Then your lovely ex-bride has the nerve to tell the kids to get you to buy them shoes when they are with you. All the while she is driving her brand new Camaro that you are paying for with the children’s support payments she receives. I have seen this exact scenario, sadly this is no exaggeration. However, it is better than living a soul sucking, sexless life with a woman who hates you, or at a minimum does not respect you.
An example of AMD’s quote above was illustrated in the season finale of Masters of Sex season 4, a series on Showtime based on the lives of sex researchers Master’s and Johnson. (I know, if you’ve seen it the show is filled with feminist BS and beta men, but I find it interesting how Hollywood portrays the interactions between the sexes. Then there’s the sex… that’s always good…) Virginia Johnson’s father could no longer take his sexless life with Virginia’s mother, so after 41 years he was divorcing her. Virginia was upset and said to her father something along the lines of “I know it hurts, but at least you have someone to eat dinner with and grow old with” (paraphrase). Look at the quote by AMD and see how Virginia’s observation of marriage ignores what men need in a marriage. Virginia expected her father to provide her mother with all her needs without receiving anything (a blowjob maybe) in return. No thank you. Sadly, many women think like this and have no idea what men want.
We men are our own worst enemy. Every time you hear a man say “happy wife happy life” or “let me check with the boss” you hear men reinforcing what women think a marriage is. Sex for procreation and maybe a birthday, while a man is just there to listen to her, kill spiders and carry the groceries in, occasionally open a pickle jar. Finally, not even birthday sex, and you get judged and called a pervert when she catches you rubbing one out after a year and a half of no sex.
As I talk to those men around me who did stray in their marriages, I hear why. They were not getting the needs listed above met and sought them out elsewhere. I think if more couples took the time to learn about what both men and women want out of a marriage, and put their selfish pride aside, there would be significantly less infidelity. However, too many people are worried about their own agendas and they allow passive aggressiveness to take over which kills the passion. As the world moves forward, unfortunately I see this tendency towards self centeredness increasing, which does not bode well for the institution of marriage.
If you find yourself not getting what you want out of your marriage, and are considering cheating, or already cheating, rethink your marriage and your life. In most (not all) cases, your marriage can be fixed. It may be work and won’t be easy, but damn, it’s got to be easier than trying to hide an affair… And your kids won’t hate you for being a dishonest man because you are forever known as a cheating husband. Be respected as the man who fixed his marriage or said “I will not tolerate a lack of respect from my wife.”
Evaluate the list from AMD above and see where your marriage is lacking. What are you failing to provide for her and what you expect her to provide? Renegotiate that marital contract that has gone astray from where it started before you tear it up completely. It may or may not work out, but either way you will be better off.
M J Davis