When it comes to the discussion of Massachusetts men who cheat, it is often reasoned that, well, men areunfaithful because they want sex. But more and more social research confirms that men cheat for reasons relating to emotional validation, attention, and to avoid feelings of emasculation. They seek affair partners who will make them feel like their feelings are worthwhile, that their stories are worth listening to, that they are masculine. Yes, hearing that they are good in bed doesn’t hurt. But that’s a nice bonus.
In a recent investigation, the men spoken with were very clear that they were aware that they needed a lot of validation and that their ego was extremely fragile.
So many of the men who cheated did so because they couldn’t be honest with their wives about the emotional validation they craved. Interestingly, they sought little validation; instead, their concerns were mainly about sex.
The overarching things that came out of these conversations were centered around men’s feelings of emasculation. They basically described marriages where they felt she was not interested in him. They felt that their wives wanted an adequate lover and that threatened their sense of masculinity, and so they sought a partner who would boost that sense of masculinity for them.
It’s safe to say that when people think about infidelity, it’s common to think about the clichéd notion that all men are dogs and cheating about conquest and all that. But emotional validation and self-esteem play a much larger role.
The men talked about their marriages. And their perceptions of marriage was that nothing they did was good enough. The phrase ‘She’s impossible to please…’ came up over and over and over. And when I would probe about that they never gave me a whole lot of concrete examples. It was just sort of this feeling that they had.
In the few examples which were not specific incidents but overarching impressions, they talked about “helping her with chores”. It was very clear that the division of labor was that if it was household work that is her job. And if he participates in this work? He’s helping her and, in his mind, if he’s helping her with that, then she owes him something.
The men felt that she owed him something and that what she owed him was first validation. They wanted her to say, ‘Thank you so much for doing whatever this task is. You just such a great job. I appreciate you so much.’
They also wanted her to listen intently to the mundane details of their day. And they wanted her to reward them by being enthusiastic about having sex with them.
That was a huge complaint for these men: The lack of praise, the lack of validation, the lack of helping them manage their emotional lives. They’d talk about feelings of sadness and that she was too busy or too wrapped up in herself to notice their sadness.
So, all of those things combined made them feel that ‘Well if she’s not going to give me these things, then I’m going to find someone who will.’
What the men really wanted was a woman who would say to them, ‘You, sir, are amazing.’ Your wife doesn’t know what she’s missing out on.’ ‘You’re fabulous in bed; you’re the best I’ve ever had.’ ‘You have the largest penis.’ You know, all of this stuff. And she would also listen to the hundredth story about Bob at the office, or whatever it is, with rapt attention.
If they were interested in a woman, if they found her attractive or whatever, but she wasn’t going provide this emotional support and relational management, that wasn’t it. So, it really wasn’t ‘Oh, just any warm body will do.’ It really wasn’t that at all. It was a search for a very specific skillset, if you will.
And it seems that what they’re being given in these relationships is attention, enthusiasm, and a boost of self-esteem.
They generally perceived what was happening was that their wives were purposely withholding things that they need that these men wanted. In their minds, it’s ‘She’s purposely setting out to hurt me by not asking me about my sadness, by not praising me about the things that I do, by acting as though I’m a disappointment, by not being enthusiastic about having sex with me.
It’s highly probable that at least some of these people are in marriages, where you have two people in the same marriage having totally different experiences and perceptions of it. How different might these relationship be if these men felt that they could just say, ‘Hey, I’m really sad,’ or ‘Hey, I’m feeling kind of bad about myself and, you know, I need a little bit more from you today’
The big takeaway is really about communication and about bucking those gender norms. This is all easier said than done. However, if men are finding themselves in a place where they’re feeling emasculated and feeling like, ‘Oh, she’s not interested me’ they have to voice that. As hard as that is, they have to voice it. You have to think: How many of these guys wouldn’t be in affairs if they just said something? Because probably your partner has no idea that you feel the way that you feel.
The other thing is that a few men in the study who did voice something only couched it about sex. So instead of going to their partner and saying, ‘I feel like maybe you don’t really like me anymore,’ I feel like you’re not interested when I talk,’ or ‘I feel like I can’t do anything to suit you or something,’ they would say ‘We’re not having enough sex.’
So, you have to voice the thing you really want. It’s easier for men to express desire for sex because we socialize them that way. But you can’t get what you need if someone doesn’t know what it is. That’s the biggest takeaway from this data.
Should you be in the midst of a divorce or contemplating divorce, contact the Law Offices of Renee Lazar at 978-844-4095 to schedule a FREE one hour no obligation consultation.