Dr. Romance writes:
Telling a guy you won't stand for cheating is a waste of time. Instead, be open and accepting, and encourage him to talk about his sexual exploits. If he's cheated before, he probably will cheat again. The best protection against cheating is to have open and frank sexual talks -- allow him to tell you when he's attracted to someone else. Don't freak out or get upset, he'll just hide it from you. An attraction you two can laugh about together, and incorporate into your own sex fantasy life, is a lot less threatening than one that's a secret. To find out if your man will cheat, you need to take the time to get to know him and get him to open up. If he's cheated in the past (ask him a playful question, like: What's the sneakiest thing you've ever done?)
With illicit affairs quite easily available online or at the office, it's often easier for a spouse who is dissatisfied with the relationship to transfer affection to someone else than to take the emotional risk of talking to a partner about dissatisfaction. While most marital dissatisfaction is not that hard to fix, and cheating is usually emotionally devastating for everyone, the cheater has an "instant gratification" mentality, and is just doing what feels good, and feeling unable to control it. He is not thinking of future problems (at least, when connecting with the other person) and is just masking emotional pain. I handle many of these situations, including working with the cheating spouse when the other partner doesn't know.
It's not easy to tell the difference between sex addiction and chronic cheating. The major difference has to do with reasons why. Classic addiction is out of control, compulsive behavior, usually motivated by trying to escape internal pain and turmoil. Is a cheater doing it to self-medicate with adrenaline, or is he just immature and narcissistic? It's easier to cure addiction than narcissism, although addiction can have a component of narcissism (which is stunted emotional growth) These are complicated, circuituitous questions, and not easy to parse. It comes down to whether the lack of self control is willful or compulsive.
A man with lots of charm, who says exactly what you want to hear, may be dishonest and narcissistic. His braggadocio may conceal a very wounded soul, along with an alcohol, drug or gambling problem. He lacks impulse control, and a sense of responsibility, because he's a narcissist. That means that emotionally, he's stuck at the narcissistic stage children go through about 2 years old. So, you're dealing with an emotional two year old in a grownup body.
Here's how to tell if your man is cheating:
1. His habits change:
Your husband, who was always home on time, is suddenly (or gradually) coming home later. Or, he stops answering his phone, spends more money, or dresses better.
2. He brings 'guilt gifts':
A man who never thought of flowers has suddenly started bringing them home
3. Extra bills
Unidentifiable charges on his credit card are often the clue that catches him.
4. He stops talking about what he's doing at work
This may be a sign that he's keeping a secret
5. Uninterested in sex
If he's not interested in sex with you, he may be getting his needs met elsewhere.
6. he doesn't want you to see his phone or computer, so he's probably hiding something.
7. He's spending a lot more time online, and there's not a work or other reason.
8. He used to be reliable about appointments and dates, but now he breaks appointments and makes excuses.
9. He has a history of cheating in previous relationships. (Cheaters cheat. That's why it's inadvisable to marry someone who was cheating in an affair with you; when you're the spouse, you'll get cheated on.)
10.He's very demanding about sex: Men who feel entitled to sex any way they can get it, have a tendency to rationalize cheating, and just keep doing it.
11. He doesn't want to solve relationship problems with you: He doesn't need to learn to keep intimacy alive with the same person. These men get their jollies from illicit sex (cheating.)
Excerpted from The Ten Smartest Decisions a Woman Can Make after Forty
For low-cost counseling, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org