The heterosexual male paradigm is “the way men look at, and relate to, women”, and all the hidden guidelines that go along with it. It is a dynamic, living paradigm that exists in the minds of all heterosexual men. It is a set of instructions, beliefs and rules men use to guide their actions when interacting with women in any capacity. Within this paradigm there are two rules that are most distinct in how they affect women:
1) The most important goal in life for every man is to validate himself as worthy and competent. Men act on their need to validate themselves by comparing themselves with others. However, the only thing men can compare themselves to is other men. Therefore, every man’s primary need is to see women as less than himself or other men.
2) Women are an inferior sex. The best a woman can hope for is to become a man’s slave, because that would mean she has the highest value possible (refer to the first rule).
The Woman’s Perspective on Infidelity
A woman’s trust is the cornerstone of her femininity. When a man breaks that trust, he destroys her very femininity. A woman can forgive many things about a man, but she will never forgive a man for the one thing she cannot live without: mutual trust.
Because infidelity is an affront to her femininity, women have no tolerance for it. A woman needs and expects a man to be loyal, faithful and discreet in all his relationships with women (refer to the first rule). Therefore, when a man violates or even approaches violating these standards by cheating on his girlfriend or wife, he has violated her feminine trust in him and she freaks out. A woman operates by a feminine imperative to keep her man’s trust, and any violation of that trust is like a physical assault against her.
Why Men Cheat
The reason men cheat is not because they are horny men looking for sex. The Real Reason men cheat is because they need to validate their self-perception as worthy by seeing themselves as superior to others (refer to the first rule). Men act on this need when they see women as less than themselves or other men.
When a woman takes full responsibility for her man’s cheating by saying, “I just don’t do it for him anymore,” she has just made the man’s primary needs towards himself even stronger and more powerful.
Relationship Implications of Infidelity
Infidelity is an event that may have numerous implications for the relationship in which it takes place. The impact of infidelity is dependent on certain situational factors, such as whether or not the affair was discovered and what various partners in the relationship expect from each other, as well as dispositional factors such as how philandering individuals view their own behavior and what their own needs are within their relationship.
The present section will examine three categories of relationships implications: (1) the short-term or immediate consequences following an extramarital affair; (2) long-term consequences; and (3) possible reconciliatory efforts.
1) Short-term/ Immediate Consequences
In the short term, an affair undoubtedly has many negative consequences for one or both partners. These may include the following:
2) Long-term/ Long-Term Consequences
Long term (or long term) consequences are when a partner has been involved in an extramarital affair that goes on to destroy their marriage and relationships. Some of the long term ramifications of infidelity are outlined below:
3) Possible reconciliatory efforts
In the case of infidelity, reconciliation is a possible outcome, but not necessarily an automatic one. It is important to remember that although an affair may have a devastating effect on a marriage, this does not necessarily mean that the relationship is over or that it cannot be rebuilt. In order for reconciliation to occur, however, both partners must be willing and able to take certain steps to make things better. Often the philandering partner has to accept his/her fault in committing adultery and own up fully for any mistakes made (i.e., begin with full disclosure) . The non- philandering partner must show empathy and understanding for choices made, adopt a non-judgmental or forgiving stance and offer his/her support in rebuilding the relationship.
In understanding the possible implications of infidelity, it is critical to first recognise that there is a difference between occurrences of this event within a marriage versus occurrences of this event outside of a marriage (i.e., extramarital infidelity). For example, studies have shown that marital infidelity has been found to lead to greater levels of sexual dissatisfaction for women as compared to men, whereas extra-marital infidelity has not been found to be equally detrimental.
A Woman’s Conception of Infidelity
A woman’s conception of infidelity is based on her own experiences, rather than on the broader social standards and norms. Therefore, in a study on infidelities, one must remember that not all women are going to have the same yardstick for a man’s immorality or desirability.
Women who have had long term relationships with very passionate men (e.g., long time married couples) tend to be more forgiving of potential infidelity. A woman who has been with a man for many years, therefore, would be less likely to expect exclusive sexual attention from her husband. She may become upset if she finds out that he has been seeing other women, but it wouldn’t necessarily be enough to end the relationship. On the other hand, if a woman has only had short term relationships or no relationships before meeting her husband then she is more likely to judge him harshly for his infidelity. This may mean that she will break up with him.
Moving on from a divorce is difficult for everyone involved, but it can be even more difficult for people who are already married. Just as one should take into consideration the reasons for ending a marriage, one should also take into consideration the reasoning behind choosing to stay together after an affair has been uncovered. One other thing that needs to be considered is whether or not an affair has affected your ability to trust in a marriage to begin with. In any event, it is important that there are strong communication lines between both parties involved in the decision and everyone involved knows exactly what they are dealing with.