If you strip away the romance and the complicated societal rules and obligations and general philosophical meandering, humanity’s purpose is very simple: we’re here to ensure the continuation of our genetic lineage. Full stop. Men want to ensure that their own genes are passed along while simultaneously trying to prevent other males from impregnating the same females, thus ensuring that they’re not raising someone else’s child. Women want men whose genes will help ensure that their children will survive to reproduce in turn and who can help raise and protect the child until it reaches maturity. But the ways we have of getting those goals can be tricky. On a strictly reproductive level, men and women both have an interest in having sex with many partners; for men, it helps increase odds of impregnating women with his child while for women, obscured parentage actually encourages a communal responsibility for the child.
And this is without getting into the emotional and social aspects of sex – the use of sex in solidifying communal bonds, the fact that humans are one of three species of mammals that have sex strictly for pleasure, etc.
All of this is a very long-winded way of saying that there’s a scientific basis for the fact that monogamy is hard. So hard, in fact that it’s estimated that somewhere between 30% to 60% of all married individuals in the United States will cheat at least once during their relationships.
Let’s let that number sink in for a minute. Somewhere from between almost a third to over half of all married individuals. And don’t think this is exclusively men; the number of women who step outside of their otherwise monogamous relationships has been rising for the last 20 years.
If you want to prevent your girflriend or wife from straying, then you need to understand why she cheats… and what you can do about it.
Sperm Competition and Pair-Bonding
Before we get started, you should understand something about humans: we’re not designed for monogamy. Literally. Our physiology is predicated on the idea that, evolutionarily speaking, that we’re a promiscuous species. On the male side of things, we’ve evolved many techniques for maximizing our own reproductive chances while minimizing those of our competitors; this is known as sperm competition. When men spend time away from their mates, their sperm count – and libido – increase, the better to overpower any competitor’s own sperm in the case of any infidelity. The human penis is shaped to act as squeegee; the flared head of the glans and tapered shape of the shaft serve to help scrape out competitors’ sperm from one’s mate. Similarly, if a man has reason to suspect infidelity, not only will he thrust more vigorously (thus trying to remove as much unwelcome sperm as possible) but the resulting orgasm will be stronger1 and the ejaculation will be of much higher volume, in order to flush out any remainder of another male.
On the female side of things, there are similarly indications that multiple partners offers an advantage to the mother raising the offspring. In fact, many researchers suggest that women’s sexual vocalizations serve as a sort of mating call, arousing and attracting other men to come and take part as well – helping obscure potential parentage of the child and increasing the community’s investment in the well-being of the infant.
So, again, it must be understood: on a pure, biological level, men and women both are designed with the idea of multiple sexual partners. This isn’t a judgement on whether monogamy is good or bad, or whether it is desirable or not. It just needs to be stated: it doesn’t come naturally to us, and it can be incredibly difficult.
But it’s important to note: biology is a baseline, not destiny. Humans are complex beasts, emotionally; we have sex for many many reasons, not just for reproduction. In fact, as far as such things go, reproduction is actually pretty far down the list. Most of the reasons we have sex have to do with our emotions… and so do the reasons why we cheat on our partners.
Since this blog is concerned with encouraging successful relationships, let’s look at some of the reasons why women cheat on their partners.
Reason #1: She’s Not Being Fulfilled Emotionally
As I’ve said many times before, the half-life of romantic love is six months to a year. After that point, the initial rush of excitement and passion fades, and relationships begin to settle into a calmer, more intimate level. Unfortunately, it’s extremely easy to fall into a rut; what was new has become common place, or even expected. You’re no longer on your best courting behavior, so you’re not as quick or effusive with the compliments as you used to be. You don’t notice her new hairstyle, or that new dress she’s wearing… one that she bought specifically for you. Now that you’re more relaxed and at ease with the relationship, you allow yourself to be more selfish. You don’t devote as much of your time and attention to her and her interests. You come home from a long day at work or class and all you want to do is play Call of Duty for a couple of hours as you decompress; the last thing you want to do is listen to your girlfriend complain about the office politics or the girl in class she feels is always trying to one-up her. Your days together start to blur; it’s a monotonous repetition of wake up, breakfast, work, dinner, sleep, and the only place you take her is for granted. Your conversations are short and superficial, because your attention is elsewhere… maybe even on that cute girl you always see at the Starbucks as you stop for your morning caffeine hit.
And before you know it, your girlfriend is cozying up with that guy from the office with the dreamy eyes. Why? Well, you weren’t meeting her emotional needs… so she went elsewhere to find them.
How To Stop It:
Women are emotional creatures; feeling not just loved but desired and appreciated is incredibly important, especially in a relationship. Sadly, our society has conditioned them to be deferential towards men, to avoid making men upset or being too demanding or burdensome. As a result, women are far less likely to be upfront about what they need, emotionally. In many cases, they may know they have a need, but be unable to verbalize it, leaving the man confused and the woman frustrated and annoyed.
You need to avoid ruts in the relationship. Routine and familiarity can be numbing, which will in turn leads to boredom… and boredom is the death of relationships. You need to add a certain level of impulsiveness and unpredictability to keep the relationship fresh and exciting.
In addition, you need to remember: communication is key. You need to be emotionally honest with her and be willing to engage her own emotional needs. If she feels that she can’t talk to you about what she needs, if she feels as though that her issues or wants will just be brushed aside or ignored, she’ll start looking for someone who will appreciate her.
Reason #2: The Sex Has Gone Stale
It used to be that the two of you couldn’t keep your hands off each other. If you had a free moment, the two of you would be headed straight to the nearest horizontal surface. Or the nearest broom closet. Or the bathroom. You used to pull her hair and bite her neck, she used to smack your ass like a pissed off nun; she used to bend like a pretzel and you were the undisputed king of oral. There wasn’t a position in the book you didn’t try and a few that you may have invented. The orgasms were fast, furious and all over the place – in all senses of the word. Sex could last for hours. You used to fuck like gods.
And now? Seven to eight minutes of missionary, once a month… twice, if you’re lucky. Half of the time, you’ve found that the only way you can get off is by fantasizing about someone else. Hell, there are times that you’re actively avoiding sex. You never thought you would, but it’s become so mind-numbingly routine and boring that there are times you’d really much rather just browse RedtTube and jerk off instead.
And then one day you come home an hour early and find your best beloved riding your boss like she’s about to win the Triple Crown.
How You Can Stop It
Just as the infatuation of a new relationship fades, the physical passion and desire will ebb and flow. Time, comfort and familiarity can cause desire to recede in any relationship; Billy Bob Thornton once said of Angelina Jolie: “She may be the hottest woman in the world but after enough time, it’s kind of like fucking the couch.”
Once again: routine leads to boredom and boredom is the death of relationships… especially boring sex.
Desire will ebb and flow over the years, but if you want to avoid boredom, you have to be an active participant in your sex life. This doesn’t mean moving your hips, by the way. You can’t just expect nothing but a minimum of foreplay followed by a few minutes of missionary or female superior sex to stay interesting for all your life, and just throwing doggie style into the mix isn’t going to cut it either. To start with, change your location. If you’re mostly having sex in the bedroom… get out of bed. Bone on the floor. Bend her over the couch. Fuck in the shower, in the closet… anywhere but the same old, same old.
Don’t underestimate the importance of foreplay; to you it may be what you have to sit through before you get to the good stuff, but to her, it’s important. The more orgasms you can provide – not just through penetration – the more satisified she will be. The more satisfied she is, the less likely that she’s going to step out on you.
While you’re at it, work on your communication skills. Open communication and honesty is absolutely key here. You both need to be able to open up to each other and be honest; if she feels like the sex is getting boring, and she can’t tell you, then she’s going to find herself more interested in other guys… ones who she hasn’t been having the same old sex, over and over again. And don’t forget to be willing to talk about what you actually want. Be willing to explore your fantasies. You may be getting stuck in the sex rut when what you really want is some Principal and Naughty Student action… and she may want you to tie her up and spank her silly but can’t quite bring herself to admit it to you.
Reason 3: You’ve Let Yourself Go
Let’s be honest: when you’re single, you take much better care of yourself than when you’re in a relationship. After all, you’ve gotta compete with all of those other guys out there. You’ve gotta keep your edge! So you watch what you eat, put your time in at the gym. You keep your clothes fresh, stylish and clean, your hair impeccably coiffed and your breath is always minty fresh.
At least, it used to be. Ever since you and your girl became exclusive… well, you’ve gotten a little more comfortable with her and maaaybe you haven’t been hitting the gym quite as often as you should. A few too many snacks, too many romantic dates to your favorite restaurants instead of staying in and cooking have taken their toll on you. But it’s ok… she loves you anyway, and you don’t need to impress her anymore. And hey, you’re not out on the prowl any more so you don’t really need to throw some product in your hair today, right?
Before you know it, you’re not the guy you used to be. You’ve gone up a couple pants sizes and your wardrobe is more “functional” than “fun”. Your hair’s started to go, you’re spending more time in sweats than in suits and a lot more time on the couch than on the treadmill. But hey, it’s not like she hasn’t loosened up a little too, right?
Well, maybe that’ll comfort you when her personal trainer at the gym has been coming for some “extra” sessions, if you know what I mean.
How You Can Stop It:
Well this one’s simple: maintain some standards. Time and age may make mockery of us all eventually, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t put up a good fight. It’s easy to let things slide when you don’t feel the need to impress her anymore or that you don’t have anything to prove… but that’s going to be the exact reason why she’s out looking at Captain HotBuns instead. Keep up with your exercise, eat healthy and maintain your style. In fact, you may want to get her involved; two can work better than one when it comes to trying to keep each other on a healthy lifestyle.
Reason #4: She’s Bored.
Maybe it’s the sex. Maybe it’s the relationship. Or maybe it’s that you don’t offer her the excitement she craves. Maybe you and she have different cultural appetites; you’re TVs and beer, she’s opera and Cabernet Sauvignon. Maybe when you were both young and single she was the wild party girl and you convinced her that it was time to settle down. It may be that she has intellectual needs that aren’t being met and all of your conversations are focused around the Real Housewives of Orange County.
Or perhaps she feels that things have been stagnant - or worse, degrading – for so long that it’s time for a change. And you have to admit, finally “letting” the cute banker at the gym who’s been chatting her up finally take her out is going to be exciting in ways she hasn’t felt in a long, long time.
How You Can Stop It:
I’m sure you can see this coming, but I’m going to say it again: Communication, communication, communication. If you’re sensing a theme here, then good. Both you and your lady need to have full and open lines of communication. If she’s feeling a lack in her life, or if she’s feeling restrained or held back and she feels as though she can’t bring it up to you, then you’re going to have problems.
And while you’re busy listening attentively to what she’s trying to tell you, you need to mix things up. I’m not saying that you have to live a life of constant spontaneity where every day is an unplanned delight, but you should follow the maxim that variety is the spice of life. Engage your intellectual curiosity and make concerted efforts to try new things – or to go back and do older ones you’ve since given up. Settling down doesn’t mean you can’t go out and party; in fact, it should be better. Don’t think of her as your girlfriend or wife when you’re making plans to go bar-hopping or clubbing. Think of her as your partner in crime.
Reason #5: You Cheated On Her
Whether you thought you were in love or you just couldn’t resist the call of the new, the fact of the matter is, you strayed. You stepped out on your woman, you got busted, and now she’s doing the exact same thing to you. You’d appreciate the irony if it didn’t drive a spear through your heart every time you thought about her with another man.
Congratulations genius… now you know how she felt when you did it. She may not be cheating on you as revenge, but you’re going to have to face the fact that you did give her a “get out of fidelity free” card when she didn’t dump your ass right then and there. Now you have a decision to make about how you’re going to respond.
How You Can Stop It:
Do I really have to spell this one out for you?
Reason #6: Some People are Just Bad at Monogamy
She didn’t mean to. It was just a simple friendly dinner with a friend from work when they were out of town closing the sale. But after the third glass of wine his hand was resting on her knee but it was totally harmless, so she just left it there. And yeah, they were snuggled up in the cab back to the hotel. And ok, maybe she did go back to his room with him, but it was just for a quick nightcap. One thing lead to another and… well, look, she’s really sorry, ok?
Just as she was the last two or three times.
That you know about.
This doesn’t mean that she doesn’t care about you. She honestly does. But the fact remains that she is not the sort of person who can make and keep a monogamous commitment to someone, even someone she loves. Maybe you thought you could change her. Maybe she honestly thought things would be different this time. But they weren’t, and now you have a lot of questions that you need to ask yourself.
How You Can Stop It:
To be perfectly honest… you can’t. There are people who simply aren’t wired for only sleeping with one person at a time, and trying to force them into that particular mold is akin to trying to nail Jello to a tree. The best thing in those cases is for complete and utter honesty up front. If she – or you, for that matter – are the sort of person who honestly isn’t good at monogamy, she has the obligation to her partners to inform them at the beginning... and you have the obligation to listen and take her seriously. You also have to be honest with yourself on the matter of whether you can handle an open or semi-open relationship. You can’t go into a relationship thinking that her attitude or beliefs are just a phase that either she will grow out of or that you can persuade her to drop. You won’t be the first person to try to change her… and with that attitude, you certainly won’t be the last.
With some women, an open relationship is part of the price of entry. She will love you with all of her heart, and she will always come back to you at the end of the day, but there will be other men in her life – physically, if not emotionally – and you have to be able to handle that if you want to be with her. Otherwise the best thing you can do for the both of you is to end things quickly and cleanly and find someone new.
- In fact, many couples will deliberately invoke this aspect of human behavior; the stronger, more intense orgasms and heightened libido are part of the appeal for couples in open relationships and men with cuckolding fetishes. [↩]