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Every single man I've talked to about why they cheated eventually admitted part of the attraction was emotional ego validation.
Not for me. It was to fill the sexual hole in my life, no pun intended, and nothing else. Certainly there was an ego component of wanting to be desired in that way, but it was not emotional in any way, as that was not missing from my marriage.

What was missing was a satisfying sex life. The reason I'm even bothering to respond is to counter the pigeon holing that so surrounds this topic - there seems to be no end of others wanting to tell ME why I did something and what it says about me rather than hear the actual reasons.
 

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Not for me. It was to fill the sexual hole in my life, no pun intended, and nothing else. Certainly there was an ego component of wanting to be desired in that way, but it was not emotional in any way, as that was not missing from my marriage.

What was missing was a satisfying sex life. The reason I'm even bothering to respond is to counter the pigeon holing that so surrounds this topic - there seems to be no end of others wanting to tell ME why I did something and what it says about me rather than hear the actual reasons.
My point wasn't to say that all affairs were the same. My point was to say that I believe gender mostly only plays into the rationalization component - the stories we tell ourselves and others.

I've known plenty of women that cheated just to get laid. Plenty of men, too. In fact, I think that's a primary driver that most if not everyone feels - attraction to others and a desire to have sex.

It's what allows people to talk themselves into cheating that fascinates me. And our brains aren't very different between the genders for the most part. We're far more alike than unalike.

Were I to ask you a question about your infidelity, for example, it would more likely be about how you talked yourself into allowing yourself to cheat more than the desire to cheat. That is a far more interesting question to me than trying to figure out why homo sapiens has sexual desire hardcoded.
 

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Every single man I've talked to about why they cheated eventually admitted part of the attraction was emotional ego validation.

Every single woman I've talked to about why they cheated eventually admitted part of the attraction was just wanting to **** the dude.

People are people. Genders may explain things differently, or have more shame around admitting why they did what they did, but I've found the drivers are almost identical between the genders. The rationalizations come out differently, but they're just rationalizations.
You keep trying to say that this is how things REALLY are for men and women, but your proof is just anecdotal...there are studies by psychologists that prove otherwise. YES, there are exceptions, but what you keep trying to state is not the norm. And everyone I've ever talked to (or read about) who cheated or considered it, or even had multiple partners, were overwhelmingly opposite of what you heard from your acquaintances or friends - the people I talked to may have had different ways of explaining how they felt, but when examined, their "drivers" fell along stereotypical lines.

I don't think it matters to note the reasons, except that it's important to have the correct information in order to help people identify their needs better so they can find ways to have them met. And like I said, there ARE exceptions, and I DO believe that men get emotionally attached through sex, and women can avoid it. But remember also, only WOMEN have a biological hormonal attachment response from having sex - men do not. So it would make sense that women seek and form romantic emotional attachments more easily than men. And because of the biology of it, it's NOT sexist to assume that either.
 

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My point wasn't to say that all affairs were the same. My point was to say that I believe gender mostly only plays into the rationalization component - the stories we tell ourselves and others.

I've known plenty of women that cheated just to get laid. Plenty of men, too. In fact, I think that's a primary driver that most if not everyone feels - attraction to others and a desire to have sex.

It's what allows people to talk themselves into cheating that fascinates me. And our brains aren't very different between the genders for the most part. We're far more alike than unalike.

Were I to ask you a question about your infidelity, for example, it would more likely be about how you talked yourself into allowing yourself to cheat more than the desire to cheat. That is a far more interesting question to me than trying to figure out why homo sapiens has sexual desire hardcoded.
This is a great point, I think!!! I had never thought of it in this way before!
 

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You keep trying to say that this is how things REALLY are for men and women, but your proof is just anecdotal...there are studies by psychologists that prove otherwise.
Can you point any of these out?

YES, there are exceptions, but what you keep trying to state is not the norm. And everyone I've ever talked to (or read about) who cheated or considered it, or even had multiple partners, were overwhelmingly opposite of what you heard from your acquaintances or friends - the people I talked to may have had different ways of explaining how they felt, but when examined, their "drivers" fell along stereotypical lines.

I don't think it matters to note the reasons, except that it's important to have the correct information in order to help people identify their needs better so they can find ways to have them met. And like I said, there ARE exceptions, and I DO believe that men get emotionally attached through sex, and women can avoid it. But remember also, only WOMEN have a biological hormonal attachment response from having sex - men do not. So it would make sense that women seek and form romantic emotional attachments more easily than men. And because of the biology of it, it's NOT sexist to assume that either.
I'm far less interested in the motivations (which are obvious to me) and far more interested in the justifications. The stories we tell ourselves to rationalize what we want to do, or decide that it's ok, or decide that they did it and they're 'still a good person.' And I'm far less interested in hearing the rationalizations while they're 'in the fog,' because they'll say anything at the time. But, talking to someone that maybe cheated a decade ago, went through therapy after, and now has insights - those are extremely valuable.

Men have hormonal changes as a response to having sex as well:
According to data from the Journal of Zhejiang University–Science, male testosterone levels exhibit a rhythm that corresponds to recent sexual activity.
 

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From only observation of friends of both sexes who chose open relationships or polyamory, there is a very real chance that rules forbidding developing ‘feelings’ for ‘casual’ sex will be broken and emotional attachment occurs. The belief that regular physical intimacy turning into emotional intimacy can be controlled by force of will is laughable.
You assume that the rules forbid developing feelings. Some couples do have that rule, and of course sometimes feelings develop. What then? Well, one option is to break off that relationship (which is hard once there are feelings) and some actually do that. Some decide further open things to polyamory. And some make a mess of things, which may lead to divorce. Other couples don't have the rule about developing feelings, and are open to poly relationships from the start (that includes us, but we do have other boundaries that have worked for 20+ years). Yet another subset limits the number of times they can see someone else so that there is little chance that feelings will develop to the point of becoming a problem.

Most of the people who have such problems haven't really thought things through and looked at the potential problems and solutions. Monogamous relationships also suffer from the same lack of foresight.
 

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Can you point any of these out?
Oh, I COULD...are you going to make me WORK for this...ugh!!! Lol!
Actually, I had a terrific book about relationships that I read years ago with all kinds of references, but I'm not sure where that went...I'll have to get back to you about exact studies, but I KNOW they are out there, I've seen them and it's what I base my understanding of motivations of behavior on.
There COULD be newer studies that refute the ones I've read about, but I love reading everything I can about that stuff when I see it, so if there are, they aren't mainstream that I've seen. I would definitely want to know if I am wrong, though!

I'm far less interested in the motivations (which are obvious to me) and far more interested in the justifications. The stories we tell ourselves to rationalize what we want to do, or decide that it's ok, or decide that they did it and they're 'still a good person.' And I'm far less interested in hearing the rationalizations while they're 'in the fog,' because they'll say anything at the time. But, talking to someone that maybe cheated a decade ago, went through therapy after, and now has insights - those are extremely valuable.
I see what you mean with this, and I think it's a very interesting way to look at the things people do!!
For me, I just am just searching for understanding mostly, so I want to know as much as I can about everything. I do find it more effective (for ME) to focus on motivations when dealing with people who are struggling with the consequences of their actions as I try to help them (and understand them). I am NOT at all invested in WHY or whether things go along gender lines or whatever - I just want to know the TRUTH.
The part I bolded I whole-heartedly agree with you on!!! GREAT point!

Men have hormonal changes as a response to having sex as well:
YES, and I think it's SO interesting that as a Testosterone reaction, it's almost the opposite of biological attachment -- I would love to understand WHY humans developed these biological responses, WHAT benefit does it bring each gender?? Our biology encourages or discourages our attachment response after sex...and I bet it varies person to person and encounter to encounter...!! SO interesting!!!
 

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You assume that the rules forbid developing feelings. Some couples do have that rule, and of course sometimes feelings develop. What then? Well, one option is to break off that relationship (which is hard once there are feelings) and some actually do that. Some decide further open things to polyamory. And some make a mess of things, which may lead to divorce. Other couples don't have the rule about developing feelings, and are open to poly relationships from the start (that includes us, but we do have other boundaries that have worked for 20+ years). Yet another subset limits the number of times they can see someone else so that there is little chance that feelings will develop to the point of becoming a problem.

Most of the people who have such problems haven't really thought things through and looked at the potential problems and solutions. Monogamous relationships also suffer from the same lack of foresight.
I'm really glad you responded to that, because after he brought that up, I was wondering if that happened and how it was handled!

Observing all the kinds of human relationships we have, I think it's true that most of the issues that poly-couples deal with that could be negative are also risks in monogamous relationships - the difference is that most poly-couples are better at communication and openness, and have less guilt and shame about what happens than mono-couples do.
I know that there are poly-couples that struggle, but from what I've seen, secrecy and dishonesty cannot be a way to cope for poly-couples, or things fall apart...where it seems to be the opposite with mono-couples.
 

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Every single man I've talked to about why they cheated eventually admitted part of the attraction was emotional ego validation.
Here's another question I forgot to ask you!!

Would you REALLY call ego validation for men emotional...?? From what I've seen with the way men behave, ego isn't emotional...am I wrong...? How do YOU experience that, as a guy?
 

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Here's another question I forgot to ask you!!

Would you REALLY call ego validation for me emotional...?? From what I've seen with the way men behave, ego isn't emotional...am I wrong...? How do YOU experience that, as a guy?
Meaning, either they were seeking emotional fulfillment from the third party, or that they were seeking to soothe their ego.

For example, a guy I know well cheated partly because his wife was very cold. He wanted to be validated that he was attractive and interesting.

What allowed him to cheat was that he had no integrity, but what made him motivated to cheat was that his ego was bruised. Instead of dealing with that in a straightforward way - divorcing his cold wife and dating other people - he chose to try to soothe his ego and emotions on the side while keeping up the pretense that his marriage was working.

I would say that the human ego is an emotional construct - where else would your need to have self-esteem or self-importance come from? Or a sense of identity? I'm not shrink though, so I could totally be wrong.

My point is that his primary driver seemed to be sexual but actually wasn't. It was to be emotionally soothed.
 

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Meaning, either they were seeking emotional fulfillment from the third party, or that they were seeking to soothe their ego.

For example, a guy I know well cheated partly because his wife was very cold. He wanted to be validated that he was attractive and interesting.

What allowed him to cheat was that he had no integrity, but what made him motivated to cheat was that his ego was bruised. Instead of dealing with that in a straightforward way - divorcing his cold wife and dating other people - he chose to try to soothe his ego and emotions on the side while keeping up the pretense that his marriage was working.

I would say that the human ego is an emotional construct - where else would your need to have self-esteem or self-importance come from? Or a sense of identity? I'm not shrink though, so I could totally be wrong.

My point is that his primary driver seemed to be sexual but actually wasn't. It was to be emotionally soothed.
That's TRUE - most of the urge for ego gratification IS emotionally driven. I mean, I suppose that even men who want NSA sex are finding THEIR type of emotional fulfillment, no matter how shallow...

Maybe it's more accurate to look at it as we are ALL emotional beings - it's how we process and respond to our emotional feelings that make us different, and THAT isn't really gender-specific (but it can be) -- ATTACHMENT is more about gender, but again, there are always exceptions.

I know, for ME, I can feel much more emotionally attached from sex than a guy would in some cases, but that doesn't mean that I would respond to that sense of attachment by expecting anything from him. In fact, if I knew it wasn't welcomed by him, I could turn it off and appear very cold and detached. That's probably part of MY ego protecting itself...maybe...? Hmm...interesting...

Thanks!! :)
 

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From only observation of friends of both sexes who chose open relationships or polyamory, there is a very real chance that rules forbidding developing ‘feelings’ for ‘casual’ sex will be broken and emotional attachment occurs. The belief that regular physical intimacy turning into emotional intimacy can be controlled by force of will is laughable. If someone proposes marriage without monogamy they are actually saying “We’ll share a house, you’ll have and raise our children, cook my meals (if I’m not dining with a different partner), do my laundry, handle all the bullshit like paying bills, having car fixed, etc and I’ll come home at night. We can have sex if I haven’t gotten it already.” Why marry? I find it hard to believe that someone can maintain separation of physical & emotional intimacy. As someone said to me, “You have my heart & soul, she only has my body”. Said after he admitted cheating on every business trip - which were sometimes weekly and days long. Haven’t spoken to him in 45 yrs.
With this whole statement, you seem to have a very large misunderstanding on polyamory at the least, and all of ethical non-monogamy at worst. Since polyamory is about relationships, i.e. feelings, then there would not be a "no feelings" rule to even start with. Furthermore, if it is taken as far as polygamy, then usually they are all living in the same household as I and my three spouses do. You also seem to be approaching it from a perspective of the male is the one with the outside relationships, and the wife doesn't even work outside the house.
 

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As polyamory, are you married? And do you live with the other partners?
2 wives and a husband. Yes we all live in a single household.

Do all the relationships share physical and emotional intimacy or do some lean more toward one or other?
No. We all share emotional intimacy with each other. I am physically intimate with both wives, and my non-legal wife is physically intimate with both husbands.

Are you and partners the equivalent of monogamous within the relationship or is it open?
Open, although not commonly used. I and the non-legal wife tend to make use of the ability more.

To me, it seemed to be a lot of work - scheduling his time, trying to fulfill wants and needs of partners. Sometimes it’s hard finding time For and meeting needs of a single partner.
(I’m not judging, mostly curious, somewhat confused)
It can indeed be, especially if you are not doing "kitchen table poly". I've had a couple of girlfriends that didn't work out because of scheduling issues. Poly has all the same issues as monogamous relationship. Just more dynamics for them to happen through. It takes communication, patience, and many other relationship skills; ones that are not inherent knowledge but need to be learned, whether mono or poly,.
 

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... the difference is that most poly-couples are better at communication and openness, and have less guilt and shame about what happens than mono-couples do.
Most successful poly units, or polycules. Two corrections. Sadly, there are many who while being poly (as opposed to being mono thinking that they can be poly), don't have the relationship skills to be successful. Sadly, mono or poly, we have this delusion that being in a relationship is something natural and instinctual. That we somehow know how to be in a relationship. It simply isn't true.
 

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Discussion Starter #55
Every single man I've talked to about why they cheated eventually admitted part of the attraction was emotional ego validation.

Every single woman I've talked to about why they cheated eventually admitted part of the attraction was just wanting to **** the dude.

People are people. Genders may explain things differently, or have more shame around admitting why they did what they did, but I've found the drivers are almost identical between the genders. The rationalizations come out differently, but they're just rationalizations.
I realize individuals have free will, that life experiences make us all different. Also individual differences in brain function - push-pull between limbic (bestows pleasure from eating and sex, for survival of the species) and frontal cortex ( judgment & decision making), that Is responsible for addicts and bad decisions- like cheating or eating the whole cake).

You do not agree with psych findings that women are more likely to cheat when they have been unhappy in a relationship for a lengthy period of time and seek love / a more fulfilling relationship, not temporary attention and/or validation of desirability? I think women hesitate to cheat because of fear of losing custody of their children.

Do men in the heat of the moment think of their children (if not their wife) and call a halt? It’s been shown that for men, libido is tied to visuals visual, see it- lust for it. Testosterone floods system & can overwhelm critical thinking momentarily. One-night-stands or the ‘anonymous quickie’ associated most often with men.
Psychologists believe women are more selective about sexual partners, needing to get to know them at least a little and find some connection - real or imagined, making them less likely to act purely on lust.

I’ve known quite a few women who did act spontaneously when we were young and single tho. I’m wondering if that is considered merely a youthful female ‘sowing ones wild oats’ or did I just hang out with a lot of sluts back then🤔.

Men’s ability to compartmentalize the different parts of their lives where women’s minds entangle all parts of their lives. Plays a part in the ONS. What the WS calls ‘the mistake’. Neurobiology

I refuse to believe that those who need monogamy are really just acting on Puritanical (religious) tenets. How does that account for those of us raised without any religious experience (both my parents were agnostic) but who demand monogamy in relationships?

Which leads me back to - do the sexes have different definitions of love, intimacy in relationships? Is it expectations?
What explains (primarily) women who can have ONS when single but want monogamy in committed relationships?

Ultimately, author’s attempt to tie everything to prehistoric DNA seems like an excuse for male infidelity/promiscuity

This book gave me more questions than answers. And my logical, accounting degree side can’t stand it.
 

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I realize individuals have free will, that life experiences make us all different. Also individual differences in brain function - push-pull between limbic (bestows pleasure from eating and sex, for survival of the species) and frontal cortex ( judgment & decision making), that Is responsible for addicts and bad decisions- like cheating or eating the whole cake).

You do not agree with psych findings that women are more likely to cheat when they have been unhappy in a relationship for a lengthy period of time and seek love / a more fulfilling relationship, not temporary attention and/or validation of desirability? I think women hesitate to cheat because of fear of losing custody of their children.
No, I don't agree with these kinds of findings (which I've never seen, so I'm speculating) - because it is illogical. But it depends on what you mean by correlation or causation.

People cheat while in happy relationships all the time. In fact, one of the most common things cheaters eventually say is things like "I don't know why I did it," "It didn't seem like it was me," "I never stopped loving you," or "It had nothing to do with you." Therefore, at least some affairs have nothing at all to do with the relationship.

Secondly, cheaters lie. Rationalization is a thing. Cheaters claim all kinds of things, even though they are provably not true. For example, my buddy's wife claimed my buddy refused to have sex with her, when the reality is she was refusing to have sex with him, and even claimed to be asexual. My own wife started a secret texting relationship with a guy she knew from years ago literally while she was telling me and everyone else that she was the happiest she'd ever been in our relationship. After it blew up, she then claimed our relationship was bad. I literally had to bring out old videos and notes from her demonstrating the opposite. She struggled reconciling the two. Eventually she conceded the texting had nothing at all to do with me or our marriage.

Thirdly, people in unhappy marriages don't always cheat. There's lots of those people here. If bad relationships help create infidelity, you should see an uptick in cheating in those relationships. You simply don't.

Even the world's leading cheating apologist - Esther Perel - says clearly that most affairs do not have anything at all to do with the marriage.

Do men in the heat of the moment think of their children (if not their wife) and call a halt? It’s been shown that for men, libido is tied to visuals visual, see it- lust for it. Testosterone floods system & can overwhelm critical thinking momentarily. One-night-stands or the ‘anonymous quickie’ associated most often with men.
Show me the data for that - because I've talked to plenty of women that have had ONS while married.

Psychologists believe women are more selective about sexual partners, needing to get to know them at least a little and find some connection - real or imagined, making them less likely to act purely on lust.
I'm sure loads of women are like this. I also know of loads of men that are like this. And I've slept with a number of women within hours or even minutes of meeting them. So who's to say. Timing of where they are at in their life is probably a factor.

I’ve known quite a few women who did act spontaneously when we were young and single tho. I’m wondering if that is considered merely a youthful female ‘sowing ones wild oats’ or did I just hang out with a lot of sluts back then🤔.
Agreed.

Men’s ability to compartmentalize the different parts of their lives where women’s minds entangle all parts of their lives. Plays a part in the ONS. What the WS calls ‘the mistake’. Neurobiology
I think that's a massive over-generalization.

I refuse to believe that those who need monogamy are really just acting on Puritanical (religious) tenets. How does that account for those of us raised without any religious experience (both my parents were agnostic) but who demand monogamy in relationships?
I agree with that. I'm that way.

Which leads me back to - do the sexes have different definitions of love, intimacy in relationships? Is it expectations?
I think that the stories we tell ourselves are colored by what society demands of us as a gender, but I think the motivations are usually the same between the genders. There is far more variety in a gender than there is on average between them.

What explains (primarily) women who can have ONS when single but want monogamy in committed relationships?
I can't explain that, because I don't believe it's primarily women.

Ultimately, author’s attempt to tie everything to prehistoric DNA seems like an excuse for male infidelity/promiscuity

This book gave me more questions than answers. And my logical, accounting degree side can’t stand it.
Agreed there.
 

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Most successful poly units, or polycules. Two corrections. Sadly, there are many who while being poly (as opposed to being mono thinking that they can be poly), don't have the relationship skills to be successful. Sadly, mono or poly, we have this delusion that being in a relationship is something natural and instinctual. That we somehow know how to be in a relationship. It simply isn't true.
I agree with this completely - we are selfish creatures at heart, which is ok except when we decide we want to include someone else in our lives...then we need to turn that selfishness into self-LESS-ness to have a rewarding relationship, but it does NOT come naturally to do this!!!

The part I bolded is something I hadn't thought was possible...but of course it is!!
 

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I'm happily married and non-monogomous. And I think the author is full of crap if their views were accurately represented here.

I have a wife of twelve years and a girlfriend of one year... But my relationship with my girlfriend is mostly non-sexual. My girlfriend and I share a lot of very deeply intimate moments, both when we are together and when we are apart, but very few of them are sexual.

I have a much more sexual relationship with my wife. When apart, my wife and I sext a lot, share nudes, sexual fantasies, etc. She used to operate and maintain nuclear reactors. Nowadays, she learns languages with me. When apart, we often practice our vocab with each other when we aren't teasing each other with sexting or coordinating everyday mundane things.

My girlfriend and I share views on social topics, share hobbies(electronics, coding, radio technologies), and express desire to spend shared experiences with each other when we are apart. When we are together, we mostly cuddle and share hobbies. We rarely do anything sexual, but often do things that are considered intimate(cuddle, kiss, hug, etc). We are both ham radio operators(extra), both in technology related fields. She does support for the computer research department of a learning institution, and I hunt down bad guys so that green berets can kill or capture them(internet and radio tech).


I love them both dearly. And fiercely. I love them as they are. And most of all, I love them because I want to. I want to see them happy... I want that more than anything.


I really dislike the idea that men and women are slaves to their biology. I dislike it because I see it as complete bull crap. People are individuals. We are all the same in the sense that we are all experiencing the same world, but we are all individual in the sense that we are experiencing the world from our unique perspectives.
 

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If there aren't many women who have a need for frequent new sexual partners, WHERE are all these married men going to find hot, sexy women who want emotionless "wild, animal sex" with them...??

I always find it a little humorous that some men think that there are just oodles of interested, available women waiting to have flings with them. I mean, I know there are SOME women like that, sure, but the fantasy that "opening" their marriages will mean that they (men) will get to bang every sexy, exciting woman they see is quite FALSE.

I also think your last question should be, "do you really think most WOMEN would be understanding of their man's 'need' to put in the effort to have wild, animal sex with some other woman, instead of with them"...because I don't think there will be many men getting married without monogamy (or at least the illusion of it) -- and nevermind MARRIAGE - I don't want to have ANY sexual relationship without monogamy!!
LOL.. Funny how people making this argument forget that it takes two. 😅😂🤣
 

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Who is that Belgian woman that sells similar schlock. She had a fairly interview in the Financial Times about 2 years. Supposedly, corporate are buying her advice.
Esther Perel. She is in la la land , too.
 
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