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Dear Chump Lady, Is there a deeper reason behind cheating?

Hey Chump Lady,

I discovered your blog in August and I read all your posts from the very beginning. Your blog literally opened my eyes and explained a lot of things I felt or suspected about cheaters but didn’t know how to explain.

My boyfriend noticed I read your blog religiously and the comments as well (which I think are really great because you read the stories of the people that have actually experienced everything you talk about). He thinks cheating is wrong and all but he also thinks there’s a “deeper reason” behind it all and cheaters aren’t necessarily bad people. He forwarded this article to me I think a lot of it is rubbish and I’d like to tell him that but I think you’d do it a lot better.



Dear Z,

Okay, before I tell you the article is rubbish, I just want to point out that you have a fundamental values schism with your boyfriend. You think cheating is wrong, your boyfriend thinks there might be good, understandable reasons for it (like a person just can’t really help it). Oh, but he’ll say it’s “wrong,” to seemingly align his values with yours. Yet he’s got an article ready to explain that really… it’s not that wrong.

And curiously, the article he has chosen only discusses why MEN cheat.

Huh. Funny dat. There’s no article on why cheating women “aren’t necessarily bad people.” It must be because their brains don’t have three times the capacity to think of sex. (One article nugget). Poor men. They must tip over from the weight of all that sex brain. I wonder if he’d be as understanding if you cheated on him? I mean, especially as you don’t have a biological imperative and all.

Z, I can’t help but wonder why you’re reading my site if your boyfriend (or a previous boyfriend) didn’t cheat on you. Was it this boyfriend? If it wasn’t this boyfriend, why would you choose a guy who’s not 100% on board with the Cheating Is Bad philosophy?

What makes a person a bad person? They do bad things. If cheating is bad, and you cheat, ergo that makes you a bad person.

I know, how simplistic of me. Now, I don’t think you’re always destined to be a Bad Person. Through your actions, over time, you could tip the scales toward being a Good Person again. But some bad actions, in some contexts, obliterate our other good qualities. People go to jail for killing someone. They don’t get lesser sentences because they hold the door open for their mom or love their kids. If you cheat in a relationship, that tends to eclipse your other finer qualities.

Now that balancing act — finer qualities versus infidelity — is what every chump struggles with. Reconcile or go? As my Chump Lady philosophy makes clear, I’m firmly in the camp of GO.

To be a unicorn, (a successful reconciler), you would have to be living a life of good actions to blot out your bad actions. A chump has to invest their time in that transformation, assuming it happens. That’s a lot of upfront costs. But the point is, a cheater would be having to DO things to regain trust. They can’t just fall back on shit happens, people cheat. To reconcile there has to be a basic understanding that cheating is shameful and “bad” of them. Otherwise, without that fundamental value, what is to keep a cheater from cheating again?

So if your boyfriend cheated, and he’s cool with that article — that’s a huge red flag. He’s not sorry. If he didn’t cheat, but doesn’t really think cheating is that big of a deal, and would like you to accept the premises of that article — I’d say he’s not the boyfriend for you if you value fidelity.

Oh… but you wanted me to debunk the article. Well Z, I don’t have a masters in psychology like Sophia Rinaldi (mine’s in African history, alas, I’ll never be a “life coach”) but Christ, at least I can write.

The reasons are not only sexual but often psychological – and that does not mean that he is stupid, but that his becoming as a man was sprinkled with unfortunate events.

Not as unfortunate as the word choice “sprinkle.”

I read the article Z, and it seems to me she’s saying men cheat for two reasons: A) They’re stupid and B) Their mommies made them this way.

Now, men can’t help being stupid, no they’re wired for stupidity as long as beautiful women are around according to Rinaldi.

Countless studies show decreased concentration capacity, reasoning and ability to make correct choices when a man is aroused by the image of a (beautiful) woman .

How men ever came up with suspension bridges and cathedrals and satellite stations is beyond me. Must be the gay men doing all that. Queer guys must be 100% faithful because they don’t get distracted by pretty girls. (Well, unless it’s Lady Gaga and she’s on tour or something.)

But it’s not only poor attention spans that make men cheat, it’s their powerful SEX BRAINS. Women don’t have those. We’re all about feelings. We want security. So, naturally women mustn’t cheat because we have powerful EMPATHY BRAINS. No heartless bitches we.

It is no longer a mystery man’s inclination to polygamy, scientifically documented and explained.

Ladies, I know, I am annoyed too by the scientific substantiations. I’m annoyed that the brain area dedicated to sex is three times larger in men than in women.

On the other hand, the brain area corresponding to “I feel what you feel” – the mirror neuron system – is bigger and more active in female brains.

Essentially men are dumb and horny, says Rinaldi.

However, under the spell of instinct and opportunity, cognitive skills are among the last male aptitudes.

Hear that you knuckle draggers? Cognitive skills are the least of your aptitudes. It’s a wonder you can tie your shoes. How do you ever manage?

But cheaters don’t just cheat because of their sex brains, nope. It might be their moms’ fault too.

Psychological reasons may have their roots in his childhood, when he was refused the primary love he needed, the love of his mother. This trauma can determine him to look in every woman that love which was unfulfilled in his childhood.

Didn’t shrinks shelf the cold mother theory with schizophrenia and autism? Now cold mommies are responsible for cheaters too? Is there no end to the perfidy of cold mommies? What fresh hell will they inflict on us next, with their girls’ nights out and their careers and shit? Wall Street bankers?

Throgmorton embezzled $8.3 million from the Standard pension fund but would like the Ethics Committee to understand that he was refused primary love by his mother.

Z, it’s not deep why cheaters cheat. They cheat because they can. Because they value getting their sexual kicks more than they value fidelity to you. That’s it. They aren’t stupid and their mommies didn’t put them up to it. Read all the bullshit psychology articles you want, it’s pretty common sense stuff. Cheaters cheat from entitlement. I hope this helps.

P.S. Reconsider the boyfriend. Seriously.

Ask Chump Lady

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  • Oooooh, thank you, CL, for ripping this author’s reasoning to shreds! Cheaters must LOVE it when they can find this kind of justification, even more so coming from a woman!

    My ex kept insisting that ‘infidelity is just something that happens in long relationships, when there’s a rough patch’. (He also said that his VERY CONVINCING physical threats against me, on three occasions, were ‘not a big deal’, since he didn’t physically hurt me. Just so you understand how he reasons!) He said, too, about another guy’s infidelity ‘of course he lied to her! She isn’t very attractive’, and about his father’s years of infidelity ‘well, a divorce would have been financially disadvantageous for him’. Doesn’t it all make sense???

    I stopped arguing with him about this stuff a long time ago, I just keep affirming that I have a choice about who I want to be in a relationship with, and I CHOOSE to be with a person who values fidelity, as I do, and who values honesty, as I do. And that’s not him.

    So, Z, your boyfriend is saying that under certain conditions, it’s ok to lie repeatedly and to betray the person he supposedly loves the most, it’s understandable. Maybe not a good thing, or the best choice, but ‘these things happen’, sometimes people can’t help themselves. Situational ethics, in other words. And the likelihood you’re going to convince him otherwise is EXTREMELY low, ’cause this is how he thinks.

    He’s showing you who he is; you should believe him.

  • Sadly, this is the state of much of psychology and the entire field of counseling. The best you can hope for in counseling is that the psychologist you are working with knows it’s mostly BS, has excellent people skills, and a good BS detector.

    To call those with poor BS detectors witch doctors might be an insult to witch doctors 🙂

    Up until the last couple of decades you could sum up much of the field of psychology as falling into two camps:

    1. Those who bought into the B. F. Skinner view of “conditioning” which is mostly informed by doing a lot of cruel (sadistic really) experiments on people and animals.

    2. The Freudian/Jungian model-making method which is informed by studying the more extremely dysfunctional people and projecting your own rationalizations and hypotheses onto them, and then ascribing those conditions to the population at large without doing any sort of empirical study the confirm or disprove the BS model you created (usually along with your own special terminology).

    Of the two approaches–both of which are limited–the first at least has the advantage of not being subjective BS, but it doesn’t tell us much about how people an animals behave under more normal conditions no matter what the behaviorists say :).

    Now, not all of psychology is in this state. Just most of it.,

    Most of it is BS with special terminology, geared toward treating the dysfunctional (which usually comes down to sedating them or feeding them a few anti-depressants developed by people who actually study things like biochemistry and pharmacology, not your fellow witch doctors who are useful, however, as dispensers of drugs provided they have that doctorate that says they are a Psychiatrist and not a Psychologist.

    CL, I remember you saying you’d like to study this field. Not trying to dissuade you, but if you do go into that swamp, bring hip waders. 😉

    All that being said, there are some good people doing some good work on those fields. Just mostly not 🙁

    • Time H, yeah, B F Skinner, do you know his son committed suicide? He treated him like one of those pigeons.

      CL I have gone back to college also (psychology). There is a lot of interesting stuff going on in cognitive and neuropsychology. Interestingly they don’t have much time for Freud!

      Z, nice post. I wish I had commented and thought on this stuff the way you are when I was in the picker stage. What you need to work on, is fix your picker. Seriously, your boyfriend is TELLING you he doesn’t think something you find extremely important, is very important. Pay attention.

      • Skinner didn’t have a son. But there were some rumors about his daughter. But they turned out to be false.

        Perhaps you’re thinking of Dr. Spock’s son? Also false.

        People like to make dramatic stories up. What’s the most dramatic thing you can think of? That renowned developmental psychiatrists’ kids went crazy, hated them, and offed themselves? What incredible pathos! This is exactly the sort of story you should check before swallowing. And especially before spreading.

    • TH, you’ll be happy to know after some brief exploration, I chucked that idea. I think I’m better just being a smart ass with a blog.

      I went to this orientation for a graduate program in psych, to be a therapist (marriage counselor) after 2-3 years and 1.5 year of interning — so no small investment. I talked to one of the directors of the program, who teaches therapy techniques. They have this studio where they film you and give you feedback. The woman was describing it and was saying “this way, we can play it back and show students where they’re doing it wrong.”

      So I asked — what does bad therapy look like? What’s “doing it wrong?”

      She said: “Giving advice.”

      And at that moment, TH, I knew shrinkage was not for me. The other no-no, she said, was asking why questions, like WHY would you do that? I asked why can’t you ask why? Well, she said, it makes people talk in circles, down the rabbit holes of their excuses. (Sounds to me like that would be useful.) A better question she said was “how do you feel about that?”

      Ugh. Really.

      I said, what’s wrong with advice? Well, if she gave advice, what if the person didn’t like it and blamed them? Better they come to the decision themselves.

      My husband said this is like going to a doctor and being told you should come to your own conclusions about your diagnosis. Does it feel like cancer? Best you come to that decision on your own. I could give you an antibiotic, but if you talk long enough, maybe you can figure out which one might work for you.

      I’m sure all shrinks don’t work this way, but I do think this is a pretty mainstream approach. And — well — I shamelessly enjoying telling people what to do. Which I feel I can do, because I have personally trial tested What Not to Do. (I am a chump.)

      I have my PhD in chumpology.

      • I was fortunate with my one time therapist visit. She told me to run, not walk from her. My conclusion is that Therapists don’t solve, they only appease the problem. I’m an engineer so in my mind there is always a solution.

        After wrestling with this problem for 2 years I realized that there is no solution because of the lies. a2+b2=c2 only works if all variables are a constant. In other words if a is really d through z and changes at any time it can never be solved. Therefore its a toxic equation.

        • No wonder I went through so many therapists to find the ones that could help me! My therapists didn’t give advice exactly, but they did give advice by having me explore reasons for shit. Actually both of them gave me tools and advice when I asked for it. Some times it sucked some times it helped. Also, the very best therapist I saw told me what she thought of my experience, she VALIDATED it, and that is advice. “Dat, you do you not realize how abusive that was?” Very important, and it is advice.

          • Yes yes yes. My friends will say things to me like “You know that’s fucked up, right?” Therapists? Not so much. Guess who’s helped more?

  • CL, your response made me laugh so much today!

    I wasted a lot of time trying to understand why my ex cheated, what made him do it. What I could have done differently, whether his feeling of being neglected by his mother contributed to it. I think it’s possible that his FOO issues affected his thought processes, but more importantly I realized that my brain and my ex’s brain just don’t work the same way. He has less empathy and compassion, less feeling in general. We are fundamentally different. What he wants, he wants, and he deserves to get everything he wants. Once I realized this, and read about the sense of entitlement that some character disordered people feel, I understood there was NOTHING I could have done to fix our relationship.

    Gosh, it was liberating to let go of trying to fix him and focus on rebuilding my own life!

    • My husband’s FOO issues are horrific, there’s no doubt about it. And, once that was discovered (after D-Day and while we were in therapy), he had the opportunity to work on those issues. The cold, hard reality is that these men really are damaged goods. The only part that’s unforgivable, imho, is that they know it and pretend it’s not true. Someone with a disordered personality knows that they’re deceiving you, they just don’t care. What they want takes precedence over everything and always will. It doesn’t matter how sweet that emotionally stunted man-child appears to be – how charming, how loving, how giving. It’s all a front. You are the charming, loving, giving one – he just mirrors it back. Until he gets busted – then the mask comes off and you see the dead soul for who he is. And it’s the most devastating, unimaginable mental anguish to find out that the person you loved isn’t even there. Please be careful and take your time. Don’t invest years of your heart and soul into a time bomb like I did.

      • Perfectly said!

        They do just mirror what you do! And when reflect a bad image of them to themselves they dont like it and move on.

        Great Post Danette!

      • Perfect, Danette. My ex mirrored all the things I was giving until I figured out his serial cheating. And then? He turned into a nasty. childish, vile asshole who seemed (and seems) intent on destroying me any way he could. He continues to this day and it’s horrible to realise that this is who heprobably really is but hides from everyone except those who peek behind the mask.

        • “My husband’s FOO issues are horrific” may be true, or it may be like my ex, once we went to MC he fucking lied about his horrible childhood to justify his bullshit. My asshole ex had me crying over the time his Dad kicked him out and he lived in the woods for weeks, only to find out later that IT NEVER HAPPENED. Any asshole that can lie to you day and day out to have an affair is well able to lie to you about their poor dysfunctional childhood.

        • Danette, totally agree with your synopsis. Amazing how well and easily they lie. It’s just pure evil when you stop to think about it.

      • Danette,

        Chump Son totally agrees with your brilliant comment. It may be true that someone was damaged, but that doesn’t mean that we have to fix them or suffer too much trying. A person can only change themselves and, sadly, many of these damaged characters have made adaptations (mal-adaptations from the Chump’s perspective) with which they are perfectly comfortable. They’ve shut feelings away in a box so tight that they are gone. And the Chump’s tendency to hang around and try to fix it really just hooks us in to a lot of wasted years/wasted time/wasted energy. It’s a grim reality, but once you recognize it, it’s really quite liberating. You can stop trying to push that rock up a hill only to have it roll down again. You can recognize certain damaging NPD types and look elsewhere for friends/support. You can live, breath and get away from all that.

        Great comment. We are not therapists. We are Chumps, i.e. nice folk. Let the damaged find their own therapist, if that’s what they want. (Most don’t want that. They’ve settled into their damaged adaptations to life, they are in their comfort zone, and they won’t change. Best to accept that and move on…..)

        Chump Son

        • The biggest problem isn’t even that we’re trying to fix them (already a pointless task), but that we’re the ONLY ones trying to fix them. They don’t even recognize there’s anything wrong! Or they figure they’re such victims, it’s everyone else’s job to keep bending over backwards to ‘understand’ and ‘accept’.

          Blergh. Took me a long time to learn this lesson! Any other relationships I have, I’m looking for someone who is ALREADY happy – like me!

          • Agree with that! I’ve only realized lately, since I am divorced from him and almost out of our home, that I’ve always been the happy one, and he was beating me down. I wake up with a smile, say a little prayer of gratitude for the day, and anticipate all my possibilities. He just tried so hard to twist all that up, but in the end it never worked, I’m still happy, and moving on!
            It feels so good to let it (his neuroses) go, and he gets to work on himself for a change, I hope he gets the help he needs, but it’s seriously HIS job.

      • No shit. This is why folks should not have sex so early in a relationship IMO. It makes you form bonds and clouds one’s judgement.
        Not sure about other’s experience out there dating post divorce. But I was shocked at how soon the women I met wanted to get intimate. One or two dates and they wanted to start peeling clothes off.

      • Wow, Danette! This is really excellent! Thank you for writing it.

        WOWOWOWOW: ” Until he gets busted – then the mask comes off and you see the dead soul for who he is. And it’s the most devastating, unimaginable mental anguish to find out that the person you loved isn’t even there. ”

        I did. Those eyes…dead.

        • “Those eyes…dead”


          I know exactly what you mean. I don’t say this casually, but it would creep me the fuck out.

      • Well said!
        Until they get busted – the mask comes off & they no longer mirror back. The terrible pain & anguish we’re left to deal with & process when we realize the person we loved didn’t exist at all- that out lives were one monstrous lie.

  • How seriously can anyone take this article, when there’s a flashing box on the site offering to “consult with me online, I’m available now”? And TimeHeals, I also am suspicious of the whole mental health field, as I try to navigate it to get my kids some help. There are good therapists and some awful ones, and I am not so sure you can tell the difference by looking at the degrees listed behind the name. As I’ve told my kids, compassion isn’t something you learn in school. That being said, where are Sophie’s credentials? And where are her citations of the studies proving this male “sex brain” theory?

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t condemn all New Age stuff–meditation is a wonderful thing, for example–but some of them are just snake oil salesmen trying to turn a quick buck. Maybe it’s cheap of me to go for the ad hominem kind of attack, but I have to wonder about the validity of the message, coming from a messenger whose motives I find questionable.

    • High school counselors should know the lay of Counselor-land. The wonderful woman at my kids high school said “I’m not allowed to make recommendations but I will put the woman I prefer at the top of the list”. You could try that — ask for a handwritten list of local counselors with preferences to the top. Good luck.

    • Jade, I know how hard it is to find a good therapist. The best I found was certified in EMDR, she was good for more than trauma. See if you can find one in your area for the kids, most EMDR certified therapists work with kids very well.

  • I’m so lucky a friend referred a great therapist to me. She helped me heal twice as fast as I would have without her.

    A good friend of mine was still struggling with the aftermath of her husband’s affair and abandonment and bounced from counselor to counselor without much relief from the terrible rage she was experiencing. I finally talked her into seeing my counselor and 6 months later she’s a changed person, much happier, even dating.

    The right counselor can make all the difference in the world, but they’re hard to find.

    • I’ve been lucky to have a therapist that tells it like she sees (or hears it.) She was not only appalled and disgusted by my ex-NPD husband but also served as a good model for how someone who’d discovered her husband had been cheating on her for 15 year should react when I was still considering it could have been partly my fault. Her “What an ass!” and “99.99% of people would think what he has done is disgusting and unforgivable,” helped me to begin to see how he’d convinced me I was the real problem in the marriage.
      And, hey, some of us might be therapists on this site. Every job has people who do it exceptionally well and exceptionally poorly. Every time someone wants to explain to me how deplorable the state of my career field is, I agree as long as I get to complain about theirs. 🙂

      • My therapist also pretty much said ex was an asshole and that his serial cheating absolutely was the reason for the demise of the marriage. And of course it was. How in the world could we have had a healthy marriage when he was screwing around for years? I was running around trying to make things work, trying to have discussions when I thought things were off but I wasn’t in possession of all the information so there was no way to sort out problems when the real problem, the one that was causing the core issues, was hidden from me.

        Ex still likes to say that I had a part in things falling apart – I wasn’t this enough or I wasn’t that enough or I did this, that or the other thing. But no, that’s bullshit. It’s pretty hard to make your spouse feel special and wanted and blah blah blah when they are carrying on with others behind your back. I was there at home, taking care of hte kids and the day to day and everything that a normal life entails and wow, I must have seemed so unsparkly and boring. There was no value to him in what I was doing and I didn’t make his heart go pitter patter because I wasn’t someone new and I wasn’t playing flirty games 24/7…because I was busy living our lives while he was busy living another life I knew nothing about.

        I used to get so angry when he tried to make me take a part in it but now I just laugh at him (to myself–never respond to his shit anymore, yet he STILL tries to talk to the kids about it). I most definitely was not a perfect wife but I was a good one. But there was no way the marriage could last when he had sidepieces left, right and centre.

  • @Lynn:
    “He has less empathy and compassion, less feeling in general. We are fundamentally different. What he wants, he wants, and he deserves to get everything he wants.”

    Yes. And consequences to others isn’t even a wisp of a consideration.

    Parenthetically, any else reminded of Jar-Jar Bing when reading Sophie’s strained syntax?

  • When someone owns up to having “accepting” or positive views on cheating, and a negative attitude to women, etc., LISTEN to them. Do not dismiss their opinions — and DO judge their character based on what they say. I dismissed my narcissistic cheating ex’s nasty comments about women and relationships, and his approval of men playing around and flirting with other women openly in front of their gf, etc. — not to mention, his constant references to threesomes and how great those are (cheating on you in your presence, basically) — he turned out to be a cheater.. when they are honest about their views, who are we to dismiss their honesty? We need to keep our ears and minds open and kick them to the curb when their views clash wish ours on something as fundamental as the basics of a monogamous, committed relationship. Sometimes their filthiness is apparent from the outset, in the views they espouse.

    • “When someone owns up to having “accepting” or positive views on cheating, and a negative attitude to women, etc., LISTEN to them. Do not dismiss their opinions — and DO judge their character based on what they say.”


      But if you feel bad about “judging” in a sense of I-am-better-than-you, consider that it is possible to judge without condemning. For instance, when I go to buy a suit and try one on, I might find that it doesn’t fit me. It might not fit me because it binds here or there, or hangs too loosely, or because the pattern of the fabric or style of the cut doesn’t suit my personality. In any event, it isn’t for me. So . . . I place it back on the rack for others to consider. I don’t need to throw it on a bonfire to walk away from it.

      Similarly, Mr. Cheaters-Are-Just-Misunderstood might be a “good fit” for someone who wants an open marriage or believes that affairs are misdemeanors rather than felonies or for whatever reason just doesn’t value fidelity highly. But if you’re not one of those people? If you’re someone who values infidelity and would be crushed by an affair (or several)? You should probably put him back on the rack and keep looking. An $800 dollar investment in a suit that doesn’t fit is nothing compared to investing decades of your life, and the discomfort of an inseam riding up your crotch is nothing compared to the rusty-chainsaw-to-the-chest-cavity that is betrayal.

        • I agree with Stephanie.

          We should stop being politically correct — yes, it’s a fundamental difference in values, but it doesn’t mean it’s just like having different views on which political party is better… It’s a moral issue, and it’s despicable for someone to espouse cheating behaviors, just as it’s despicable for someone to approve of marital (or other forms) of rape, pedophilia, etc. This is the problem with society nowadays : gives cheaters too much approval, instead of ostracizing them. One of my good friends (ex good friend) cheated on his wife and has now moved in with the OW. He left his 2 young kids and his wife, and doesn’t even have money to give in child support. His ex-wife was a housewife, so she is now forced to work AND to take care of the kids and has no one to help her. I have stopped talking to this man (my ex-friend) because of what he did, especially that I have felt cheating on my own skin. Honestly, it’s despicable and I have no problem ostracizing cheaters. I only wish the rest of society would treat them the same way and not let them get away with it, but all my friends are now congratulating my cheater ex-friend and his new gf (soon to be fiancee apparently) on their new-found love. He is also a narcissist, btw, so I am not surprised this happened. Surprised it hadn’t happened sooner, or that his wife put up with his BS. I’ve seen his interactions with his ex-wife in the past (before the cheating happened), and it was highly abusive (verbally and emotionally, not sure if physically). These people are disgusting and creepy.

        • I certainly understand the bonfire impulse; however, I also truly believe there are sociopaths and NPDs and such who cheat because that’s the way they’re wired, the way my cat kills birds because that’s how she’s wired. Recognizing that makes walking away easier but also undercuts the rationale for punishment, you know? Another good reason to fight that impulse is that rage keeps you stuck in a relationship with a cheater, especially when it’s acted upon (keyed cars, drunk dials, etc.).

          But the best reasons to decline the bonfire option? You can get a ticket for burning your trash, and pollution hurts the environment.

      • Yeah, you’re right, but I would go beyond that, and condemn these people for their (IMO) filthy views. Sure, some people (women or men) might not value fidelity and might agree to an open marriage, but it doesn’t make it morally right (just as the fact that some might approve of pedophilia doesn’t make it morally right). It’s actually distressing for most people, even if it is brought up from the outset. The other thing is that by definition, cheating is done behind someone’s back usually (at least IMO). If someone tells his wife he’s gonna go out and have sex with a prostitute or some other woman, he is asking for an open marriage — and I wouldn’t consider that “cheating” in the proper sense of the word, though I’d find that sort of thing equally despicable and abusive, because it involves a change in the rules of the “game” (marriage is about fidelity and — at least in the West — about monogamy) and if he couldn’t adhere to the ‘rules’ he shouldn’t have played the game in the first place, and instead should’ve found someone who was ok with the idea of an open relationship from the outset.

        I think cheaters get off on the idea of getting away with stuff — the thrill, the riskiness of it all. Makes them feel desirable and youthful again, whereas they consider themselves not as attractive in the context of being with their long-term partner. It’s sick and is highly narcissistic. The thing is, if we were presented with the idea of an open relationship most of us would’ve walked away but these people decided to trick us into a ‘relationship’, even marriage, knowing full well that they would be unwilling to do what is expected of them. My ex even admitted to saying “I love you”, because if he hadn’t, I might not have stayed with him (!). He also admitted to lying about his sexual history (saying he hadn’t had sex in 2 years before we met, after he broke up with his long-term gf, when he had just the month before been in Thailand and had sex with STD-infested prostitutes), because telling me he had had sex in Thailand would’ve meant I wouldn’t want to sleep with him (his words, I’m serious). SICK to the bone.

        • I agree. A huge part of cheating is the thrill of getting away with the forbidden, the sneaking around, the fooling an unsuspecting partner, the smell of the new. Disordered cheaters feel really good about themselves when they cheat, and they feel good about getting away with lies.

          • Yep. Especially ones that are NPD — they are pathological liars, lying even about the smallest things that don’t even need to be lied about. It’s mind-boggling.

          • It’s a power trip, to be in the know, while someone who is depending on you is completely blind. That is, if you’re a coward. A really strong person would be horrified by it.

  • RED FLAG RED FLAG. Alarms should be going off in your head. You really need find out if your boyfriend is cheating on you. Has he cheated in past relationships? My gut tells me YES to both questions. Based on what he’s trying to tell you I would suggest not wasting any more of your time with this guy. The longer you stay the more it’s gonna hurt. Doesn’t matter what articles he finds for you to read. It all part of his plan to have you think his way so you will excuse him when he decides to cheat (if he hasn’t already).

    • I think you’re right Bud. A lot of us here started their long term relationships with spouses (especially the men) who were RABIDLY anti-cheating.

      Early in his career the ex worked for an older man who had left his wife and was banging the technician at work. I never heard the end of it — how disgusted he was with this man — what he had done and how proud (entitled) he seemed to be. He work environment was torture because the technician pulled rank all the time.

      Fast forward 25 years and you know…..history has repeated, and I was totally immunized by his earlier stance. Just didn’t think he’d be that stupid. Maybe it was his large, hypertrophied sex brain.

      • Yes, my X was overly watchful of my even speaking to another man, and rabidly jealous, but I think I, in my naïveté, filled in the idea that – hey, he’s SO anti-cheating!!
        Now what I think was actually going on is that he was projecting the lust towards others he had, onto me! And even worse, insane jealousy is right up there on the list of Borderline PD characteristics. DUHH, I learned all that too late. But, at least now I think I’ll know one when I see one!

      • Yep, and that would be my STBX. His father cheated on his mother, and STBX hated his father for years.

        He’s also hero-worshipped his father, too. Sadly, he’s now successfully emulating his father, and I am so not going to have the same marriage as his parents.

  • An ya know what ELSE I hate? I hate people who give psychology a bad name by taking legitimate research results (ANYONE’s concentration drops in the presence of a person they find attractive, and yes, ON AVERAGE areas related to sexuality are somewhat different in male brains than female) and then stretches and stretches them to justify what they want to justify.

    NONE of the research results show that anyone becomes UNABLE to reason in the presence of an attractive person. NONE shows that men are overcome and made stupid by their ‘sex brains’. NONE shows that important decisions, on a medium to long term, such as lying to one’s spouse over months and even years, are in the least affected by these facts.

    They do it because they want to, and they do not CARE who it hurts. It’s entitlement all the way.

    • It’s this irrational mock-reasoning that has women in primitive cultures covering their entire bodies, hiding their very beings, around men. Because men, it seems, are just hysTERical around all women, at least by this pseudo logic. JUST ridiculous.

  • “Sex brain” that makes men stupid — snort, laugh, giggle. Well, that sure explains a lot. However, it doesn’t explain how some of these cheaters, who should be totally incapacitated in any cognitive way by their overactive “sex brains” still manage the complex lying, maneuvering, manipulating and general conniving required to carry on a long term affair while pretending to be a devoted husband at home. It’s not like these guys spotted an attractive woman on the street, and were so overwhelmed by their sex brains that they simply walked over and started humping her. In fact, their behaviors were quite complex. And of course, none of that stupidity explains women who cheat.

    I’d be pretty concerned about a boyfriend who was okay with an article justifying men cheating. And not to hijack the thread or anything, but how does one bring up the subject of infidelity when dating someone new? I’ve been dating a man who seems like a good one for a month now. It doesn’t seem appropriate to just flat-out ask him if he ever cheated on his wife, or how he feels about cheating in general. I’d sure like to know, though, before going a lot further with the relationship.

    • In this rare moment where my Doughnut brain is not consuming my thoughts, I don’t think it is all that an awkward question. You are being honest about a legitimate concern. If his response is honest and what you want to hear, you not only have that but also the opportunity to talk about your own defining experience. If the response is not what you would like to hear, well, again you have the opportunity to share your experience, part ways, and move on. If the response is somewhere in the grey area, I gravitate to doughnuts.

      • Doughnut brain! Hah! In my case, I guess it would be sushi brain, and cheesecake brain, and sex brain too, and cute-kitty-that-needs-petting brain … it’s a wonder I get anything done at all!

    • I ask why they got divorced. Oe guy told me he hooked up with an old girlfriend ‘but the marriage was over anyway in all but name’. I thanked him for the drink and left. I say ask after at least one or two dates. I refuse to waste any time on a cheater.

      • Oh, I have talked to him about why he divorced after a 25-year marriage. He said that they had a baby that died at birth, and after that event, his wife changed and seemed like she hated him. Though they did go on to have three healthy kids, and stayed married 15 more years, he said he felt like she hated him and he could do nothing right after the stillbirth of the baby. He said he suggested MC, she refused. He suggested she go to IC, she refused. He himself went to IC. When he finally had enough, and decided to divorce, she wanted to go to MC, but he was through.

        Whether or not he cheated during those years, or the wife cheated, I do not know. He strikes me as a guy with integrity, but then again, plenty of cheaters appear to be honest at first.

      • I too find that in asking why they got divorced, a lot of people will admit to having cheated (not in those terms, of course!), because they really see nothing at all wrong with it. Helpful to me that they feel that way!

        And some admit to having been chumped ….

    • Hey GIO…
      I wanted to say that if you feel comfortable having a physical relationship with this person, you need to feel comfortable having a discussion too. Start off by asking about his thoughts on monogamy in relationships, etc. I always have that talk before I get physical anyway…

  • We’ve established that cheating is emotional abuse. It hurts. A lot.

    And yet your bf is showing you an article that justifies it. Seems odd, right?

    What if your bf was showing you an article that justifies physical abuse. About how hitting your spouse was really caused by other factors (it’s science, right? Men have more testosterone!)? Would the scientific facts convince you of this as well?


  • You were smart to come here Z. You’ll find no bullshit in the ChumpLady corner of the internet.

    No, there’s no “deeper reason” behind cheating. The only “deeper” reason is narcissism.

    If we’re going to get intellectual on this, which your boyfriend tried and totally failed, according to Simone de Beauvoir, narcissism is a false happiness that empty people use to fill gaping holes in their existence. It’s a tempting, appealing path, because, hey, who wouldn’t want the admiration of all and the sparkly lifestyle? But it ultimately doesn’t work because it’s just so damn FAKE. It’s false, it’s short-lived, and it’s completely delusional. (Sure, some people aren’t big fans of de Beauvoir, but she was pretty spot-on with this one.)

    And lets address the whole “mommy issue” thing. The quack in that article pretty much took something with validity and SHAT ALL OVER IT. I agree with the person who said that there are just some idiots out there who will take a psychologically valid study and just stretch it as far as they POSSIBLY can to make it justify their own stupidity. So the point of the original study is completely lost. (For example, there was a study of a chemical found in marijuana plant that, in liquid form and when used as an injection, could help treat cancer. Further study and development was needed and the original authors of the study stated that this was NOT A CURE FOR CANCER and it did NOT mean that smoking pot cures cancer. ……..guess what everyone decided to completely ignore….)

    Anyway, what this crackpot has done has taken bell hook’s (she spells her name in lower-case on purpose) original writing on why an aggressive and emotionally-distant standard of masculinity is harmful to men and just…well…shat all over it. bell hooks basically said that emotionally distant and combative relationships with their mothers does make men seek substitutes for the lack of a decent mother-son relationship in other women (similarly to how girls who have damaged relationships with their fathers will sometimes seek attention from other men) even though it is an ineffective way to heal the hurt from the original situation. bell hooks ALSO said that this is harmful to all parties involved because it pretty much just leads to women getting emotionally abused and men becoming angrier, and we as a society need to change our standards of what it means to be a man.

    This does NOT MEAN that men cheat because they have mommy issues. It’s SO MUCH MORE COMPLICATED THAN THAT. It’s a multi-leveled issue. Shit, I don’t think I did it justice with that short little blip I just typed up there. It’s not an excuse! It’s not meant to be a “deeper reason” why men cheat. And it sure as HELL is not meant to be used in defense of cheaters.

    Why would your boyfriend send you something as hackneyed as that? I mean, seriously? I don’t like being a suspicious person, but that seems reeeeeaaaallly strange that he would send you something like that after you tell him you feel that cheating is unacceptable. I agree, re-think that boyfriend.

  • Nothing to add, apart from, RUN, Z!!!!!

    Don’t set yourself up as a kibble machine, or heaven help you, breed with this person, you will regret it.


  • I can’t follow her article, but I can tell she is drinking the Patriarchal Kool-Aid in Berry Bullshit flavor. There are innate biological differences between men and women, but cheating is a behavior that transcends gender. At one time, I used to believe that sometimes, people “just cheated” for “deeper reasons” and it should be considered a “wake up call” to fix the relationship. Then I was cheated on and there was no reason, absolutely none whatsoever, that explained, validated, or excused that shit. The bottom line is that it is wrong, the cheater knows it is wrong, and they are picking their “deeper reasons” over your “deeper reasons.” That makes them an asshole.

    • Exactly. Cheating is human issue, not a “male” issue hard-wired into male biology. So is narcissism. It doesn’t gender discriminate.

      The problem with how our society looks at it is the ridiculous biological determinist excuse for men doing it. It’s based in old, outdated standards of men wanting more sex than women. And it’s all bullshit. Which is part of that double-standard that it’s okay for men to have sex with as many women as possible because it’s “natural” and “just the way men are” and when women do the same thing they are “sluts” because “women are more emotional and need companionship.”

      Jeebus…it’s 2013.

      Did anyone else find it really immature and frankly, completely uneducated when she used terms like “sex brain?” I mean, really? “Sex brain?” like men have a whole separate brain in their heads designated specifically for sex-thoughts? ‘Cause that’s what it sounded like to me.

      • “Sex brain” makes me think of that song “Sex Dwarf” from the 80s. Anyone else remember that one from Soft Cell? “Sex dwarf, isn’t it nice, luring disco dollies to a life of vice.” Man, I’m revealing my age here!

      • That fucked up old belief that men want sex more than women makes no sense.
        Women are multi-orgasmic. They do not require time to recuperate to go at it again, whereas men do.
        They can have a much greater quantity of sex than men can.
        With all this greater ability/capacity, how would it make sense that they have less desire?

  • Z… 3 words: Trust Your Gut. As CL mentioned… You’re reading her blog for a reason & your BF sent you that ridiculous article FOR A REASON. Take the advice here and run. There is a decent guy waiting for you out there. Don’t waste time proving how effed up your current BF is. I did that with my cheater husband…and found out I should have trusted my gut all along. It has NEVER failed me. Trust Your Gut, Z.

    • And the fact that you are here? Is it curiousity? No, I think it is your gut (your deep inner authentic voice of wisdom) talking to you.

  • “Doctor” Rinaldi’s revealing explanation of her approach to emotional issues from a website where she hocks her online counseling services:

    “I got an interest in psychology when I was 16 years old and since then I embarked in a life-long endeavor of self-discovery and discovery of the human psyche . . . . My promise to you, the one who’s in search for answers, is the promise of one whose job is her passion as well, who continues to listen and to understand even though the 50 minutes of the counseling session have long passed. . . .THERE ARE THOUSANDS OF THERAPEUTIC METHODS. I DON’T BELIEVE IN ANY OF THEM. I believe in the emotional chemistry between therapist and client, I believe in the psychologist’s ability of empathy with the man in front of him, I believe in the mental and emotional dance that brings understanding and resolution, I believe in the adaptation of the therapeutic process that makes you, the human being, feel understood. . . . I am a psychologist who didn’t live her life only through books, learning methods and techniques of mental and SOUL-BASED SURGERY. Rather, I’m a psychologist who has DEVOURED LIBRARIES but also lived emotions and experiences about which others only write in novels. In other words, nothing of what is human is unknown to me. I am waiting for you when you wish to have an hour of conversation or when you want to reflect and be enriched by the objective opinion of someone knowledgeable in the works of the mind and soul!”

    Wow. She does “soul-based surgery” (like faith healers) and “devours libraries” (like Godzilla). Impressive.

    This lady is so flaky she’s a crispy croissant of crazy.

    • People with a Masters in psychology are not considered “doctor.” They are sometimes considered referred to by brilliant chumps, one in particular called Nomar, as “a crispy croissant of crazy.” 🙂

    • Can’t go diagnosing someone I’ve never met, but she sounds like a huge narcissist! SHE’s much wiser than any specific therapy method or the people who developed them I guess wiser even than the people who study and do research on ‘integrated therapies’, who actually have logic and justifications for how they bring together different approaches. She’s so special! She’s devoured libraries! She has lived emotions and experiences about which others only write in novels! ‘Nothing of what is human is unknown to me’. Whew! What a piece of work!

      • I laughed out loud at the “Nothing of what is human is unknown to me” craziness. That woman is either a huge narc, or else a total loon. Probably both.

        • Yep, “Nothing of what is human is unknown to me” is unintentional humor For The Win. One part Svengali and two parts Suzanne Somers, she is an operatically mystical dipsh*t.

    • She didn’t devour libraries of grammar books 😉

      Hey, I sometimes post things with bad grammar here out of haste, but these posts are not in my professional bio where you should reasonably expect somebody to be more careful.

      Count the run-on sentences alone.

    • All right.
      I bit and went over there and looked.
      What a bunch of F-ing BS.
      No man I have EVER been with, no matter what the outcome would send an article from some dumb bitch like that as an argument to me and EVER expect to live that ignorance down.
      Insult to everyones intelligence – Especially yours Z.

    • Nice alliteration, Nomar.
      Reminds me of my favorite rapper, Crispy Creme and his partner, Froggy Fresh. Catch his video on YouTube.

  • Z,

    What the fuck! I’m checking now, but I think my reading of the link you provided may have just made my head explode. How far up in her ass did Sophia have to dig in order to pull out that pile of shit disguised as thought-provoking analysis and commentary?

    “He thinks cheating is wrong and all BUT he also thinks there’s a “deeper reason” behind it all and cheaters aren’t necessarily bad people.” Seriously? Your boyfriend said that to you? I hear sirens going off in the distance. Do you?

    “But,” is what some people call an “eraser” word, which means it erases or negates anything that came before it. There is no “but” that should follow “cheating is wrong.” Your boyfriend either thinks cheating is wrong or he doesn’t.

    You want to know what “deeper reason” exists behind cheating? The deeper reason is that a person who is willing to lie to and deceive a person to whom they have represented that they are invested and committed is a fucked up from the floor up, amoral, integrity-lacking, reprehensible and despicable excuse for a human being. And those may be a cheater’s better qualities.

    For years predators of all kinds have attempted to ameliorate their ranicid-assed behavior by using the excuse of being overcome by some uncontrollable impulse that caused them to act in the way that they did. If cheater men are overwhelmed and rendered unable to fully function normally by the sight of a beautiful woman (“beautiful” being operationally subjective), then they need to be isolated from the rest of society, just like any other out of control predator, so that we don’t fall prey to their out of control behavior.

    Cheaters are bad people because in many cases the behavior they exhibit which is engendered in cheating is evident in other areas of their life. People with integrity tend not to cheat. People with morals tend to shy away from cheating of any kind. People of character tend to stay away from anything that does not comport with having morals and integrity. You cannot think cheating is okay and not be ethically compromised in other areas of your life. I’m not saying that people would not be tempted, I’m saying that their character would not allow them to succumb. It’s not just their behavior, it’s their thinking.

    Z, I don’t know your boyfriend. However, I will tell you that anyone who tries to manipulate you into believing that something is acceptable which you have deemed unacceptable is somebody whom you should be observing with the “stank” eye. In fact, you may want to consider observing him from a distance far away from you.

    • Chump Princess, you’re so right about their bad character showing up in other areas of their lives. My kids have been pretty much refusing to see their father, and he’s recently promised them that he won’t go out of town on long projects ever again until they’re grown (since that’s the one thing he did that he can admit damaged his relationship with them). He’s told them that if his company asks him to take such a project, he’ll refuse, and if they insist, he’ll resign.

      Except, he has a contract w/his company that says he can be sent out of town up to 80% of the time. Right now he’s not involved in any specific project, so the company is essentially paying him to be available when they do need him – including for out-of-town projects (his last two big ones were both in other cities). Has he told them that he won’t be going out of town for the next 4 to 6 years? Of course not. He isn’t even looking for another job at the moment – he’s preparing for a certification exam that is more for his own benefit than for his company’s.

      The company thinks they have one agreement, one set of work conditions for which they pay him and that is in the contract he signed. He is working under another set of conditions, without informing them. So he’s essentially cheating on the company he works for.

      Not hard to trust that he sucks.

      • ” He’s told them that if his company asks him to take such a project, he’ll refuse, and if they insist, he’ll resign.”


        He’s trying to look like such a martyr/warrior for love in order to gain some positive attention. It’s all bluff. All empty promises. He’s a coward, and that’s how cowards talk. If he was serious, he’d say, instead, “I got a new job. I started it yesterday. The old job required too much travel, and it was damaging to my relationships, so I quit it.”


    • Yep, turns out ex lied in a lot of other areas and/or pulled his passive aggressive bullshit, particularly in work areas. I only recently found out something that had happened in his career years ago that had a real impact on our lives. He told me he lost that job for one reason and I found out that it was because he had tried to pull a sneaky move, got outed and they let him go.

      A liar is a liar is a liar, no matter what the platform.

      • Hey Nord! me too, me too! One of the charming crumbs to fall from the disgusting adultery table was that he got fired–from a job he ostensibly “loved”.
        Evidently he couldn’t stop texting his whore-stress. Really? What, are you 14? That’s not the reason they gave–said he wasn’t doing his job well enough–which was, no doubt true. This from someone who had always excelled professionally. Trust that they suck

  • I am so very blessed to have found this site – so many of you are sharing thoughts and experiences so similiar to my own.

    I was very fortunate to have found (he was recommended) a great counselor – a real straight shooter. I’ll never forget one of my first meetings with him, when he looked me in the eye and told me, “You need to put your heart in a box when you’re anywhere near this guy (my ex). There can never be any reconciliation.” This from a Christian counselor – what a relief – and what an acknowlegement that my ex was dangerous, and I didn’t need to eat the bullshit sandwhich of “saving my marriage” – there was nothing to save. It was all a scam.

    It’s simple – they cheat (men and women) because they want to – because they can – and because they have no ability to feel or understand that pain is causes. My ex also has HUGE childhood trauma and abuse issues – so I don’t know what caused him to be a heartless, empty soul. What matters is that HE IS; and the cycle WILL stop before it ruins my children. I will do for them what I wish someone had done for him – I will protect them from the adults who “say” that they love them, but whose actions are evil.

    • I like what your counselor said. I need to remind myself of that. Mine told me something very similar. He told me “Right now you should think with my head , not your heart”. Of course my heart was rejecting that advice. So I put myself through a few more months of torture and heartache. I understand it now.

      I know I shouldn’t try to figure her out but sometimes I think since my STBXW also had some childhood issues the reason she can’t understand or feel my pain is because she has supressed her own for so long that she has become numb. Likes to numb it further with Alcohol. Still no excuse, In fact you’d think they would have even more empathy because of what they went through.

        • Bud,

          It’s a habit we have of trying to figure out the magic reason why they do what they do – maybe so we could change/fix it?

          I remember thinking the same thing – HE had a terrible childhood – he should want to protect/shelter his kids from that. But there is no heart there – nothing. I remember telling him, “By leaving, you are doubling the chances that your children will be abused/use drugs/go to prison” – and I got the cold, dead-eyed stare. He hasn’t seen them in over five years now – no contact at all for the past 2-3 years. He simply doesn’t care. And it’s gotten easier – but the damage has been done. I’m just glad I’m (mostly) done trying to figure it all out.

  • That “article” was so disrespectful to men I can’t stand it. And the assertions based on studies with NO CITATIONS were ludacris. If I were a man I’d be offended by that article, I wouldn’t be sending it to my GF to convince her that cheating is somehow acceptable.

    And alas, the patriarchy, it will not die. Women get equal rights to divorce due to adultery? the law changes so that adultery does not matter, it was created to keep women under control, to allow men to get rid of a “slut”. Because as that article notes, men have reasons to cheat, women do not. I thought I flashed back to the 1960s for a minute.

  • CL, you are a hoot!
    I was just going too read the comments but something about Z’s question made me change my mind. Pay attention to what he says after “but”. “I don’t like cheaters, “but”, sometimes they can’t help it because of mommy issues etc” He is already making excuses for bad behavior even if he hasn’t gone there yet.
    I watched my brother fall totally apart after his wife surprised him with a “I’m outta here” and was gone. No warning…nothing. Even worse, I saw little children regress to infancy. They started wetting the bed, couldn’t talk, couldn’t dress themselves and just stared for hours unless they were crying. My brother went NC and married later to a wonderful woman and had more children. His children from his first marriage still have issues years later.
    Pay attention, Z, pay attention.

  • Z,

    I just checked out the website.

    It’s very weird and the stuff on it is not well written. The author of the site seems like a person with a good pitter-patter who can make money making excuses. At the very least, you should tell your boyfriend that the source for this article is no top notch mind in the therapy field (and that field has its problems, as many have pointed out). Personally, I think CL is great as a straight-shooter who tells is it like it is.

  • “Throgmorton embezzled $8.3 million from the Standard pension fund but would like the Ethics Committee to understand that he was refused primary love by his mother.”


    As a banker, I just about snorted coffee outta my nose when I read that.

  • I can’t finish reading that article. Too much baloney. I used to read tons of books on why people cheat. Those books simply prolonged my agony. Then I found CL and it was a major AHA moment. I wasn’t crazy after all.

    Z, ditch that boyfriend. He doesn’t share your values and you can’t change him. Don’t go over his camp of thinking. Hang on to what you value – fidelity, integrity and impeccability.

  • IMO, the men and women who justify cheating by resorting to such articles, “findings,” etc. (it’s mostly in the case of male cheaters, since they can get away with the high testosterone / evolution / “spreading the seed” argument that women can’t get away with), even if they’ve never cheated (or have never been discovered cheating), are cheaters-in-making. Assuming they haven’t cheated, they are laying the groundwork (in their minds) for cheating, and they can then also use that argumentation to justify their behavior if they are ever found out. Sad, pathetic, disgusting.

    Z, your bf is either cheating or will cheat at some point, IMO. And there’s nothing hypervigilant in what I am saying. Really. Trust your instincts. There is a reason you are uncomfortable with this, in the back of your head. Trust your gut feeling. Mine has never been wrong. And don’t let anyone tell you that you’re paranoid, so that you will ignore your gut feeling about their behavior. Some people are masters of gaslighting so don’t fall into that trap. If you don’t want to leave your bf without evidence, I’d watch him like a hawk. That’s if you want closure. Frankly, after being cheated on, though, the next time I even get the slightest hint of infidelity, I will not even investigate. I will just walk. No, RUN. Away. And leave him to his “other women” and/or prostitutes. Life is too short for me to try to make a relationship with a cheater work out… I don’t want to hang around a person with rotting morals, let alone try to build a life with him..

  • My cousin (female) is a cheater. She cheated on her husband with his friend — he was at their house, building their deck, while her husband was at work.. he was married, and they were both cheating on their partners. Disgusting. Both have 2 kids, and didn’t care an iota about that. All they cared about was their sexual gratification. They were eventually discovered, and they both divorced and are now married. I am thoroughly disgusted and my family has disowned her (glad they did). She is a selfish b*tch. That’s the only ‘deep reason’ I can come up with, for her cheating. Same goes for men who cheat, including my ex. He was a selfish jerk who cared only about himself and his penis’s temporary satisfaction.

  • My life refutes this: I am a man with a cold mother. I am not the sharpest tool in the shed. I am horny. I am not a cheater. “Quod,” as my high school math teacher used to say, “errat demonstrandum.”

  • I actually do think my ex MIL is one of the main reasons my ex is so fucked up. But does it matter? No, it does not. He’s a grown man and fully capable of knowing right from wrong. He just chooses to be a serial cheater.

    • Absolutely right, Nord. Just finished Simon’s more recent book, on Character Disturbance, and buried in there is the core of it all – laziness. They will take the short cut every single time they can, no matter what that requires (lying, betraying others, using others for their own gratification) or what the consequences for anyone else, and even, in the long term, without regard for the consequences for themselves (’cause thinking of long-term goals and consequences would require taking responsibility for themselves – way too much like work!).

      They choose. Right now the ex is trying to convince the family therapist he’s seeing w/the kids (at my insistence – they have started refusing to see him) that it was his anger, because of his FOO issues, that ‘drove’ him to do the things he did. Hah! Hope she’s too smart to fall for that!

      • “the core of it all – laziness. They will take the short cut every single time they can, no matter what that requires (lying, betraying others, using others for their own gratification) or what the consequences for anyone else, and even, in the long term, without regard for the consequences for themselves (’cause thinking of long-term goals and consequences would require taking responsibility for themselves – way too much like work!).”


  • Cheaters cheat because they want to… that is all. They do not give a darn about anything other than the satisfaction. It is not difficult to keep it in your pants or keep your legs crossed if you have a modicum of empathy and respect towards for your current relationship. Cheaters have neither and will mock those that do as remedial. They will MOCK those that do have respect or empathy.. go see the cheaters web sites.

  • Z:

    Texas Tom brings up a point. If you want to see the “deeper reasons” for why cheaters cheat, check out the cheater websites.

    The deeper reasons fall into the following categories:

    Because they can.
    Because they’re entitled.
    They get off on the thrill of deceit and possible discovery.
    They like sidepieces for fun, but spouses for taking care of the house.

    So yes, at the absolute deepest level, cheaters cheat because they can. This is hard for Chumps to accept. We all of us would love a deeper reason, and trying to find out why is an exercise in untangling the skein of fuckedupness. You don’t need to buy shares in Just trust that they suck.

    Z, I’m not quite as leery of your BF as others, but I’d say that you should start watching to see if your values and his align on other issues, of if he’s always just a little off. I’d wonder why he wants a discussion on the deeper reasons for cheating. If both of you know a couple who recently split as a result of cheating, then you’re both trying to untangle that skein. If it’s just one of those random things, then start filing with the other random things that bug you.

    If you start building a list, on which very few things really stand out as big differences, then bail. A lot of the more disordered types will make it a point to “sort of” agree with you while in the courting stage. After they think they have you, well, watch out!

  • This whole “men are wired to cheat” thing drives me nuts. I’m a biologist.

    In high school biology we learn about evolution and survival of the fittest and how males display and fight for the right to mate and how females get security and protection in return for giving the dominant male some babies. We learn that males are inclined to spread their seed because it ensures genetic variability among their offspring, which increases the chances that at least a few young’uns will survive long enough to reproduce and pass on the genetic legacy. Fair enough, makes sense. But breeding with more than one mate to get genetically diverse offspring makes sense for females, too. Heck, probably more so given how costly reproduction is for females (resources, time, risk).

    Think about this. If being big and strong was the only selection mechanism going, then only the big strong males would mate, the genes for small males would gradually disappear out of the gene pool and we would have only big strong males. This is convenient to the Patriarchy of Privilege & Power (POPP), but it is a fallacy based on incomplete science. When biologists focused on what females were doing while they weren’t actually being mounted by a big strong male, they discovered something funky.

    Females were not standing on the sidelines oohing and aahing and waiting to see which males would survive and mate. Nope. That would be an unproductive waste of time. Instead, the females were busy getting it on with the little guys. It makes sense: if you aren’t big enough male to be a contender you are gonna get creamed, so just stay out of the ring altogether. Make love, not war. Evolutionary biologist John Maynard Smith coined a highly technical term for those who practice this mating strategy: Sneaky Fuckers. One example would be grouse that keep the ladies company while the big strong males are busily beating the snot out of each other. Deer do the same thing. For females to pass on their genetic legacy, it makes sense for them to mate with not only dominant males, but also males that will mate on the sly. That way they have some sons who might be successful in the fight for dominant status and mating rights, and others who might become successful Sneaky Fuckers.

    What about primates? Yup, some of them are Sneaky Fuckers. Primates cheat, and they use deceptive tactics to avoid getting caught. And punishment does not dissuade repeat offenses. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

    My point is this: We are all wired to cheat, men and women alike. If we apply evolutionary principles to modern humans and accept that we are going to give in to our animal instincts, then cheating husbands have to be OK with putting another dude’s kids through college. And cheating wives have to be understanding if their husbands kill off the affair-baby so that the she goes back in to estrous.

    Outrageous, right? Yeah. Exactly.

    What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Men and women both have very strong biological impulses to mate with multiple partners. And they are also perfectly capable of staying monogamous if they make it a priority. Or, they give themselves permission to screw anything on two legs, regardless of knowing how it will make their partner feel. It’s a choice, plain and simple.

    • Excellent comment! I’ve seen it said elsewhere, the only evolutionary imperative we have is to mate and reproduce the species. Period. How we do, what cultural form that takes, is up to us.

      Typing this, it just occurred to me, to take your put the OM’s bio kid through college example, add to the list having babies period! Isn’t that what we’re wired to do? Mate and reproduce? Why is the fucking around part natural and right, and the having babies part given over to science and birth control? We didn’t evolve to take the Pill or use condoms! I know some religions preach this, (crazy), but cheaters — really? REALLY?

    • Great summary, GoBe! And what I always like to remind people of is that we CHOOSE certain options in life because we WANT the expected outcomes. When we choose to be in a long-term, monogamous relationship, it’s because we want the outcomes of emotional as well as financial security, and believe this is an effective way to get that.

      If you choose other options in life, that’s fine! To gain your sexual freedom, you have to give up the advantages of a monogamous relationship.

      The actual problem w/cheaters is that they DO want the advantages of a long-term monogamous relationship, but they don’t want to give up their sexual freedom to get it. So, they lie (and lie and lie and lie) in order to try to have both.

      You know, like cheating your way to a degree, like stealing rather than earning money, like all sorts of other ‘short cuts’ that are condemned by society, because they hurt others and damage social bonds.

  • Very, very true, CL: We are wired to reproduce, and how we choose to do it is on us. If a cheater wants to use the “biological imperative” defense, then they have to accept that the door swings both ways and recognize that everyone has a biological imperative that drives them towards sex with multiple partners. And then cheaters would have to accept all the other stuff that goes along with living in a world where everyone lives by those biological impulses, including animal-instinct-driven reactions by the betrayed spouse. So equal. So unsparkly. So unspecial. So consequence-ridden. So not gonna happen. I took the betrayed spouse’s reaction part to the ridiculous end-point in my previous post for a reason: Instinct doesn’t excuse antisocial, hurtful, destructive behaviour.

    As for birth control being unnatural, OK, let’s go down that road. But we are going all the way down that road and we are going to apply the rules to everyone. No birth control. Lots of offspring. In the animal world (at least for species that have tightly knit social groups), mothers and offspring are supported by the group because it benefits the group as a whole and, in turn, benefits each individual within the group. So everyone has to pitch in with hunting and foraging and building shelter and caring for the kids an’ stuff, but everyone’s contribution is valued roughly equally, and everyone benefits roughly equally, so it all comes out in the wash. Eeek! Socialism! Anyone here wanna pick up and run with the discussion of the causes and consequences of the lack of value society places on parenting in general and, disproportionately, motherhood?

    When individuals or classes are not consistent in applying their values to themselves as well as others, and particularly when they are selective about which natural consequences they should have to deal with, beware of abuses of power and privilege and attitudes of entitlement.

    Whether you are male, female, straight, gay, bi, in a monogamous relationship, in a polyamorous relationship, it doesn’t matter: If you and your partner make an agreement about what is and is not OK and then they go behind your back and break the terms of that agreement, that is cheating. One of the common animal reactions to cheating is to kick the offending individual out of the group. “Have fun finding food and avoiding predators, you’re on your own. Good luck with that.” It is completely natural to want to get away from a cheater. Hear that, Fellow Chumps? CL has it right on the money: SHUN THEM. Practice forgiveness, but do it from a distance.

    Going back to the original post, Z – you said that you think the article is rubbish and you were looking for explanations as to how. From a biological perspective, that article gives a glaringly incomplete and extremely biased view of human sexuality. Primate research tells us is that it is natural for humans (both male and female) to feel driven to have sex with multiple partners, it is natural for humans to demand fidelity in sexual relationships, and it is natural for humans to punish and / or shun mates who cheat. This means that it is accurate to claim that monogamy and polygamy are both part of human nature, but it is not accurate to claim that either one is unnatural – that would be selectively picking and choosing in support some or other nefarious agenda disguised as moral superiority. What individuals do is up to them: Ethical people will be up front about what they want in a relationship and then they will stick to whatever commitments they make. Responsible people own it if they fuck up: no loopholes, no blameshifting, no manipulation, no deception, no dishonesty.

    Where does that leave you, Z? In your shoes, I would tell him “You know, that article doesn’t present the whole story, because apparently women have sex on the brain too.” If what he is after is an honest discussion about relationship ethics in general, or if he is interested in having an open relationship, then you’ve opened that door. You can have that discussion and then decide what YOU want to do. If he counters with anything that suggests that he believes that men are just different, or that he is somehow special, or if anything seems logically inconsistent, or if it seems like he is hedging his bets, GO.

  • My XH, who I’m convinced is borderline IS A THERAPIST. And man-o-man did he use the psychobabble BS to try to do a number on me.

  • The one good thing of putting him thru all the years of education it required is that being the good wifey I was, I typed all his research and papers. And, I read them. And I understood most of them. And I learned a lot about human behavior and therapist approach and diagnosis. Enough to see through things.

    • Knowledge is power! All the lies, ‘omissions’ of info, justifications, gaslighting and blame-shifting are just ways to try to keep us from the knowledge that empowers us. And that’s why CL is so important – the truth is here, confirmed and re-confirmed by the similar stories we all have to tell.

      So here’s to knowledge, and especially to knowing that they suck!

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