Question submitted via Formspring
“I have been with a man who had at least five affairs during our 27 years or marriage, and even spent 7 years with the same woman. What makes a man do this? What made me accept it for so long? I am trying to move on now; God help me!”
We discussed this question on a recent episode of Rise UP with B. Dave Walters, along with:
How to be happy right now, getting over being cheated on, if Jesus studied Buddhism, how to find love, advice for a 27 year old virgin, and more.
For our purposes here, first of all let me say clearly: not all guys cheat, since I myself never have and I have several guy friends who never have.
That being said, though: lots of guys do cheat. And there are two main reasons why it happens, and why you kept (keep?) putting up with it:
The first is rather simple, and unavoidable: it is impossible for a man to stop looking at other women; he can’t help it, it’s in his blood. But that is NOT an excuse for cheating; being able to control our impulses is what makes us different from the animals.
The second, much bigger reason you are having problems: you pick the wrong guys.
It seems based on the fact that you took him back after at least five affairs, you have what Dr. Drew calls ‘a broken picker’. Think about how incredibly little you must have thought about yourself, and your own self-worth to accept something like that. Imagine, if you had a person who wrecked your car, and then a second…would you let them drive a third car, much less a fourth or fifth? For whatever reason, you gravitate towards the type of guy who ultimately cannot be trusted, and there is probably a very good reason why.
Look at your relationship with your father and his relationship with your mother.
Chances are extremely high that either 1. Dad cheated on mom, 2. Dad wasn’t around, or 3. Both.
It is very possible that you learned at a young age that ‘men who love me cheat/leave’, and you’ve been living into it ever since. If the issue isn’t with Dad, if you look into your early life, there is probably someone close to you who violated your trust, or seemed to leave you when you needed them most. Chances are also incredibly high that his father also cheated on his mother, or something very similar; since this level of infidelity (and tolerance for infidelity), is not learned in a vacuum.
The solution, also has two parts: 1. Recognize you have a broken picker, and that the first guy who gets your attention is probably not the best guy to get involved with. I for my part am attracted to crazy girls with lots of baggage; once I realized this and started paying more attention I was able to find the right woman and have been happily married ever since.
2. Forgive the person who hurt you, even if you weren’t consciously aware that it hurt before now. One thing we mentioned in the broadcast, is your anger towards him can be good in the short term to help you find the strength to leave; but once you are gone you have to put that anger down since it will only hurt you in the long term.
Since it is only after your forgive them for what they did (or didn’t do) that you can be free from this pattern and able to create something new. You will also have to forgive yourself for letting it happen, since no matter how you look at it, it is already done; it’s in the past. Being angry at yourself about it will just cause you to keep creating toxic situations to subconsciously punish yourself.
You are great, and I love you!
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B. Dave Walters
Writer, Life Coach, and Talk Radio Host
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