Is your husband likely to cheat? M. Gary Neuman, marriage counsellor and author of The Truth About Cheating: Why Men Stray and What You Can Do to Prevent It has some interesting theories on the subject. Neuman quizzed 200 faithful and unfaithful husbands to uncover the reasons mean cheat, including what men said might have prevented them from straying. The results might surprise you...
48% of cheating men were "emotionally dissatisfied" with the relationship
Nearly half of the men who cheated said that emotional dissatisfaction was the primary cause of their infidelity – putting pay to the myth that carnal lust is always to blame. In fact, only 12% of men said that their mistress was more physically attractive than their wife, and only 8% of men cheated due to sexual dissatisfaction.
Gary says: "In most cases, he's cheating to fill an emotional void. Our culture tells us that all men need to be happy is sex but men are emotionally-driven beings too. They want their wives to show them that they're appreciated, and they want women to understand how hard they're trying to get things right."
"Most men consider it unmanly to ask for a pat on the back, which is why their emotional needs are often overlooked," Neuman says. "But you can create a marital culture of appreciation and thoughtfulness - and once you set the tone, he's likely to match it."
66% of cheating men feeling guilt during the affair
The idea that men only feel guilty because they've been caught out is also a myth, according to Neuman's research. The majority (68%) of men who cheat said they never believed they would be unfaithful, and they nearly all felt regret afterwards. Most reported feeling guilty during the affair – which leads to the question, why do it then?
"Men are good at compartmentalizing feelings," explains Gary. "They can hold on to their emotions and deal with them later."
77% of unfaithful men are mates with a cheater
You may not be able to vet your husband's mates, but it pays to listen when he tells you that a friend is cheating on their partner. According to Neuman, spending time with people who cheat legitimises the behaviour. If you can't stop them spending time together, you can at least suggest they hang out where temptation is less likely to occur – could they play squash or eat in a restaurant, rather than meeting in a pub or club, for example? Better yet, organise social get-togethers with happily married couples who are committed to one another.
40% of unfaithful men got together with someone from the office
They say that most romances start at work, and it seems many affairs do too. "Oftentimes the woman he cheats with at the office is someone who praises him, looks up to him, and compliments his efforts," Gary says. "That's another reason why it's so critical that he feel valued at home."
If your man is spending more time at work-related social events, contacting a female co-worker by text or talks fondly of a woman at work, consider it a red flag. Gary suggests setting boundaries – if your husband wouldn't feel comfortable with you having dinners out with a male co-worker to discuss a project, why is it ok for him?
Only 6% of cheating men had sex with their mistress the same day they met her
He might claim that it was a mad moment of passion, but Neuman's research suggests otherwise. A whopping 73% of the men surveyed admitted to knowing the woman for more than a month before having sex with her. The good news? There's a chance you can spot the warning signs before he plays away.
While it may not be wise to accuse him or mention third parties at this stage (ie before he's actually done anything) there's no harm in saying that you feel you need to work on your relationship. For example, could you take the lead in arranging to spend more time together? Likewise, could you strengthen the relationship by showing him more appreciation?
"Men want to feel like they're pleasing their wives... When you give him the message that he screwed up, then believe it or not, it makes him feel insecure. He thinks, 'I can't win,'" says Gary. "Engender the good feeling of the trying and the effort that he's made. That's where the love really is."
Three books that may help improve your relationship:
Affair Recovery: Scientifically Proven Methods to Help you Heal, £3.88 Kindle Edition
Chatting or Cheating, £13.50
Relate - After The Affair: How to build trust and love again, £12.99