Some time ago I received an email from a woman questioning her husband’s continuing infidelity despite the fact that they have been married for more than twenty years. The simple question was why he would continue doing this?
The answer of course is never quite as simple as the question as there may be a number of reasons that he might continue to be unfaithful. In this article I’ll describe a few and what this woman might be able to do about it.
The first thought I had when reading this question was that this man has not yet grown up. It feels like he may be stuck in adolescence still trying to figure out who he is and how he wants to be as a man.
The other thought I had that may be an extension of the one above is that this man is trying to prolong his youth by acting as a young man still unable to control his biological urges, which makes me wonder how this might present in other areas of his life such as in his work or as a parent himself.
And then it could be that he’s just trying to prove that he still has “it”, whatever “it” is. It may be something to do with a low self-esteem that he feels he needs to prove to himself or even to his wife, that he is still attractive to others and be attractive enough to be sexually desirable.
But then it could be that his wife, she who wrote the email, is a very powerful character in her own right, or maybe is simply a “nag”, and the affairs are his way of escaping, if only for a moment, her abuses.
And then it could be that this is what was modelled for him as a child by his parents, or other significant people in his life, as being the way to behave as an adult thereby having the husband believing that this is what all married couples do.
And of course it may be that the women he is having the affairs with are having their own issues and are manipulating him into believing that he is more than a conquest by their seductive advances which, because of his low self-esteem he is unable to resist.
Nonetheless, whatever the reason, the continuing affairs are certainly representative of something critically amiss in this relationship that needs to be addressed.
The way to do this is firstly is for the wife to challenge him on what he is doing. In this case she needs to ensure that he understands that the behaviour is inappropriate and will not be tolerated any further. It might be that for the sake of the relationship, or for the children of the relationship, never a good reason, that she has turned a blind eye to the behaviour and pretended that it just didn’t happen.
The wife might have to take a good hard look at herself as well in terms of what she might be doing or saying that encourages him to continue the behaviour.
This may be too big an ask for anyone to address between themselves so this might be best done with the assistance of a couples counsellor. The counsellor will ask both of the couple lots of questions that might not have otherwise been asked to help both people in the couple to understand exactly what these recurrent affairs mean to them and what they can do to bring their relationship back on track.
So until next time – Relate with Love