This isn’t a question most ponder: Which gender is most surprised by infidelity? Men or women?
To be fair, we all have certain glaring blind spots, but infidelity is in a category of its own. No one wants to be caught unawares: a double entendre of sorts. Hubby at home doesn’t want to be blindsided by his beloved’s indiscretions, nor does his beloved want to be found out.
So, who is more susceptible to wearing blinders or who remains completely in the dark? For the answer, I went to my local LMFT, Cathy Chambliss. I figured she’s probably heard a few of these cases, and I was right.
EML: Who turns a blind eye more so to infidelity: Men or women?
Cathy: I think men turn more of a blind eye to infidelity than women do. I see very little women who are caught cheating and see far more men who are. This may be because men don’t pay as much attention to what their partners are doing or if there is a change in their behavior. Many men assume that their wives, or girlfriends, are monogamous. They don’t notice the signs that often show up when someone is cheating.
A simple enough answer. And speaking of simple, I’ve personally heard many men say how simple their needs are: eat, drink, work, sex, sleep—repeat. It appears that simplicity extends into some of their thought patterns as well. Kind of makes you wonder why a man wouldn’t pay more attention if his wife maybe lost 30 pounds, started wearing more make-up, spritzed the extra perfume, and suddenly started having frequent “girls overnight out.” Maybe an innocent inquiry of, “Hey, what’s gotten into you, honey?” would be met with, “Oh, I wasn’t feeling that great about myself, so I decided to do something about it.” Explained away easily enough. And for him, I guess, nuff said. Of course, he could also assume the changes were made in part … for him. But, we’re not going to get into the backlash of assuming, plenty to cover there another time. Based on what Cathy said about men assuming their women are monogamous, it’s evident this topic deserves its very own post.
Granted, men do have their pressures to perform: work-wise, father-wise, husband-wise, etc., but not being cognizant of your surroundings and your mate’s habits, isn’t in anyone’s best interest. For a relationship to thrive, it’s crucial to engage. And not just with sex. It’s about sharing as much as possible, on all fronts. Yep, even listening to her yammer on about her day when you don’t have a clue as to who Jenna, Katie, and Rachel are. So, ask. Gaining even a minuscule bit of knowledge helps to let her know you’re listening. Of course, there should be equal opportunity yammering. If she’s been actively participating in your conversation, you should try doing the same. If not, the inference is, “He doesn’t care enough anyway. Why not find someone who will pay attention to me?”
When I was married, I told my now ex-husband that he needed to stay home more often. He was in the process of getting a new project off the ground and was socially out and about. I usually didn’t attend the events (I was busy at home or doing my own activities), but I did understand the importance of networking. However, I told him he needed to scale back a bit. Well, instead, he tipped the scale and ultimately did make a connection—with a paramour.
Make no doubt, it pays to be aware and care, otherwise, you wind up being “blindsided” and paying through a very large nose.
*(Cathy Chambliss: firstname.lastname@example.org)