Masculine infidelity causes a lot of women a lot of pain, but the men often have complex methods to justify their behavior. They don’t see things from the same angle as the rest of us – they might not even speak the same language…

A question of perspective

Men and women often have very different perceptions of marriage. Where women see marriage as a deep emotional pact that speaks to the need for security and stability, their husband might consider it as a commitment a solid instutition necessary to the efficiency of society and education.

The battle of the sexes

Since the dawn of time, the hankering men have for personal freedom and conquering territories new often clashes with the opposing need women have for security in women. In effect men are still prone to moments where they are seized by hormonal impulses (for some these impulses are harder to control than others). Some women, when they become mothers, give up a sizeable part of their individual liberty to focus on a fulfilling family life and the good of their kids.

The flesh is weak

Sometimes men point to the “rules” of the sexes to justify their situation. The force of their sexual impulses comes into conflict with their partners’ expectations and idea of them. They are therefore forced to lie to satisfy their desires without hurting their wives. They want the permanence of their relationship but don’t want to give up on sexual excitement either.

Certain men consider these impulses completely impossible to resist or control. They think that infidelity is inevitable, that it is, indeed, necessary for their wellbeing, as well as the wellbeing of the couple. “I lie to her to save our marriage”, “I cheat on her but only physically – she has my heart.”

If you’ve been cheated on but want to work to save your marriage, check out I've Been Cheated On.

A question of keeping things balanced

All these justifications lead to the man believing his cheating to be entirely reasonable : he manages his infidelity. Affairs are no longer thought to put a longterm relationship in peril, they are believed to be key to its success – it ensures the man doesn’t get frustrated by the fact his wife has less desires than he does, or troubled by the power she holds at home.

Ethical infidelity – how it works

Believing that it is possible to carry out affairs without necessarily devaluing the conjugal pact, the man makes it his duty to carry out his affairs as “morally,” that is “un-messily” as possible. He forbids himself to fall in love with his temporary lovers and tries to minimize their influence on his life by putting certain rules in place:

Secrets: painstakingly hiding his affaires, paying attention to the smallest of details (emptying his pockets, removing stains on his clothes, filtering his emails and texts, making sure friends and neighbors don’t find out…

Distance: his lover must be someone outside the couple’s social circles. Friends, family and colleagues are to be avoided and the mistress is never to be brought to the family home. Discretion is of the upmost importance.

Safe sex: these men take the necessary precautions to avoid getting the other woman pregnant or passing on a sexual illness to their wife.

Emotional protection: these men manage to exercise control over the strength of their attachment. They avoid falling in love at all costs, putting up emotional barriers, keeping their mistresses at a distance, reassuring themselves thanks to the constancy of their relationship with their wife, which reminds them that they are stronger as a couple . It is a paradoxical way to attach to a spouse, but for these men their marriage remains a very powerful bond.

Love: the husband seeks to stay in love with his wife. He lets her know that he is a good father and tries to be a good husband. By this I mean that he does his best to make himself available, he gives his wife and family real attention. He never underestimates the intelligence of his wife and goes out of his way to lie credibly.

For more on the psychology of “moral” cheating men, read Why Do Good Men Cheat on EHarmony.

How the cheating man justifies himself

In basing his behavior on a stereotypical idea of gender roles, the cheating man justifies his actions by remaining in tight control of his affairs. He doesn’t let himself feel guilty – he believes himself capable of keeping a handle on his heart, but considers his bodily sexual impulses to be irrepressible. He fixes these rules as he sees fit and he makes a duty out of sticking to them, yet all the while he uses “nature” to justify his sexually adventurous behavior, which he follows with a sort of cynical honesty.

Preconceived notions

For men, sex and emotion are not mutually exclusive.

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