Accept That He Cheated

Seeing clearly what is within one’s power to change is the key to taking action after infidelity.

With the temptations available to high-profile men, it’s not surprising that many of them get caught up in cheating scandals. In the last year alone, via almost every media outlet, we heard about men like Chad Johnson and Ashton Kutcher engaging in sexual relations outside their high-profile relationships. And with the surge in reality TV and massive media coverage, we’re better able to witness how their wives and girlfriends handle these situations.

No doubt infidelity is painful. When anyone dedicates themselves to a union, and their trust is betrayed, the emotional pain can be overwhelming. But for women in particular, to avoid this pain, there seems to be a specific way in which these situations are handled. As seen in countless scandals, when cheating allegations surface, oftentimes the woman will first stand by her partner. Demi Moore and Fergie are just a couple of women who stood by their husbands when mistresses first reported affairs with their men.

In cases of infidelity, women may also shift blame to the ‘other’ women. We see this pattern surface on reality TV programs like Basketball Wives and Mob Wives, where wives and girlfriends hold the other women primarily responsible for their men’s misbehavior. There seems to be aversion to one simple reality—the man’s betrayal.

And if it’s clear he’s been unfaithful, there’s constant rumination as to why the cheating occurred. Like the scandals themselves, the media harps on the subject, discussing all potential reasons for male infidelity. And depending on the source, you get a different answer. According to marriage counselor M. Gary Neuman, its emotional disconnection. According to TV personality Bill Maher, it’s the desire for something new. And according to legal prostitute Brooke Taylor, its narcissism. I’m sure there’s some truth to these arguments. But if there’s anything that’s certain—it’s that the cheating happened.

In an attempt to protect ourselves from pain, we think around ‘what is’, rationalizing or rejecting the reality before us. And with something as prevalent and painful as cheating, it’s not surprising that women mentally avoid the reality of their men’s indiscretion. But in acknowledging this act comes the acknowledgement of your partner’s sexual relation with another—not your indiscretion.

Some may ask—wouldn’t it be better to find reasons why this occurs, instead of just accepting it for our relationships? And my answer is—sure, if you want, you can look for reasons why and perhaps you’ll get some answers. Perhaps, as Gary Neuman claims, it’s emotional disconnection, or as Brooke Taylor claims, it’s your partner’s narcissistic character. But if you don’t at least hold him responsible for his decision, you’ll continue to carry the emotional burden of the indiscretion.

Furthermore, accepting this reality does not mean accepting infidelity in your relationship. Women who tolerate cheating do not hold their partners fully responsible for their actions. This allows her to maintain an illusion that her partner’s behavior can somehow be controlled.

But to accept the reality of his cheating is freedom: a release from bondage to a situation that can only be changed by the cheater himself. Understanding her powerlessness to keep her partner from cheating is, paradoxically, empowering. A woman who finds herself in this situation, and accepts that her partner has decided to cheat, and that this is not in her power to change, can find what in the situation she does have control over, including whether to remain in the relationship at all.

Check out this article on the Good Men Project of the The Elephant Journal. 

Channeling Sexual Energy Into Productive Energy

Sex. One of the greatest motivational forces in life. Our sexual impulses control so much of what we do, how we act, and the choices we make. But if not properly harnessed, these impulses can lead to great destruction.

Sexual energy is what drives this urge. It is a life-energy. The vibe we give off when we interact with others. The way a woman speaks or the way a man glares. A mode of communication which transcends even the intellectual and emotional realms of human interaction.

It is a force that we feel. However, often we channel this energy into… sex. Yes, this is important; without sex our species would’ve died out long ago. But if not controlled, in doing this, we can create extreme gender imbalances in society. I would argue some of the world’s greatest social, political and economic issues for women are somewhat rooted in male and female inequality.

Sexual dilemma is arguably the most significant human conflict. It is the way we question the gender roles in any given society: male and female expectations.

Advertisements, TV shows, and movies all imply that a woman’s greatest significance is in her sexual allure. Standards of attractiveness may vary by region, but whatever is considered “sexy” is arguably the greatest measure of female desirability in that area of the world.

Women are susceptible to these standards. They understand the value of being attractive and use their sexuality to their advantage. To an extent, this is validating. Flirting with a cop to get out of a ticket. Dressing provocatively to get into exclusive parties. But in the quest to be truly gratified, this rather one-dimensional persona is paradoxically disempowering to women. Any woman subjected to this objectification (whether it be as extreme as prostitution or minuscule as bartending at a comedy club) can at least relate somewhat to the abuse and discrimination that is often imposed on women in these dimensions.

Men’s own sexual struggle would render them very ‘tempted’ in this matter. Their intense sexual desires drive them to penetrate as many attractive females as possible, even while they are committed to one. It is a difficult feat for a man to humanize a woman who has sexualized herself for his validation. He will likely perceive her as an object – which may or may not manifest into harmful treatment towards her. But in any case, how he perceives her will affect how significant she becomes to him. So, discriminatory treatment in a sense is in the inevitable outcome of him objectifying her.

So, in the quest to be socially accepted, women are paradoxically self-sabotaging their own empowerment. Men neurologically struggle to multi-facet women who are sexualized, and women fear social rejection if they multi-facet themselves. So, in the process, qualities that would otherwise yield to women’s full empowerment — intellect, assertion, independence — may not fully develop.

This is actually disempowering for men as well. If a man constantly sexualizes a woman, he is not prompted to develop feelings for her in most cases — unless he is in touch with the situation – which would naturally manifest if he developed feminine traits within himself (namely compassion).

This is not the fault of any one gender: it is merely the imbalance of the two.

Ultimately, in the process of attracting sex (women) and pursuing sex (men), nothing too significant gets accomplished. What is typically depicted as the most gratifying means of sexual release actually perpetuates “use” and “abuse” in male and female relationships, if that is the only way to measure a woman. Women use their sexuality to get what they want, and men do take advantage of those opportunities – whether they are cognizant of this reality or not.

This is not to imply that sex is wrong or bad. It is a great mode of communication that creates some of the most mind-blowing physical, emotional, and spiritual experiences. It has just been misconstrued as the only satisfying means of sexual release. If not for ‘gender roles’, both men and women would be able to embrace a much wider range of their sexuality.

The cycle can only be broken if we consider other outlets of sexual release. We can then transduce our sexual energy into productive energy. The process is all very specific to the individual — it usually occurs once the current system in one’s life crumbles.

In my own sexual dilemma, I found myself deficient in many areas of life: relationships, jobs, money. I repressed masculine traits that would’ve otherwise empowered me if I hadn’t sacrificed them for social acceptance. In turn, I measured my own worth by men’s standard of physical attractiveness, especially in the dating world. On the outside, I seemed content. But inside I was pretty frustrated with the one-dimensional female role I assumed in hopes of finding the best possible mate (which naturally attracted men who prioritized appearances above all other traits). So, in the end, I lost out.

So, I made a vow that I would change. I channeled energy that was once expended on sexual allure into duty. A purpose. A responsibility. I started writing, working, and just operated in a way which allowed me to exercise all my masculine traits – such as assertiveness, intellect, and overall dominance – in many important aspects of my life. Traits I suppressed for years.

So, I encourage men and women to openly embrace their gender conflicts! I encourage them to explore the full range of their sexuality and consider other outlets of sexual release — transducing sexual energy into productive energy.

In the process, perhaps we can also redefine our notion of human desirability. Sex will always define us to an extent — we cannot help but to measure people based on their attractiveness. But as we expand our sexuality, we may also broaden the range of traits we find desirable in others. Creating altogether, a more gender balanced society…