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How Do Partners Get Away With Cheating for So Long?

Posted Apr 21 2010 3:39am

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Tiger Woods, Jesse James, John Edwards – seems like cheating has never been in the news more than it is now. But how do guys (let’s face it – it’s usually guys) get away with cheating over such a long period of time?

Dr. LeslieBeth Wish, a social worker based in Sarasota, Florida and a member of the National Association of Social Workers, offers some insight on how these men keep their affairs secret:

1. The cheating partner has a job that involves a great deal of travel – especially international travel. Pilots, actors, athletes and consultants, for example, work all over the world and in different time zones. It’s easy for the stay-at-home partner to speak to the cheater on the same day, evening or morning after that the cheater has spent time with another.

2. Cell phones make it very easy to build trust. Unless your partner is under criminal investigation, no one – including you – is going to search the partner’s whereabouts by cell towers.

3. Highly deceptive partners can be very romantic. They send notes, buy perfect gifts and are affectionate in public – and in the bedroom. These cheaters often love their partners very much, but for various reasons, they can’t put all their love needs in one basket. In fact, their needs for affirmation from others is so high that love from just one partner doesn’t feel like enough to them. They often have parents who expected too much from them, and they don’t feel that they measure up or are loved for just being them.

4. Very wealthy cheaters often don’t allow their partners access to all their accounts. Much of the money is tied up in stocks and trusts that someone else manages. As a result, the other partner never sees the bills from Tiffany’s or Victoria’s Secret.

5. Cheaters who are public figures – such as politicians – choose partners who seem the solid anchor partner. These Rocks of Gibraltor partners silently agree to look the other way in order to keep the family and public peace. Problems occur, however, when the cheater has crossed an invisible line. Like the saying about what constitutes pornography (where few can agree what it is–except they “know it when they see it”), the wronged partner “knows” when the line has been crossed.

6. Access to chat rooms, singles sites and pornography on the Internet is so available and commonplace that it can be easy for the non-cheating partner to label this behavior as normal. Boys will be boys, some women think. Or, let him (or her) have fantasies – it just makes my partner a better lover with me. Because seeking Internet pornography or chat room buddies is done in such secrecy, however, it can be very difficult for the other partner to gauge how much time that partner is spending on the Internet or the degree and nature of both the type of pornography (children? sadism?) and the level of emotional intimacy (just a chat room friend with shared interests? a potential lover? a too-close-for-comfort-confidant?). As a result, the non-cheating person is often surprised to learn the details about the Internet behavior.

photo credit: Keith Allison

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