Husband Cheats "Because I Can"
"I Cheat on My Wife Because I Can"
The tale of a cheating husband can be as varied and as unexpected as any of life's stories. However, of all the excuses and reasons I heard for cheating during my days as a marriage counselor and sex therapist, the one excuse that baffled me most came from a man who was in his mid-forties.
This cheating husband put it as bluntly and as casually, without any regret or remorse, as I heard. "I cheat on my wife because I can." I will never forget how he shrugged his shoulders following the comment, opened his legs a little wider as he leaned back in the chair and pulled a pack of cigarettes from his shirt pocket.
The smirk on his face as I instructed him that he could not smoke in the room told me more than his first words. He placed the pack back in his pocket for no longer than five minutes before he attempted to light the cigarette again. On the third try, I reached out for the pack of cigarettes and removed them from his possession. He sat silently for over four minutes, his lips puckered in a pout. The rest of the hour long interview was hostile. He occasionally raised his voice and once he slapped his open palm on the glass top table in front of him.
The History of the "Because I Can" Cheater
This cheating husband was brought up in an abusive home. From his personal reporting, his father often hit his mother when she spoke out or disagreed. Although there was no indication that his father had ever hit him, he recounted a couple of events that involved his father hitting his sister, once a slap to the face and another event when he actually punched her in the stomach for coming home past curfew.
According the client, who was involved in counseling on the advice of his attorney, he had made up his mind as a young boy that he would never hit a woman. In fact, it almost seemed that since he had never hit a woman he had achieved a victory in his life. It is true that most of us who are brought up in an abusive situation become abusers or continue being abused in our adult lives unless there is a successful intervention.
Of note, his father was a tall man, well over 6' tall and over 200 pounds. This cheating husband had inherited his father's physique. And, like his father, the client had married a petite woman, over a foot shorter than he and about half his weight.
His parents were high school graduates, both working factory jobs. The cheater had taken out student loans, against the advice of his father, attended university, graduated with honors, and then continued his education ultimately achieving a doctorate degree.
When speaking of his father, the cheating husband saw no parallel between his lack of respect for women and his father's abuse of the mother. In fact, by way of several college degrees the man had mentally and emotionally separated himself from his father. He was particularly proud of his own education, in fact, I will say arrogant. He spoke of his wife as if she were uneducated, although she had two master's degrees.
His Wife and His Marriage
The cheater had met his wife in college. He was impressed with her (his words) because it was obvious that she was from a good family with money.
"Of course, I have made more money than they have now. I made her old man a loan once."
When asked how long his wife had known he was cheating on her, his answer was, "I cheated on her before we got married. She knew it, but she married me, didn't she?" The smirk reappeared.
When asked why he cheated on her before they were married during the year long engagement, he simply responded that "there is wife material and then there are real women."
However, the cheater said he fell in love with his wife because she looked like all the women in the magazines when he was younger. She was thin and well groomed. Her hair and makeup were always in place. She always knew what to wear, no matter the occasion. She was quiet, never drawing attention to herself. "She made me look good. And, she was proud of me. I could tell."
About the "real women" he said, "Hey, I wasn't going to smear their makeup. If I did, they wouldn't care. They never told me to shower before I climbed into the sack with them."
What Were the Enablers?
If anything the marriage of the cheating husband and the all too perfect wife was the perfect storm, so to speak.
- He was ambitious and successful.
- She wanted to "keep up appearances."
- He had cheated twice during the engagement.
- She was aware that he had cheated during the engagement but never confronted him.
- He saw his cheating pre-marriage as the "okay" for it to continue after marriage.
- She thought he would stop cheating once they were married.
- He saw his wife as classy, something he had not experienced during his childhood.
- She saw him as a good provider.
No where in any conversation with the cheating husband or the wife was there a mention of love until they had been in counseling for over 6 months. Both spouses had agendas when they married. Each provided what the other wanted in all areas of their adult lives, except for love and fidelity.
What Brought Them to Counseling?
The cheating husband had taken his son to a water park one Saturday. His secretary met them at the park. The son saw his father holding the secretary's hand and watched as the father kissed the secretary goodbye at the end of the day.
The father explained to the child that it was a "friendly kiss, nothing serious to tell Mom about" but the child waited until the father was out of the room that evening and then told Mom about the day, the hand holding and the long kiss at the end of the day.
At that point the mother spoke up. She confronted the father, affirming that she had known about all his little trysts over the years, but that he had gone too far that time. According the to the wife, "He is not going to teach my son to be a cheater. It is just not right for a father."
The wife and mother was willing to "enable" the cheating husband to carry on until he had displayed his bad behaviour in front of their child. That was her breaking point. That was the point of confrontation. That was what led them to divorce court and ultimately to my office.
Success or Not?
After a year of counseling, it appeared that the couple had made progress. The wife seemed to have gained a grasp on setting boundaries for her husband. It appeared that both were happy together as they came in for the last session. I was not as convinced. It seemed to me that the cheating husband had issues that went far beyond marriage. But, the wife was satisfied that all was well. Perhaps, the husband had convinced her.
Anyway, that afternoon as the "happy couple" left the office for the last time, the husband told his wife he would be coming right behind her. She left the room. He turned to me and said, "I want to thank you for all you did for my marriage. You saved me a lot of money even if you charge too much." He smirked, then added, "Hey, if you ever need to get away some time, I'll be happy to take you sailing one weekend."
The door closed and I knew they had conned one another and I believe he thought he had conned me. Chances are they are still together. The wife is going to continue to turn her head when he is late or goes for those long weekends with the boys. And, well.... we know what he is doing, don't we?