- Gender and Relationships
The Emotional Bond That Saves Relationships
THE TRUTH ABOUT CHEATING
I just saw an article on Newsweek.com titled " How To Keep Him From Cheating - A new book on why some men stray, and what women can do to stop it." The article, in interview format, discussed the assertions put forth by family counselor, rabbi and best-selling author Gary Neuman, who embarked on a two-year study of 100 men who had sexual affairs and 100 men who were faithful. He shared his findings in his new book, "The Truth About Cheating: Why Men Stray and What You Can Do To Prevent It."
One point, in particular, caught my attention. Rabbi Neuman states that "The majority-48 percent-said that the cheating was about an emotional disconnection." And women...hear me loud and hear me strong...this is the absolute truth.
I am a single woman, described by others as attractive. And I have been in the business world for long enough to have seen and experienced things that most women don't even realize happen in the course of the day of their significant other. While you are rushing around to manage a job, household, children, and other pertinent issues, I am dressed in my business-clothed finest. I have read 3 different papers by 8 AM; I can speak eloquently on any subject from the latest economic development to the point spread on Monday night's football game. I know these things because I choose to...because they are of interest to me....not to seduce your husband or boyfriend with my brains and beauty. That being said, I connect with him on these things in our daily business life together. He appreciates, and even admires the fact that I can relate to his interests on many levels. It's not a sexual connection, it's an emotional one. And it is one that you should have with him to a greater extent than I do.
I'm sharing this information, because when I read this Newsweek.com article, it struck a chord with me. It rang true. It is the reason that your seemingly kind, devoted husband or boyfriend often turns to me for the emotional bond that he may not be getting with you. I spend eight to twelve hours with him every Monday through Friday. I am the one he comes to during the day to celebrate his accomplishments as well as his challenges. We share formative business experiences and personal anecdotes. Yet this unavoidable bond is something that can, in certain circumstances, work against you.
As a person of character, I know where the lines must be drawn. When a male colleague is getting too close, I sense it, and I cut it off any ideas or fantasies that he may be entertaining. I know how to draw the line, and put a stop to the progression. While some claim that it is difficult to manage the balance between a professional and personal relationship, I do not. Mixed messages should never be be at play in this scenario. Yet while I am consistent in my approach and adept at drawing the line, other women may not be. And unfortunately, for every woman like myself who says "no" to these advances, there is another woman who may say "yes," if for no other reason than to bolster her self esteem.
It's not the sexual aspect that should be most alarming, although the probability of it extending to a sexual relationship is high, unless the path is diverted. As Rabbi Neuman so accurately points out in this interview, it is the emotional component that should concern you the most. Men have insecurities too. Just like women, they want to feel understood and appreciated. If there is a disconnect at home, yet at the office there is someone with whom they feel connected, where do you think they will turn for emotional solace? Often times this emotional bond grows quietly, slowly, and even unknowingly. By the time it is acknowledged or understood, it is a difficult bond to break.
You may not want to read this or accept this, yet I see evidence of it every single day. Is it hopeless? Should you lead your life in a constant state of assumed deceit or bitter jealousy? Absolutely not, on both counts. However, you must take both responsibility and action. Be the person that he best relates to on an emotional level. Be the one that he turns to for refuge. Be the person satisfies his need to connect. If you find a way to do these things, you will be the one that he anticipates going home to and sharing his day with, as he hurriedly says his goodbye to me on the way out the door. And that's the way it should be. There will always be connections that form outside of a relationship, with both friends and collegues. Yet there should never be a bond stronger than the one within a relationship.
It should be understood that I by no means believe that the sole responsibility lies with one partner. A relationship after all is a partnership. I am simply putting forth my observations and hopefully offering a unique perspective. Communication is a two-way street, but don't be afraid to open the lines of communication, because the results can be profoundly beneficial. It's not that complicated. Welcome him home with a smile. Kiss him. Express interest in him. Spend quality time together. These are small gestures, but they are the kinds of things that will make your emotional bond impermeable.