I’ve cheated on my partner before, more than once. I’ve done it twice, and I could justify both times. However, what I couldn’t justify was the hurt I caused my partner. The first time I cheated was because we weren’t having sex. I desired sex, so I looked for it elsewhere. The second time, my partner was in the another country. It was a long-distance relationship, and it felt good to be touched by another human being. It was something I missed, something my partner couldn’t provide at the moment.
However, not everyone cheats because there’s something missing from their relationship. Some men, see their partners every day, have sex with them every day, and still cheat. Why is this so?
I’m sure you’ve heard a few rationalizations men use to justify their behaviour. Rationalizations such as, monogamy isn’t natural, and men are built to be polygamous. However, monogamy is a part of human nature. It’s in our nature to be monogamous. Thus, making it natural.
Biologically, men and women are wired for polygamy. We’re physically attracted to numerous people at any point in time. And our brains love novelty. Therefore, when we’re in a relationship, our partner excites us less the longer we are with them. Their novelty wears off. However, we’re not just biological beings.
We’re also psychological beings. And psychologically, we’re wired for monogamy. Pleasant emotions like warmth, intimacy and love, require a loving relationship that’s been developed over a long period of time. Our brains release oxytocin every time we sleep with somebody we love. This emotion binds us to that person, and increases our desire to be with them.
However, with all of this, some men still cheat. We sacrifice intimacy, warmth and love for excitement. We sacrifice something real, for an emotion that’s fleeting. We sacrifice stability, for novelty. I believe society has something to do with this. There’s a toxic masculinity that exists in most cultures. It’s also portrayed in the media. This toxic masculinity links a man’s sense of worth, to his sexuality. His self-esteem, to his sex appeal.
Statements like, “a key that opens many locks is a master key”, when discussing promiscuity, is an example of this toxic masculinity. When it comes to relationships, women bear the responsibility of being virtuous. Whereas, men can be reckless. This, warps our understanding of monogamy. Infidelity has been portrayed as something that’s in a man’s nature. Even though, the desire exists in women too. Most men aren’t taught to delay gratification when it comes to their sexual desire. In fact, we’re encouraged to satisfy them. And then reinforced, by the praise we receive.
Men cheat because we’ve been told it’s okay for us to cheat. We cheat because we are not taught to delay gratification. We cheat because we’re not taught to value virtue over attraction. We cheat because we are not aware that our desires can be traps. And that our minds, can avoid these traps. Lastly, we cheat because we believe that’s it okay for us to cheat. It may not be right, but it’s okay. Society accepts us as cheaters. We’re constantly told that we are. As a result, we see ourselves like that.