How Can I Learn To Trust A Man And Give Him Freedom?

How Do I Cope With the Other Women in His Life?

Hello Evan,

I’m new to you, but I’m a quick student. My question is not really for you, though, it’s for your wife. Has she written anything you can refer me to? Like her, I have ALWAYS believed in giving others freedom to live their lives, make their own choices, etc. I’ve not found a man that believes that’s a 2-way street.

I’m 49, out of a 20-year marriage followed by a 2-year relationship with a “player” who took advantage of that freedom. So now I am newly on the dating scene and need a fresh belief system that doesn’t trigger those old fears.

I am interested in her perspective and/or philosophy in regards to how she “deals” with the other women in your life, particularly those you might feel attracted to. I’ve investigated the “polyamorous” and “open relationship” scenarios and I don’t really think that’s what you have or nor what I’m looking for, but how does a woman handle those situations as I do believe in people having freedom in a relationship is the only way it can work. Is this a fine line?

Thanks, Kim

I like your question, Kim, and while my wife is too busy running to Mommy and Me classes and shopping for our dinner parties to sit down and compose her own response, I did actually read her your question after dinner one night last week.

A wife trusts her husband enough to not cheat, even when there’s temptation? That’s crazy talk!

She was flattered and really wanted to give you the best possible answer. Her only recorded thoughts on dating have been compiled in a four-page section of “Why He Disappeared” and I’ve been told, much to my consternation, that her part is the best part of the whole book. I don’t know that I’d go that far – but I would say that learning how to best deal with an alpha male from the horse’s mouth is pretty invaluable. I’m quite candid that everything I teach comes from the “What Would My Wife Do?” school of thought and I think you’ll really enjoy it.

As to your provocative question about how much freedom you should give a man when you’re in an exclusive relationship and how do you deal with the inevitable fears and insecurities, allow me to set the record straight:

It is not at all difficult for my wife to deal with me, for one huge reason.

She trusts me.

Unconditionally. No question about it. Wouldn’t even occur to her that I would ever do anything to breach our vows.

She knows that I value my character and morals as highly as I value anything else in my life. The way other people value religion, I value doing the right thing.

Acceptance is the most powerful tool in making a man feel loyal to you.

And because of that worldview, there’s nothing I can do that’s remotely threatening.

This is why I can be surrounded by five attractive 30-year-old women at a party in Hollywood and I won’t get lectured when I get home.

This is why I can get a lap dance at my bachelor party in Austin, and all my wife asks me when I come home was whether I had fun.

This is why I can occasionally point out a woman in a low-cut top in a restaurant or watch online porn. Neither my wife nor I thinks that this is a slippery slope that’s going to destroy the foundation of our relationship.

This is why my wife can hire burlesque dancers to join the 80’s rock band at my 40th birthday party last month. They were a big hit with everybody – and about 10 women came up to me and told me how extraordinary my wife was. Huh?

Don’t get me wrong, my wife is extraordinary, but the only thing I think is REALLY extraordinary is how RARE this kind of behavior is.

A wife trusts her husband enough to not cheat, even when there’s temptation? That’s crazy talk!

But why? Shouldn’t ALL wives trust their husbands? I sure think so. After all, what kind of relationship do you have if you don’t trust the man you’re supposed to trust?

Thus, the first thing you have to do, Kim, is to find a man that you completely trust, without a doubt. It’s your doubts that will drive you nuts, not the man himself.

Some women would be driven nuts by me, but that doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with me. You may think I’m disrespectful. My wife doesn’t. She thinks I’m normal and she loves the fact that I can be myself around her without any fear of retribution. And because she’s so accepting of me – a trait I’ve found very hard to find – I love her in a way that few men openly love their wives.

Acceptance is the most powerful tool in making a man feel loyal to you.

Now that does NOT mean accepting behavior that is inherently unacceptable.

Wherever you draw the line becomes the line

Some women freak out if he talks to another woman, has lunch with another woman, says something cute on Facebook to another woman, or looks at another woman. I think this is a bad policy because it’s essentially asking him to spend his entire life lying to you and denying the existence of any other woman. If you find a man who is willing to pretend that no one else in the world is attractive but you, I applaud you and hope you’re happy.

Agonizing about whether he’s going to cheat is like agonizing about whether a plane is going to crash. You really can’t do anything about it, so you might as well try to enjoy the ride.

But since you’re a freedom-loving woman, Kim, you don’t have to do that. You just want to know how far you should go. It’s not my place to say what’s right for you, but if you believe what I do – that both sexual contact and sexual intention can be considered cheating – then that becomes your tipping point. If your boyfriend is asking for women’s numbers, flirting on Match.com, taking other women out to dinner secretly, having phone sex, or actually cheating on you, then, well, he’s broken the boundaries of exclusivity.

In other words: fantasizing, fine. Acting on his fantasies without your permission, not fine.

As long as you know your boundaries, you can give him all the leeway in the world, until he breaches your trust. Which brings me back to the three things my wife had to say about your question:

1. Go with your gut.

My wife trusts me so much that even when she had physical evidence that I was cheating on her (panties in the dryer), she still believed me when I swore that I wasn’t.

She trusted her gut.

My wife knows infidelity – she’s had three boyfriends cheat on her – and each time, she knew when something was wrong. Her wisdom was in not treating those men (or me) as if they were untrustworthy until they actually did something untrustworthy.

2. Stop looking for it.

As my wife pointed out, if he’s going to cheat on you, he’s going to cheat on you. You can’t stop it with fear or worry or interrogation or jealousy. If anything, those kinds of behaviors will be more likely to drive a man to escape. Agonizing about whether he’s going to cheat is like agonizing about whether a plane is going to crash. You really can’t do anything about it, so you might as well try to enjoy the ride.

3. Trust

As I’ve long said, it’s either full trust or no trust. If you truly trust your guy, you couldn’t even imagine him cheating on you. He has a strong moral code. He treats you like gold. Even if he’s attracted to other women, he would never think of jeopardizing his relationship for a quick fling. And so you let everything go that is not actually cheating behavior – and watch him express his further devotion and appreciation to you.

For you will be the only woman ever who has done that for him – who was confident enough to let him be himself and not try to change him.

That’s why he’ll stick with you forever.

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Comments:

  1. 31
    Michelle

    This strategy works well when raising teenagers too :)…pre-teen, let them know you fully trust them, until they give you a reason not to, and remind them of that here and there throughout the years  That has worked very well in my household.

    This is an excellent article and how I treat the men I choose to date. 

    Helene, I loved your posts/comments.  Good luck with your new relationship!    

  2. 32
    AtTheGymKim

    Thank you so much, Evan, for your reply to my inquiry. The panties in the dryer story was absolutely hysterical. And having been on the receiving end of that same type of innocent accusation where there is no way to prove yourself innocent, I know THAT feeling as well. I have since learned this is a tactic used by cheaters to defray the heat from their own behavior by making up some accusation about their partner:(

    What you said, “Thus, the first thing you have to do, Kim, is to find a man that you completely trust, without a doubt.” is exactly what I am doing. I guess it just takes time to not only trust one’s own intuition about these things, but to see if the man’s character lines up with his words. I know you say never trust the words, only the actions. There is no real way to vaccinate yourself from being deceived. It is just knowing, having been through it before, that you recognize the signs, the feeling in your gut, and realize you have the strength to walk way, and not getting caught up in the fantasy of who you THINK they are, who you WISH they were, or who you NEED them to be and just observe who they ARE. I do appreciate everyone’s comments to the post, they are all immensely helpful!
     

  3. 33
    Julia

    I am always trusting of the men I date, whether they deserved my trust or not I will never know because I don’t snoop or accuse them of cheating.

  4. 34
    Chris

    I have been in a similar position. After a 19 year marriage, dating was new and after being with one man so long, although I knew what I didn’t want, I was still exploring and learning what I did want and part of that was undoing old habits. Part of dating right out of a long marriage is not letting your loneliness and new found separateness blur your boundaries. But it happens, because if you were like me, and ignored during your lonely marriage, it’s easy to go with a man that shows you attention and reawakens things that were dead in you. Even if he’s a player or unavailable. I think it is common. And ladies, it’s ok. Guys make the same mistakes and we need to experience players and unavailables to better define what we need and want. Kim recognized that a player is not what she wants and is looking for a game plan to avoid getting in that situation again. It is a process of learning and trial and error until you become solid again in your new life, being single, and finding fulfillment in other areas other than a relationship. I’ve gone through several players and unavailables. Avoiding players is not about trusting them unconditionally. It’s about setting up standards beforehand and as you date and go through the getting to know stage, you constantly hold them up to your standards, trusting they will follow through, but being comfortable enough to be alone rather than staying with them, when they break your trust or cross your boundaries. If lap-dancing is crossing your boundaries, that is fine and is your boundary, no one else’s and it’s not about not trusting the man. If you think watching porn is cheating, that is fine. It’s ok if that doesn’t suit you and that’s not the kind of man you want in your life and it doesn’t mean you think he’ll cheat. You just don’t like porn in your life, just like you might not want smoking in your life. I recently dated a man that was one of the first that didn’t want to get in my pants the first couple of dates. I was thrilled because I had finally decided that this was a boundary I no longer wanted crossed. He was fun, a gentleman, a flirt, outgoing and I knew he was on match and talking to multiple women at gatherings. That was not the problem. It was his deception. He was playing the field despite his initial words and actions about caring enough about me and a relationship to go slow. He had figured out, probably in some book or men’s blog, that pretending to be a gentleman and not trying to get sex right away is the way to a woman’s heart and a way to break down her boundaries and get what he wants. And what he wanted was all the fun (physical companionship) without the work or commitment. I knew pretty soon it would be a lot of work on my part to even get close to what I needed with this man. His deceptive, immature and confusing communications were the red flags. He was not honest with himself or me and actually lied about why he didn’t contact me one time. That is what I could not trust, not how he treated or acted around other women. Being a player doesn’t just mean playing with your body, there are plenty that play with your mind and emotions. And unfortunately, in my experience they are in the majority. As Evan has pointed out, men want the milk without buying the cow. But if they really want the milk and we put a price on it, they’ll buy it. 

  5. 35
    Nicole

    Yeah, there isn’t any way to control another person.  And if you set up lots of rules that you think will keep your man or woman from cheating, most of which are kind of ridiculous, then he/she will just lie about what they are doing.  And you are setting up a system where everything is an infraction, so you’re making someone seem worse than they are.  

    I don’t get why people think that controlling who their spouse is friends with, who he/she talks do, who his/her friends are, leads to a long, happy marriage.

    It might result in a long marriage, but it will also result in someone who probably secretly resents you, is passive aggressively lashing out at you behind your back, and who is keeping secrets that could vary from innocuous to serious just b/c they fear you and your rules.  And most importantly, the person will be unhappy and feel trapped (unless they have the courage to get out there and try again, although fear of being alone makes many people stay in unhappy and unfulfillling marriages).

    I could never live that way, so why would I expect any man to want to.  You’ll both be a lot happier and sleep better not always waiting for the shoe to drop.  Trusting someone isn’t about a power struggle.  It’s not about giving anyone power over me.  It’s actually giving me control over myself, and my feeling is that anyone who really is lying or cheating will be revealed.  But it doesn’t make me a sucker or a victim.  I don’t want to play cop.  Lying and deception takes a lot of work so you’ll always find out in the end.  And I think acting like a prison guard at home just means that it will take LONGER b/c it will encourage more secrets.

    I don’t want a husband who fears me, who can’t be himself with me, and who regrets meeting me.  And I don’t want someone to stay with me out of fear while secretly hating the sight of me.  That stuff totally happens.  Why put yourself in that situation?  

    If I trust someone who winds up being a liar, what have I lost?  I just move on. 

  6. 36
    Trenia

    I hate to get all biblical, but I love that saying “be wise as a serpent, gentle as a dove”. I believe in trusting your partner, while also being wise and observant. Also, I find the never say never people when it comes to cheating are often cheated on. The reality is we live in a world that makes cheating so easy and lots of women have been cheated on. And while a lot of the scenarios mentioned in this thread are not considered slippery slopes for some, they have been slippery slopes for many people. Some of the most honest, trusting people have cheated, that’s the truth. 

    I think it’s important for a woman to trust her man, but he also needs to be clear about his actions and make it plain about her role in his life. If a man has a lot of female friends, the onous is on him to let his woman know that she is #1 in his life, that’s not about trust that’s common sense. These kinds of scenarios remind me why the dating scene can be challenging when only women ask for relationship advice, because what men need to know about women is that we often feel insecure. It’s not a constant state of mind for most healthy women, but it happens from time to time. We live in a world where bodies of female olympic athletes are criticized and scored by the media, then we’re surprised when an average woman is a little insecure around other attractive women? Come on. Sometimes we need some re-assurance, not all the time but just a little reminder that she’s his priority goes a long way.

  7. 37
    Heather

    Trenia,

    I’m with you there.  I trust my boyfriend but I’ve learned to still be mindful, and to not let my emotions or my heart carry me away.  He’s actually pretty good about telling me where he’s going or whom he is with.  Thus far, I trust him, until he gives me a reason not to.  If he does stray, well then I know that I will be strong enough to curse him out, send him packing, and move on.  In that order.

    I’ve grown strong enough to know and trust my own boundaries, that they are boundaries that come out of loving and honoring myself and what I want and need out of a man, and also a need for no drama in my life.  Cheating is a very firm boundary and it has worked well for me.  I’ve dated players before, and once I’d find that out, I stopped seeing them, and a few tried to get back with me but I just made it clear that they were not what I wanted anymore and that I wanted a real commitment.

    If my man cheats, so be it.  It will be his karma and it will come back on him, not me, and reflects upon a serious lack of character on his part, not mine.  Until then, I’m just going to keep going along and assuming that I do not have a reason to not trust him.

  8. 38
    Lily2

    @ Katrina
    Help me understand this…
    A friend of mine has an open marriage and his wife allows threesomes and he is always cheating on her behind her back.
     
    Help me understand this. You state they have an “open marriage.” How does one cheat in an OPEN relationship? Do you mean he has more women than he admits to?

  9. 39
    Jo

    I am sure Kim has been burned in the past (haven’t we all).  It is our choice to take that distrut to the next relationship.  We have the power to accept the new guy for every word he says..yet that damn voice in your head says “You have been burned before, don’t trust him.”….well silence taht voice.  Go with your facts and if he has never given you reason to doubt him then DON’T.  There are great guys out there…but often times a woman won’t see it simply because she has been burned in the past by a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT guy.  So, don’t push your insecurities and doubt onto a man who has shown you nothing but love and respect and honesty.

    I actually took my own advice and met a great guy..given we are having some issues now…it has NOTHING to do with trust.  I trust him 100% and it feels good.  Once a relationship is over, learn from it, and move on but do NOT bring it with you into the next relationship as it will hurt and affect it…start fresh.  Keep your lessons from the past but leave the rest….

  10. 40
    Fusee

    Thank you, Evan, for this brilliant post on such a foundamental topic in relationships! You really have a knack to tackle difficult and sensitive topics in a pleasant way.
     
    Trust really is the foundation of a solid and happy relationship. But trust has to be earned. To my opinion, the healthiest way to proceed is by assuming the best of people while being very attentive to what they say and how they behave. As other commenters have pointed it out, it’s essential to refrain from dragging past hurts in a new relationship. Take your new experience-based wisdom with you, but not any mistrust, negative assumptions and excessive boundaries. Take a dating break until you can truly start fresh and give people a true chance at earning your trust.
     
    A first couple of dates in public places in daylight hours is a perfectly safe and effective way to earn basic trust (showing up on time, in appropriate attire, being respectful in language and actions, etc). Then sharing more vulnerable facts of ones life and establishing boundaries, and observing their reaction would be the next step and allow to hopefully build more trust. Are they judgmental and critical or can they accept mishapps and mistakes? Can they respect boundaries or are they pressuring you to overstep them? If everything goes well over a few weeks or months, the last step is opening up to more sensitive and private matters and discover if they can truly accept you, keep confidentiality when requested, and in general make you feel safe and comfortable. Opting out is possible at any time.

     
    I agree that acceptance is a big part of trust. After all, what is the point of being the partner of someone you can’t accept? However I strongly believe in the right of having personal limits, therefore I would like to highlight this part from Evan‘s post:



    “Wherever you draw the line becomes the line.”


    Indeed it’s okay to not be comfortable with some behaviors and it’s okay to draw the line somewhere. There is someone for everyone. Simply observe how they live their life, ask questions about concerning matters, communicate your needs, and make the choice to continue or opt out based on your investigation.
     
    I’m into freedom as well, and do not intend to pressure anyone into giving their freedom up, but personally I’m not comfortable with the level of freedom that Evan and his wife offer to one another. Why? It’s because I think that relationships need two kinds of energies: NURTURE and PROTECTION. Even if you nurture your relationship to perfection (as Evan and his wife seem to be doing), you are not immune to the possibilty of future seasons of life where your nurturing energy is going to be lower, and at those times, it’s how well protected the relationship has been that will make it last through these extended periods of low nurturing energy. For example, being constantly stimulated by the other gender – physically and/or emotionally – might not have any impact during the high or neutral seasons of a relationship, but this stimulation can become a real relationship-killer in times of lows.


    The world is not black or white, like a world of people of solid character and of people of low morals. A world of people who are going to refrain from cheating, and of the ones who are going to cheat. People who cheat or not all womanizers or players. Lot of people with perfect track record of integrity have cheated. Not because they planned it, but because “it just happened”. It “just happens” when difficult circumstances and unfortunate opportunities align perfectly.
     
    Let’s say your marriage is hitting a low because your partner has suffered of ill health for a while and has been unavailable to nurture the relationship. They might even have been difficult to deal with. And during these trying times one of your friend/coworker/gym buddy that you had harmless weekly lunches with progressively becomes your main source of attention and emotional comfort, without you to even notice what is happening. Hey you’re used to do whatever you want, with your partner’s blessing. Add to this scenario that the friend has recently become a bit desperate themselves and ready – even unconsciously – to try their luck on you, and you have the recipe for a “it just happened” situation. No player involved. No previous red-flag behavior. Just a lack of understanding of how life works, just a lack of protection by not having a lifestyle compatible with future lows. 
     
    That’s why I believe that successful relationships must involve a decision to restrict willingly one’s own freedom to a reasonable degree. Not because of demands and threats of the other party, not because of insecurities, but because of common sense. A relationship needs nurture AND protection. Anticipating future lows is necessary. Thinking you will be immune of lows is foolish. You will hit lows. The question is not IF but WHEN you will. Where you draw the line is up to you and your partner. It’s another area where to find compromise, or opt out if you can not define mutually agreed-upon limits.
     
    Simply granting/asking for full acceptance no matter how risky the behaviors will become under more testing circumstances does not makes me feel safe for the future. Therefore I’m making sure to cover these difficult conversations with my boyfriend to make sure we can create a safe environment, based on trust, reasonable freedom, and acceptance, but also on common sense and wisdom.

     

    1. 40.1
      Kay

      So very well stated.

  11. 41
    Dagaz

    Evan, i like your respond, no doubt, but there’s a huge difference between marriage and “just” a relationship, even committed one. Or between marriage and a newly-fresh relationship. And so on. It feels very different, especially for a man.
    Trust takes time to build up, also it takes a lot of time until man will be open emotionally, especially if he has a certain bad experience. In most of cases, he will would like to keep his options open, without being a player, but it will hurt woman, indeed. Am i right?..
    Also – yes, if man wants to cheat, he will. But, i’d say, the woman’s concern is not his loyality so much, but she would like to know the truth, so she won’t be fooled for long time.

  12. 42
    Hope

    Re: my post #31….I found the panties story and it’s incredible (when I wrote the last post, I had failed to click the hyperlink back to the first story).  And what a beautiful house you have, if it’s the CYE episode I’m thinking of!
    My trust story:
    I am eight months into a good relationship with a good man who I adore.
    This followed 6+ years of bad luck and bad decisions and having my trust violated in a series of shoulda-known-better relationships.  At the beginning of my current relationship (initiated on Match.com), I was extremely cynical on the inside.  Never mind keeping expectations low– I had practically no faith whatsoever in the relationship because of what had happened to me so consistently before.  Luckily, and with help from this blog, I was able to keep a level head (at least on the outside) and keep my baseless suspicions (i.e., “When we talked tonight, he said he’d call me again on Thursday….he must be seeing another woman on Wednesdays!”) to myself. 
    I just kept reminding myself that this guy was not those guys from before. This guy is new to me, and has so far done nothing wrong and everything right.  And acting untrusting, suspicious or insecure is guaranteed to be a turnoff.  It really was a revelation….time and time again, my secret insecurities were proven completely wrong. 
    Example: back in January, just a couple months or so into the relationship, he suggests we go to Vegas for a weekend.  I enthusiastically agree and he says he’ll take care of the booking, assuming he can get the weekend I suggested to him.  A couple weeks go by with no more mention of the trip.  I start to assume he’s preparing to dump me or is seeing someone else. I receive a text from him one evening while standing in line at Whole Foods, that says “I emailed you about the trip.  Let’s talk later.” I reply, “Can you let me know now?” He responds “I’m in the car…will be home in 45 minutes”.  This strikes me as guilty avoidance and I am nearly in tears all the way home. When I finally get home to my laptop, I open his email to see the flight and hotel itinerary taken care of for the dates in late February I had requested, plus tickets for a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon “as a Valentine’s present.”
    By actual Valentine’s Day, my faith in the poor man was still lacking, and as we hadn’t discussed Valentine’s plans the preceding weekend, I was in a real funk on Monday (VDay was a Tuesday).  All day at work I was moody and even contemplated making plans with a single gal pal on Valentine’s so I could whine about my life.  But sure enough, just as I finished work, I received a text from my man saying he’ll call in a bit so we can make plans for the weekend…and “don’t forget to leave tomorrow night open for me to take you to a Valentine’s dinner : )”.
    Around the same time, a new female intern was put under his supervision at his male-dominated office…a 24-year old girl who had gone to the same college as him (he’s 39).  He arranged to carpool with her because she also lives in his neighborhood.  Despite this being the makings of a nightmare of suspicion for me, I kept my cool, kept a smile on my face, and never made any expression of jealousy, worry or distrust in regards to her.  Over time, not only did my boyfriend disclose that the intern is herself in a long-term relationship, but also that while he was friendly with her at first, he quickly came to find her rather irritating and immature.  I also met her and her man this summer at a pool party, and came away feeling confident there never was anything to worry about.
    Did I mention this man of mine is also handsome, funny, meticulously tidy, a well-paid lawyer, French and also owns a furnished apartment in Paris? 
    Dreams do come true! : )
    I just met his mother, who was visiting from France, and was invited on a two week family vacation with him and his folks.
    It’s still too early to feel completely sure of our future together, but I do have faith now, and I trust him completely.  It’s so nice to be able to relax and enjoy loving and being loved.  This would NEVER have happened if I had voiced my irrational suspicions, or had otherwise given up on or sabotaged the relationship, early in the game when I was still licking old wounds. I just kept cool, kept a smile on my face, and reminded myself not to punish him for my exes’ misdeeds.
     
    Thank you Evan!!!
     
     

  13. 43
    Katrina

    Lily2 41

    @ Katrina
    Help me understand this…
    A friend of mine has an open marriage and his wife allows threesomes and he is always cheating on her behind her back.
     
    Help me understand this. You state they have an “open marriage.” How does one cheat in an OPEN relationship? Do you mean he has more women than he admits to?

    I mean every relationship has rules including “Open” marriages. His wife allows him out and to sleep with other women and he shares her with his mates. You would think he’d be satisfied but she is always watching the clock to make sure he is home directly after work!
    I know because he tried to meet up with me during work hours! Hedge fund bastard!
    I’m sorry people.. but I have been dating for only 2 years now and in that time almost every single one of my friends and neighbors have made moves on me! Some with absolutely stunning wives!
    I am not all that great looking but I am a bit of a kinky slut who can appear deceptively open minded.
    I find that more men open up to me as a result!
    And what I found is that most women live in a dream world where their husbands would never cheat! TBH most don’t realize that he is taking that business trip and having a date at the same time. Or late for work because he was busy in a day hotel.
    These men are two different people! At home they are the ideal husband, seem attentive, sex life is great, always has time for his wife. Yet so many men complain that although they love their wives they just need that bit of excitement on the side!
    i don’t agree with it at all. But I think men who are faithful to their wives are few and far between! The ones who don’t cheat usually can’t find someone to cheat with them and can’t be bothered to make too much effort.
    It is hard work to find women to sleep with when your single let alone when your married.
    btw I don’t hate men! I love them.. but I have yet to find one that can keep his dick in his pants when tempted!

  14. 44
    David T

    Define “putting the moves on you.”  Some people flirt for fun and for some couples that is perfectly acceptable.  It does not mean they would ever act on it.  Now if someone grabs your breast and puts their tongue in your mouth, that is different!
     
    The men I know well and hang around with would not cheat on their partners, ever. I don’t seem them hitting on women etc. etc. Maybe I am naïve, but I can’t imagine the people I know are completely unusual.

  15. 45
    Fiona

    Katrina, are these people all Essex boy bankers with too much money and not enough brains by any chance? If so, I nothing would surprise me. A few weeks ago I stayed with friends in a wealthy part of Canary Wharf for the weekend and in the two days I was there we saw at least 4 hookers in the building. However, they are in no way representative of the majority of the population so you may have a very skewed view of the world.

  16. 46
    Katrina

    David in my experience any man who flirts is easy pickings for a bit of naughty time!
    I have tested it and asked them straight if they would like a bj and not one has ever turned me down!
    Not one!

  17. 47
    Leesa

    hi
    there are two things i want to write here. the last guy i was with knew exactly what to say to me to make me feel very safe and secure with him. i thought he was the most loyal, genuine guy and that he would never cheat on me. after he left me for another women (after i found out about her – he was sleeping with both of us for a couple of weeks), i found out that he had cheated on his wife (he told me that she had cheated on him). so there are these guys, who ease you into a false sense on security so that they can have you at home when they get home, and they can chase other women when they’re out, and you wouldn’t suspect or expect for a minute what they are doing.  so in this case, it’s very difficult to judge clearly. i think that’s how it happens to women. they believe what they are told and they trust their partners.
    two days ago, i was told by a construction worker that when his gang works out of town, every single guy in the gang (except 1), is cheating on their wives (or chasing other women).  now, i think those women would be sitting at home, not expecting their husbands to be cheating on them.  it’s saddened me to hear that all bar one guy was cheating. but then i was grateful that there was one not cheating and i hoped that that is the type of guy i find in the future … if i adhere to evan’s dating advice.

  18. 48
    Helen

    I think most flirting is harmless. If a man flirts, that doesn’t mean that he wants to (all things considered) sleep with the woman with whom he’s flirting. Nor does it mean that he is untrustworthy.

    The only real danger is when one person is being lighthearted about flirtation and the other party takes it more seriously than was intended. But if it’s done in a culture or a sub-culture where everyone is on the same page about it, then flirting is harmless, and even nice and flattering. I can’t flirt to save my life, but like it when other people (men AND women) flirt with me. It cheers me up.

    So, David T, I agree with you on that.  
     
    More generally, I agree with everyone above who has said that you can’t stop another person from cheating. The only person you can control without causing resentment elsewhere is yourself. I think the majority of people at least have the INTENTION not to cheat on loved ones. So if you want to align yourself with a trustworthy person, the first thing to do is to gauge how he feels about the topic (when you’re close enough to do so), and to share honestly and without anger how you feel. That way, you’ll learn if you’re on the same page. But remember that you can’t change another person easily.

  19. 49
    Heather

    @ Leesa,

    I totally understand that.  My best friend is a military contractor and often goes over to war zones for work.  He’s come home telling me all kinds of stories about people over there (men AND women, military AND civilian) who cheat on their partners/spouses.  He told me that sadly, the majority of them do, and he would know, he’s been in the military and now as a civilian, been on numerous tours to the Middle East, so he’s seen alot.

    In fact, I dated a few military contractors and each and every time, they were playing me.  Every. Time.  They saw me as an easy target because I wanted to not be a jaded, cynical bitch, and try to believe them and take their words at face value.  My best friend finally talked to me last spring while home on 30-day R&R, and said gently that I’d probably be better off if I just avoided dating military or military contractors for awhile, due to this problem with fidelity (or lack thereof) when these guys are overseas. 

    Are there military guys and contractors who are faithful?  Indeed there are, my best friend worked with a good few of them who were excellent husbands and fathers.  Sadly, that was the minority though.

    So, I learned to weed them out.  If they wrote to me on PlentyOfFish, I either chose not to respond, or responded stating that I no longer wished to date anyone in the military.  Did it narrow my pool?  Considering that I live not far from the Pentagon, you had better believe it.  I live in a hotbed of military and military contractors so you basically cannot swing a dead cat without hitting one, here.  But the amount of drama in dating, dropped so much.  I was more at peace.  I could enjoy other aspects of my life without that awful knot in my stomach.

  20. 50
    Ileana

    Wow, Katrina’s comments in #46 and #49 kinda freaked me out…. I cannot understand how these guys would simply risk their  marriage only for a fling.

    Anyways, all this reminded me of a movie with Jennifer Love Hewit on this very topic. It’s called ‘The truth about love’. (SPOILER ALERT AHOY!) So the main character (JLH) sends her husband, a very successful lawyer, on Valentines day a prank letter, making it seem as if it was from another woman who admired him. She was very surprised when he didnt mention anything about the letter and this made her even more curious about what exactly her husband is thinking. The situation then evolved from  naughty texts to a meeting at a hotel, where she asked him to blindfold himself at the door, in order not to see her. He had sex with her, without even knowing who she was! Needless to say, he not only theoretically cheated on his wife with a ‘stranger’, but also on his long term mistress. 
    Needless to say, when he found out about this, he wasn’t exacly happy.

    Evan, what do you think of such a move? Is it wise to ‘test’ your partner in such ways- Send him anonymous texts and see if he replies?  Or is this just plain rude?

    1. 50.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @Ileana: Seriously? What do I think of sending fake flirty messages to my spouse in hopes that she fails to fall for such entrapment? I think you’d have to be either a) paranoid, b) psychotic or c) in a really, really bad relationship to consider doing that.

  21. 51
    Paragon

    @ Katrina
     
    “My ex ex husband”
     
    What is an ex ex husband?
     
    Is that another way of saying, you divorced him, and then remarried him again?
     
    “He often says that he can’t believe his luck. I asked him if it was okay for his wife to have other men and he said his wife doesn’t want too!
    In my eyes this is completely unfair to the wife. Its as if she is settling to make him happy without any concern for herself.”
     
    On the contrary, perhaps she places more value on her keeping him happy.
     
    She is also probably savvy enough to realize that, if she can abide his open promiscuity, it is less of a threat to her.

     “That is an extreme case but back to the men whose wives trust them completely not to actually cheat behind her back I think its a crock and alot of men are getting off the hook here. And they know it! A friend of mine has an open marriage and his wife allows threesomes and he is always cheating on her behind her back. Yet she believes that because they are open about everything he tells her the truth.
     
    The fact is that women need to be more independent and men need to learn how to be grateful for what they have!”
     
    Perhaps, it is the wives who are grateful for what they have – it is only a select minority(think 10-20%) of males who are attractive enough to indulge in these kinds of arrangements.
     
    And this should be an expected trade-off to mating with a male who is of substantially higher value than themselves.
     
    “As for trust… well it is usually undeserved but we will always have a few idiot women who truly believe her husband doesn’t succumb to temptation behind her back.”
     
    I recall in Evan’s entry concerning Attractive men not always making the best husbands there was an insightful post from a woman who admitted that this was the price(ie. infidelity, abuse, etc.) many are willing to pay, in indulging a high value male.
     
    Of course, they reserve the right to vent, even if it is nothing more than catharsis.
     
    “I’m sorry people.. but I have been dating for only 2 years now and in that time almost every single one of my friends and neighbors have made moves on me! Some with absolutely stunning wives!
    I am not all that great looking but I am a bit of a kinky slut who can appear deceptively open minded.”
     
    From which we might conclude that men(perhaps in a frigid marriage) are drawn to your reputation.
     
    “I find that more men open up to me as a result!”
     
    Go figure.
     
    “i don’t agree with it at all. But I think men who are faithful to their wives are few and far between! The ones who don’t cheat usually can’t find someone to cheat with them and can’t be bothered to make too much effort.”
     
    Risk averse males with healthy sex lives and only inferior options(ie. less attractive than wife) have more to lose, than gain.  
     
    So, it occurs that if women want to minimize risk, they should order their prospects accordingly, rather than just trying to maximize the most superficial traits.
     
    But, if it is TRUST that you want, either learn to trust the one you love, or learn to love those who are TRUSTWORTHY(if you are concerned with that trust being justified).

     “btw I don’t hate men! I love them.. but I have yet to find one that can keep his dick in his pants when tempted!”

    This is only relevant with respect to purportedly monogamous males.

    If so, it is not surprising, given that fidelity is inconspicuous, and requires more information of the system to be inferred.

  22. 52
    Fiona

    Katrina, what on earth? The onus is on the party in the relationship not to cheat but offering blow jobs to married men? Not sure what you get out of this or what your own dating objectives are but what goes around tends to come around and carrying on like this isn’t likely to get you a committed relationship nor help your long term self esteem. 

  23. 53
    Wendy

    @Leesa 50: I understand and sympathize with you for getting played like a violin. I try to enter each new relationship with an open mind (and a closed mouth) regarding my fears about getting cheated on again. Yes, I said again, because it’s happened to me a lot. I love it when people tell me I’m “choosing the wrong men.” These guys have all been upstanding citizens chock full of integrity, and yet they still cheat. It’s not like they wear t-shirts with “CHEATER” on the front, so please tell me how I’m “choosing” players! One guy was home with me every night, did all the right things, was very affectionate and sweet, and it turns out he was sleeping with a co-worker on his lunch hour. I completely trusted this guy–he’d given me no reason not to. I only found out because another co-worker felt sorry for me and filled me in, and after a little investigating I found it was true. But it always makes me laugh when another brilliant person tells me I choose the wrong men. The bottom line is, I have to believe that there is a man out there who feels as strongly as I do that a solid, loving, respectful relationship is better than the “excitement” of a little on the side. The man I’m dating now seems to be that guy, but I can promise you this: I will not bury my head in the sand and pretend he isn’t capable of cheating; but I won’t go looking for it or poison the relationship with mistrust because he hasn’t done anything wrong yet.

  24. 54
    Heather

    @ Wendy,

    I understand how you feel, I really do.  My aunt and uncle are a PRIME example of what you are talking about.  They married young, just outta high school.  Had 3 kids and I think 5-6 grandkids together.  They’d been together forever.  Until last year, when he decided to have some kind of midlife crisis, said that my aunt didn’t truly love him (my uncle really needs to see a shrink, he’s psycho), and walked out.  And has come back.  And walked out.  Done this back and forth thing, a few times.  Why my wonderful aunt hasn’t cursed this jerk out and sent him to the curb with the trash, I have no idea.

    But how was she to know, that he’d do this almost 40 years down the road?  It wasn’t like my uncle had a t-shirt with “Asshole” on it, when she met him.  My grandparents raised him with much better morals and values, and he was very active in church and whatnot (then again, thinking about that, that should have been everyone’s first clue, IMO).  I don’t know that she’d really had a bad “picker” it’s just that he flaked out, decided not to commit, and walked. 

    This isn’t to say that we women bear no responsibility in a relationship going wrong.  However, we can go in as best we can, make an educated leap of faith, and still have it go wrong.  And yes it hurts when we’re told we choose the wrong men.  I was stung when I met a guy, while going through my divorce, and things were going great.  My family loved him, friends thought he was pretty decent, we were doing fine.  Then, out of nowhere, I find out that his Mom was talking smack about me behind my back for being divorced, even though she knew I was a survivor of domestic violence.  It turned out that I had a total coward and Mama’s boy on my hands.  People told me that I picked the wrong man.  I sat there and went look.  I went in with good intentions, paid close attention for warning signs, didn’t see any glaring problems, and we had had a pretty healthy relationship. 

    It can sting when we’re judged like that, and folks don’t know the whole story.  Again, sure, we often do pick the wrong guy, absolutely.  But we aren’t going to see everything coming down the pike.

  25. 55
    Ileana

    @Evan: Well, i didn’t say doing that in the hopes of her falling for it. Just as to observe the reaction. If she’d respond, wouldn’t that be a bad sign?

    This whole idea probably seems ridiculous, but just reading some of the comments in here makes me confused. Why would somebody, male or female, who is in a happy relationship and gets all their needs met, still feel the need to cheat? And why would they then pretend that they are soo close to their partner and romantic etc etc. ? 

    I. JUST. DON’T. GET. IT! Maybe i’m just too young and with really little experience in this area, but… wouldn’t it be A LOT easier to end the relationship and start a new one, instead of cheating?…

     

  26. 56
    Clare

    @ Heather # 32

    I am with you on that. Cheating is a non-negotiable deal-breaker for me, and I have always known that. Guys I have been with have known that upfront as well.

    It may seem a little harsh to some, but in setting this boundary my goal is not to judge the other person, but just simply that I know myself, and I know that this is something *I* cannot come back from. There are many other things I can forgive and let slide, and I fully believe that each person has the right to set what is and isn’t a dealbreaker for him or her.

    (On that note, I was reading Evan’s post about Dan Savage’s take on the virtues of infidelity, and it ties in quite nicely with this post.) 

  27. 57
    Ana

    @ Henriette: ”What should my small-breasted, brunette friend do when her boyfriend announces, loudly, at a dinner out with friends that he loooooves big-boobed blondes the instant the waitress fitting that description saunters away from the table?”
    That’s disgusting, I feel sorry for her…

  28. 58
    Ellen

    Ana: There’s a local pizza place here that ONLY hires young girls with perfect figures. So transparent…..

    Oh, wait, NBC, CBS, CNN, Fox etc. do that also. But at least the old stereotype that good looking people can’t be intelligent is finally being laid to rest (for the most part anyway). 🙂

  29. 59
    Heather

    @ Clare,

    You put it beautifully.  I know myself very well, and abuse and cheating are two that I will never be able to come back from.  Trust is very big for me and if that trust is violated in any way, well, sorry, it’s gone and probably won’t be back so why should I date someone I don’t trust.  Been there, and done that, and enough is enough now.  It’s time to do what Paige Parker calls “Dating Without Drama” and time to set good, healthy boundaries to protect my sanity.

    Judgment, well, I would just go so far as to say hey, what they did reflects upon some pretty serious character flaws, but it’s not my place to seriously wish them ill, or take revenge.  I’ve had a couple of cases where “the best revenge is living well” has worked beautifully for me. 

  30. 60
    Mia

    Yes, a large number of men cheat- as I’ve posted before, I and every girl I know have been propositioned by attached guys. But I’m still not one of those cynical types that think all men cheat. I had a bf when I was younger who would have been great husband material – a nerdy 35 yo guy who had only had 11 sex partners, hardly any luck with women, and was kind, thoughtful, and was one of the only guys I’ve ever dated who didn’t make a big fuss over my looks. He never would have cheated. We broke up for legitimate reasons, but really, how many women want to date an honest, decent man like this ? They want a hotter, more exciting guy. If you go for more attractive types who have bedded a lot of chicks, what do you think is gonna happen? Men like Evan who have been serial daters and are good lookng flirts simply aren’t good bets – Evan himself may not cheat, as it would ruin his cred as a dating coach, but generally serial daters are not good bets. I dont feel like playing the alpha male lottery and frankly it’s like owning a white expensive coat – too much work to ensure it stays clean. Better to get the less stylish black pea coat on sale. 

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