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, 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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  1. 121

    I  am 45, and in a happy, committed relationship (we are living together) with a 51 y old fantastic man, and I love him so much. He loves me too, he worships me and I know I am very important in his life. I can say one of the forces that lead me to this current relationship, was reading your books and blog, Evan. I still do read you, because you’re such a lesson, in may ways.

    My man is a very handsome and intelligent guy, charismatic, and somewhat flirtatious (not in a way that would ashame me). He likes women and will watch a beautiful lady, which I does not make me feel threatened, neither would porn. I think I can be quite cool, in this sense.

    Well, the problem is that I suffer from insecurity (for several reasons from the past), and this makes me fear he will, someday, fall in love with another woman. The fact is that, fifteen years ago, when he was married, he DID fall in love with another woman… With whom he cheated his wife, and finally divorced.

    So, now and again, I DO feel menaced by some woman that enters into our lives – a friend, work companion, pupil… (he works as a college professor).

    Sometimes, fear makes me feel anxious; I don’t express this anxiety to him, as it is something I don’t feel proud of.

    Last night, he told me that he was going on a business trip (8 hours drive, one hotel night) with a 28 yr old woman that collaborates with him in a project. I know he thinks she is pretty. Wow! I can’t take it out of my mind. I wish I was as cool and calm as your wife…

    I told my man (for the first time) that I didn’t feel very happy with this trip. I confessed to him that I feared this intimacy. He laughed, calmed me, told me that he loves me, that he does not wish to fall in love with anything else…

    I wish I could blow my negative thoughts and worries away!



  2. 122

    just be happy with yourself. you dont need a man to live. They are all the same. :))

  3. 123

    I started out a young woman who had jealousy issues for a few years until I realized that I could have the upper hand in this area and I should use it. Women can attract men much more than most men can attract a woman. I learned how to eliminate all jealousy and if the guy showed interest in a woman, I felt no jealousy and even urged him to go after her but also he learned quickly that I would bring in another man and that he better accept it or he was dumped! I married at 26 and my husband knew full well that any funny stuff with other women meant that he should be prepared for the same. Sure enough, he went too far so I evened the score with a young man who had been showing much interest in me for some time. One thing I never realized is that I could fall for this younger man and it happened. Exit first husband and enter much younger husband. Today we have a wonderful marriage and a full sex life. Me at 57 and him at 33. Been married 9 years and and he tells me regularly that I am the most beautiful woman he has ever knowen. He knows exactly about my past and I have been truthful when he asks about the many men I have had before him. Sex with him is like being 17 again !!  If it ever gets where I cant give him what he needs then I will give him the freedom to bring in another woman, and I will welcome her.

  4. 124

    You know, some of these are just confusing/bothersome. I’ve been with my partner for 6 years. There has never been any physical proof of unacceptable behavior. However, he is so private! Specifically when it comes to being on his phone, which is uncomfortably frequent (I’m the exact opposite). He could be doing all the things he said he doesn’t/wouldn’t do and I would have no idea. I would be the fool thinking everything is good and we have this solid relationship, but really, the whole time my trust in him was just a joke. And trusting my gut is not an option (its not always right).

    So how do you fully trust a man (that has a history of being unfaithful/unacceptable behavior in past relationships and is very private) when you have trust issues already?

    Time and time again he’s reassured me that I’ve got nothing to worry about, but, his weird, private ways, don’t make me feel like thats the case. By the way, I’ve discussed this with him! “I don’t like when people read over my shoulder” “I click off my phone because I was done doing what I was doing, NOT because you walked in the room” (for the 10th time!) “just because I’m on my phone doesn’t mean I’m doing something bad” “if you don’t trust me, what are you doing in this relationship?” Because I trust you enough that I know you wouldn’t go out and sleep with another woman behind my back…but I don’t think you’re actually being 100% honest, when you, oh so strongly, say you are. Never gets anywhere or gets “resolved.”

    1. 124.1
      Mrs Happy

      Veronica @ 124,

      my advice would be to hire a private investigator.  I say this because you intimated your man has a history of being unfaithful, + that, together with his unusual behaviour, raises suspicion.  Asking your partner if they’re having an affair doesn’t work, it’s a wasted question.  If they are deceptive enough to cheat, they are selfish and deceptive enough to lie about it, until it suits them to be open (often never).

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