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).

  5. 125

    Hey Evan, I enjoy your article here and it helped me confirm in what I’m looking for in a woman. I don’t necessarily agree with the lap dance part but most of points you’ve said I agree with.
    I’ve recently gotten out of a 2 year long long distant relationship and now in the phase where I’m working on my self esteem and ego, as well as my personal wants and needs. I myself have some particular boundaries as everyone does in a relationship. But I nevertheless, I value freedom and open mindedness in a relationship. There’s a fine line between fantasy + attraction, and action.

    Looking into my last relationship, It wouldn’t sit well for my last girlfriend if I go out during the weekends doing something with my female friends, shopping or anything for that matter. We work on skyping each other as much as we can so we sacrificed going out most of the time and resorted our lives in front of a computer. (We do see each other a couple times a year and do some missed activities)

    I think what got me in this article is your quote “Acceptance is the most powerful tool in making a man feel loyal to you.” I have told many things to my last girlfriend about myself, and usually I don’t get a positive reaction or I get criticized about my character and choices in life. Of course, this slowly lost my attraction towards her and made me refrain behaving like myself around her. Ironically, she does complain how I’m not behaving like myself than I use to be.
    What really got me about her was how she brings up her ex into the mixture. Aren’t you suppose to move on from your ex before you get into another relationship? The way she brought up her ex was like she’s pressuring me from behaving like her ex, and of course that made me refrain from acting like myself around her as well. There were also some parts in my last relationship where were over the line on her side. I would bring up my feelings of uncomfort, but the usual reaction is that I’m being “disrespectful” and such.
    Later on, the relationship became more of a chore and something I wasn’t looking forward, but I still contact her either way cause I still care very deeply of her in a way. But I finally realized that she was being very manipulative and controlling. To the point where it’s tearing me inside out. So I did the hardest and heart wrenching choice and ended it and left.
    Still moving on, but it was refreshing to feel the freedom I have once again.

    So my advice to all the women (or men) out there. Please accept the values and nature of your significant other and appreciate why they are the person they are presently. And give your significant other some damn slack. A little freedom doesn’t hurt, in fact it’s essential. If for some odd reason you have a problem with your special someone going out with his female friends or going to a party (even if it’s tamed), then you really should consider yourself being in a relationship. Or if anything like what many people said on this comment thread, “go with him and experience”.

    Nathan Out.

  6. 126
    Boundaries Are Okay

    I find it hard to believe that Mr. Katz has not cheated.   He seems like the old-fashioned type who is not willing to admit it, but feels it’s a man’s place to cheat   but a woman should only feel sexual towards her husband.   He loves his wife so much because he can have his cake and eat it, too with her.   What man wouldn’t love this kind of woman.   As you can see with the Me Too movement, men all over the world had been inappropriate with women.   We are not taking it anymore.   Be respectful or leave us alone.   Can his wife have a lap dance from a man?   Would I like to have a lap dance from a man?   Of course!   But I chose not to out of respect for my husband.

    1. 126.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Mr. Katz here. Just celebrated my 10th anniversary yesterday. Not only have I never cheated on my wife, I’ve never cheated on anybody.

      To respond directly to your criticism. You seem to cast aspersions without knowing anything about me other than what I wrote in this post, and have extrapolated what you know to mean something else entirely. You seem to have not considered that honest, trustworthy, secure people in healthy relationships aren’t threatened the way you are.

      Put more explicitly, my wife has gone to more strip clubs in the past 10 years than I have – through maybe 3 or 4 bachelorette parties. Why should I find that disrespectful or threatening when we’re both secure and happy? Maybe your marriage can’t survive it, but mine’s doing just fine, thanks. Have a nice day.

      For further reading, check out this blog post I wrote for my 10th anniversary. And this series of posts on cheating, which will undoubtedly drive you up a wall, because they’re all consistent with the idea that maximum trust and freedom are what one should strive for in a relationship.

  7. 127
    Boundaries Are Okay

    And why in the world would I, a woman, want to go to a female strip club?   I have absolutely no interest in doing that and no man of mine will get my okay to go.   Stay away from temptation.   You are asking to fall by doing that.

  8. 128

    I put trustworthiness as a quality that is at the top of my list for a man. As a result, I got a man who is worthy of my trust.

    When doing such a thing, you might end up with a type man that doesn’t have the things that would be at the top of the list for other women. I see women having wish lists, such as wanting someone at least six feet tall, wanting someone with a nice new car, and wanting someone with a stable well paid job.

    My guy is none of those,   but he has the most important quality. What he lacks   on the superficial elements, he makes up for. For example, he’s not tall, but I love the way he presents himself with his clothes and his grooming.   He’s my same height, but he has a beautiful posture from playing soccer.   He’s brown, but his white   teeth look great when he smiles which is often.   His English is improving, but his accent sure is cute. He drives an   old vehicle, but he maintains it very well.

    Can I get a rich, tall, white guy like I’m often told we women are supposed to want? Of course! But I may have to give up on the most important quality in order to do that.

  9. 129

    would evan be fine with trusting his wife to give other men lap dances at a party he was not attending?

    1. 129.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      You’re drawing a false analogy. I’m fine if she goes to a strip club. She’s fine if I do. These events take place once every 3-5 years, so it’s really not a big deal.

      And, to answer your actual question, if my wife were a stripper, giving lap dances would be in the job description and I wouldn’t be bothered by it. Since she’s not a stripper, I don’t think she’d be inclined to give lap dances to other men, and she would agree that it’s inappropriate.

  10. 130

    I do want to trust my husband and do to a point. I don’t trust anyone unconditionally , including myself, because of the one true fact that we’re all human. And being human, no one, no not even you Evan, is beyond making mistakes and failing, even in areas we swear we never will. from what i’ve seen, the ones that say ” i would never” are usually the ones that do. Even if a man is head strong and sure of his fidelity, he can be wore down by a charming and attentive woman. men seem to be so easily swayed when it comes to female attention for some reason. they act like when a woman pays attention to them like they’ve never had a woman pay attention to them before in their life and the younger and prettier she is well!!! makes it worse. i think that’s why women worry so much about them cheating, they’re afraid that one time the super hot woman coming on to him he’s gonna cave, even if all the other times he resisted. especially as a man gets older and doesn’t get the attention they did when they were young. they want to know they’ve still got it and if the woman is hot enough and comes on strong enough, i think it would be very difficult for a man to turn it down, from what i’ve seen from men in my lifetime. neighbors, friends, relatives. most are good moral men too, would never have dreamed they would such a thing. i understand most men don’t get the
    attention that women do from men, unless he’s a model looking dude, so i guess it’s just more flattering to them than it is women. or is it that we’re just used to it more and don’t put as much weight into it? anyway, i just believe everyone is capable of cheating and giving in when the conditions are right or wrong, whichever case it may be.

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