Sometimes, cheating seems depressingly common. We're constantly hearing about celeb ladies, such as Coleen Rooney, Abbey Crouch and Cheryl Cole, having to deal with the news their blokes have bedded other women behind their backs.
While we know cheaters are all around us and choose to cheat, I have always believed there are certain circumstances and situations that make men more likely to cheat. Whether it's because they're unsatisfied with their relationship, because they feel insecure, or they just don't have the willpower to stay faithful, there are factors that could encourage him to stray. And some of these actually relate to how women behave within their relationship - I think it is important for some women to take a proportion of responsibility for their man's infidelity. Some men will be unfaithful regardless of the situation at home, but there are things women do, without realising, that can be destructive to a relationship and push some men towards playing away.
I'm not writing this to offend any women, or even blame them, but after speaking to so many married men over the years, and seeing friends relationships break down, I thought you might be interested to know some of the things some attached (not necessarily married) women could be doing to subconsciously encourage her man to cheat, and how to put a stop to them.
1. You prioritise other things before him - Everyone knows it takes a lot of time and effort to make a relationship work. But when you have friends to see, work to do and other places to be, it's not unusual to spend less time with your man, especially if you have different sets of mates, or live far away from each other. According to a recent study, if a couple spend less than 10% of their time together, there's a one in 10 chance that the guy will cheat. It's healthy to have your own interests, but if you're living completely separate lives you might end up pushing him away, which could lead him to another woman.
I'm not writing this to offend any women, I thought you might be interested to know some of the things women could be doing to subconsciously encourage her man to cheat.
What you can do - You need to assess the reason why you're spending so much time apart from your man. Perhaps you're bored of him, or you'd actually rather be single? If it's one of these things, you need to think about whether you should be together. But if it isn't, then plan at least one day a week where you spend quality time together.
2. You're not emotionally connected - It's a common misconception that women are the needy ones in a relationship, when, in fact, feeling under-appreciated is one of the key reasons a man might cheat. According to research, 92% of men said their infidelity had nothing to do with Sex, but that it happened because they didn't feel appreciated by their partner. A lot of guys cheat because they don't think they're understood or supported by their woman. If your man feels like you're constantly undermining him, he'll start feeling like he's not good enough for you and this can be a dangerous place to be, as it could encourage him to seek positive reassurance from other women.
What you can do - Humans respond to praise and they need to feel validated, so it's important your man feels emotionally connected to you. Make sure he knows you're always there for him and when he's done something amazing, tell him.
3. You're not on the same wavelength - Putting pressure on a guy to settle down when he's not ready can cause him to panic and resist the situation he's 'trapped' in. Rushing into a serious relationship can put a huge strain on both of you. Men develop slower than women and are often more immature, so it can take them a bit longer to feel the need for real commitment. While, ultimately, it's his decision to be with you, if you rush him to make a decision before he's ready, it could be a recipe for disaster. In a worst-case scenario, he could end up idealising his single life and long for the freedom to go out with his unattached mates and chat up girls again.
What you can do - If you feel happy and confident in your relationship, it's OK to suggest things like meeting each other’s families, moving in together, or even getting engaged. But make sure he is completely comfortable taking these steps. If you're pushing to do them and he's reluctant to agree, or only seems to be going along with them to make you happy, take the pressure off and give him more time to get used to taking the next steps in your relationship. You'll know when he's really ready for more commitment.
4. He's worried you've stopped fancying him - It's not unusual for couples who have been together for a long time to stop complimenting each other as much as they did in the beginning. However, just as we want our bloke to think we're sexy, men need a bit of flattery too. And Sex plays a big part in that. You don't need to be having rampant Sex five times a day, but it's important to let your man know he's desired and wanted. If you get out of the habit of being affectionate on a regular basis, it can make him feel unloved, and this will make it more tempting for him to stray. Especially if there are other women out there who are making him feel attractive and sexy.
What you can do - Remind him how gorgeous you think he is. Even if you're not having sex as much as you used to, if he still knows you fancy him, it'll boost his confidence. The next rainy Sunday, cancel your plans and spend all day in bed, to remind yourselves you can still be passionate together.
5. He thinks you hate his mates - While you don't have to make your bloke's mates your best friends, it's important you make an effort to get to know them. Not only are they a big part of his life, but they're also the ones he's likely to be with if he cheats on you. So if they think you're cool, they're likely to pull him up if they see him chatting up someone else. If his friends really like you, they won't want to see you treated badly. They'll be watching your back. Similarly, if you never put in any effort to get to know them, or if you regularly argue with your man around them, they're more likely to try to persuade their mate that you're not the right one for him.
What you can do - Your man will still want lads' nights out without you, but it's important for him to know that if he does invite you out he can leave you chatting to the boys with no worries that you'll get on with them. It doesn't even matter if you haven't got anything in common - if you make an effort to look interested in what they have to say and you're always up for a laugh, they'll Love hanging out with you.
Karen uses dating site IllicitEncounters.com