Perhaps this fear is widespread because infidelity itself is widespread. No one knows exactly how extensive it is, but studies indicate that at some time during their married lives, many husbands and wives are untrue to their spouses.
There are certain basic facts about infidelity. First, it rarely happens at all if the couple is genuinely happy. And when it does occur in a happy marriage, more men than women are apt to be unfaithful.
Some men, even those with good marriages, cannot resist temptation. Business trips, conferences, attempts to prove to themselves and others that they are really “one of the boys”, long absences from home—these are all factors in infidelity. If the marriage is a sound, happy one, the wife may never be aware of the situation, and if the male admits straying occasionally, I suspect that the loving wife most usually forgives and forgets.
If she does not but chooses to use the incident as a weapon, or as a basis for frequent recrimination, she may destroy the happy foundation of the marriage. I’m reminded of a case history which proves the point.
Communication skills can reduce negative emotions such as anger
A young executive admitted to his wife that while on a business trip he had had intercourse with an utter stranger, being intoxicated at the time. Instead of forgiving him, the wife carried on about it for months and interpreted all of his subsequent actions in the light of this one incident.
“We were happy for five years until this happened,” the husband told a doctor friend. “Then everything changed. If I had never told my wife about it, we’d be happy as ever today. I guess I was a fool for wanting to clear my conscience as much as possible.”
This couple is not divorced, but the wife refuses to accept her husband’s honest attempts to make amends, and I suspect that the marriage is headed for a tragic showdown.
If a couple is sexually unhappy, the possibility of infidelity is far greater. Then, one or the other mate may seek an extra-marital affair.
How to guard against this damaging occurrence?
Studies indicate that four factors play prominent roles with males who stray. The order presented here is not an order of importance. (I doubt if that is known.) First, in the case of the straying male, there is the factor of the greater frequency of sexual need. The husband feels he must have intercourse or some kind of sexual activity more often than his wife, and this disparity may remain unresolved for a long time.
Second, the male feels that the sexual play aspect which he so enjoys is somehow unacceptable to his wife; third, the wife may reject one or another form of stimulation, especially oral stimulation; and finally, the husband may feel a lack of respect in the home, and that his wife is really the dominant figure in the marriage. His infidelity may represent an attempt to find a woman who will look up to him and reaffirm his maleness.
Insofar as the woman is concerned, there are, I think, some similar factors at the root of infidelity and some dissimilar ones. Lack of sexual satisfaction is certainly basic to the woman who strays. Inability to reach orgasm may be the most important consideration here. She may find her husband coarse and overbearing in his approach to her. Further, I feel that some women stray because they want to be dominated by a man, but find that their husbands simply cannot achieve this domination.
My advice concerning infidelity will be brief.
- First, forgiveness can be golden, but it should not become a habit. If one or the other mate strays, it is time to re-evaluate the entire marriage soberly and without undue emotion. Husband and wife should sit down together, reassess the marriage and try to discover what is wrong.
- Ensure that you are having good sex. A relationship in which premature ejaculation and lack of orgasm are the key events during intercourse will please nobody! And without orgasm, women tend to become unhappy and dissatisfied, the man is unfulfilled because he is not satisfying the woman, and trust and harmony are eroded. Answer – men, learn the skills of slow ejaculation control and how to give a woman an orgasm!
- A certain amount of compromise will be necessary if the problem stems from unfulfilled sexual needs. Again, it is appropriate to re-run the memory film to discover why husband or wife does or does not accept a technique, an advance, or a belief about marital sex.
Let’s look for a moment at the four-in-five marriages in which there is no infidelity. I suspect these marriages have some of the following in common: the couple actively seeks information and advice on all phases of marriage including sex; the couple grows in interests, in devotion to each other and spiritual feelings of mutual love; and finally, the couple takes little for granted in marriage. Rather, the husband and wife know that happiness needs to be worked for and that happiness is derived mainly from mutual respect, admiration and interest.
Thus, we have seen that in fears concerning marital sex, there are some common denominators. These are information, initiative, understanding, awareness, ability to compromise, devotion and mature trust in oneself and the partner.