Guilt After An Affair

It has long been thought that when it comes to cheating, men not only are more apt to do it, but will probably feel less guilty afterward, too. Reason being, procreation is a natural drive for men to promote the survival of their species. Guilt is not a part of that equation.

Biology vs. sociology
While biology is not a good excuse for sexual infidelity, there isn’t much question that men are fundamentally hardwired to procreate more often, and if given the opportunity, with a larger variety of women. Using this thinking, sexual intercourse outside a relationship could be construed as more of a business transaction than an act of love. At least this is what such celebrities as Tiger Woods, Bill Clinton, Jude Law… would like us their significant others to believe..

Most men, however, realize that their female cohorts are rather different than them, equating sex with emotional love, more than just a roll in the hay. Keeping this in mind, we would expect the average guy to feel less remorse when participating in meaningless sex, than if he was actually ‘falling for’ the person he was cheating with. However, unlike what intuition tells us, this is exactly the opposite of what happens.

Men feel the guilt
Evidently, men — at least when it comes to physical infidelity, feel more guilt towards sexual infidelity than women, according to Toronto researchers. What they found, was the women felt more remorse towards emotional infidelity, and men towards the physical act of sex itself. Interestingly, a second part of the study pointed to the fact that a cheating wife might have a double standard. While most women admitted to being less guilt ridden over a physical sexcapade, she was much more likely to leave a partner for cheating physically, than if he had cheated emotionally.

Another study at Marymount Manhattan College has been looking at this surprising double standard for the past few years, and has come to the conclusion that women feel a sense of entitlement when they cheat. What allowed the women in the study to feel no guilt was their ultimate unhappiness in their relationships. They simply felt entitled to being happy. In a sense, these affairs could be considered a catalyst in finding a way out of a relationship they no longer want to be in.

Who’s to blame
One of the most controversial questions that naturally come out of studies like this, is who is really to blame for the infidelity? Is it the person who cheated, because they weren’t strong enough to tell their partner they wanted out? Or is it the victim, for not listening to the cheaters cries of unhappiness, and taking the steps to remedy that?

While we must trust our partner to do what is right, if ever they are faced with the opportunity to cheat, it pays to already have a healthy relationship to stave off the deepest, darkest of temptations. This responsibility falls on both partners. The partner who is considering cheating, should seek counseling immediately, if for any reason they are contemplating being unfaithful. Any partner who may be a future victim of infidelity, should take the time to keep the path of communication open in their relationship. When a partner feels comfortable with sharing their difficulties, and the other is comfortable with listening, the two can often find compromise, strengthening their bond in the process.

Human justification is not always the most moral process, but by taking a progressive approach to your relationships, you can often stay two steps ahead of the game. This means, when the cat’s (you) away, and the cat has laid out a reasonable path of expectation, trust and communication, the mice will think twice before they play.

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