Historically women have found forgiving a cheating spouse to be more difficult than men. There are always many influences and variables to this that can change a situation but overall there are some great reasons for this. Liam takes us on a journey that may enlighten us on why this is so.
Men Forgive, Women Fear and Fester
Amy from Richmond, Kentucky asks:
I was reading the most recent entry question regarding the woman who had an affair. How is it that men tend to forgive the wives, but the wives can never seem to forgive the men? I’ve noticed this a lot. No matter what, the man/husband does not want to give up the woman and will do whatever it takes to save the marriage.
Greetings, Amy, and thank you so much for this inquiry. Your observation is astute. Although situations and temperaments will differ widely depending on the particulars of a situation, the overall trend appears very much in favor of your thesis; men do tend to forgive their partner’s infidelities while women have a much harder time letting such things go. Now, we’re not the first to note this difference in the sexes, and there may well be more than a few reasons for it, but the main reason… the most riveting reason… will take us on a perilous journey deep into the very heart of ancient female enigma. I’m afraid it won’t be pretty nor will it be viewed as politically correct, but I will not shirk from giving my most honest answer on that account. If you would like more personalized advice contact one of our psychics today.
The prime reason for this marked difference between the male and female reaction to an extramarital affair resides, at least for those of us born and raised in Western culture, in historical perception and value placement. From a very early point in our male-dominated society, women have been subjected to a bloodbath of sexual competition, not just to obtain prize mates for the propagation of the species but also for the very survival of the female herself. For thousands of years, women lived with the burden of knowing there was no alternate means of supporting themselves or their children should they find themselves mate-less. Thanks to this ugly reality, women tend to see extramarital affairs as a good deal more threatening and insulting than a man might. Having historically much more to lose, they are far less inclined to forgive in an age where they no longer have to.
Our passage away from tribal roots happened a very long time ago, but we still tend to enact many of the rites and rituals of our ancestors, dressing them up with modern nuances and customs. The truth of the matter is a husband is far more likely to forgive an affair because he knows the other man is probably NOT looking to get his wife to leave her family for him. In fact, a woman who is safely wedded to another is often considered a better choice by men looking for sex rather than a relationship. He gets to have the passion, and her husband can bear the burden of giving her a commitment. This is not to say that men don’t get jealous. They can and certainly do, just usually not enough to subject themselves to a costly divorce and the loss of a good help-mate.
On the other hand… For a woman whose husband is sleeping with another woman, the matter is very different. This woman knows the woman her husband is sleeping with is a genuine threat to the family unit. No woman ever has an affair with a man with no strings attached. Almost without exception, she will be looking to seduce him away from his family. Make no mistake, even a one night stand with a cocktail waitress is very seldom “just sex” to the waitress. It is a very ancient, very competitive game; one forced on women by men from very early times. When we moved away from our tribal roots, women lost the protection of the collective; the right for her and her off-spring to be provided for equally as members of the tribe. What took the place of that system was a male dominate/female dependent standard, giving a single woman literally no choice in her own survival. Men controlled that just as they controlled her reproduction and progeny via the enforcement of religious law. For a woman to have food and shelter, she had to mate with one man. If she was the only wife in the scenario, then she’d better be sure that man didn’t start bedding with other women who might look to take her place… Or that he didn’t start taking too many other wives, thus cutting into her and her children’s piece of the pie… And so the archetypal pattern of female competition became embedded. We can talk all we want about liberation and modern understanding, but many of these ancient patterns are still in play. Even if material survival isn’t an issue, every woman knows somewhere in the back of her mind that young girl checking out her man is looking to destroy her happiness and take her place.
So you see, Amy, women tend to put more value on infidelity than men because to them it’s a far bigger deal, and it leaves a far deeper wound. It’s hard for a woman to forgive a husband who has an affair, because that affair is seen as a blatant disregard for her survival, a devaluation of her very life. We old Savannah apes still hear the echoes of our distant past. And if this is true, then one day, perhaps women will listen back far enough to reconnect with the independent power still stored deep in their reptilian brains and break free of the perversions and deceptions of patriarchy that tell them they cannot survive without a man to look after them. Maybe. One can dream anyway.
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