Sex Q&A: Why It’s Hard for Women to Forgive Cheaters

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.

Liam’s Response:

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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11 thoughts on “Sex Q&A: Why It’s Hard for Women to Forgive Cheaters

  1. tina

    I was just told by the Guy I’m sleeping with thar he cheated on me. He happen to tell me this while we were making love and I tossed his ass out.while leaving his excuse to me was he was scared. We had. A long distance relationship and he was visiting me when he told me. I still care for him and this is killing me. I want him back but I don’t know if I can forgive him

  2. Laurie

    I disagree with this article, I was seeing a married man and it was just for the sex. Don’t know why but then things changed, I was happy to have sex with him but I wasn’t happy to give up job meetings, pre-arranged outings with friends for him. Next thing I know he’s sex-txting me but isn’t putting out anymore. I warned him, I wasn’t interested in just receiving sex-txts without sex (frustration), he just seemed to ignore what I was saying so it got to the stage where enough was enough and after giving up on trying to talk to him I just told him to sling his hook. I like him a lot and still miss him but I was getting tired of the rollercoaster feelings of being really unhappy then really unhappy – unfortunately the unhappy feelings became more frequent than the happy feelings which is why I ended things. I still don’t understand why things ended when they did and would be interested in anyone else’s view of the situation

  3. virgo361

    Good article, but there was some contradictions within it. You said that women can have an affair knowing the husband would bare the burden of the commitment they made to their wives and the do not desire losing a good help-mate. Then you said the cocktail scenario of how a woman would not seek sex with no strings. Doesn’t make sense. If the married woman doesn’t seek a way out of her marriage with the lover then how can the cocktail waitress seek a relationship with a committed man. To me it all comes down to what the bible says. God cursed men with long hard laboring work for the rest of their lives. While women were cursed with the desires of wanting man. Women’s desire will always be men. My belief is that woman will more likely cheat because of want and desire of another man, sexually and emotionally. Men’s desire lies within the need of sex. Many men can forgive women that cheat because they unfortunately think women are cheating for just a cheap thrill but, in most cases that isn’t so. Women don’t forgive men that cheat because women are more prone to being either egotistical or having low self-esteem. Which will create a non-forgiving outcome in their eyes. Women need to be needed more than men. That’s why the can’t forgive men. They feel like they failed in the relationship. Men only feel like failures when their wives leave them for their lover. If they see that their wife doesn’t leave them, they’ll forgive them.

  4. athena

    Yes, I agree. Women need to recall the Tantric Principle which ecplains that a female is “Shakti i.e. Power” and the male is “Shiva i.e. the Power Holder”. According to The Ancient Of Days without Shakti, Shiva tends to die off just like the Beast almost died in Beauty And The Beast. Only when Beauty came back to him and kissed him, did The Beast survive. If a woman truly loves a man, and he is mature enough to want a real lover, he will never stray far from his Shakti Goddess. So a Goddess has nothing to fear. Believe in yourself, and the true love you have given to your man. If he thinks he is worthy of your love, he will never leave you. He has to be a man and not a child to realize this though. Thanks Liam, as usual you have cut to the heart of the matter. Someone surely has given you that “Shakti” because I see the strength and geniune love in you for your clients. You do light up the path and show them the way to happiness. God Bless!

  5. manda

    i see what liam is saying here, but would also like to point out that you could look at this in a number of ways. men have a harder time dealing with their emotions. it often takes men a much longer time to come to terms with the pain and betrayal that is felt with something like an affair. i think a lot of the time men hold on and seem to forgive quicker because they really don’t know what to do, they don’t want to loose their mate, and they simply don’t like to loose. maybe it’s the man in this situation that can not let go…then again…maybe not.

  6. Mrs. Drama

    I find this to be very,very intresting,so what is the concept of the cycle for the husband to be with a younger female,is it to feel more of a man to feel young or is it to bare a child may~be to carrie on his root.My question is to you is this cycle can n how can it ever be broken.?The lies and actions do they have an afect on the family n how can women of today let someone be so controlling to allow this to happen it cant be love,when these women are indepened how can they accept it must be a great buriden on them in later in life it they should find and choose to leave that way of life of sexuallity to please the master when the master is only pleaseing himself.How do you respect yourself or do you even as a women?I find it to be the master,must of had a bad experience in youth with this growing up to carry this on.I can not help from woundering if it was force upon him.This has help me to understand why he is so giveing as to helping,it must be a way for him of giveing back for the disfunction life style.I am not his wife or his young girl friend nor the waitress’lol’.i am just a person that has been involved with the’master’ now for two years,everyday we talked through the computer n i will amitt that feeling were forming from both sides.i just recently found his secret that he holds.Today he still dose not amitt to anything that i confronted him with,but wounders hell the hell ‘i know’.I feel his pain,his love and affection,also i feel his ‘freedom’ and the hurt so deeply wanting just to be normally in love.I have reply to him,’rules are made to be broken” and ”change is forward n willing to want” he listens,he is quite and i know,i touch that soft spot his heart,for he dose have one of careing to many women of his circle. Iwill continue to be his friend and understanding of the tribal deep roots.he takes this placement of values and historically religion very seriously.i must be carefull not to fall in his trap of giveing and shareing the ‘love’…Great~Story Liam’s n Thank~You.

  7. Marc from the UK

    Congratualtions to the Author Liam, intelligent and logical article, helps me see things in a different perspective, helps me understand the female species more!!! You should write a book just for men to read, might save an awful lot of heartache and family break ups in the future!Weldone

  8. Melissa

    Hi Liam,
    I have always thought that “friends with benefits'”is not just ‘”riends with benefits “for the women
    involved, and your article seems to explain why i might be right. Thank you for amazing insights.

  9. -quinn ext.5484

    i really had to think about this for a only a minute… it is true, men will forgive an affair of a woman or even a wife.
    maybe just maybe the male ego gets motivated to be a better man in order to keep the little lady at home and happy.

    women forgive but never forget. imho if you are going to keep the relationship moving forward then pack up the past and throw it away. there is no room for negative attitudes about what a person did if you are indeed staying with them.


  10. Cat N.

    Liam, the article is brilliant. You’ve always delved into history to explain current behaviors which I believe is accurate. Anthropology is indeed a good indicator of future behavior, our past. Being 59 this month, I have had relationships where since I was married, I was a good affair choice because he’d be safe from any commitment or obligation financially toward me or my children. I was only 36. I wish I had been wise to it then but I was not reading with you till much later. So I cheated on my spouse and left him for that person. My spouse, just as you said, wanted not to lose the mother and good mate, willing to forgive. I see it all so clearly now but I never had another partner in my life, left the man who only wanted something on the side. The rest simply “date” with no desire to take care of anyone but themselves. Do I “need” a man for being taken care of? Obviously I’ve lived alone 22 years so far, I guess not although quality of life is not excellent with only one income. But I “want” a man. I feel like half of the salt and pepper shaker set. Sort of lonely and lost. GREAT article. You always are a superb writer. And I love reading with you.

    Still sleepless in the south.


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