by Dr. Boyce Watkins
I received a preview for the new film, “Why Do Men Cheat” in my Facebook account today. I thought the title was interesting, since it asks one of those questions that nearly every woman in America has asked 10,000 girlfriends over the years. I enjoyed the preview, and I am always happy to support a project being done in the city of Detroit, one of the most creative and talented (yet troubled) places in America. The dating market in Detroit has become one where too many people have been taught to make war where there should be love, and male/female interactions are unlike anywhere else in the United States.
With that being said, I’d be remiss not to mention this new film without giving my top five thoughts on why men cheat. Again, I am not a relationship guru, but if Steve Harvey can give relationship advice then so can I. Here it goes:
1) If you want to understand why men cheat, be prepared to hear the truth. Accept the fact that men and women are biologically different, and there are certain things that men and women will never tell each other. Women usually lie about how many men they’ve been with, and men lie about how many women they are thinking about right now. But if you open the door for truth, you can get it, just make sure you can handle what you see. Love is not a perfect fairytale, and the saddest thing in the world is to go through life searching for something that does not exist. The new guy might seem to be so much better than the last one, but that’s usually because unlike his ex-girlfriends, you haven’t had a chance to see his dirty laundry. This doesn’t mean that all men cheat, but one can be easily deluded into thinking that the next person in line is the answer to all of our problems, when the last person we just left might have actually been pretty good.
2) Human beings are mammals. Mammals have mating patterns, whether they are deer in the woods or human beings in a corporate office. If you want to figure out what lies in the hearts of man, just watch the animals on the Discovery Channel. Bears do what they do without worrying about what society thinks, what their pastor is going to say or what is socially acceptable. They simply do what comes naturally. Most human beings do all the same stuff and have all the same impulses, we just convince ourselves that we’re advanced enough to overcome our natural instincts. But whether you talk about animals or people, the alpha male is always a mating target for females, males always seek females who show signs of fertility, females seek out strength and men have a tendency to sometimes roam. That’s just the way it is (again, I am not justifying cheating or saying that it happens in all cases, so don’t hang me for that one).
3) Women who want to understand what men want and think should ask close male friends their thoughts, so they can get an honest assessment. Your boyfriend does not have the proper incentives to tell you everything that he is thinking. The risk is too high and if he tells you everything, you are going to look at him with the side eye. Women say they want the truth, but the fact is that many of them actually prefer a well-positioned lie that is consistent with the fairytale of perfection that we want to believe our relationships possess. It’s almost like how people might criticize a movie by saying that “it’s not realistic,” when we know that movies are never realistic, that’s why they’re called movies. What we are really saying in that case is that we’d like to see an unrealistic portrayal of highly realistic events that fits the mold of a fantasy that we find to be emotionally stimulating. That’s why, in many cases, you may be actually asking men to tell either tell you a comfortable truth or an equally comfortable lie to give you emotional stimulation and security.
If you really want to know what’s going on with me, an intelligent male friend or a brother can give you the information you need. You can also learn a lot from a book. I learned a great deal about women by reading the book, “What Women Want Men to Know,” by psychologist Barbara D’Angelis. What I read both traumatized and enlightened me, for I learned that men and women really are from different planets. As you go down the rabbit hole of understanding, be prepared to accept the truth and stop thinking that life is a perfect little fantasy.
4) Younger men are more prone to cheating than older men, mainly because higher testosterone levels lead to s*x drives that are through the roof. Unfortunately, for some men (say, an alpha male like Kobe Bryant), even the most beautiful woman in the world (i.e. his wife Vanessa) may not be enough to keep him entirely focused (hence the whole nasty situation with the girl in Colorado back in 2004 after everyone warned Kobe not to get married so young). What’s really odd is that even though he’s cheated on Vanessa incessantly, Kobe believes in his heart that he loves her. That’s largely because for many men, their hearts and their s*x organs work in different departments and have very little to do with one another. He shows his love for Vanessa by paying her bills, taking her with him in public and raising kids with her. These are the sacrifices that men make when they love a woman; his p***s manages about 2% of his life.
5) Accept the fact that you can’t control everything in your relationship. Going through someone’s phone, email account or text messages only makes you nuts. If you think your partner is cheating and you can’t handle it, then just leave. What I did learn a long time, ago, however, is that you gain very little comfort by spying on every aspect of another person’s life. The truth is that there are always going to be things that they do and think that you’ll never know anything about. The best assessment you can make is whether or not your instincts tell you that the person loves you and makes you their top priority. If someone loves you, you’ve got something valuable. How you deal with the cheating is up to you, but the reality is that most couples that have been together in those 50 year marriages you might fantasize about have typically overcome some form of infidelity…..just go talk to one of them and they can tell you their war stories.
Once again, life is not a fairytale. Lasting relationships can be ugly and difficult work. If you’re not ready to do the work, then stop hoping for the fantasy and stop presuming that the next guy on the list is so much better than the rest. Finding good love and keeping it is hard work and happens from the heart up, not the waste down. At least that’s my perception.
The video trailer is below: