By Andy Merrett
Sep 15, 2008
Who takes responsibility for marital faithfulness?
Gary Neuman has written a book for women. The Truth About Cheating: Why Men Stray and What You Can Do to Prevent It is a “relationship advice manual” that’s “dedicated to helping wives”.
While I haven’t read the book, Marie Claire magazine suggests that the main thrust of the book is that “women should make certain changes in themselves, to avoid their partner’s eyes from wandering”.
Neuman, a psychotherapist, has based his book on the responses of 25,500 men, some who have remained faithful, and some who have not.
Ninety percent of husbands who had cheated on their wife said that they were significantly dissatisfied with their marriage.
Rather simplistically, Neuman suggests, “Men will eventually find their way into the arms of another if they are not getting enough sex at home.”
Unsurprisingly, the book’s content has riled many women. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s annoyed some men, too.
Who should take responsibility for marriage?
Or should both partners take an equal share of responsibility in maintaining and nurturing their relationship?
Neuman’s soundbite – that men will stray if they don’t get enough sex at home – may well be a gross oversimplification of what’s written in his book, but there’s no doubt that he’s said it.
This assumes that sex – or a lack of it – is the only thing that will make or break a marriage.
It also suggests that Neuman believes men should be entitled to as much sex as they want with their partner (and even this may still not be enough for some), while the woman should simply roll over and take it (if you’ll excuse the phraseology) – regardless of her feelings.
A healthy relationship is built on love, communication, trust, and compromise.
These elements not only maintain super-relationships, but help to rescue those that are in danger of going off course before they smash into the rocks and end in unfaithfulness and potential separation.
I wonder if Neuman – or, perhaps, a female equivalent (if there is such a person) – would blame the man if a woman strays?
Stereotypically, the reasoning would be far less to do with sex – the physical act, at least – and far more to do with a lack of attention, disinterest, lack of romance, feelings of being unappreciated, and so on.
Yet, to varying degrees, any number of “issues” can affect a relationship. If left unchecked, it can lead to unfaithfulness, even without any other person becoming involved.
Sex is important in a marriage relationship, and can maintain a strong bond, but it can’t do that in isolation, and isn’t a miracle cure for a decaying relationship.
I’m sure Neuman’s book has much more to say on the subject, but I’ve a horrible feeling all that’s picked up on is that men are portrayed as sex-starved animals who’ll simply go wherever they can be physically fulfilled, while women are their slaves who should be grateful they’ve been picked, and should do all they can to hold on to them.
In the real world, not all men are like that, and many couples take a holistic approach to their relationships.
In fairness, Neuman doesn’t write rubbish, and I believe he is for marriage (great marriages in fact). However, something in “Why Men Stray…” doesn’t sit quite right.
OK, over to you. What do you think? Have you read Neuman’s book? What did you think, honestly? Leave a comment below.