Today we’re going to talk about how being cheated on will affect a man.
Luckily, (or unluckily) we’ve had a lot of experience with seeing women cheat on men. After all, we are a company that has a heavy focus on breakups and infidelity is certainly a common catalyst for breakups to occur.
But how does it affect men?
Ultimately we’ve observed that infidelity can have a great impact on your own personal attachment style. If you are a victim of it and were previously securely attached, that event alone can reshape your attachment style to making it more insecure. Additionally you’ll be beset with a wide range of emotions such as anger, sadness, jealousy, fear, and confusion. Many men have reported to us a sense of betrayal and a loss of trust that can be deeply destabilizing.
But for this article a simple definition isn’t going to cut it, here’s everything we’re going to cover,
- Understanding The Core Seven
- Understanding The Major Motives Behind Cheating
- How To Cope With The Emotional Fallout
- When You Should Let Go And Move On
Let’s get started.
Understanding The Core Seven
As one of Ex Boyfriend Recovery’s coaches I’m expected to have a basic understanding of how cheating will impact a man. So, after spending a week researching I’ve found that cheating impacts men in the seven following ways,
- Emotional Turmoil: Infidelity is an emotional tsunami, often leaving men grappling with anger, sadness, jealousy, fear, and confusion. The sense of betrayal can be profound, creating a seismic shift in their emotional equilibrium and resulting in a deep loss of trust.
- Erosion of Self-Esteem: One of the most damaging effects of infidelity is the undermining of a man’s self-esteem. Feelings of inadequacy and insecurity can rise to the surface, leading him to question his worth, attractiveness, and capabilities as a partner.
- Mental Health Implications: The emotional roller-coaster triggered by infidelity doesn’t just stop at feelings; it can escalate into serious mental health issues. Men may find themselves battling depression, anxiety, or even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Existing mental health conditions may also become more severe in the wake of betrayal.
- Physical Health Repercussions: The psychological strain often seeps into the physical realm. Stress and emotional distress can manifest as changes in appetite, sleep disturbances, frequent headaches, stomach problems, or other stress-related ailments.
- Relationship Dynamics: Infidelity casts a long shadow over relationships. The most obvious is the breakdown of the primary relationship, marked by diminished communication, trust, and intimacy. However, the ripple effects can extend to relationships with children, friends, or family members, who might be forced to take sides or become entangled in the aftermath.
- Behavioral Shifts: Men often respond to infidelity with significant behavioral changes. Some might engage in risky or self-destructive behaviors, such as substance abuse or promiscuity. Others might seek refuge in work or hobbies, using these as distractions or avoidance mechanisms.
- Trust Issues: Trust, once shattered, is challenging to rebuild. After experiencing infidelity, a man may struggle with trusting future partners, leading to potential issues with jealousy, control, or insecurity in subsequent relationships.
Consider these to be the “Core Seven.”
But if we’re being honest that’s just the foundation of my research.
What I found particularly interesting was this study, Phillips, A. (2010). Indignation or Insecurity: The Influence of Mate Value on Distress in Response to Infidelity. Evolutionary Psychology.
Which ultimately found that,
People who perceive themselves to be high in mate value report greater levels of indignation in response to an unfaithful partner, whereas people who perceive themselves to be lower in mate value reported greater levels of insecurity.
You know what this means, right?
A mans self esteem can actually be correlated to how hard he’ll take the infidelity.
He’ll be more “up in arms” about it if he has a high sense of self whereas if he has a low sense of self, well, he’ll still take it hard but not as hard. The thought that came to mind for me with this was that if you don’t particularly think highly of yourself then you might already be expecting something like being cheated on to happen to you so you aren’t as taken aback when it does happen.
And that leads me to my next point. Understanding the major motives behind cheating.
Understanding The Major Motives Behind Cheating
Probably the foremost authority on the subject of cheating is Esther Perel,
So I’m going to take a page out of her book to explain the major motives of cheating,
In all, she has identified three common reasons that continually crop up.
What’s interesting is that she emphasizes that cheating is not always a symptom of relationship problems or deficiencies with one’s partner. Instead, she suggests that people may cheat for reasons related to their own personal self-seeking:
- Search for lost parts of themselves: Perel suggests that infidelity can be an attempt to reconnect with lost parts of oneself, or to engage with unexplored aspects of one’s identity. People may stray because they are longing for experiences they feel they are missing in their current lives. They may be looking not just for another person, but for another version of themselves.
- Identity crisis or personal rebellion: Perel uses the example of a woman named Priya to illustrate that infidelity can be a response to a personal identity crisis. Despite having a stable and fulfilling marriage, Priya had an affair as a form of “belated adolescent rebellion.” Perel suggests that, rather than reflecting problems in Priya’s marriage, the affair was entirely about Priya and her own internal struggles.
- Personal unhappiness or restlessness: Perel also points out that sometimes people cheat because they are unhappy with themselves, rather than with their partner or their relationship. They may be feeling uncomfortable, restless, or longing for something else. They may be seeking to transcend a sense of internal deadness, or to assert a sense of autonomy over their lives. In a paradoxical way, while they are lying to their partner, they may feel that for the first time they are not lying to themselves.
This perspective challenges conventional wisdom about infidelity, suggesting that it can be as much about the individual’s personal journey as it is about the relationship itself.
How To Cope With The Emotional Fallout Of Being Cheated On
Every man has his unique interpretation of self-worth and masculinity.
However, when faced with infidelity, it can be tempting to compare oneself to the other person, questioning if they are superior to you in every way (or sometimes being overcome with pure hatred and rage.)
This line of thinking can lead to damaging “If only” speculations.
“If only I had done this in the relationship…”
“If only I had done that in the relationship…”
As cliché as this is going to sound, it’s crucial to avoid these thoughts as they can only foster doubt about your self-worth and masculinity.
According to a piece on ideapod.com,
Infidelity can indeed have a profound impact on your behavior and those around you. The grief, anxiety, stress, and depression resulting from such an experience can have lasting effects.
However, it’s important to remember that while these feelings are valid and significant, they are not permanent fixtures. Over time, with self-care, support from others, and potentially professional help, the intensity of these emotions can lessen. Life after infidelity can look different, but it’s not doomed to be a perpetual state of anguish.
One of the things that you’ll often hear our Founder Chris Seiter talk about is that the journey you go through post breakup will not be linear.
Since we deal with people who are constantly trying to get their exes back I’ll use an example from that.
When our average client enters our eco system this is often what their expectation looks like,
The reality of course looks like this,
The journey to healing is often non-linear, filled with ups and downs, moments of progress, and setbacks. However, it’s critical to remember that each step, no matter how small, is a move towards recovery.
Thus, while the effects of infidelity are profoundly negative and to a certain extent, lasting, they do not have to define your life. You have the agency to reclaim your narrative, to build a future that is not dominated by the past. This is the power of human resilience, a testament to our inherent capacity to endure, to grow, and ultimately, to heal.
When You Should Let Go And Move On
While it may seem a touch dramatic, there are times when you must simply let go.
Persisting in a toxic relationship will only cultivate an atmosphere of negativity, with little prospect of healthy growth.
Undoubtedly, the severing of ties will cause pain. Yet, the emotional trauma that would ensue from remaining in the relationship would be far more intense.
A critical query then arises: how does one forgive their partner and navigate the path towards healing?
Each individual—regardless of gender—harbors unique mechanisms for forgiveness, particularly when it comes to those they hold dear.
This notion may resonate as a familiar refrain, but it remains an enduring truth: time is a profound healer. The duration of this healing process is unpredictable; it could be swift or lengthy.
But rest assured, healing will inevitably transpire. You may even find yourself grateful for the experience, recognizing that the pain was a catalyst for your growth, leading you to become more resilient and wise.
In due course, you may feel ready to entertain the notion of a new relationship, yet the specter of past betrayal may linger in your mind. To manage such anxieties, it’s crucial to prioritize your own wellbeing and refrain from making decisions rooted in fear. If you feel the need for professional assistance, don’t hesitate to seek it. As advised by reachout.com, when your mind and heart are both ready, everything else will naturally fall into place.
However, it’s worth noting that in a new relationship, it would be inequitable to expect your partner to shoulder the entire emotional load. A relationship should be a mutual endeavor, a balance of giving and receiving, underpinned by respect and understanding.