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‘Help! My husband is a habitual cheater’ |

Health And Family

‘Help! My husband is a habitual cheater’

THE SEX ADVISOR - Eppy Halili Gochangco - The Philippine Star

Dear Eppy,

I need advice from you.  I am one of the many fans of your column in Philippine STAR. I caught my husband cheating on me three times.  The first one was when I was pregnant.  I found out he was hiding a cellphone from me and when I caught him, I saw that he had pictures of himself kissing a girl.  The second time, he was hiding a cellphone, and from there I read that he was courting a girl from work.  Lately, I caught him again hiding another cell phone that showed text messages where he was  flirting with other girls. 

Eppy, I don’t know if I am a nagger.  I’ve forgiven him so many times already.  Especially now that we have children already.  I tried breaking up with him many times, but I think about our children. I don’t want them to grow up without a father.  What should I do?  Every time he leaves the house, I feel he will meet up with a woman.  I am so paranoid already.  Your advice will truly help me. 

Ms. Nagger 

Dear Ms. Nagger,

You have to identify the following:

1. Does he have a history of cheating even before you met him?

a. Did he cheat on someone to get to you?

b. Does he treat you well?

c. Does he not care if you find out that he is cheating on you?

d. Over the years, did he ever change one tiny bit for the better?

2. Was he a good husband for quite some time, then cheated and did it again and again?

If you answered yes to item 1, chances are your husband is a true-blooded cheater or a habitual cheater.  It will be difficult to change him.  If you answered yes to 1a, if he can cheat on someone else to get to you, then he can cheat on you to get to someone else.  If you answered yes to 1c and no to 1d, chances are he has a personality disorder and he will be like that for the rest of his life.  My questions above do not give you a diagnosis but will just help you see how bad the situation is.  If it is really bad, I suggest for you to bring your problem to a professional who will give you a more accurate assessment of your husband and your situation.

If your husband is a habitual cheater, then you have to make a choice.  The choices are: a) Accept him the way he is or b) Leave him.  Why the choice?  No one has the right to judge you or your husband.  Some wives leave their husbands because of the opinions of their friends and family.  Yet friends and family members don’t know how the wives really feel or what the husbands are going through.  Decide based on what you think you can handle and not on what others think you should do. 

A habitual cheater for me is a sick person.  I don’t agree with punishing or condemning sick people.  They are just that way.  No one wants to be an obnoxious cheater.  If they were normal and they are given a choice, these men would prefer not to be habitual cheaters.  Psychologically troubled people will lie, cheat, hide things from others not because they have a grandiose plan to make life miserable or painful for everyone or anyone.  They just have the itch to do so.  I think it’s an obsessive-compulsive problem, which needs to be addressed.  However, it will be difficult to address.  If it were easy, there wouldn’t be any cheating husbands today.

You, on the other hand, may feel you are victimized.  If you feel you are victimized because your husband is a cheater, then you have to do something about it.  Do what’s best to make you happy in life.  No one can make that decision for you.  Try making yourself a non-victim and see how it fits you.

If, on the other hand, you answered yes to item 2, then your husband is not a habitual cheater.  You and he may be having a relationship problem or your husband is going through something difficult.  Either way, it needs to be addressed.  Julia McKinnell wrote a review of Gary Neuman’s book entitled Truth about Cheating: Why men Stray and What You Can Do to Prevent It. Her article is entitled “How to Prevent Him from Cheating,” which is published in Maclean’s.  Neuman writes about husbands who stray away.  Apparently, for Neuman, not all men who cheat are habitual cheaters.  Neuman says that some men are put in a situation where cheating becomes a response due to circumstances.  McKinnell points out that in Neuman’s study men cheated on their wives not because they were not satisfied sexually with their wives.  Instead, men strayed because they were emotionally dissatisfied.  This applies only IF the man has not addressed his issues in life and his issues with his wife.  This is not to blame the wife.  Rather, this is to point out that men are also fragile beings and some of them cope in certain ways that directly affect the relationship.  That is, by cheating.  Apparently, the view that men are strong can only be applied to physical matters.  Emotionally, some are weak.

This may be true because most men don’t fight women.  When men are angry, they keep quiet; if they feel they are being picked on by their partners, they keep quiet, if their partners nag them, they keep quiet.  Then they become passive aggressive.  One of the passive aggressive acts is cheating.  It is an obviously immature behavior, but it is a frequent behavior in men who cheat.

Lastly, you should not use children to stay in a bad relationship.  It is not your children’s fault that you and your husband are having a problem.  Leave your husband because you don’t want to be with him anymore, not because you think your children will benefit from your staying in the relationship.  For Kirn, McDowell, Padgett, Sachs, and Thigpen (Time) in their article “Should You Stay Together for the Kids?” they pointed out that children would have a good life if “… mom has enough money and dad stays connected, when parents stay civil and don’t bad-mouth each other.”  I’d like to add to that, children are sensitive creatures.  How can sensitive creatures live a normal life when they constantly have to make themselves feel good whenever two people are fighting or giving each other the cold shoulder?  I would like to stress that I am not saying you should leave your husband.  I am saying, leave or stay with your husband only if you think it is good for you and you know you can handle the consequences of your choice because the opinion that children will benefit from staying together is not useful. 


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