on September 12, 2008
For 'The Truth About Cheating', Neuman interviewed large numbers of men - both those who had cheated and who had not. His findings? Men blame being under-appreciated by their wives and thereby being 'emotional disconnected'. Even Neuman admits that sounds like whining and yet he moves ahead and works on that premise in order to tell women what to do to make their man feel appreciated.
In order to overcome their marital deficiencies Neuman claims he is helping wives by telling them to... always forgive him; give him sex on demand; lavish praise on him for providing for the family, rarely let him out on his own with friends or work colleagues; and take an interest in his hobbies.
The difficulty is, when does this become an act and when is it real? Is this approach manipulation? Does it put too much pressure on the wife?
Neuman writes nothing about developing a moral foundation of trust in your marriage. That is, what keeps a person from disregarding their vows to begin with? What fuels a healthy commitment to the other person whether it's easy or not? Those are the bedrock questions that Nueman forgets.
As a result, it may feel the author's advice ends up sacrificing the wife's needs and desires as they defer to their partner's needs. This might look like love, but it too easily devolves to pandering.
Neuman claims his work is dedicated to helping wives learn and change in ways that will significantly benefit both them and their husbands. That's a worthy undertaking when it's done together, mutually and out of a choice to care for the other person more than one's self. However, when it's done out of fear, or obligation, or desperation it can too easily devolve to something akin to slavery. That's what Nueman seems to miss.
The real questions are, how do women develop and grow in genuine love for their husbands? Where does a heart-felt love come from? How does a wife choose to respect her husband and not just go through the motions? Ultimately, that's a question much deeper that this book addresses - it's a spiritual question.
on February 23, 2009
When author Gary Neuman asked cheating husbands why they cheated, these men blamed their wives, claiming their emotional and sexual needs weren’t being met, so they found a mistress to meet them instead.
At first, the author says women shouldn’t accept this blame…but then spends the rest of book telling women to meet those needs or else he’ll cheat. However, if she's not to blame for the problem, why is the burden on her to fix it?
What’s being ignored by both the author and these men are the other solutions available to them. If there were unmet needs, they could’ve:
1 -- Assertively voiced their unmet needs
If an adult has unmet needs, it’s up to that adult to voice those needs. It’s inappropriate for an adult to expect their spouse to read their mind.
2 -- Ask for a divorce
These men claimed that no matter how hard they tried to work on their marriage, they couldn’t win. However, they came across as passive rather than assertive, so I find that hard to believe. But let’s say a known liar is telling the truth that he assertively voiced his needs only to have them coldly refused, the next assertive action is divorce. After all, if he’s going to ACT single, then he should BE single.
3 -- Ask for a separation
If a man is unsure about divorce, he can ask for a separation to clarify his priorities. If this means entering the dating world again, at least he’s not lying to his wife in the process.
4 -- Ask for an open marriage
Monogamy isn't for everyone. Instead of wearing the monogamy mask to his wife's face and ripping it off behind her back, he could just be honest about his values.
These available choices would’ve leveled the playing field. Making these choices, however, requires strength of character.
Character is who you are when no one is looking. When their wives weren’t looking, these men broke their vows to gain an unfair advantage.
Good character means letting your conscience be your guide (rather than your impulses). You don’t cheat because it would be like getting intimate with someone covered in urine. No matter how attractive the person is, that smell (your conscience) would turn you off.
Good character also means setting good boundaries. It’s tempting to blame a mistress for disrespecting boundaries, but if he firmly set them, she wouldn’t be able to cross them. The fact that she could reveals he invited her to.
Instead of focusing on character – which really determines whether a man will cheat – the author focuses on their excuses (unmet needs). However, if he had unmet needs, chances are she did, too...yet she didn't use that excuse to cheat, too.
The target for this book are those who have an overactive, guilty conscience - the ones who indulge in "if only" thinking. "If only" I had been better behaved, I wouldn't have been cheated on. It's similar to a child thinking if only they had been better behaved, their parents wouldn't have divorced.
But like I said earlier, if the marriage were truly bad, there were other options. So bad marriages don't cause cheating, bad character does, so the author has the wrong target. He's targeting a woman's overactive, guilty conscience and using it against her. The author tries to say men have just as guilty a conscience, but they don't.
One man described in great detail how he got away with cheating by using business trips as an excuse. It sounded like bragging. The author asked him if he felt guilty and the man replied, “I guess you feel guilty.”
Instead of feeling guilty, these men felt entitled to cheat – and you can’t both feel entitled to do something and guilty about doing it at the same time. I suspect they only expressed guilt because that’s what the author wanted to hear. Being adept at lying, they were able to fool him the way they fooled their wives.
For these men, cheating was like a game. One man, about to meet up with his mistress, told his wife he was going golfing. He didn’t own golf clubs, so he got annoyed that she didn’t figure out he was cheating instead. So he got annoyed that she didn’t make the right move in a game she didn’t even know she was playing!
Are these men worth fighting for? I notice in affair-proofing books, it’s automatically assumed they are. However, I believe a man worth fighting for is one with good character, which these men didn’t have.
These men said they’d never confess to their affairs, not even if asked outright, and I took that as an admission of poor character. They didn’t want their wives knowing what they already knew about their character.
Giving advice on being kinder to your spouse is good advice. However, he’s twisted it in a way that provides a false sense of security. He says he’s empowering women but imagine telling a battered wife that she can batter-proof her husband by being nicer. Does that empower her?
Not only is this a false sense of security, but also an inappropriate sense of power. It changes the dynamic from two adults to a mother and her son.
For example, one man said he cheated with a dance partner because his friend pressured him to go dancing. Other men claimed their cheating friends had a bad influence on them, too. So according to the author, you affair-proof these guys by keeping their cheating friends away from them.
First of all, are you surprised these men blamed their friends for cheating? First they blame their wives, and now their friends? Am I supposed to believe they were bullied into having sex with a new woman or only cheated because they’re too nice?
Second, have you ever heard the saying, “Birds of a feather flock together”? It means we relate to people who share our values. If these men didn’t share their cheating friend’s values, they would’ve ditched them on their own.
By expecting wives to play mommy, the author’s hurting his own advice. For instance, he says you affair-proof your husband by having more sex with him and giving him respect. However, how can you feel sexual towards someone you’re treating like a son? How can you respect someone wanting you to be the only adult?
All this guilt-tripping does is justify cheating, give women a false sense of security and power, and give men an excuse to cheat in the future. Being abused (cheating is abuse) is traumatic enough. Being blamed for being abused is even more abusive, which is why I’ve given this book the lowest rating possible.
This is an intriguing book with an interesting title that provides one perspective on the issue of cheating. If all men cheated for the same reasons, then a lot more women would have figured out how to deal with it by now. Since every man is different, it's possible that every man views marriage and the marriage vows a little differently, and thus may stray from his marriage for different reasons than every other man.
I agree that a loving, nurturing wife is an asset in any marriage, but I also know from firsthand experience, that being an attentive, nurturing, loving wife focused on her husband's happiness, does not a faithful husband make.
While I feel that this book makes some valid specific suggestions on how a wife can support her husband emotionally which is always good, I feel that being a supportive loving wife does not assure a faithful husband. In addition, I strongly disagree that a wife has the right to keep her husband from socializing on his own with male friends, one of the suggestions in the book. Unless your husband is 12, I think he has the right to socialize with whomever he chooses.
People who genuinely love each other prefer each other's company, so genuinely nurturing that love and friendship seems like the best way to assure that the love will continue. And like another reviewer, I feel that 2 emotionally mature people who love each other have the best chance for enjoying a successful, happy marriage.
I truly appreciated the author's male point of view and his suggestions, some of which I thought were great, but I question the basic premise of this book that there is a formula or a series of behavioral patterns a wife can adopt to keep her husband faithful.
on October 15, 2008
As a man I found that the author was able to describe the ways that men feel about troubled relationships. It put into words many feelings that I and other males experience. I recommend that men read this book so that they might better articulate their distress. One of the reasons men act out their feelings rather than verbalize them is a poverty of language. This book is very articulate and puts the feelings men experience into easily understandable language. My hope is that men will begin to verbalize these feelings and that a dialog between partners can happen before an affair is started.
on October 28, 2009
Many of those that don't like this book seem to misunderstand it's purpose. It is not designed to make women a doormat, or make an absolute guarantee that your husband won't cheat. It's not designed even to fix your marriage. It's really designed to dispel two very powerful myths -- First that cheating is all about sex, and second that it is totally unpreventable. While these things are in fact true in some cases -- some men cheat primarily for sex, and some men cheat regardless of anything the wife does, they are not the NORMAL case. And this is something that when women find out can be liberating and empowering. Instead of trying to look younger, and be more exotic in bed, this book suggests that men are people too -- they have emotional needs which they often don't know how to ask to be fulfilled. IF these are areas where you marriage is weak, and you start to strengthen them, it will make a real difference. The warning signs and steps provided by the author are both practical and insightful as long as you keep that in mind.
I picked this book up because I wanted to explore further the actual psychology of marriage. What is it that helps a man to bond, and how does that relate to sex? As a pastor, I can say that there are many different patterns in marital dysfunction. Some are more the husband's fault, and some are more the wife's fault, but almost all involve both people. This book help deal with one rarely discussed yet fairly prevalent pattern of the man who can "do nothing right." Both men and women need to learn to be encouraging to their partners, but we don't often talk about this as it relates to the woman's role.
None of this excuses cheaters. A good man looks for help long before he looks for another woman. But this books helps put the finger on what underlying dynamics might be pushing in the wrong direction.
on October 5, 2008
I am a man, and I read this book simply because I figured I could benefit from it the same as women do. The wisdom is true, and very practical. Following the principles in this book has enriched my marriage in a way that few other books have. Gottman's books have also been very helpful for us. Probably because both authors rely on rigorous research, and not speculation.
on January 31, 2012
I am 38-year-old Masters prepared Registered Nurse with four kids with no clue on how to keep my marriage in order.
One week after my dear mother in law passed, my husband cheated on me with one of his "back home" childhood friends. After the shock was over, I wanted to know why my husband, who claimed to love me so much, could stray. We began counseling but after about two weeks, I felt us slipping right back into the same routine we were trying to come out of. I was determined not to let the marriage turn into one of those marriages where the couples are just there. No love, no connection just the day-to-day routine. I googled the words, "why men cheat" and this book came up on the search engine. When I opened the link and began reading what the book was offering, I immediately ordered it and thank the heavens above I did. My marriage has turned into a partnership in which both my husband and I are active members. I love again after reading the instruction delineated throughout this book. Moreover, my husband is literally following me around looking for things to do with me just as he did when he was trying to get me to go out with him some 20 years ago.
As humans, we do not have all of the answers but we certainly try to get it right. Society runs us down and our home responsibilities are just that, and we cannot just make it go away. We can however, get a grip on things and make it work for a win-win on everyone's end, with the help of this book.
This book helped me realize that the most important man in my live was suffering from lack of attention and that I was holding the cards on how to fix it. The book helped me to see the love of my life for who he really is and not just for the mistakes, he has committed. I am in love and sometimes, it seems like a dream. Do not get me wrong, it has been and still is hard, but at least I am not going at this forgiveness thing blindly. After reading this book, I now have the tools I needed long ago.
I truthfully believe in marriage and if you do too, do not give up and read this book. Trust this stranger when I say, you will not regret it.
on April 20, 2010
I can understand why some feel that this is a one sided book, but honestly women need to hear how men think. We spend so much time yelling at men asking them to talk and telling them what we think and how they should think...that we don't realize how close minded we truly are. My husband cheated on me emotionally and ultimately physcially throughout my marriage. It finally took him yelling at me to realize what role I had in it. I wanted to punish him for hurting me so bad that I denied him love, I made him feel like I didn't like him, and just pushed him away physically and emotionally. Everything this book said don't do...I DID! If your husband never hears appreciation at home, it's natural to gravitate to someone who's willing to give it.
My husband and I are slowly trying to put back the pieces of our marriage but this time I know that this isn't a journey he has to make alone. I have some work to do if I want to make this work. This book has been extremely helpful in identify and providing suggestions for what to do.
on September 12, 2008
The Truth about Cheating has completely changed my marriage. Even though i have only read the book recently it has allowed me to see my husband in a better light and to allow me to really take control.
This book is empowering for women and allows us to understand our men and make them never feel the need to stray.
I loved Gary's ideas about making the man feel appreciated and i have even begun to watch as my husband has become warmer towards me in the past few days.
I strongly recommend this book to everybody and hope you all enjoy it as much as i did!
on January 20, 2015
I found this at a local library. And as a married woman who cheats, exclusively with married men, I'd say this book is pretty accurate.
Of course the reasons men give in this book for cheating are merely excuses. Then again, the reasons that most people give for getting married in the first place are just excuses. Excuses aren't simply reasons that you don't like or don't find acceptable. Excuses are reasons that are dishonest.
We tend to want our men to say, "I cheat because I'm a terrible person. My needs are more important than your aversions, and that's terrible. Everyone from Jesus to Oprah tell me so, therefore, I'm bad. Really - a worthless human being, and I always was. It was a bad idea to marry me, and I can only blame myself for leading you to think that I'm really any different from every other man who cheats."
The reasons I get for why men cheat with me are pretty consistent: their wives don't behave as though they are in love with their husbands. Of course, we all know that husbands really don't deserve their wives, or their children. It's really men's own selfishness that makes men think that a woman will treat him as well after many years and many children as she did when she was trying to get him into a committed relationship. It's childish, really, to expect that kind of consistency.
So why do I cheat with them? Because my husband only wants sex three times a year, and because sex feels good, and because I don't think that infidelity really is as bad as death or violence, like so many other women do.