Sunday, August 19, 2007

Why Do Men Cheat? The Finale

For those who didn't read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of this opinion piece, please do so before reading this The Finale. I wrote these group of articles with a specific intention in mind. To help point out some characteristics about cheating men that I have noticed, and to give some insight on how to avoid them.

Now I want to look at this topic from the other side of a coin. I want to deal with what does it mean to be a good man as well as the needs of men. This will partially deal with the cheating issue, but from a different angle. First lets to look at is basic male behavior. There are 3 general things that men have always historically needed in order to survive and feel content. They are:

  • Food
  • Shelter
  • The ability to procreate
  • The feeling of contentment of his manhood
If one accepts the Biblical scenario in the book of Genesis that all of humanity started from one man and one woman as well as the statements about how and why men and women were created, then one would be able to conclude that the ideal situation was for a man and a woman to be together for the purpose of helping each other and also to have children. Added to that in Judaism is the idea that a family serves the purpose of living moral lives based upon a plan for Jews and non-Jews. Yet, the reality is that all of humanity has gone in different directions when it comes to this original plan or blue-print for humanity God had.

In ancient times, in parts of the Middle East, bringing a woman into your tent and sleeping with her was equated to marrying her. In the Jewish perspective sex is a good thing, but it is reserved for marriage for the sake of bring a couple together and to have children. This comes from an idea that when a Jew does an action that is a Mitzvah (a command of God) they uplift the act to a higher level and make it holy. So a man who finds a woman, marries her, and raises a family he is supposed to teach his children the Bible and help them live holy lives. They in turn go into the world repeat the process and make the world a better place. The concept is a part of what is called Tikkun Olam, which means "Repair of the World."

Thus, in this mindset the act of sex is connected with marriage, and both are uplifted to a higher standard because their ultimate goals are beyond just love and having a companion (both a part of it and good reasons for it). A man and a woman can pervert these standard by having sex outside of its proper context, thus a man who sleeps with a woman who is not is wife is not following the standard set by God for a Jew, or for non-Jews. In fact, in Judaism there is a whole body of legal text concerning forbidden situations for men and women who are not married, i.e. not being alone together. So I believe that cheating is the result of misplaced natural sexual energy. Place that energy in its proper context, a healthy marriage, and you are doing what is right.

Yemenite Jewish Bride and Groom

Taking this into account, I believe that historically women have had more to lose from sexual encounters. Also, a woman can get pregnant and show physical signs of the encounter. She also will have some form of emotional attachment to a child produced from such a union. The male on the other hand can skip town, try to suppress, or never have any kind of emotional connection to the woman. Someone who would do this is not a man in my book. Thus, as I dealt with in the other parts, you have a situation with certain types of men more prone to cheat. These men I have found always have a group of similar characteristics and the warning signs are always there, but that is my opinion.

On the flip side of this, in the past women were often considered the property of their husbands, which was one of the reasons that money, cattle, etc. was often exchanged for the acquisition of a wife. In some parts of the Middle East a wife is called "Binti" i.e. my daughter by her husband. The reason was that the woman was being taken into the house of her husband for his affections and his protection. In some cases she may have been younger by a few years, or extremely young compared to her husband.

When it came to kings, in ancient times, when another king wanted to show that he usurped a previous king he would take the previous kings wives for his own publicly as a sign that he was in charge. A good example of this comes from 2nd Samuel 15:10 and 16:23 in the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) when Absalom has launched a rebellion against his father King David. Absalom was advised by Ahithophel to take David's wives and to have his way with them sexually in public as a sign that he (Absalom) had taken over royal control. There are exceptions to the above as in some African, Mediterranean, and Asian societies there were women who controlled the system, with the men submitting to the whims of their wives as a part of the societal norm. I believe this was the case in Spartan culture, since they had a big Athena cult where only women were believed to receive prophecy.

Now that we have gone through some of the historical elements of this topic, lets investigate some of the basic elements of good men. The only way I know to initiate my understanding of this is to explain our mindset by using food. When I go to restaurants I am very picky. I am Jewish so I always eat Kosher food, I didn't always do this though, and when I lived in America I was limited in the places I could eat. Even with that, when I found a food that I liked I often only ordered that food. So at every restaurant I frequented they knew exactly what I was going to order because I am person of habit. It was often hard for me to change my choices and try different foods once I fall in love with a particular dish.

Relationships for me are the same way. If I am around a women who stimulates me intellectually, as well as being appealing to me physically there is no need for me to look at what else is out there. Once I am with a woman and I have chosen her, other women are not important to me in that way. I have all I need at home, and that is her. If I see a woman that is good looking, it simply makes me think back to the woman I am with and I that is as far as the thought goes. I am not some super human man, but I also wouldn't put myself in compromising situations. I am also picky, just like with food on constitutes a good match. There are some women, who are really good women, who would end up hating me if they were too close to me. There are some women who would like me if I did away with certain integral parts of myself, but since I won't we would not be right together. In both situations these may be good women, but they are not a good match for a relationship with me, and vice versa.

There is also another element to this that is important for women to realize. I once read a book that had an interested concept on manhood. It stated that all men are born with a scar(s) that we receive from our fathers. This scar in turn never truly heals, and it is a reality that we all have to deal with. It affects our relationships and who we choose to marry and who we choose not to marry. Using myself as an example, my scar is the fact that when I was 3 my father committed suicide. He was suffering from post traumatic stress from Vietnam, and he could not overcome the things he saw and experienced. There was also not a lot of help for veterans at the time, and thus on Thanksgiving in 1978 he shot himself at my grandmother's house. I have no clear memory of my father, and I did not know how he died until I was about 28. So my scar is that I wish every day that my father was here to tell me he is proud of me, or that he loves me. To have heard and remember him saying, Son I am proud of you would have filled my life with so much joy.

My father Eliyahu Ever and my mother Salli Ever

The only way that my scar will heal is when I am raising the family that I want to believe that my father wanted. When I am able, with the help of God, to be an old man and see my children grown up and also grandchildren living lives based on the Torah (Bible) with good Sephardic Jewish values with acts of kindness, I will be able to look towards the night sky and say, God I have walked the path and I am ready to rest with my ancestors here in Israel.

Within the male mind there is a drive and desire to compete physically and be considered strong by our piers, but also in the eyes of women. There was a comedian who once said that all of human development can be summed up as progress in order to bed the other sex. That is to say those whoever was able to conquer, succeed, and show off their manliness were often the ones who got the women and survived. Those who were with defects or perceived to be week often did not win over the women and they did not survive.

With this comes the concept that a man has to feel that he has conquered something, and if this is taken away from him he almost feels like less of a man. When a woman makes a man feel like he is the top dog, the Alpha-male, or he can conquer the world he is more prone to be attracted to her. There is also an element in every man of the thrill of the hunt. This is also tempered with every man feeling like at the end of the days battle, when the last bead of sweat has fallen from his brow, and his enemies have been laid to waste; when he returns home there is a woman there to take his armer and his weapons of war and comfort him. The weapons of war have for some of us become the textbooks, the brief case, and the place of war for some is the class room or the board room. So for some they feel like less of men as compared to athletes and military types.

Once again I return to the Torah (Genesis to Deut.) we see that Abraham when his wife Sarah died went through lengthy negotiations in order to prepare a proper burial place for his beloved wife Sarah, Genesis 23:1-20. The Midrash Genesis Rabba, a Jewish extra-biblical text, states that Sarah was the "crown" of her husband Abraham; and he obeyed her words because he recognized this superiority on her part because it is said her ability to prophesy was greater than his. We also see the emotional element introduced into the Biblical narrative when Yitzhhaq (Isaac) is wed to Rivqah (Rebbecca) and the Torah states in Genesis 24:63-67 that Yitzhhaq (Isaac) loved her and she comforted Yitzhhaq (Isaac) after his mother Sarah died. The concept that a good woman brings comfort to a good man reminds me of the age old West African adage of, A man without a wife is a man without a home. When one looks at the book of Mishle (Proverbs 31) one also finds a connection between a good man and a wife who is made up of qualities that all relate to her dedication and connection to God, her productive nature, and how she is respected by all who know her. There is also the example of how King David waged war against the enemies of King Saul in order to win the hand of Saul's daughter Michal.

I was once joking around with a young cousin of mine who at the time was in high school. She joked around with me and called me a geek. I in turn said to her.

“I have no problem being a geek. Geeks get paid. In fact what you need to do is get yourself a geek. Convince him to get in the gym and work out. Sweet-talk him into dressing up in suits and the like. Then you will have you a committed man for life, and don’t forget that geeks who apply themselves eventually get paid. You do all that and you will have yourself a good man.”

My cousin of course laughed at this idea, but I believe it has merit for young women. Sometimes the best of us, men that is, are formed from trial and tribulation as well as the loving touch of a woman. How many men became more than they were because they loved a woman with all of their heart? How many men went to the gym and got in shape because it impressed some woman somewhere? How many woman have shaped a man’s destiny because she chose him over all the other men who may have been better looking or more successful than him?

Women have more power in the development of a man, then men sometimes do. This is why when I tutored high school students in Houston I always tried to convince the young girls to keep their eyes on the young men who were not so flamboyant. I told them stories of my family history, and used these as ways to try to convince them to seek out good men early. I tried to convince the young men to keep themselves on the straight and narrow by telling them mistakes I made in life, I begged them to live by Biblical principles of morality and kindness. For many of them, what I was talking about was not the popular thing to do, but I later found out that some of them listened. At the time I figured that if I would never find a good woman I could at least help someone younger have a better chance than I did. I pray that I was on some level successful because I believe in these days and times the key for finding good guys is for more women to be marriage minded earlier in life.

When I was in college I once over-heard a conversation with two women I was helping move. One woman was talking about a friend of mine named Chris. She dated Chris in a non-sexual relationship off and on, but in this conversation she told her friend that she was going to stick with him because he was a really good man. She also said that she was going to make sure that no other women could get to him. How she was going to do this I don't know. I kind of giggled a bit, and the next time I saw Chris I told him that I heard he was a marked man. Every day I would go up to him say, I can see that target clearly on your chest....bullseye. He had no idea what I was talking about and I had a good laugh about it. They were married about 2 years later.

I had another friend of mine named Tanya, who was having trouble finding a good man. Then she began to study Calculus with me and my friends. One night a friend of mine named Nikki walked in the door. Nikki was a very funny guy and he was really good to people. If you were in need Nikki was always there for you. So that night, Nikki noticed that as he talked to me Tanya kept checking him out. As he walked out the door he turned to Tanya and said, "I see you over there checking me out you big old pimp." (That is how Nikki talked since he was always joking around) They began dating soon afterward and they were married about 4 years later.

My uncle Eljulius Ever was once married to a woman who unfortunately had a mental illness that ran through the women. Against the wishes of my grandmother and the warnings of the woman's father he married this woman. For 30 years they dealt with her mental illness, which got worse as time went on, and even manifested in two of their daughters. When my uncle's wife was about pass away, she begged him on her deathbed to forgive her for all he dealt with because of her. He stopped her and told her that he loved her, and that there was nothing to forgive. After she passed away, and the required time of morning passed there was all of a sudden a mad dash of women going after my uncle. The women in their community saw how he treated his wife, and how his love for her never wavered. The woman that beat all the other women was a woman who had liked him since high school. They are now happily married and she comforts him.

My uncle Eljulius Ever at age 18 circa 1947

When I lived in Kansas City, Missouri I had a mentor named Dr. Carl Boyd. Dr. Boyd was one of the men that my mother made sure I was close to after my father died. Dr. Boyd ran a radio show and youth activism organization called Generation Rap. When I knew him he had been married to a woman named Wanda for about 15 or 20 years. He would end each radio show with the following words: "Gracious God and Wonderful Wanda....I'm coming home." He once told a group of us a story of how someone asked him, "Why is Wanda so wonderful?" Dr. Boyd replied,

"You know it is hard for me to say exactly why I love my wife. Yet, there are so many things I like about her. She is a wonderful person, she is very beautiful, she is my best friend, she cares for people in need, she supports me, and she makes me feel strong when I am weak. There are so many more things I like about her, yet it is hard for me to express why I love her. One thing I can tell you is that I am glad that God gave me the ability to be in love with a woman that has so many qualities that I like. And that is why Wanda is so wonderful."

Dr. Carl Boyd circa 2005

For some women my point is the following. Good men are out there ladies, and we are not always in the places you may be accustomed to looking for us. Sometimes we are that nerdy looking guy with the thick glasses, who later gets contacts and goes to the gym. Sometimes we are that lonely guy who is being picked on and we only need a little encouragement. We are sometimes that guy who leaves poetry at your door because we are hopeless romantics. Sometimes you have to ask a good man to point out who are the choice picks. One sign is when you have a group of good married men, and they have that one friend who isn't married. A friend of mine found her husband this way.

Sometimes the best advice for women is in the words of Grace Jones from Conan the Destroyer. Grace Jones played an Amazon warrior, and a spoiled princess asked her how to get a man. Grace Jones's bold response was, "Grab him and take him."

To sum up, there are some men who cheat because of defects in their lives. In my experience, these may be, but are not limited to:
  • Defects in their childhood
  • Defects in their role models
  • Defects in their own application of logic to relationships
  • Defects in their morality
  • and most of all, men cheat when they TRULY do not care for the women they are with
Whatever your situation, know that there are warning signs for a cheating man. You may not agree with me on some of the details, but I think we all may agree that it is better to be alone than to be with someone male/female who doesn't respect you by cheating on you.

My experience has been that women have to act quick and early to find a good man, in these days and times. You may have to be marriage minded earlier than most woman are. Most of all you may have to seek God and pray for being in the right place at the right time. You may have to encourage that guy who just needs to balance himself out and he may notice you. You never know when you least expect it he may do something like this to win your heart.

Wedding Singer - Grow Old With You

Whether you agree with me or not I appreciate all of your comments, and I am more than willing to discuss my feelings and perspectives. Once again this is not meant to put down woman, but to help the women I care about (all of you) be able to avoid the type of guys that I knew who were cheaters. If you can at least do that you have won half of the battle. The rest is up to you, good luck and God bless.‎


Miriam said...

I wish i had something more insightful to say. I really enjoyed this series. Especially the last part and especially Grace Jones' quote LOL

Rebel withacause said...

To sum up, there are some men who cheat because of defects in their lives. In my experience, these may be, but are not limited to:

Defects in their childhood
Defects in their role models
Defects in their own application of logic to relationships
Defects in their morality
and most of all, men cheat when they TRULY do not care for the women they are with

I think you missed out few points. I will try to make this point as tziniut as possible.
Men also cheat cause:
-they have inferiority complex about something about themselves and feel they need to prove to themselves and others they are the "the man".
-most of the complexes stem from their sexual drive i.e. they may be impotent or they have some other sexual issues.

Rebel withacause said...

I like most of your posts and I find them very interesting. However now I am going to critize something I saw in your post.
I am yet to post about how much I hate female magazines such as Cosmopolitan and Elle and how much trash they write and also tell women to follow that stuff. Take for example the classic articles on "have sex with x". I find such articles to be so wrong that they give women very bad advice. I was just at the mall and one magazine had the title "I am with the wrong man and I am so happy: secrets to being happy with the wrong guy". I read that title and I just shook my head.

Coming back to your comment "My experience has been that women have to act quick and early to find a good man, in these days and times.", I find this comment like something taken from one of those female magazines. As a female I can say that men are not ready to get married until they are in their late 20s. They might be not ready to get married cause
a) they don't have enough finances
b) they are trying to get ahead in their career
So it's not always the case that they are "players" and this is why they cannot commit.So it's no use to propose that a female must "act" quickly.
Secondly this thing about women "looking and finding" is very unlike the halacha where it says that men are supposed to "go out of their parents house and find their bashert". Men do the looking and finding their bashert. I find many women panicking and doing the weirdest stuff cause these magazines and people tell them they MUST find a man asap.
You said that women date players. Do you know how many women date players cause they are under the pressure to "find" a man? Yes many women do lots of stupid things to live up to the standards exposed on them by magazines and people around them. A couple days back, I was on frum Orthodox forum and this girl said that her hubby used violence on her before they got married and now he kicks her and punches her. People asked her why she was with this guy and she said she felt she was under so much pressure to "find" the man of her life. The point is to meet someone who is compatible, loving, respectful and loyal. It's not about going around looking desperate, meeting just anyone and being in miserable relationship. Therefore whether it be a man or a woman, they should not rush to marriage and only get married when they feel they met someone compatible.

Invisible Woman said...

Very interesting. Thanks for adding me to your blogroll, I added you as well. You are a very introspective brother...

Ehav Ever said...

Greetings Rebel,

I thank you for your comments, and we actually agree with each other. I need to clarify a few things though.

1) This article is written from travels in both the Jewish and non-Jewish world. Some of what I mentioned may not be practical in every situation. I recognize that.

2) When I say that a woman, or even a man, may need to be marriage minded earlier. I am not saying that they need to get married earlier, this does work for some people though. What I am saying is that they may need to have the concept in their mind earlier. It is like saying, I won't date anyone who would never consider marrying. Why even date someone if you would never in your life marry them.

3) Also, I am not saying that women need to wait in the shadows and grab men. According to Jewish halachah this is not practical to begin with. Yet, in communities that follow halachah there isn't really a need for some of the things I mentioned. As you know, in Judaism the world over there used to a LOT more match making. People also married younger. In Yemen for example a girl was normally married between 12 to 13 and boys 13 to 15. Also, there was no dating and find a Hhatan or a Kalah was an entire family affair. We live in different times, there are a number of we have in Judaism for find a spouse that don't exist in some non-Jewish communities.

4) I didn't say that women date players. I said that there are women willing to date them. I know a lot of women who refused to go out with men who didn't meet their moral standards. They preferred to be alone than to waste their time with such men. Once again I am not blaming women for the existence of players. As you and I agree it is a problem that starts with said player.

I believe that there are two ways that players can be stopped, or using survival of the fittest terminology. 1) If there is an all out campaign to teach children to more morally proactive. 2) If the supply of women willing to be with the players dried up. That is my feeling, but I could be wrong. The first point take cares of kids who are more prone to grow up to be players, and the second point covers those who fall through the cracks.

In terms of the Orthodox woman you mentioned who was being beat. I am sorry to hear this. A guy like that needs to be taken out and beaten. There used to be, not as much a minhag, but a tradition in the Jewish community that used to exist in part of West Africa. If a woman's husband did not treat her right she had the ability to call all the men in her family and his family. The men would get together, come to wake the husband up in the middle of the night, and they would then talk to him about the situation. If he listened to them changed they would leave him alone. If he continued to hurt his wife, the men would show up and beat him every night until he stopped.

Back then a man had to build his wife either her own house, or given her a room in his house that he could never go into. So things are different. I am also a firm believer in teaching any daughters I have how to defend themselves. No man should ever put his hands on a woman that way.

My point is that because I hear more women who have problems finding men when they are older, I am simply saying it may be good for the younger generation of women to keep their eyes open for marriage type men. There are ways of attracting these men without breaking tziniyut. For example, a friend of mine once met a guy because all of his friends were married and his friends said, We can't keep hanging around you if you are not married. She liked the fact that this guy had male friends that wanted to be married.

There is no one answer for all, which is why people need to train their children and people in general need to pray. That's all.

Ehav Ever said...

Rebel Wrote: As a female I can say that men are not ready to get married until they are in their late 20s. They might be not ready to get married cause
a) they don't have enough finances
b) they are trying to get ahead in their career

Ehav's Response I agree that many men are not ready, but that is not true for all of us. I knew some couples in college who were married before they went to college. One couple were both Engineers and had classes together. They were truly a team and things were working well for them, this isn't practical for everyone.

Yet, even if a man isn't financially stable, doesn't mean a woman can't keep their eye on him when they know where he stands morally. That was the point I made with my friend who married Chris. They didn't get married right away, but she knew that he was a good guy. I have no idea what she did, or even if she needed to do anything to make sure no other woman was able to get to him. They already had a history together, and she knew where he stood because after they starte dating she determined that he was marriage material. What I do know was she had at least identified him early, based on what she wanted out of a marriage.

My point is be able identify marriage material. Some people (men and women) don't start identifying what they want until they older. I say at least know when you are younger and develop the idea.

Ehav Ever said...

Hello Invisible Woman,

Thanks for your kind words. Your blog is real interesting also. I will continue to check it out.

Ehav Ever said...

Hey Miriam,

I want to see if I can find that Grace Jones bit on You Tube it was funny to me.