Thursday, August 16, 2007

Why Do Men Cheat? Part 2

Imagine a child who grows up all of his life never being taught how to have platonic or one on one relationships. Further, what if this child spent his childhood until his adulthood never learning how to be committed to only one person. What if this person was encouraged by elements of their society or an accepted culture to believe that it is more honorable to never live by a code of a commitment? After 20 years of this kind of thinking this child would more than likely develop habits that would be hard to break even in a situation where it is understood that a one on one commitment is the norm.

So this brings us to my experience with my male friends who had cheated on their girl-friends of spouses. Most of them were men who spent their childhoods sleeping with as many women as they could. Often their time at parties or during school vacations were spent trying to bed the various girls that were known as being easy to sleep with. For these kind of boys their ultimate goal in interacting with the opposite gender was for the sake of eventual sex. Sure they had a steady relationship here or there, but often high school relationships can be based on short sighted goals for both people.

As time went on these boys became young men in college, and their behavior did not change much. In college it was easier for them to seek out the opposite gender for the sake of pleasure because now there were no parents to present a challenge to privacy. As in high school, these young men continued on a path dedicated to physical pleasure and even when relationships were established the mind set was based on the establishment of the relationship on motives other than love and commitment. It was then no surprise to me when either their words or their behavior, after they were married, lived up to their past actions.

Yet, there is another element to this equation and that is to the women who either dated or desired these types of men. I personally could never understand why it seemed like the guys I knew who played around always had dates. It seemed like no matter what directions their reputation went there were always women who wanted them. It seemed that these types of men were encouraged by women who were attracted too them. How else could a man who cheats on his girl friend continue in his behavior without women who respond to that type of behavior. Maybe these women were no different these guys or maybe these women thought that they could change these young men. In any case, these guys never needed to change their behavior during this time. Some of them went on to eventually marry whatever women were their favorites, and what those relationships are like today I have no idea.

I also noticed that there were women during these periods I mention who, during high school, often passed by the guys that who had the potential to stay true. Often the guys who cheated were the more exotic and exiting to be with for these women. Instead of looking at the long term picture and picking their potential suitors based on who had a proven track record of loyalty I saw girls chasing after the guys I knew had other girls they were sleeping with. This in turn was an encouragement to young boys who noticed this and in turn seemed to translate into, “Women must love the guys who are sleeping around. Why else are these kind of men the most popular? If there were no women interested in these guys they would cease to exist. So they must be doing something right.”

When one looks at the societies that have the least amount of successes when it comes to marriage one often finds certain things can also be connected to the male ego and cheating. When a man is in a society that depicts the Alpha Male stud as one whose prowess is judged by his abilities in bed there is a higher chance of him becoming a man prone to cheating. There are some cultures that promote the idea of the bachelor male who is free to roam about and sow his oats, so to speak vs. the man who actively seeks out one mate to live with and love for his entire life.

Ladies, ask yourself this question, in the society you live in, which one is considered more in vogue? In this scenario it becomes easier for a male to think that it is more beneficial for him to live by the example that is set either by the culture he is a part or the standard that society sets. What is sad, at least for some black people in America, is that infidelity is being played up as a normal part of the black experience. A majority of black films from America are about infidelity, and very few American romance movies with black people in them are about love with the element of someone is cheating on someone. I will never forget when former US president Bill Clinton was caught having an affair with Monica Lewinsky, there were all kind of joke about Bill Clinton being black because of his behavior.

There are also a number of men who sleep around, and in their hearts they are not happy with it. They seek something more, but their body and their accepted culture tells them they are fine and that everything is okay. This is similar to the dialog in the Adam Sandler movie the Wedding Singer where the main character decides that he going to give up on love because the woman who has fallen love with is set to marry a cheater, so he decides to live like his gigolo friend. The following conversation results.

Robbie: That's it, man, starting right now, me and you are going to be free and happy the rest of our lives!
Sammy: I'm not happy. I'm miserable.
Robbie: Wha - what?
Sammy: See... I grew up idolizing guys like Fonzie and Vinnie Barbarino because they got a lot of chicks. You know what happened to Fonzie and Vinnie Barbarino?
Robbie: Yeah, I read that Fonzie wants to be a director and Barbarino, I think... the mechanical bull movie? I didn't see it yet.
Their shows got canceled. Because no one wants to see a fifty-year-old guy hitting on chicks.
Robbie: So what are you saying?
Sammy: What I'm saying is all I really want is someone to hold me and tell me that everything is going to be all right.

There was once a saying that good guys finish last, and there are a number of good guys who feel this way when we see so many women who chase after the wrong kind of men. We feel this way when we meet women who seem to blame all men for their failures in love. We feel this way when a woman tells us that she likes us, but she doesn't know what she wants. We feel this way when certain women, without good morals themselves, accuse all men of lacking integrity. We feel this way when we are told we are too good as friends to date, as if you date your enemies. Yet, men like this normally move on pretty quickly by changing their dating focus from one environment to another, looking for marriage minded women from overseas, or by dating women from other cultures. I will discuss this later.

In the next part, Part 3, I will discuss where my perspectives come from. In part 4 I will change the pace, and discuss the qualities of a good man from a Torah (Biblical) perspective.


rivkayael said...

what do you think of close male/female friendships when either one "doesn't feel the way s/he wants to feel"? personally i'm beginning to feel that "sparks" are totally unnecessary for that kind of relationship because "sparks" might (ironically) indicate that the person is totally wrong for you...but maybe i've spent too much time with rambam, or am jaded by the upper west side. to me a friendship of similar goals and values, mutual respect, understanding and trust are the bedrocks of such a relationship and the "spark" will eventually develop (how often do you even come across *such* a friendship anyway?)--and anything else can be worked out. do you think the necessity of a "spark" is a societal construct and do you think it's specifically a gender thing?

Ehav Ever said...

Hello Rivkayael,

I don't put much into concepts like sparks and such. Being a Rambam kind of person, I am a believer in straight forward logic.

I personally only look at male/female dating relationships as potential paths to marriage. I decided to never again date someone I can't potentially marry. The reason is that it is a waste of time for me. When you get to certain age that kind of thing looses its flavor.

Instead I believe a person should focus in on what they want out of a relationship and marriage and not settle for less. I also no longer believe in trying to make someone feel the way I do. I feel that is a worthless enterprise. If we don't see eye to eye on the basic emotions of a relationship, there is not point for me to continue in that capacity.

Instead of sparks and such what I believe is simple. I believe that a relationship/marriage will work between a man and a woman if both people have committed themselves to make it work no matter the cost. If one or both persons give up on trying to make it work it won't. If both people are daily and nightly working through the good and the bad it can work.

Making a relationship work is based on both parties having similar morals and social concerns. It is like my aunt said about her marriage when my uncle passed away, We had our good times, we had our bad times, but we made it.

Anonymous said...

I honestly think the "nice guys finish last" saying that so many men use to explain why they don't get as much attention as they would like is bull. I say this because no woman ever uses the same excuse and many nice, studious girls may never even be asked out on a proper date until they are adults. That is, unless they show a little skin.

In high school, all throughout college, and possibly throughout the years in which young men choose to not want a stable relationship "nice girls" are routinely overlooked in replacement for the girl they know will give it up easily and quickly. As a matter of fact all the constant talk about women making bad choice in men is an indication to me that men make bad choices in women to place their interest in. Because men are generally the ones who do the approaching, it is up to them to initially pick the right type of woman to step to. If he is indeed choosing the right type of woman to place his focus on he will not continue to face rejection because a smart "nice guy" is going to go for a nice girl. That is if he is in fact, a "nice guy".

Ehav Ever said...

Greetings Anon,

I think all of this depends on the setting. You also have to be patient for my next two articles where I will deal with what I define as a good man. I am not defining good as simple being smart or educated. I knew a lot of educated men who were cheating on their wives. In part 3 I will give a definition of a good man and you will see my point of why those men normally get hitched pretty fast.

You mentioned that studious girls won't be asked out on a date. I will say first of all those girls may fall under what I mentioned earlier. Maybe those girls are not in the right place to find a moral, ethical, and responsible man. Early on, men who are cheaters or who are not interested in marriage stay away from marriage minded women, who aren't having pre-marital sex, unless they somehow want to hold onto to a good thing while they sow their oats.

For example, when my family moved and I was sent to a high school where there were no religious Jews I of course was not able to find a religious Jewish girl. The reason that I finished last at that time was because I was in the wrong place. There were women who were good women I approached, but they were not looking for someone like me, which is fair.

My point is simple, guys normally move on quickly when it comes to these kind of things. I wanted to be married when I was younger, but I was not around women who wanted that kind of guy. So in that situation I finished last. Now that I am in Israel things here are more marriage minded. Whole communities get involved here to try to help singles find mates. So now I am no longer last.

So what is my point? My point is that if women want to find a good guy, and not the cheating type they are going to need to start early. I knew women in college who saw a good man early and they were looking ahead for marriage material. That was the culture those women came from. You see a good man, give him some signs that you are checking him out and he will approach you. Those in turn were the type of women who marriage minded were looking for and the men married those women quickly.

It also depends on the culure. In the community I came from people used to marry younger. Finding a good match for someone wasn't just on the man or the woman it was a family affair. Your mother and your uncle would go out and look for a wife for you when you were young in our families past.

Lori said...

Hi Ehav,
As interesting as this discussion is--it's also kind of confusing. Perhaps if you were just speaking in general terms, it would be less so. Your perspective is truly unique due to your background and how you choose to identify yourself.

Correct me if I am wrong, but in this discussion, you appear to be jumping back and forth-- speaking on the African American experience on the one hand and your experiences as one brought up in the Jewish faith on the other.
Which is fine, but you must be mindful of the fact that the members of your reading audience (myself included) will likely identify with one experience more than the other (smile).

Now having said that, I must admit, to some extent, I share Anon's opinion. It's been both my observation and my experience (a long time ago, mind you) that more often than not, nice, studious African American girls are over-looked, passed by and out-right rejected by nice, studious African American boys. The reasons, I think, are multi-layered and complex and go even beyond that of boys seeking "fast" or "easy" girls.

And I say this, not as some lonely bitter, single, African American female, but as someone who has been happily married for well over 15 years (smile).

But even though I'm not certain I agree with all of your points, and sometimes I think you mix/muddle perspectives, I'm still very much interested in reading about your views on the matter.

kfoster_1723 said...

In your last sentence you summed up everything with the remark "qualities of a good man from a Torah (Biblical) perspective."

Cheaters feel free to play because they have no respect for the law of Elohim. It is that simple.

Instead of the teaching of the Torah, people are taught from the movies as you well illustrated. They are taught by friends who laugh at the law and the truth. They are taught by everything except that which is true. Thus the widespread increase in cheaters.


Ehav Ever said...

Greetings Lori,

I pray you are well, and thanks for checking out this piece. Please remember that this is a four part piece so I am putting a few things together over more than one article.

First point. I am Jewish and Jews come from a number of different countries and cultures. Part of my family were Sephardic Jews (Jews from places like Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Italy, and parts of the Middle East are called Sephardic) which carries a specific type of Jewish culture with it. Part of my family was from West Africa, which also once had a Sephardic Jewish community in Mali and in Senegal, I also lived in a number of African American environments in America. All of them had different cultures and perspective.

For example, when I had a lot of friends who were Nation of Islam people they had a particular culture. When I was around African American fraternities they also had certain cultures. So my hope is that what I believe hits a number of different people in different ways. In New York I met African Americans who were Hebrew Israelites, they had their own culture that was different other African Americans I had been around.

I also hope that to show people who aren't Jewish how broad the Jewish culture is and how there are more than one way of looking at things. As the saying goes two Jews three opinions. When you are Jewish you bring certain elements of your culture into your faith experience.

For example, there were a lot Syrian Jews who used to live in Haiti. Some of them married Haitian women, and so their descendants would have been Jewish, but would have been able to deal with life as Syrian Jews and as Haitians. Jewish communities differ slightly in terms of culture depending on what country they come from. I also don't believe in such a thing as a unified African American perspective. I believe that there a lot of African American perspectives and cultures. I believe it depends location, the culture your family has, and your life experiences.

You mentioned that nice African American girls are passed over by nice African American boys. I will say first of all those girls may fall under what I mentioned earlier. Maybe those girls are not in the right place to find a moral, ethical, and responsible man. Also, it depends how one defines "good." A particular good woman may simply not be the right woman for a particular guy. A particular woman not be right for a particular good man. It also depends on how those women defined good. I have met a lot of different people who define good in different ways.

You also to remember I am dealing this from the perspective of the people I have been around. Everyone experience is different. I can't vouch for why an African American man from lets say San Diego passes up a good African American woman. I have never lived there, and I have no idea how things work there. I can tell you what it was like Prairie View A&M University between 1993 and 1999. I could tell what good men were looking for and what they were not looking for. I can tell you what good woman were looking for and what they were not looking for. Here also it all depends on how one defines good. I have never heard of a universal African American perspective on what this means. It means different things to different people. I can tell you that all religious Jewish woman for the most are looking for certain things no matter if those women are Middle Eastern Jewish, African American Jewish, Yemenite Jewish, Polish Jewish, etc.

I also want to make sure it is understood that I am not claiming to have the all out answer on things. It is simply a different perspective. If you look at my comments to Anon, I believe that it answers what you mentioned. In the next article I will deal with this issue more. Yet, as I told Anon

Ehav Ever said...

Sorry for the broken English in the last post. My wireless internet cut out on me before I could check everything.

Ehav Ever said...

Anonymous Wrote: I say this because no woman ever uses the same excuse and many nice, studious girls may never even be asked out on a proper date until they are adults. That is, unless they show a little skin.

Ehav's Response I believe that any man who passes up a good woman, because she is not showing a little skin has issues. If that is what he is looking for, then it may be better for that good woman if he doesn't approach her.

Ehav Ever said...

Hello K Foster,

I completely agree with you. When a person fears and reveres Elohim he has to walk all times knowing that Elohim is always there.

I made the mistake in much of my youth of trying to ignore the fact Elohim was always there. I made mistakes in judgment in the past that put me in contradiction to the will of Elohim. At some point I woke up and made some changes in my behavior and focus. I also went back and apologized to people I hurt during that time.