Cheating – What Men Really Want

Cheating – what men really want

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to discuss cheating and what men really want.

First a quick update:

“The new cheating – online”
Watch the TV interview I gave to Australia’s The Morning Show about social media and online cheating and about the clashing perceptions of cheating. E.g. women view emotional infidelity as worse, not better, than sexual betrayal.

“Easily caught with their pants down”
Read my quotes and insights about cheating and why powerful men cheat with powerless, submissive women in the article by Judith Ireland in the Australian newspaper – The Canberra Times.

Now, lets’ talk about cheating and what men really want.

The 2003 romantic comedy film, “Love Actually” follows a series of love stories of various people – some related and carefully interwoven. The movie covers every aspect of love – from unrequited love and betrayal to mourning and forgiveness; from redemption and deep romance to childhood love and secrets; from obligation and devotion to brotherly love and loneliness.

In the movie, Alan Rickman plays Harry – a father and CEO of a successful business. His young and beautiful secretary, Mia (played by Heike Makatsch) begins to make passes and romantic gestures to her boss Harry. His wife, Karen played by Emma Thompson accidentally discovers what is happening and in a scene at the end of their children’s Christmas musical, Karen confronts Harry.

Karen: Tell me, if you were in my position, what would you do?
Harry: What position is that?
Karen: Imagine your husband bought a gold necklace;
And come Christmas, gave it to somebody else.
Harry: Oh, Karen
Karen: Would you wait around to find out…
Would you wait around to find out if it’s just a necklace;
Or if it’s sex and a necklace;
Or if, worst of all, it’s a necklace and love?
Would you stay? Knowing life would always be a little bit worse?
Or would you cut and run?
Harry: Oh, God.
I am so in the wrong.
A classic fool.
Karen: Yes, but you’ve also made a fool out of me.
You’ve made the life I lead foolish, too.

This one scene and story in the film reveals so much about cheating and betrayal. While Harry admits he is a fool for his actions, he would probably argue (just like the US Congressman Anthony Weiner who sent out lewd photos of himself to a few of his Twitter followers), that he never had any physical relations with Mia and so therefore he wasn’t cheating.

Meanwhile, Harry’s wife is most fearful not about the sex but the meaning of the necklace; could Harry’s actions be motivated by an emotional connection, by love for Mia?

And why did Harry give into Mia’s romantic gestures?

He chose to satisfy his ego and he lacked the discipline, courage and self-control to simply say “No” to Mia.

And Mia pursued Harry because she was drawn in by the most potent aphrodisiac for women – power; Harry is her boss and is obviously powerful and Mia cares not that Harry is married.

And the consequence of Harry’s foolish and selfish action is that he humiliates his wife Karen – she feels like a fool and her life now feels foolish.

Recently, have been giving many media interviews about cheating and the Anthony Weiner scandal. On KXNT radio in Las Vegas, Pam, a listener called in angry stating that Anthony Weiner’s cheating could have compromised his position as a politician because he could have opened himself to blackmail, and Pam wanted to know why Anthony Weiner hadn’t thought about those consequences. I explained that he was seeking instant gratification and obviously wasn’t thinking about any of the consequences; most of all, he wasn’t thinking about the effect on his wife first and then about the effect on his career.

Men have fragile egos while women are complicated. I also revealed in various interviews that men and women have clashing definitions about cheating. While a woman will define cheating as either sexual infidelity or emotional infidelity, women actually view the emotional cheating and betrayal as worse not better than the sexual betrayal. Notice that in the movie, “Love Actually”, Karen’s greatest fear about the betrayal is that “worst of all, it’s a necklace and love.”

Meanwhile, men generally are more threatened by the physical cheating than by the emotional cheating of their wife or partner.

Why the vast difference between men and women?

We always see the world through our own eyes and men are much more physically and action-oriented than women. Please note that this is not a judgment; it is not right or wrong; it’s simply the way it is. For example, women will complain that when they speak to their partner about a problem she is having, the first thing he wants to do is fix it while she is really looking for an empathetic and sympathetic ear. The man wants to take action and fix the problem but the woman wants to be heard and understood; she wants her feelings to be validated; she is actually not turning to the man for an answer but for emotional support; she will find her own answer unless she specifically asks for one from her man or partner.

Of course, men seek an emotional connection in a relationship, but they primarily feel and express love in physical terms – by providing, protecting and via sex. Men want to be sexually dominant. Men feel loved when they are appreciated and acknowledged and when they receive sex. Again, it is neither right nor wrong; it’s just the way it is.

Women, on the other hand seek first the emotional connection. Of course, they want the physical chemistry but women generally feel loved when they feel safe and secure in a relationship where they feel their emotional needs can be met, where they can feel that state of ecstasy and love.

Women ultimately want to feel special and thus women want four things; women want their man to:

1. Listen, pay attention to me, and BE with me
2. Be understanding and empathetic, and give me less advice
3. Hold me, cherish me, show me that I am the one, the only one for you
4. Don’t take my body for granted and don’t touch me sexually 24 hours of the day

Right or wrong, men want four things; men want their woman to:

1. Look good and take care of herself
2. Pay attention to him and to do things with him
3. Engage in regular and exciting sex and;
4. Treat him like a king

In an interview I gave to Playboy Radio’s “Afternoon Advice” show with Tiffany Granath, I revealed that when men and women don’t get what they need in a relationship, they will go outside of it to have those needs met. That does not mean the partner or spouse is to blame for the other person’s choices or actions. However, it does mean that we can be aware of our partner’s needs even if they are different from our own or if they are expressed or met in a different way.

The feminist movement set out to attain equality for women and some of those goals have been met (there are more women in the US workforce than men; more women are attending and graduating college than men in the US, UK and Australia; churches are opening up to allow women to lead, preach and teach as ministers, pastors and reverends and; women are becoming a greater force in politics and business.) But relationships and marriages are also crumbling as many women have focused on the masculine energy needed in business and have neglected the feminine energy needed in a relationship and marriage.

As a result of the many public cases of cheating, it is easy for women to conclude and believe that men are simple and that they want a woman who is submissive, admires him, appreciates and acknowledges him and gives him regular sex, and; that men are often threatened by highly intelligent successful women who are so busy that they ignore their man, and put their work, career or even the children ahead of him.

The choice comes down to “Do you want to be right or would you prefer to be happy?” That principle applies to men and women. Focus on the solution and not the way things should be.

If you would like to read more articles on cheating and how to affair-proof your marriage, go here.

You can comment on this newsletter below.

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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist

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7 replies
  1. Avatar
    Stephanie says:

    I completely agree with this article. Thank you for writing it, and for doing it so frankly. I absolutely love “Love Actually” and compltetly agree with this scene and how noble Karen was for taking the higher road because of her children. Have you ever read the book “The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands” by Dr. Laura Schlessinger? Your article’s theme is very similar to her research.

    I have one question. Do you think it was wrong of Karen to look in Harry’s pocket in the first place? In the film, Harry doesn’t counter the argument of her breaking their trust. How does this work in the real world? If a women finds out her husband ‘could be’ cheating because she snuck into bis personal things, isn’t that just as wrong as cheating?

    • Avatar
      Patrick Wanis says:

      Dear Stephanie,
      thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts and feedback, and the work of Dr. Laura.

      With regards to your questions:
      “Do you think it was wrong of Karen to look in Harry’s pocket in the first place? In the film, Harry doesn’t counter the argument of her breaking their trust. How does this work in the real world? ”

      It is possible that their relationship was sufficiently open that it was not a breach of trust for her to look into his pockets or vice versa – she might also do his laundry and would therefore often look in his pockets before washing the pants. The other point is why would either partner have anything to hide from each other and therefore be critical of looking in each others’ pockets?

      As I said to a reporter from, every couple has to have a conversation to determine boundaries of all sorts – boundaries with friends and with each other. Many couples feel safe and secure to read each others’ emails. One friend shares his personal email account with his wife. It is their family email account. They keep business email accounts separate for obvious reasons but, still feel they have nothing to hide from each other.

      Also, looking inside your partner’s pockets might be wrong (depending on your agreements about privacy) and while they might be both be forms of betrayal, looking in someone’s pockets is not equivalent to cheating, since the latter has much more serious consequences and ramifications for the partnership. The latter says “I do not trust you.” The affair says “You are right not to trust me.”

      I hope this helps.

      All the best,

  2. Avatar
    Patrick Wanis says:

    Dear Alli,

    yes, there are some people who are never satisfied and others who are simply selfish and narcissistic.

    You wrote:
    “I guess I just feel like the more nice a woman is going to be, the more she’s going to be taken for granted by her husband and given less respect.”

    I don’t believe that being nice automatically leads to receiving less respect. If a woman or a man allow his or her partner to walk all over them and fails to show respect for him or herself, then yes, the partner will also probably disrespect them, too. In other words, is is good to be nice and kind to your partner but not allow them or encourage them to take advantage of you; yes, you need to set boundaries.
    All the best,

  3. Avatar
    alli says:

    Great gems in this article, although I think that it needs to be addressed that SOME men are just dogs, plain and simple, and should NEVER be married in the first place because of their insecurity, fragile ego, collapsed value system, “wilyness” (in thinking they can outsmart their wife), IMMATURITY, not understanding what Love means, etc.
    I did have to laugh at the man wanting to be treated like a king in that Man’s wants list. Okay, what specifically does that entail? I can’t help but think that let’s say a woman is the perfect hot and sexy wife to her man and does treat him like a king, will that be enough? Wouldn’t he just take her for granted anyway, if he’s a dog? I get it that the woman needs to not neglect herself and keep the romance and loving care alive, and ditto with the man.

    I guess I just feel like the more nice a woman is going to be, the more she’s going to be taken for granted by her husband and given less respect. I feel that RESPECT in the end is more important than love because it keeps people from getting too comfortable and LAZY. Let’s face it, it’s human nature. I think a woman is better off treating her husband like a permanent boyfriend with some firm boundaries in place, and spoiling him AT TIMES, but not every day – just based on what i’m reading and seeing.

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