The story gets as old as an original Beta Max: Man cheats, man makes excuses about attention and recognition, woman feels bad and tattered, man begs, man and woman reconcile. Woman’s friends are pissed and call her man every name in the book and the man’s name is damaged in their eyes irrevocably. And there we have it: another hurt woman in the social ecology and worse, confusion as to how to get rid of that hurt.
But is that “I don’t feel appreciated” line really an excuse that men throw out there to justify their philandering ways? Not according to Gary Neuman, the author of the new book, “The Truth About Cheating: Why Men Stray and What You Can Do To Prevent It?” I haven’t read the book yet, but from I have gathered, it has what many books of this caliber lack: a semblance of the truth.
Sorry to break it to you ladies, but men are more insecure than you realize. Attention matters. Thoughtfulness matters. With men, it isn’t just about sex. Sex is the cloak. Infidelity, promiscuity, affairs, whatever you want to call it, is nothing but an insulator to hurt and emotional disconnectedness.
Conversely, good men do cheat and commit sexually dubious acts. It happens, as witnessed by the stories of the 911 firefighters who would have affairs with their co-worker’s wives, or the policemen who make forays with women who they are protecting (didn’t think that this happened, no?) or the NBA players who marry their high-school sweethearts before they get to the NBA, but couldn’t withstand the calls of groupies and celebrities. In that gray area, stuff happens with no rhyme or reason.
That’s why I come to view these types of books as a nuisance, because people are searching for answers to relationship hurts and trials and there are people smart enough to realize that. Authors travel the country and make six figures writing a book that plays on the emotion of many wounded souls but does not contain the whole truth. These books aim to give women hope by containing platitudes or anecdotes to get their relationships the way they want them, but they hold back on what’s obvious:
Women cannot fix a man’s issues. There’s nothing they can do. That’s the truth, Jack Nicholson style. Those appreciation and emotional shortcomings were there before and they will be there after unless the man opens himself up to the – metaphorically speaking – knife and get some spiritual surgery. The best a woman can do is to conduct her due diligence up front and work like heaven to keep things going the way things started.
But I give Neuman some credit on this one, he acknowledges that men’s straying ways are beyond the fault of the women in their lives and points out that men are not as one-dimensional in their motives as they seem. There is often some nuance involved in their (our) actions. Too bad few people are willing to acknowledge that.