Most romantic dramas have the same, lazy storyline.
Some beautiful woman — who has wanted nothing more in her life than to be a dutiful wife — finds out that her relatively successful husband is sharing his penis with another woman. She’s devastated. He’s apologetic. She swallows her pride. They move on.
I have some good and bad news. I’ll start on an uplifting note: In real life one’s ability to be monogamous isn’t dictated by what’s between his or her legs. Men are fully capable of committing to a relationship, verbally and physically. The not-so-great news? Women cheat too — and it’s not always because they’ve been emotionally neglected.
There are females who break their promises of fidelity simply because they are selfish. Sadly, there aren’t queues of movies to give even a fictitious play-by-play on how to help the scores of men forced to mend their broken hearts. Even worse, society often minimizes the emotional devastation guys grapple with when dealing with heartache, making it harder to find safe outlets to address pain.
Ready to get real on how to help male loved ones on the mend after being hurt by unfaithful girlfriends or wives? Consider how these seven assumptions impact how men are treated when dealing with infidelity, and what you can do to be a source of support.
Myth No. 1 — Men only get cheated on when they emotionally neglect their partner.
When folks hear about a woman stepping out on a man, there is an inclination to ask him, “What did you do?” Avoid vilifying either party. Instead create a space where he is comfortable sharing.
Myth No. 2 — Men always leave partners who’ve been unfaithful.
An affair doesn’t have to be the death of a relationship; it’s natural for a man to still love his mate — even when he’s angry. Guys should not be shamed for wanting to stay in a union if both parties are equally committed to moving forward in a healthy manner.
Myth No. 3 — Men inevitably cheat on women who’ve committed infidelity.
Fellows must ditch the itch to play the payback game by cheating on an unfaithful partner — or entertaining encouragement to do so. Continuing the cycle of looking outside of the relationship may feel good in the moment — or hours — but ultimately only perpetuates drama. If partners want to move forward, they must distance themselves from anything that undermines building a new, solid foundation of trust.
Myth No. 4 — Men who get “played” in relationship are lacking in some way.
Dishonesty doesn’t surface due to a man’s small penis, limited bank account or soft-spoken nature. She didn’t cheat because of his flaws; she cheated due to hers.
Myth No. 5 — Men don’t need therapy to help cope with a partner’s affair.
Solo and marital counseling is an effective way to create a safe space to express feelings and develop healthy coping skills. It’s a valuable resource to help deal with stress and develop a plan.
Myth No. 6 — Men can’t talk to other men about being the victim of infidelity.
Every guy may not be the buddy to vent to, but there are scores of men who can lend an ear and offer sound advice. The key is to pick someone who is fair, mature and not jaded. Vet wisely.
Myth No. 7 — Men don’t have fantasies about “happily ever after.”
Don’t forget that guys also daydream about that “perfect girl,” married life and child-rearing, which means they are crushed when faced with losing that fairytale ending. Men must give themselves permission to mourn the death of that dream AND to begin a new one.
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Licensed Therapist & Coach