I remember vividly the first time I was ever unfaithful (does that mean there was a second?). I had just met the girl of my dreams. We had similar views and we were both enrolled at Westmont, a Christian college in Santa Barbara. Everything was going perfectly… until I ran into my ex girlfriend. Now, I have to confess something, usually when I tell this story I soften it and say it was only weeks after I met Karen, implying that we were not that serious and I not such a bastard. Here is the truth, It was three or more months into our very serious and committed relationship. Karen didn’t live with me but we were about a month away. Simply put we were on a love high, religious high and about as emotionally stoned as that guy you see hanging outside of Starbucks. In our euphoria the last thing we expected was this.
The first time I sensed something was wrong was when Karen and I saw the movie The English Patient, saying we hated it was an understatement. If we could have covered the author in boiling tar and lit it on fire it would not have been enough. You probably haven’t seen The English Patient, it stared Ralph Fiennes, an even more dead eyed Muppet actor than Kevin Costner. We hated Ralph but we also hated the premise, a story rooted in infidelity. Karen and I were in denial, demanding the illusion of our unshakable fidelity. We believed we were more solid than than the uniformity of good reviews on this movie, how wrong everyone was…
I am in shock
I met my ex by accident at a restaurant, I was studying for an exam and she was detoxing after doing something slightly illegal. “Oh my god!!! Hey…” She says and I am forced into a big hug. My brain goes into a chocolate swoon as I feel her familiar large breasts press into me. She looks even more attractive than when I dated her two years before. The bad girl image had finally matured with a few more tattoos and piercings and her natural platinum hair appeared even lighter with her deep tan. “Wow, you look fantastic! I can’t believe it has been two years,” I said wishing I didn’t use the word fantastic. She beamed at me with pupils way too large and said, “We totally have to catch up! What is your number??” Without hesitation I gave it to her. This was just catching up and harmless I told myself. We met two weeks later for coffee when Karen was out of town. I had convinced myself it was purely innocent. My ex knew I was serious with someone and she would respect that… We could be friends… it would be fine… Karen would just get upset if I told her, so she doesn’t need to know… I can control myself…This dishonest dialog kept running in my head, telling me it was okay to put myself in such a dangerous position. We ended up on the beach with a bottle of wine, after four hours of resistance (foreplay) the inevitable happened.
I have never been so ashamed
I didn’t say a word until months later when my guilt came vomiting out. One sunny Saturday Karen and I ran into my secret, she was working at a coffee shop, “Oh my god!! Mike!!!” she said. I literally turned white, squeezed the blood out Karen’s hand and yanked her away from my terror. I couldn’t take the guilt I was harboring and when we arrived home I told her in such shame that I could have bottled the amount of fluid leaking from my face. Karen cried too and hit me over and over again. I took it… rolled up like a fetus on the floor sobbing instead of speaking. I hated myself for this and it took years to forgive. Karen and I stayed together for years until Karen did the same to me and she was just as shocked at her own behavior.
A few stats I have collected:
* 10-15% of all people on the planet have a different father than what they believe (my dad experienced this)
* Women are less likely to use contraceptive with people other than their partner
* Financially successful men are cheated on far less than unsuccessful
* Women are far more likely to orgasm with their lover than their partner
* Women are far more likely to get pregnant with their lover than their partner
* Younger women are as likely as younger men to be unfaithful.
* 45-55% of married women and 50-60% of married men engage in extramarital sex at some time or another during their relationship
* Those who divorce rarely marry the person with whom they are having the affair.
* Divorce rate among those who married their lovers was 75 percent
* It is estimated that 53% of all people will have one or more affairs during their lifetime.
* 53% of Promise Keeper men viewed pornography the previous week in one study (keep those promises boys!!)
Cheating is in our DNA
What is going on here? Are we all evil immoral people, chomping at the bit to screw our lives up? Or is there something deeper making it very hard to do “the right thing”? When I cheated I was totally caught off guard, I felt as if I had been tricked and betrayed by my own mind. I thought that I had a little gremlin of evil living in my head that wanted to destroy me. What is wrong with people? It is almost as if infidelity is a sexual strategy for reproduction. Almost as if we still have an animal like drive that takes over the system to satisfy it’s agenda.
The elephant in the room
Humans are of two minds, one is an animal subconscious and the other is the newly evolved conscious mind. All of us has witnessed the subconscious pleasure seeking hijacking of the system, when we eat junk food on a diet or spend money we don’t have. However when we do irrational sexual acts that destroy our relationships we don’t see the correlation. It is easier to say that we are a horrible person or claim that our partner drove us to it. Is it really completely our fault? and are we absolved of that guilt due to DNA sabotage? I don’t believe we are absolved but we must become aware of what triggers the powerful subconscious animal. This is why a recovering alcoholic doesn’t go to bars and the person losing weight can’t have junk in the house. To do the right thing we must control our environment when WE (not the subconscious) is in charge. We cannot put ourselves in dangerous situations EVER because as we have seen most of our lives, the amount of discipline it takes to control the animal mind when is it on the path of destruction it is massive and most of us do not posses it.
* The arrogant conscious mind likes to ignore the subconscious but do not be fooled, it is there both helping and hurting you daily
* The animal mind is part of us but it can and must be trained
* Controlling yourself in a dangerous environment is like trying to stop an elephant when it wants to rut
* Infidelity can be expected but never tolerated
* Create huge nasty repercussions to control the subconscious (Thailand is the capital of penis decapitation, this would be an effective way to create a sexual speeding ticket, wink)
Writes a blog for women about relationships at MikeTheMasterDater.com. Traveling the world and dating every single he met along the way allowed Mike to make an uncountable number of mistakes in relationships. These mistakes led to a fluency in the psychology of dating that could only be gained from radical immersion.