Why Was Her Affair Partner Worse Than Me?

If your wife cheats on you and her affair partner is clearly a highly attractive guy, it’s stomach churning, but at least it makes some kind of logical sense. She traded up and everyone likes getting a better deal.

But there are also plenty of times when the affair partner is frankly not all that impressive. The husband is the king of awesome and the wife has an affair with “some loser who has a kid in the same class as one of my kids.” The loser has a smaller house, a beat up car, a mundane job, is divorced yada yada yada. On paper it makes no sense. Why him?

The missing piece of the puzzle is that people tend to get into affairs based on getting what their current relationship lacks. The lower Sex Rank affair partner may only need to supply that one element that the higher Sex Rank marriage partner lacks. Thus…

If you’re broke, it’s a guy with a good income that’s the threat.

If you’re fat, it’s the in shape guy that’s the threat.

If you’re ignoring her, it’s the guy that can emotionally connect and hold a conversation that’s the threat.

If you’re boring, it’s the guy that’s fun that’s the threat.

If your penis is non-functional, it’s the guy with a working dick that’s the threat.

If you’re [insert weak point], it’s the guy [strong at your weak point] that’s the threat.

It’s also a factor that the affair partner doesn’t need to supply the entire relationship. Our king of awesome above, let’s say he’s got a great income, houses, fancy cars, vs. the loser with his small house and moderate standard of living. The wife in question doesn’t lack for finances because the husband supplies it, so the lower income of the loser isn’t that much of a point against him. If the loser however can provide a lot of emotional connection and conversation, and the husband is essentially so busy being the king of awesome he ignores her, suddenly the loser has something of value she craves. She can get one need met from the husband and the other need meet from the loser.

Or put more plainly, the husband is almost always unwittingly providing support for the Other Man to seduce the wife. The husband is typically supplying most of the wife’s needs, meaning the Other Man only has to supply the remainder of her needs to have an in.

This is incidentally why you blow an affair up and demand an all in or all out decision. When the husband threatens to end the relationship unless the wife punts the Other Man out of the picture, it puts the Other Man into a position where if he wants to continue the relationship with the wife, he now has to be able to supply the entire relationship, which he may simply not want to do, nor be capable of.

Or put another way, if all the Other Man has to do is provide a listening ear, a bunch of text messages and a hotel room once in a while, that’s not that difficult. If he has to provide an income, medical insurance, a place to stay, break up his own family and live with your wife 24/7, that’s a lot more difficult. He may not be willing to do that, or even be able to if he wanted to. Typically the come-to-Jesus-moment-of-horror for the cheating wife is that in the middle of her husband blowing the affair open, the Other Man denies her request for a complete relationship. Sorry honey, you’re just a piece on the side, not the main dish, go away.

Immediately upon realizing she just went from two men in her life to potentially zero men, she heads to the nearest bathroom and throws up.

Or alternatively, she realizes that the Other Man compared to the husband is a loser, and she has no desire at all for a complete relationship with him. Thus when ultimatumed, she dumps the Other Man.

Just bear in mind that even if she comes back home and tearfully and genuinely wants to work on things, there’s still the initial background issue of whatever that weakness in the husband was. At some point, he’s got to address that, or eventually all this plays out again.

And as always, prevention is the best medicine. If you have a glaring weakness in your marriage, that’s your top priority to fix.


  1. This is very insightful. I feel like I could have written it myself. It is typically what you are most missing in your marriage that is the basis for the attraction to the other man or other woman. It’s also true that the affair partner usually wouldn’t be who a person might choose for a full-time partner. They might think so for a while, but when it’s a serious possibility, the affair partner can rarely measure up.

    Your last line, though, is truly the bottom line:

    “If you have a glaring weakness in your marriage, that’s your top priority to fix.”

  2. Regardless of of her “Come to Jesus” moment and tears, I don’t know why any man would take a cheating wife back. By the time she’s caught she’s already decided you are not worthy and emotionally left the relationship months ago. Taking her back you’ve essentially become a spare tire she’s had to settle for because Mr. Wonderful is no longer in the picture. Any woman who is going to blow up her marriage and her kid’s life over 10% of Mr. Wonderful isn’t worthy of keeping.

  3. The general message here of shoring up your weaknesses is a decent message, if a bit overused as an excuse. Not exactly original, but the substance of that is a fine message.

    I have a problem with the example. If she cheats on you, she’s the problem. To put the blame on Mr. Awesome for some small shortcoming is blame-the-guy-no-matter-what at its worst. If she’s depending on you for all her relationship needs, she needs to find more friends or learn a different communication style or find a therapist. It’s wrong to blame the man here.

    Think of it this way. Reverse the roles and see how that sounds. Mrs. Awesome supplies everything, sex-on-demand, cooks well, keeps fit, has a sweet personality but doesn’t satisfy his need for intellectual conversation and he cheats because of that, would you tell her to “work on becoming smarter”? I mean, sure she could probably benefit from reading some good books, but really, the problem is with him in this scenario.

    I’ve been reading this blog since 2008. Please don’t turn into another Susan Walsh.

    I’ve been writing this blog since 2010.

  4. You have become an apologist for feminism. Telling the man that he is responsible for the disloyalty of his wife is unreasonable.

    There’s no excuse for cheating, but there are explanations.

  5. Even if they get 80-90% of their marriage right, it’s just an easy target to blame husbands, because it absolves the greatest consumers of the self help industry, Women, of any responsibility for their own happiness. What’s often overlooked is the fact it’s often a midlife issue of life just not turning out the way it was supposed to that starts this off. According to many articles and studies I have read, even if life did go according to plan, great husband, kids, cottages, vacations etc…many wives still feels like something is lacking and “Dream of divorce” . This middle age angst feeling often has very little to do with the husband, he could be Batman, millionaire by day, a superhero by night, but if she’s not happy with her life for any reason, an affair with the Joker ( or Robin) is a possibility.

  6. Toz:

    You’re missing the point. If you’ve read the books, you’ll know that most women don’t want to cheat. If you’ve married a woman who IS down to cheat at the drop of a hat, YOU’VE made the mistake in bad mate selection. But the majority of women don’t cheat until years and years of missing something build up and suddenly overflow.

    So in that context, it is MY job as the man to be aware of my wife needs, and if she has one that needs filling, to fill it. Ignorance is no excuse. Woman will attempt to communicate the issue before they give up, but it’s not always direct. Again, that’s women. A good captain will be on the lookout for such things and handle them. A captain who doesn’t periodically do a status check is inviting trouble.

    So yes, a woman who cheats is to be held to blame, of course. No one denies that. But a man who lets his woman get to that point either a) missed some signs along the way or b) picked a bad wife in the beginning.

  7. Changed_Man says:

    The example is valid, the conclusions the wayward spouse to validate their behavior is not.

    IMO, the other important piece of the puzzle is, if your spouse has poor self esteem, values system and/or boundaries, an inability to maintain perspective and/or communicate their needs (real or imagined), or a victim mentality, then their hamster kicks in and rationalizes why it’s perfectly okay to poop all over their mate.

    The hard reality is that there is nothing you can do to affair proof your marriage… nothing. All you can do is be your best version, for you, and hope you picked well. You may still end up being cheated on and you may still end up being divorced, but you will always know that you brought the best “you” you could possibly bring into your marriage.

  8. This is why choosing well is so important.

  9. Bastuna says:

    The gravity and simplicity of “all in or all out” is the biggest takeaway and a keypoint for me.

    Athol, this is the first time you hear this, but you are a mutherfacking genius…

  10. If I write aimed at a co-ed audience, I get hate mail for “selling out to women”.
    If I write aimed at a male audience, I get hate mail any time I say men have responsibilities in the marriage.

  11. Therefore a man has to be the best in everything he does – otherwise she is justified to cheat…
    Athol, are you serious? No man can be the best in everything – there is simply no time for that.

    Also, about taking cheating bitch back – are you serious?
    In this moment, Mr Awesome should change for younger model

    Who said he has to be the best at everything? Just cover the glaring weaknesses to baseline functionality.

  12. Weed:

    I’ve read the first book (bought it the first month it came out, if I remember). Like I said, I’ve been a big fan of this blog (yes, it was 2010, not 2008, I was thinking of Roissy). Anyway, the book and this blog are good stuff, and it definitely crystalized a lot of red pill tihnking for me and helped my marriage. I actually don’t have a problem with the main thrust of the post. Shore up your weaknesses. Duh. It’s something your manager at work tells you every year. Not exactly rocket science. I made a specific point to say that I have no problem with that. I have a problem with the example.

    The example is, to put it mildly, terrible. Yes, you should be the best you that you can be. I have no problem with that. But no, Mr. Awesome is not the problem in that scenario. His wife who cheated is. This sort of post is exactly what the rationalization hamster does. “You provide everything for me, but you lack in this and that’s why I cheated”. No, you’re a selfish, terrible person and that’s why you cheated. The explanation, to put it frankly, is bull. It’s ex-post-facto rationalization. As Athol’s advocated in the past, watch her actions, not her words. This example is going in the opposite direction.

    This sort of post is what led to Susan Walsh leaving the reservation. She writes almost entirely for the female audience now. Athol, the more you write stuff to excuse female behavior the more you’ll lose your male readers. Why? Because it’s pandering, pure and simple like 99% of the main-stream media.

    Let’s put it this way. You’ll have your female readers no matter what. Roissy can be pretty offensive and he STILL gets 30% of his readership from females. But you will lose your male readers, the ones that need this stuff the most, writing posts like this. This post is like seeing a meatball recipe on a vegetarian recipe blog. It’s out of place and it doesn’t matter that there’s a growing segment of meat-eaters visiting your blog. You’re going to lose your core of your audience if you keep going this way.

  13. I actually think Mike and Kay80 have the best response:

    Wife cheated? Game over. The reasons why don’t matter. He’s deficient as an explanation? Doesn’t matter. She’s a crappy human being? Doesn’t matter. It’s broken and it can’t be fixed.

  14. Joe Commenter says:

    I am just as horrified as all the other men are at the example given. Yet it is so common that it is almost a cliche. And I will bet that Athol did not have to work very hard to come up with it. I will bet he sees it constantly in his coaching practice. But Athol is just the messenger here. He is giving you the formula for fixing the problem before it becomes a problem. The fact is, this is a common scenario for a cheating wife. It is what it is. We can complain about it all we want, but it won’t change the fact that the cheating happens. We can even say it’s the woman’s fault. But that will not change the fact that the cheating happens.

    In the example above, maybe fixing the problem means turning down the promo opportunity at work to spend some time gaming the wife. If she’s worth having as a wife she ought to be worth spending some time on.

  15. “If she’s worth having as a wife she ought to be worth spending some time on.”

    After she cheats, she’s not worth having as a wife IMO.

    You can’t fix it after she cheats, again, IMO.

    I realize some will want to keep it together for the kids or for finances or whatever else. I get that. If that’s the case then yes, hubby has a lot of work to do and he has to fix the weak spots so as to ward off any possible cheating in the future.

  16. Joe Commenter says:

    Yes Deti, I completely agree. After she has cheated, she is not worth having as a wife.

    The time to be fixing things is before the cheating takes place, when your spidey sense is tingling and you know something isn’t right with her. Most women will be acting “funny” at home before doing any cheating. It is possible for a cheating episode to happen out of the blue w/ no warning. But I would think it was a minority.

  17. Clara K. says:

    Athol, I completely agree with you.

    People of both genders are responsible for their actions. Sometimes I feel like it’s become such a war of the sexes lately. I know that men and women are vastly different and have different needs, but a marriage can’t work if you’re constantly coming at it like a game of chess trying ever to outwit or out manipulate the other person. I feel as though it’s often forgotten that marriage is supposed to be two people on the same team. Cheating is a terrible choice, and the blame for it falls squarely on the shoulders of the person who made that choice, male or female. It’s perfectly reasonable to assume, however, that creating a situation that makes cheating all the more tempting is not in your best interests.

    Side Note: I read a lot of blogs in the manosphere where male cheating is upheld and excused especially in the face of sexless relationships and everyone is comfortable setting the blame on the woman. They say she shouldn’t be surprised. “you take care of that man or someone else will.” Why is it such a surprise then, that it works both ways? “Take care of that woman or someone else will.” Bias in either direction is unhealthy.

    Can’t we just say that cheating is wrong, it’s a bad solution to a real problem. Let’s try to help our marriages along by not making the wrong choice look like the right one or the easy one for our partners. It works best if it’s a team effort, but we’re the only people we can control. Therefore we will be the best of ourselves and do what we know to be right regardless of the gender wars or the poor behavior of others.

  18. CrashAxe says:

    Shooting the messenger never makes the message more palatable. Or less true.

  19. “Wife cheated? Game over. The reasons why don’t matter. He’s deficient as an explanation? Doesn’t matter. She’s a crappy human being? Doesn’t matter. It’s broken and it can’t be fixed.”

    Exactly right. As a man you have to pull the plug and start again.

    And be more alpha next time!

  20. Kheldar says:

    I think some of the commenters are confusing the prescriptive with the descriptive. Athol has observed something that happens (wife cheats down) and describes why it happens. Based on that, he describes how to prevent or fix it.

    If you don’t want to hedge your bets before she cheats or would rather be right than married after she cheats, that’s certainly an option. And not necessarily a bad one, depending on how much you had your shit together when she cheated.

  21. Kickboxer says:

    Athol has never condoned cheating, infact he always says he wont give anyone that excuse no matter how many ways you put it to him. You are here to find a solution not blame!

    You can either keep neglecting to address your weaknesses (both men and women) and your partner will likely stray. Of course you can dump your partner and find a younger, older, smaller, fatter model (whatever) but the problem will likely re-occur over and over again until you have a good look at yourself and make changes. Perhaps this article will save you years of heartbreak. Don’t say you don’t experience it, you do and you will.

    @ Toz, please dont ever compare Athol to Roissy. The women on this blog have so much respect and admiration for Athol. The women on Roissy tell him straight out he is a misogynist sociopath that will forever be lonely. He lives an empty life based on sex alone (it’s just a short term fix for loneliness). Women mock, laugh and have no respect for Roissy. He hates women and teaches men how to use them. Not exactly relationship and heart warming material. If you don’t care much for love, companionship, loyalty and friendship then go there. If you want to be adored and loved stay here and listen to his suggestions.

    What have you got to lose by fixing any weaknesses? Perhaps a more dedicated wife who bows down and workships you and your cock?

  22. Akatsukami says:

    I would opine that this is an opening — and one to be taken — to hang, draw, quarter, and bury in an anonymous grave the phrase “Sex Rank”.

  23. Yes, there’s a difference between preventing something and assigning blame after it happens, and, for the most part, the cheater is the one responsible for his/her own actions. However, any man who just kicks out his cheating wife without looking at his part in the matter will probably lose his next wife, too, and his next.

  24. Tars Tarkas says:

    A cheating cheater who cheats is what it is. The explanation is reasonable not an excuse.

    If we accept that women have reactive desire and men have active desire, then burden is on the man, is it not? Whimpering about why can’t we all get along and men and women are equal blah blah blah helps no one.

    The woman will react to her environment. Then man needs to be aware and address the environment he is creating. She is still responsible for her actions – as is the man. Athlon is point this out her. Admittedly in a place where angels fear to tread.

    Makes a lot of sense to me.

  25. So, if husband is working his ass to pay for kid’s school snd mortage – he is coming back home tired and late. Hes ignoring his wife, but hes making money for their wellbeing.

    However, there is unemployed neighbour who spends his time at gym.

    Such example is very common – the most alpha guys I know spend their youth on learning how to pull women, but are entirely useless as providers. There is no way normal hard-working dude can compare with them.

    Its is ‘glaring weakness’ but husband cannot fix it without wasting his youth before.

  26. Obligatory car metaphor: You get hit by a car. That sucks. You can’t decide how other people drive. You can however, make sure YOUR driving is correct so that the chances of another accident remain smaller. That’s not exactly fair, but in the end it’s about YOU not getting into another accident. That someone else is liable will not fix your broken windshield, bumper (or heart, relationship, trust..etc). You’ll have to do that yourself.

    I read this blog because it does exactly that. It shows what happened. It shows how to deal with it and it shows how to take agency and make damn sure that I prevent getting hit by another car. There is a time for complaining and being a victim. It feels good, but in the end your life will not change unless you take action.

    I’d call this post one of the more masculine really. Here’s a problem. Here’s how it works. This is what helps to fix it. That is all. Move along now.

    Thanks Athol. It’s a good post. I’ve learned from it and it furthered my resolve to keep on MAP-ping. Please don’t feel crappy because of the whiners.

  27. The ‘problem’ with Athol is that he sees reality as it is instead of as everyone wishes it were.

    In dealing with thousands of marriages and watching countless affairs develop, he observes certain realities of how they came about and then comes up with pragmatic ways of preventing and dealing with them.

    He doesn’t spend a lot of time on diatribes about that cheating tramp/that cheating dirt bag. Instead, he finds solutions.

    That type of pragmatism is too much for those who would rather sit back and wring their hands in impotence and say that there’s nothing to be done.

    But for those who choose to take action, who believe they can Captain their own lives, Athol’s observations are invaluable.

    Athol’s blog will likely continue to evoke howls of wrath from idealists who choose to follow a certain paradigm. But for those who are tired of being helpless victims, who are ready to see reality as it is and start taking control over their lives and marriages, Athol’s insights give a clear path forward.

  28. Changed_Man says:

    Great comments to an excellent blog post.

    To reiterate… Athol is not selling out, he’s merely giving voice to the reality of wives cheating down. It’s harsh, you don’t have to like it, but doesn’t make it any less true.

    IMO, it’s also a case study on the red-pill concept that men tend to love idealistically, while women tend to love opportunistically. This serves as an explanation why a man’s wife goggles will be stubbornly welded to his face and a woman has the capability to ‘cheat down’.

    Proper mate selection is all about minimizing risk, but can only go so far. Most folk can go 20+ years before their true character will be tested by infidelity… that’s a long time span and a traumatic way to get a glimpse of what your spouse is truly made of. Unfortunate, but truly unpredictable.

    While working on becoming your best version should be (and is) a means unto itself, I think Athol’s message is that MAP-ing is also an insurance policy to minimize your risk as low as reasonably achievable to prevent years of ego and emotional investment from blowing up in your face.

    A tough, but absolutely necessary, message, IMO.

  29. ozymandias says:

    Kickboxer – the Athol/Roissy dichotomy you present seems false to me. Married game was born in Roissy’s comment section back in the aughts. There are things I read in the PUA community that squick me out from time to time but I am convinced that none of us would be here having this discussion without them. Kind of like the relationship between alchemists and modern chemistry.

  30. Booch Paradise says:

    I would guess part of the uproar here is due to bad examples being used for that is a valid formula. Some points that are probably helpful is that first, not all needs have a sexual component. For example if a husband is not fulfilling his wife’s need for getting taxes done, it doesn’t seem to follow that because of that need in isolation she would start an affair with some dude at H&R block.

    Also Toz’s example isn’t really valid because men and women are different and have different needs in marriage that the other fulfills. So of course it’d be terrible for a man to cheat because his wife doesn’t supply intellectual conversation, because he should be getting that from other male friends anyway. But say the wife is MIA in raising their children, forcing him to hire a nanny who he then bonds with over his children, which is a bond he can’t form with his wife because she just refuses to be involved, and then he sleeps with the nanny. You could make a movie with that plot and women would attend in droves and leave thinking he’s a great guy.

    So what might be useful when thinking about this is not to assign every need a person has to their spouse, but to assign needs that would be inappropriate if filled by someone other than the spouse, and recognize that the list of needs for the man and the woman are going to be very different lists.

  31. Irregardless of how the scenario was staged, albeit a husband or a wife as the cheater, the premise is correct in that the relationship was lacking something and the cheater sought that elsewhere. Cheating is selfish, deceitful, and hurtful but it is explainable by way of that logic. Cheating is not excusable, however. Vows are taken. Families are at stake. The responsibility for cheating falls squarely on the cheater for making the choice to cheat as opposed to making the choice to work on the inefficiencies in the marriage.

    As a female reader of this blog and someone who’s own marriage survived the husband’s affair, I write to say that this post rings true. It’s a hard truth. I know exactly what was lacking and what he got from the other woman. It’s hurtful to think that a need I wasn’t fulfilling pushed someone I loved to go elsewhere. It also angered me that someone I thought so highly of would have made that bad life choice in light of our marriage vows. Communication is key though just like hind-site is 20/20. If you want to affair-proof your marriage be proactive. ““An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” ~Benjamin Franklin

    However, if you are of the mindset that “wife/husband cheated = game over” then you are at the wrong blog site to begin with. Your pride is obviously too large to swallow to admit that the marriage had problems which led to cheating to begin with.

  32. @christy: Good point.

    While it’s definitely easier to simply say “cheater -> game over”, unless you figure out a) why it happened i n the first place or b) make a better mate decision the next time, you may find history repeating itself.

    Spouses shouldn’t cheat. We all agree on that/ But spouses DO cheat. The evidence is overwhelming. To think Athol is excusing women is ludicrous to anyone who’s read home. He’s EXPLAINING the action, not excusing or condoning it. Athol has made many an engineering-type man happy because he explained the male-female dynamic in a way that was logical, scientific, and made sense to them. It’s really simple: do this, this, and this, and your chances of a happy, sexual marriage go up. It’s not foolproof, it doesn’t ALWAYS work, but it games the odds in your favor. And it does it by doing something you should be doing already…making YOURSELF BETTER. For people to rail and argue against simple common sense…really?

  33. All I’m saying is that the motivations for wife cheating are quite different from husband cheating. And, the odds of marital survival are considerably lower with wife cheating than they are in husband cheating.

    As I agreed with Athol before, in the unlikely event a marriage is to survive wife cheating, the husband has lots of work to do to ward off cheating in the future.

  34. The line between explanation and rationalization is thin. What’s offered up as an explanation is often just rationalization after the fact. Let’s just say if the scenario above happened to me, I would be very skeptical of any explanation offered up by the cheater.

    Again, I’m fine with shoring up weaknesses. I’m all for making yourself better. Those are fine things. I’ve said this from the beginning. Not sure why people are using straw man arguments as if I’m against those things.

    What’s not fine is thinking you understand the problem when you don’t. What’s not fine is saying there exists this explanation that leads back to you and that’s the cause of some horrible, evil behavior. No, the cause of the evil, horrible behavior is the evil, horrible person. This post is a step towards excusing the behavior, specifically of the woman at the expense of the man.

    This is the same main stream media BS about how if the man cheats, he’s scum, but if the woman cheats, he’s not providing something and therefore, she had no choice. This post subtly reinforces that notion. The woman has agency. She could help it and she failed.

  35. To anyone who think this article is pandering to women:

    Try flipping the genders around. If a wife starves her husband of sex or attention, he’s in serious danger of cheating as soon as he finds a woman he likes who gives him what he needs.

    Cheating isn’t inevitable, the odds will be a combination of his self-control, his morals, the attractiveness of his potential mistress and how starved he is for what she’s offering. If he cheats, he is still wrong, but there are situations where even the best people can be tempted to misbehave.

    It is a wife’s duty to make sure her husband is satisfied with their life together.

    She needs to assess his needs and help him fulfill those needs. She should give him what he wants sexually and let him go out with his male friends when he needs something non-sexual that she can’t provide. She needs to do what is in her power to keep him happy, or she’s increasing the odds that he will be tempted to find happiness elsewhere.

    As for automatically dumping a cheating spouse, that’s fine if you have no children. If you have kids, it gets complicated. See, divorce increases the odds that your kids will be screwed up. Divorce is toxic to the children involved, unless they were abused and you are removing them from that situation. However, if your husband or wife is a good parent, it would be better for the children to patch up the marriage and move on, if that’s possible.

  36. I don’t fully agree with Toz’s latest; but he does have a point about the rationalization hamster. In my dating relationships, I never did get any useful information about why the other guy was preferred, and some stuff that was completely inaccurate.

  37. Clara K. says:

    This article isn’t a step towards anything. No woman is going to read this article and go, “gosh. good thing I’ve got my ‘get out of jail free card’ now that my infidelity is all his fault! Don’t nobody tell me different!” or “hey I was really on the fence about whether or not to blame my cheating wife, I guess it really was all my fault.” The comments on this article don’t strike me anything like that. People are taking away something different entirely.

    No one is denying a woman’s agency, or that she ought to be held accountable for her actions. And no one is denying that you know what, sometimes people do stupid evil things for no reason at all. Sometimes they just do and there’s no good explanation. But honestly, there’s a lot more to human behavior than evil people doing evil things and good people doing good things.

    Cheating is a bad answer to what is, occasionally if not often, a legitimate concern. Addressing the legitimate concern is an entirely separate issue than validating the bad answer or painting the trespasser as a victim. So yes, wear your seal belt and your bike helmet. Don’t go into dark alleys alone at night with strangers and remember to lock your cars. And every once in awhile, assess what you’re bringing to the relationship and step up your game so your partner needn’t look elsewhere. It’s not an unreasonable piece of advice simply because it suggests *you* do something in order to lessen the odds of distasteful outcomes.

  38. Clara:

    How do you know this isn’t a step toward anything? Do you have a time machine and can tell what this blog becomes in the future? I’m sure Susan Walsh was saying all the right things about the manosphere 3 years ago. Look where she’s now.

    Lots of people deny a woman’s agency. Probably not the commenters on this blog yet, but plenty of people in the mainstream do. Lots of people don’t hold women accountable for their actions. Heck, feminism is almost all about doing that exact thing. I’m not saying that this blog is there yet, but it’s a step in that direction.

    The example is specious at best. Very rarely are you going to know exactly why someone cheated. Some of the reasons may be obvious (the guy is rich and handsome compared to you). Some are not. And no, you shouldn’t be trusting the words of somebody that just cheated on you as to why. Improving the part of the married game that you lack is a fine message. The process of finding out as in the example is not.

  39. Clara K. says:


    You determine the effect of an idea by the impact it makes, not the impact it might maybe make but hasn’t yet. Just like I don’t have a time machine neither do you. The only way we can concretely look at the impact this article made is the comments section. As the viewership of this article is not blatantly excusing female behavior it is, as of yet, unjustified to say that this particular article has caused a shift in the perception of female behavior.

    Furthermore the only connection, to the best of my knowledge, that Athol and Susan Walsh have is subject matter. In fact I’ve noticed Athol going to great length to stand firm on his beliefs about what is healthy for relationships in the face of opposition. He doesn’t seem like a man easily swayed. It is decidedly unfair to make Athol somehow responsible for Susan Walsh’s behavior. We’ve established fairly well in this neck of the woods that turning an individual or group of people into potential criminals based on the actions of one is unwarranted. Athol’s work will stand or fail all by itself. In the end the only person’s behavior that we can hold him accountable for is his own.

    I actually apologize because I think this particular point was unclear. When I said that no one was denying a woman’s agency I was again pointing to the effect of the article in the comments section. An idea is judged based on the effect is has created. Feminism excusing women’s behavior is nothing new and has nothing to do with this article. Athol will be judged by the actual outcomes of his work. In order for someone to take a step toward anything there must be measurable distance between where they are now and where they were. If you could recommend some of his writing that shows the “step” part in order for us to contrast it directly against the advice he is giving now it would add much credibility to your position. Until then all you’re doing is saying that Athol is on a trajectory towards feminism because he suggested it is possible to fix a marriage after infidelity and that the solution will inevitable involve communication.

    As to knowing very rarely why someone cheated I would like to point out that Athol does coaching along side researching and writing for this blog. It is a fair bet to say that he encounters cheating more often then the average person and might have an informed opinion based on his observations. In truth it seems like, and please correct me if I am wrong, that you take issue only with the second to last sentence. If you are of the opinion that once someone cheats they can never be trusted again, that is entirely your prerogative. However, if a marriage is to be fixed and saved trust needs to be rebuilt and part of that is going to be talking to that person about why they did what they did. Ultimately the article wasn’t about whether or not you should bother to save it, it had one sentence noting the first step should you want to. He even ends noting that prevention is the name of the game. If you don’t personally believe in saving a marriage after infidelity that’s fine, but just because someone gave one sentence worth of advice to those who do doesn’t set the whole blog on the path to feminist destruction.

  40. ‘Why Was Her Affair Partner Worse Than Me?’ is the title, this article is quite clearly for men, and the way to help that man isn’t to focus on and fix someone else’s short comings (that just makes no sense), but to focus on his. That is why it isn’t blaming anything on the woman in question, because who cares, it would be a waste of words and a waste of your time.

    If it was for the woman I’d expect him to focus on what can help her, rather than just blaming it on the man (which is of no constructive value to her).

    TLDR: expecting petting of your feels and the blames to go elsewhere means you arn’t looking for help, it means you just want to sit where you are and told that what you are [not] doing is good. There is a time and place for everything, but this isn’t it.

  41. The number one glaring weakness of a husband is – being married.

  42. I’m assuming Athol is writing this for men who do want to get their wife back after an affair. Or possibly men who want to prevent one. Or hey… women who want to get their husband back or prevent him from having an affair.

  43. Statistically speaking, when the man cheats, the marriage is not necessarily over. However, when the wife cheats it’s usually over. Could be because at that point she’s done, moved on, planning the post divorce life, whatever. Look up the stats for yourself. I’ve come to believe that men and women react very, very differently to a spouse cheating, over the long term, and that plays a significant role in the outcome down the road, once the dust has settled.

    Guys are mostly the ones that will say that if the wife cheats, it’s done. How they do that in practice varies. They might stick it out gritting their teeth and wait until the kids are 18, they might leave immediately, they might physically stay but they are done, if only in mind at that point.

    For most guys, what they do depends on how much they figure it will cost them to get rid of her, and how much trouble it might be to find a new woman. Once the woman is disloyal to a man to that degree, it becomes an economic calculation to him of “How much will it cost me to make this (her) go away.”

    Men = How much will it cost me to get rid of this situation?
    Women = How much will I get when this situation is over?

    He will want to get rid of her despite all his protestations of “we’ll work this out”, and he may even truly mean that at the time, but once this settles into his mind, he won’t want her anymore. Even if he is forced to stay with her because of circumstance or religious obligation, he doesn’t want her. He will never want her again the way that he did before.

    Sure, sure there is all the initial “I’ll win her back” and “Fight for this marriage baby!” stuff. Yeah, well, that is just pride, not wanting to lose to someone else, and desperate action to keep the world from getting tipsy-turvy and out of your control.

    But, after the affair is all over, and the stink of it has settled on the marriage. When you’re sitting in the TV room room watching the other person engrossed in another episode of Honey Boo Boo, then it hits you. You want to get the F out. Like desperately climbing the walls want to get the F out. You do not want to waste one more day, dollar or breath giving your life and loyalty to this other person, whom, despite whatever reasonable reasons they have offered for their behavior, does not deserve it.

    Hey ladies, you want to permanently remove your husband’s wife goggles that he wears for you? Cheat on him. See if he ever sees you the same way again. See if he will still offer you his unconditional loyalty and provisioning when you’re older. Hopefully your kids like you and will be willing to take you in or look in on you.

    The women here seem to say that cheating is not necessarily the end of the relationship, because that is how they view it from their perspective. Women do not necessarily divorce cheating husbands. They divorce cheating husbands far less than husbands divorce cheating wives.

    It would be fair to say that the impact on the marriage of a wife cheating, whatever the ‘reason’ for the cheating is far greater than if the man cheats. We can come up with whatever reasonable causes for the cheating like “something was missing” or whatever. It might even be true, but even if it is true, and even if the guy recognizes that, it’s not going to change the way that the cheating changed how he feels about her, and his corresponding actions.

    “Well that’s not fair!”, and it might be childish or having unreasonable expectations. I don’t know. It’s just the way I think it is. But then I’m a bitter hater. So take my 2 cents and keep the change.

  44. Joe Commenter says:

    @ZLX1: “”Guys are mostly the ones that will say that if the wife cheats, it’s done. How they do that in practice varies. They might stick it out gritting their teeth and wait until the kids are 18, they might leave immediately, they might physically stay but they are done, if only in mind at that point.

    For most guys, what they do depends on how much they figure it will cost them to get rid of her, and how much trouble it might be to find a new woman. Once the woman is disloyal to a man to that degree, it becomes an economic calculation to him of “How much will it cost me to make this (her) go away.””

    I fully agree with this. If my wife cheats on me, I don’t want her back. It is that simple. By virtue of cheating, the cheating spouse has essentially said “you are not good enough for me, so I found someone who is good enough”. In my mind, life is too short to be wasting time trying to change her mind to where she thinks I’m Mr Awesome again. Not worth it.

  45. I think being betrayed makes you go through the grief cycle, whether it’s betrayal through an affair or being neglected. At one point, you realize there’s nothing you could have done to be a better person and you just want to be accepted for who you are, but something will always nag at you in the back of your mind. To fully heal, you need to address those issues. I’m dealing with that now. I constantly feel the flight-or-fight response to avoid dealing with my own issues.

  46. @Legs

    It’s a tough road to walk. Sorry you’re going through it.

  47. @ZLX1 thanks, it is tough. It’s hardest when I realize my actions, or better, lack of actions caused someone to feel so much pain or rejection that he felt he needed to turn outside of our marriage for comfort. That’s the hardest part and perhaps where I’ve gotten over my “screw him” attitude and taken accountability for my own shortcomings. Which in turn has substantially improved my job, how I treat my employees and coworkers, my role as a leader in the company, and even better, my children. It has been very hard but in the end, much better. All my shortcomings in my marriage were also shortcomings in all my relationships and I had just been blind to them.

  48. codysedlacek says:

    A lot of tough talk here. A lot men crying because “its not fair and equal”. Waaaah. Guess what, provide it all, or your woman will find someone who will. If your nuclear option isn’t enough to keep her from cheating, then step it up. Life’s a bitch that way. Your whining about it doesn’t change it.

    And @Christy, Irregardless is not a word.

  49. @codysedlacek, update your home dictionary. Miriam Webster declares it is: http://i.word.com/idictionary/irregardless. “Irregardless” of your opinion on my choice of words, I do agree with your sentiment. Life’s a bitch like that.

  50. I have actually personally witnessed a friend of mine cheating on her husband because she tought he didn’t value her, then coming back and after some time cheating on him again. Remember guys: if it happened once, it will happen again, unless you fix the factor that allowed it to happen.

  51. Joe Commenter says:

    @Kat,interesting comment. what do you mean she cheated because she thought he didn’t value her?

    I ask because one of the central lessons that we men are supposed to be learning is that we should never ever put our wives on a pedestal and worship them. The theory is that worshiping her will lead her to see the man as some kind of a sniveling wimp. I am having a hard time squaring your story with the “do not worship” lessons of red pill.

  52. In the PUA literature, it is called sending her in auto-rejection; she feels you are going to leave her eventually, she she looks for the next guy (and since she sees herself as loower SR than you, the new guy will be lower SR than you too.)
    I’ve had women put me into that, kept dating them in hopes they would change their minds, but was putting a lot of effort into finding their repalacement.

  53. @joe commenter You did just read the last blog post about how alpha assholes last for about six months in a relationship? How does noticing someone has needs equate to worshipping them?

    If red pill means animal mentality, it makes perfect sense when the alpha male stops paying attention to a female, that she will mate with the beta males.

    Is it that hard to be a leader and nice, too?

  54. Joe Commenter says:

    @Legs: Don’t get bent out of shape. Nobody said anything about not meeting peoples needs. I asked the question bec I wanted more clarity on what Kat meant by “her husband didn’t value her”. I have no idea what their situation is. Dalef’s theory sounds probable to me tho.

  55. @joe commenter Sorry. Still have a chip on my shoulder or PTSD from being chronically ignored. Didn’t mean to take it out on you.

  56. The woman doesn’t cheat because she lacks something in the relationship. She cheats because she lacks virtue, she lacks integrity.

    This isn’t something the man can solve, maybe a therapist can try, though the man can attempt to prevent it. But why would you get with someone, you have to try and prevent cheating on you? Do you have no respect for yourself? And why would any man take back a woman who has cheated on him? Other than he lacks a spine and cares more about occasional pussy than his own dignity.

  57. I think it makes no sense for a man to keep a cheating wife, at all. This is decent theoretical advice for those men who choose to try, I suppose, because relationships are joint efforts. But a woman who cheats does it because she chooses to rationalize it. Work on paying attention to her, and she can just as easily decide you are smothering her. Make more money…and then she’ll think you are never around for her. Work out, and then she’ll think she’s too fat for you. Improve yourself to improve yourself, and it is fine to hope that she can rationalize remaining compatible with you, but don’t expect her to be more likely to stay true the next time around. Fidelity is not something a cheating woman values, and she’s not going to learn to value it out of fear of partial fulfillment.

  58. I understand what Athol is saying – fix your deficiencies – but it over simplifies the problem and puts the onus on the husband. Because, yeah, if you’re broke, it’s the guy with money that she’ll go for.

    What if you’re a drummer and she goes for the guy who plays guitar?
    What if you’re bald and she goes for the guy with the great head of hair?
    What if you’re married and she goes for the guy who’s available?

    Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you need to satisfy all of your wife’s desires because her desires change daily. You can be 99% of Mr. Awesome and she’ll still look for that 1% because she’s ovulating/she ate an oyster/ it’s Tuesday. Back in the day, men and women had self-control and were chastised by society for their transgressions. Nowadays, it’s all about what you feel at the moment. “It just happened…”

    The key is to never stop improving. This makes you a better person and gives her something new.

    But if she cheats, it’s over.

  59. The trap of thinking you’re 99% Mr. (or Mrs.) Awesome is that you think you’re already awesome and don’t need to continue to improve yourself. There’s nothing left to improve. And that’s when backward momentum starts happening. There is no such thing as 99% Mr. Awesome. Your spouse has probably gotten sick and tired of Mr. Awesome or his attitude.

  60. ZLX1, Tanooki and XDPaul nailed it. I’ve come to the conclusion that in a lot of these cases hubby does not stand a chance. The wife is simply not happy where she is in her life at 40+, even if she’s got the house of her dreams, kids, vacations and a good husband, she’s feeling old and craves to feel alive again. Which is why they often go get tattooed, start wearing their daughter’s clothing, dye their hair three different colors and hook up with Harley Mcbadboy or Billy Bassplayer. Some burn through that phase before their X husband realises how lucky he is she’s gone and he takes her back, but it seldom works well for the husband.

    It may not hit right away if you take cheating wife back, but the resentment will kick in. I’ve been involved in men’s forums for the last three years and this delayed epiphany moment is a constant theme that comes up. For some it’s only a matter of months, others 3-5 years before they realize they just can’t do it. At first the man will do anything to get his wife back, still see’s her through Husband Googles, then realizes he’s doing far more to reconcile the relationship than she is and they come off. Many report “Mind Movies” of their wives having Porn Star level sex with the OM that they themselves never got ( backed up by video they found on the wife’s phone or email) that they still just can’t shake, even after years of therapy.

  61. HappilyMarriedDom says:

    It seems that there is a disagreement in the comments above about what SHOULD be the reality where cheating is concerned and what IS the reality. IMO, @Athol is providing a template for how to personally navigate the potential minefields in a modern marriage. As individuals, we’d do well to follow his advice. If you want to be in a relationship in which cheating is very unlikely, take all of the steps you can to prevent it and keep your Spidey-Sense turned on.
    In the open forum discussion of how relationships in general SHOULD be and how we should be striving for fairness and decency, the discussion is different. Each person needs to be responsible for looking after their own needs, behaving with decency and not being a cheating idiot.

  62. This is probably the most effective blog post Athol has written. Every morning I check to see if there is a new one, but see this, re-read it, cry, and then go work out really hard. Haven’t missed a workout or had a cheat meal since July 24th.

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