Search our archives for many more posts on the topic of cheating.
Or ask your own question. Go to the “Ask the Guys” page on our site and use the form there.
Written by “Suburban Guy”
I think often of these lines from the song Woman by John Lennon:
Woman I know you understand
The little child inside the man,
Please remember my life is in your hands…
Remember that “Rolling Stone” cover where a naked John Lennon is curling up at the side of a fully clothed Yoko? Most people find it disturbing. I don’t, not really, even though it’s not really attractive.
Here’s a link to the photo I’m talking about:
I know what he’s trying to say, and I solute his bravery to be so open about it. In my opinion, most men, unless they have done inner child work of some sort (like John Lennon did), won’t admit the need they feel deep inside to be connected to a woman this powerfully. There is an inner child who yearns to be absolutely adored, protected, loved, safe. Don’t get me wrong. That’s not all we are in a relationship. We are also strong, spontaneous, and independent in many ways, but the inner child is there for most of us, influencing, driving, even pushing us to the point of frustration and in some extreme cases inappropriate acts.
Some men realize the inner drive of that child and are able to integrate it into life and relationships in meaningful ways. I’m still working on that personally, and I realized how much time and work it takes. But some men are blind to their inner child, and it hurts them and the people around them, often profoundly.
Abusive men are horrific examples of how a deeply wounded inner child can have a devastating impact. In order to appease the needs of their disfigured inner child, abusive men must absolutely possess the loyalty and attention of a woman. The slightest sign of rejection or “disloyalty” (read: a look, a hint of rejection, a sign of independence) sends them into fits of rage.
People who are compulsive cheaters have a similar problem, in my mind (ala Tiger Woods or Eliot Spitzer). For them, they need that feeling of having a fresh romance or intimate encounter, one where all barriers are broken down and the egos merge, essentially — temporary possession of the total attention of a woman. Once that feeling is gone, they start searching for it anew, sometimes the very next day. They are broken and searching for something that will fix them, even if only one night at a time.
To help frame this, let me switch and consider the opposite end of the spectrum — the male who knows his inner child and has healed it in many ways. First of all, this sort of man wouldn’t walk into a relationship that is basically wrong. He wouldn’t choose a woman who his inner child needs to “possess” or who gives his inner child the opportunity to rage the way it never could before. He would choose a partner who he enjoys and who “gets” him. Secondly, he would enjoy the closeness of a good relationship without depending on it. Sex would be an opportunity to share love, warm and gentle, not an attempt to satisfy inner emotional aches and pains. And, finally, he would first and foremost want to help his partner be happy, not because he is hoping to get anything in return, but just because love like that feels really good to give.
Sounds pretty good, pretty normal, right? Yet, how many men are there? I’m not, not yet. And if you check the web for info on marital unhappiness, infidelity, divorce, “sexless” marriages, etc, etc, I think you will come up with a good number on your own. It’s not high.
That brings me back to the naked and courageous John Lennon. With that photo and in many other ways, John was a pioneer on the emotional front, experimenting with Primal Therapy among other things. Boy do I wish he were still around. We have Bob Dole for erectile dysfunction (odd, but actually pretty brave). If only we had John Lennon working for inner child dysfunction! I think it would help a lot of people to have all of this talked about more.
I wrote this article from a limited perspective. Being a guy, I get the male inner child. But I often wish I understood the female inner child more. I know it exists. Almost no human escapes having a childhood (or just a history) unscathed. What I don’t feel like I know is the shape the female inner child takes in a relationship. Love to hear your thoughts.