FREE Chapter of Dr. Gilda's New Book: Your Cheater Keeps Cheating —And You’re Still There!

by - 11:43 PM


Like Sex, Commitment Used To Last Longer

As relationship challenged as this world seems to get, the wedding industry continues to grow.  Yet, the institution of marriage is constantly being derided by both genders.  One anonymous commenter on the Internet snarled, "Many of my married male friends sound more like hostages than husbands."

People appear to have a love/hate relationship with long-term commitment.  They tend to express their disappointment about their own circumstances, yet no matter how bad things may be for them, the longing to be loved prevails, and they stay put.

Men feel invaded by too much closeness. 
Women feel evaded without enough closeness.

Both genders may strive toward “happily-ever-after” at first, but after some time, many feel cheated—even without feeling cheated on.  And they’re angry.  Some women go through torment trying to choose between Mrs. and Mistress status.

A then non-president, Donald Trump, one who knew about cheating on a wife, cautioned all men who think they can get away with cheating.  After reading about a 79-year-old grandmother who was convicted of killing her 85-year-old former boyfriend because she was convinced he was cheating on her, Trump blogged, "There's a lesson . . . When you cheat on a woman, even if she's a 79-year-old grandmother in a nursing home, you could be literally taking your life into your own hands. Is it worth it?"

It was the summer of 2006 when the news hit that gorgeous Christie Brinkley’s gorgeous fourth husband, Peter Cook, had been bedding down a 19-year-old ordinary girl working in an ordinary toy store.  He wined her and dined her, and replaced her toy store job with one in his architectural office.

Brinkley kicked him out the next day, and publicly announced that the amorous architect’s new official address would be The Dog House.  Their separation was immediate, followed by divorce.

The young girl Peter Cook wooed and bedded concluded that she and the other girls she learned he had trysts with “were all tools of his little game.”  Now she believed he had been interested only in her for the sex.  Duh!  Did she think he pursued her for her worldly intellect?

It may seem easy to assign titles like “victim” or “homewrecker” to a girl-woman like this.  But authors Jenny Offill and Elissa Schappel size up any impressionable girl’s state of mind: “Every close friendship offers the same fundamental thrill; someone has singled you out and chosen you, someone who had no obligation to do so.”  To a young girl, being pursued by a wealthy, attractive man amid the lush landscapes of the Hamptons, especially if the man is married to a sought after mega model like Christie Brinkley, this is a huge ego-booster.

Scientists explain that the prefrontal cortex in young people’s brains that deals with decision-making, prioritizing, suppressing impulses, and weighing consequences, won’t fully mature until their mid-twenties.  So, a young girl-woman naturally operates at a maturational deficit.

But the concept of young girls having affairs with older married men is not unique. Even the staid Barbara Walters admitted on The View that when she was 19, she, too, had an affair with a man who was married!  Mets catcher Paul Lo Duca was scoring off the field with a 19-year-old, too.  The girl said that 34-year-old Lo Duca told her he was divorced, but she should have known something was up: they went out only once in public. When he learned news of his divorce was about to hit, he text-messaged her, saying, "I have to speak to you." In Lo Duca’s case, another 19-year-old admitted that she, too, had been enjoying sex trysts with him.  She also said that he told her he was divorced.  How long did this public figure think he could get away with this lie?

Sonia Lo Duca filed for divorce, charging adultery. The fact that she had been a Playboy model made as much difference to her husband as Christie Brinkley’s beauty made to Peter Cook.  Gorgeousness is no guarantee for keeping a mate faithful.  Billy Joel cheated on Brinkley, too.  Eric Benet cheated on Halle Berry.  Ethan Hawke cheated on Uma Thurman. Kobi Bryant cheated on his stunning wife, Vanessa.  Hugh Grant cheated on Elizabeth Hurley. The list of betrayed beauties is long, leaving hurt and anger in the dust.

Billy Crystal jokes, "Women need a reason to have sex.  Men just need a place."  In truth, men have 2½ times the brain space assigned to sexual drive as women.  While rationalizations for cheating are plentiful, aside from the humor or the anger, few people really understand what drives it.

The replacements the men choose for their gorgeous mates don’t nearly measure up to the originals. In the New York Daily News, journalist Jane Ridley questioned, “What kind of idiot trades one of the world's most beautiful women for a teenage wanna-be barely out of high school?” Obviously, Peter Cook was the “kind of idiot” who had trouble handling “one of the world’s most beautiful women” because he stood in her shadows.  Of course, for as long as she was subsidizing his schmoozing and boozing, he was a big shot.  But after he was caught, his duplicity in the fast lane didn’t draw the same cache.

In all cases of older men with younger women, somebody has to be the grownup—and it stands to reason that it should be the older man. To accept a grownup stance, Cook’s superego, the part of the psyche that observes boundaries, had to be as intact as his lover’s prefrontal cortex.  Obviously, both partiers were dealing a pubescent deck of cards.  Growing up can take a lifetime.  But it’s a vital mission, because your maturity affects all your relationships.

We attract not whom we want,
but who we ARE.
So, two babies find each other and play—until their mommies catch them in the sandbox!

If we were to examine who actually does the cheating, it’s often the partner who feels overwhelmed by his or her mate’s achievements and/or stardom.  Peter Cook was ripe to become a cheataholic.  Us Magazine quoted the pair’s mutual friend, R. Couri Hay, society editor of Hamptons magazine, “Publicly, he accepted his role as a supportive shadow, and understood who the star in the family was.  In private, it ate away at his ego and his masculinity.”

Deepak Chopra said, “What outcasts most resent, what drives them into paranoia, is being seen as nobodies.”  This is so true.  I believe that in our culture, it is more difficult for men to be in the shadow of their women than it is for women to be in the shadow of their men.  And biology may support men’s fears of intimidation by their famous female mates.  After praying mantises mate, the female consumes the male.  And many male insects lose their genitals after sex. So perhaps there is some real evolutionary foreshadowing at the heart of human men’s fears.

At one event, onlookers commented that Cook (actually called “a real nobody” by one of his neighbors), “was incredibly deferential” to Brinkley and that “she overshadowed him.”  To find an innocent and impressionable young thing to boost his diminished ego provided him with necessary nourishment.  In the end, he and the young girl boosted each other for as long as they could get away with it.

Following Freudian principles, while a cheataholic’s id, or pleasure drive, screams, “Go for it!,” an emotionally healthy person’s superego, or conscience, will restrain him.  Gretchen Wilson’s song “When I Think about Cheatin’” describes such a healthy superego:

When I think about cheatin’,
I just think about you leavin’,

and how my world would fall to pieces,

if I tossed your love away.
Even when I’m tempted by some stranger,
oh, there’s never any danger.
I just think about you leavin’,
when I think about cheatin’.

A grounded, rather than narcissistic, ego understands that being impulsive and selfish will destroy you and your key relationship.  A grownup is someone who makes the effort to consider the realities of the future.

A stable ego controls the impulses of the id, doesn’t box in the superego with ethical constraints, and balances the reality of each circumstance. Cook quickly issued a statement saying that he loves his wife.  His statement was similar to the one Lo Duca released.  These guys say they love their wives, but they are grappling for their own survival, as they cheat on their women at home with ladies of lesser status.

Throughout his tryst, Cook appeared in public always as the protective and solicitous husband.  Apparently, he wanted to maintain “the life” that accompanied Christie’s connections.

Cheaters satisfy their hunger,
but often get food poisoning.

We have all observed that what goes around, comes around.  New York’s former Governor is an independently wealthy, Harvard-educated lawyer, the winner of his last election by 75% of the vote, with a beautiful Harvard-educated lawyer wife who gave up her own career to cater to his. They had three teenage daughters in fine private schools, and every reason to maintain his rich lifestyle and status.   But poisoned by his own power, prestige, and PR, he narcissistically believed he never actually deserved what he had.

So, disgraced Governor Elliot Spitzer grabbed the very kinds of prostitutes he had prosecuted.  In the end, he cheated not only on his elegant and supportive wife, but also on their three innocent children who will undoubtedly require years of therapy and understanding to grasp how their father could disrespect and abandon them as he did.  This childhood journey can set a dangerous pattern of distrust for any men who enter their lives.

You May Also Like