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ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

Does the urge to constantly stray from relationships usually stem from having an absent father/mother?

Asked by ItalianPrincess1217 (11979points) November 12th, 2009 from iPhone

Do women/men who have a perfectly good relationship but still find themselves going elsewhere for sex usually come from
a home in which one of the parents weren’t around? Or does cheating usually indicate there is something missing in the relationship? Have you cheated? Why? What was your reasoning behind it?

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17 Answers

sndfreQ's avatar

All of that plus a lack of self control.

avvooooooo's avatar

Its generally from a variety of issues, an absent parent is one of them (but not that big a deal in the bif picture). More often, its something in the relationship that is lacking or an issue with not being able to believe in themselves/their relationship.

I haven’t cheated, but my relationship issues are different.

JLeslie's avatar

I never thought of cheating being related to an absent parent. Very interesting. I think a lot of people learn cheating by watching their parent do it, especially if they chronically cheat, I think it is many times a cultural norm in their family. Others cheat when their partner is not making them feel good, not sex good, but ego good. But maybe having an absent parent influences it also, it will be interesting to see the responses.

Do you think if there is an absent parent the child fails to have a good model for adult love relationships? Or, that the child is affected mentally some other way from the lack of both parents being present?

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@JLeslie I always thought it had something to do with wanting to fill the void in their life. If a woman had a absent father throughout life, maybe she feels a lack of male attention and affection so she finds it in other ways (cheating, sex). Just a theory. I could be wrong. What do you think?

JLeslie's avatar

@ItalianPrincess1217 I had not thought of that. I guess that is possible. I certainly do think young girls who have less, or negative attention, from their fathers seek men to give them positive reinforcement, I just never considered the absent father. But, if a woman found a great SO, why would she seek other men if she was getting what she needs from her current relationship? My experience is the people I know who are chronic cheaters had a parent who was a chronic cheater, and all of them are from two parents families. So I am biased in my theory. But, you could be right also. Both things could be true.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@ItalianPrincess1217 I had an absentee dad. I have never once thought about cheating on my s/o’s. Maybe it’s true for some people.

I happen to be one of those, “I refuse to make the same mistakes my parents made” people. So, I stick to one person, don’t drink to get drunk, and would never purposely put my loved ones in harm’s way. I also have never wanted to get an STD, so I’m extremely cautious. My mother got an STD while married due to one of my father’s indiscretions. I could never do that to someone.

gemiwing's avatar

I didn’t have a dad and I’ve never cheated on anyone. If anything it made me want to make a realtionship work more because I’d seen the failed one.

wundayatta's avatar

My therapist has a couple of theories and one observation.

A) She thinks that it is a result of a lack of attention and love from my parents all throughout my childhood.

B) She thinks that psychoanalysis may have something to give us here: I can’t stand happiness, so I’m trying to destroy my world (I like this idea).

C) I was born in the wrong society. I should have been born in France or Italy or in an Islamic country—anyway, some place where multiple partners are not frowned on.

Just a few highlights from A.

In the days before I was born, my father tells over and over, he had a dream. And in the dream he is approaching a bassinet. There’s a sign on the bassinet. When he gets close, he sees that the sign says “genius.” When he tells this story, it is always clear that I never turned out to be what his dream promised. Remember this when we get to the end.

When I was 2, my brother was born and he was quite sick. We speculate that my parents may have totally focused him, and I would have gone from being the only child to the forgotten child in an instant. I don’t remember this.

In my middle childhood, when my Mother came to say “good night” to us, she would often spend a lot of time sitting on the side of my brother’s bed, talking about I don’t know what. I could only hear the murmur of their voices.

She never sat on my bed to talk. It was always just a “good night, daloon” and off to my sister.

I don’t remember either of my parents telling us they loved us.

When it was 1978 and I couldn’t find a job, and was pretty depressed about it (perhaps the first depression of my bipolar condition), he just saw me as doing nothing. Of course, he’d been given a job straight out of college.

I had never felt sure that my parents were really behind me. For them it was about preparing us to live; not about loving us. But when they kicked me out—suddenly. With nothing but the proverbial clothes on my back, I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised. But after that, I didn’t want to see my parents for a long, long time.

My wife tells a story of something that happened one night, maybe at Thanksgiving. First, my Father extolled his pride in my brother’s work. Second, he waxed ecstatically about my sister’s work. My wife was expecting him to talk about me, next. But that was it. Neither of my parents has ever expressed any pride in me.

Thus, growing up without love, that is the only thing I want, but whatever I get, it’s never enough.

These things are true, as far as I know. Some of the facts are based on other people’s stories. But they happened long ago, and I’m not convinced.

D) My theory. I’m just immoral and incapable of doing the right thing, and I don’t deserve a spouse and children. I’m just selfish. I can’t say I don’t think about the consequences, because I do. I do it anyway, knowing what I am risking. I’m irresponsible. Bad news.

E) The theory of one of my buddies from my crazy group: this is the way we are. We seek experiences of the greatest intensity. We are all drama queens. We enjoy the up and down (yes, the down, too). We only go through life once, and why should we hold ourselves back? It is society that doesn’t understand us or doesn’t like us, but that doesn’t mean we are guilty of unorthodox brain chemistry. It’s the was we are, and there’s no need to mess with it.

Take your pick.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@gemiwing I’m not suggesting that every person who grew up without a father will be a cheater. But for those who do cheat, I’m just curious whether or not lack of attention as a child has anything to do with it.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@SpatzieLover I agree. I tried to learn from the mistakes my parents made. My step father was always cheating on my mother. And my real father was never in my life. At first I thought cheating was normal. But I grew up an realized it’s never ok to hurt a person who cares for you.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@ItalianPrincess1217 It takes awhile to sort “bad childhood” into “mature emotional status”. I’ve been there, and at times am still in the sorting process.

BTW-I share the “asshole” step-dad and the absentee dad with you. We seem to have a lot in common.

gemiwing's avatar

@ItalianPrincess1217 I wasn’t saying that you think everyone who didn’t have a father would cheat. I was giving my personal reasons for not cheating.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@SpatzieLover We definitely do!
@gemiwing Oh I understand now. I was just making sure you didn’t think I was suggesting that everyone without a father resorted to cheating on their s/o.

dooj's avatar

Nothing is ever as simple as that. Every case is unique.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

Every “strayer” in my life…..had two parents….at home. Maybe not happy…but they were home.

JLeslie's avatar

@daloon I had never felt sure that my parents were really behind me. For them it was about preparing us to live; not about loving us. That sentence is very meaningful to me in possibly understanding my sister more. I would bet this is how she perceives our father. I wonder, do you still have a relationship with your parents? As an adult do you feel like you understand what they did or how they raised you from a differenet perspective? Do you believe intellectually that they do and always did love you, but the way they demonstrated it was lacking? That example of your dad boasting about your brother and sister and then not about you I guess keeps dissappointmens in childhood alive for you?

wundayatta's avatar

I still have a relationship with my parents, but it’s pretty distant. Since I left home, we tend to see each other only on major holidays and in the summer where they essentially pay for our vacation with them.

When my kids were younger, they used to visit more often to see the grands. But now my kids are older, and when they visit my parents, my parents run the same trip on my son that they did on me. He hates it, and we won’t make him put up with it. We know what it did to me.

I believe they raised me to be able to support myself. It was all about learning skills to live. All skills except emotional ones. I think they did what they thought was best, but I think they were wrong about what was best—at least with me. On the other hand, my sister has been living halfway around the world for the last 25 years, and my brother lives a couple hundred miles away. Makes me wonder about their relationship with my parents. They say that the lesson they learned from the way I was treated was, “don’t come home after college.”

I don’t know if they believed they loved me. Probably. What parent doesn’t? But they sure as hell didn’t know how to express it, if it was true. But I don’t think they loved me. At least, not the way I understand love to be. I think they saw me as a project. Maybe they still do.

Anyway, since self-reliance is their primary concern, they have an expectation that everyone can take care of themselves, or else they are slacking. If they are slacking, then they get no sympathy. For this reason, I do not currently plan to let them know about my brain disorder.

It’s interesting. I’m sure they could tell something was wrong, but their attitude is that privacy is privacy. It’s no one else’s business. So they didn’t even inquire. My interpretation of that is that they don’t care. I know they do it to respect privacy, but I guess I disrespect privacy. Human contact, I believe, is the most important thing in life. Without it, you just can’t know someone very well. That’s hyperbole, of course, but it has a significant amount of truth in it.

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