QUESTION: “I found out that my husband of four years has a monthly lunch with a female colleague. I know about these monthly lunches, what I didn’t know was that they used to date before we got married and they have been out of town together at conferences for 2-3 days at a time I also just learned. She is single and attractive and they communicate a LOT. My husband says it’s strictly professional, but I feel like it’s cheating me in a way. He wasn’t up front about it, but I have no proof of anything. Do men think that this is cheating in any way or just a lack of being fully honest? ” - Linda, Age 36, Married
Well that is interesting isn’t it? Our gut reaction says that men will let him pass on this one, but we took your question to 1,000 men from our panel and here are the results:
CHEATING: NO – 94%
CHEATING: YES – 6%
Ok, just as we thought. But the men didn’t let your husband off the hook entirely. Here’s what they had to say:
“No way is this cheating. This happens all the time and women need to relax. If you have a strong relationship, this shouldn’t matter at all. If you’re already on shaky ground, then yes, you will freak out about this.” – JR, 34
“Cheating? Are you kidding? Did he kiss or have sex with her? No proof at all? Then no cheating.” – Boyd, 41
“He screwed by keeping this private, no question. Any man that isn’t making a full disclosure if it is business is an idiot. Makes your marriage a LOT harder because of that and what married guy needs a more difficult time in marriage?” – Dan, 38
An interesting facet were they men who said it was cheating. They were a minority of those polled, but they had some real questions and insight about their feelings:
“Whoa, whoa, whoa. He’s not telling you he’s traveling with a female on the road, away from you for days? If he did it and told you so and you’re reacting this way, then you have the problem. But if he never said anything, he’s fooling around. I mean, 2+2=4.” – Pierre, 44
“If he covered it up and you found out, he’s covering something. I’ve pulled that one before [going out of town on business with a female companion on business] and it’s easy to do. If I didn’t want my wife to know, I’d hide it. If it wasn’t a sex thing, I was completely open about it. I’d probe him some more. I bet this is just a smoking gun.” – Casey, 39
“C’mon now, from what you described, he’s cheating big time. Why the secrecy? Why not be open about it? Why did you have to find out instead knowing up front? Seems very, very fishy for me.” – Chad, 33
WTF is the takeaway?
This is one where the reaction of men is clearly that it’s not cheating. Is this just the “male code” at work in that if there is no proof, there is no problem? Or is this just a case of a idiot guy [no offense to your husband] not thinking you [read: women] needed to be told about this? Perhaps also he wasn’t cheating but knows it just looks bad and wanted to avoid the whole potential problem it could cause? Not really sure. The men feel it’s not cheating and the odds are that he didn’t either. That said, there probably needs to be some discussion about this one to find out if it was omission, lack of foresight or covering a guilty conscience.