Betrayal From a Gender Perspective

July 19, 2007 by Ms CYPRAH  
Published in Marriage

Men and women really view the effects of betrayal in different ways. This is based mainly on how they perceive their roles and needs within the relationship.

If we have a look at men who have been wronged, especially those who caught their spouses in an act of betrayal, we come to the heart of what personal perception is all about. Men who have been betrayed tend to have a singular “victim” viewpoint of what happened. They continually blame the spouse (and later all women) without wanting to really find out why the partner might have behaved in that way.

They would never admit that they might be boring whingers, who are also lousy with sex or emotion, because what one lacks one tends to seek elsewhere. They are likely to cite what a wonderful husband they were, who worked all hours in the day to keep their home intact while the hussy of a wife was disloyal.

But homemaking, and nest-building, no matter how good and luxurious, is just one aspect of a relationship. The physical, emotional and intellectual sides are all important to keep that union intact. Often it is sheer boredom, neglect and a lack of love, attention and affection why any partner strays.

As Carl Jung says, “To be appreciated is one of the strongest basic human needs.” When a person is not valued, or perceives herself to be unappreciated, no matter how worthy the partner is, trouble is not far behind.

Differing gender perceptions

Men tend to see themselves in terms of career and material success, which is evident in their toys and activities, while women tend to judge their value on emotional, nurturing and physical attributes. This discrepancy in perception is one of the biggest causes of relationship breakdowns.

So long as men believe that to be a good husband is to provide for material needs – to look after hearth, home and family – while women expect emotional and physical bonding, there will be a conflict of perception between the sexes and they will always be at loggerheads about what it means to value each other.

My ex-husband is a wonderful homemaker. A very caring man whom I could not fault in putting his children and home first. But, as his attention and affection gradually lessened, I perceived myself to be less valued in the home, eventually feeling unwanted, unloved and unattractive. In time, feeling very lonely and low in self-esteem, I began to look outwards for that emotional attention I craved. He could not understand that.

He thought I should be very happy with what I had, like “having a roof” over my head and the fact that that he “cared” for me a lot, as he used to say. I used to reply that I wasn’t an “invalid” to be “cared for”, that I wanted to be loved (as he rarely said he loved me) and I did not marry a house, I married a love partner. His increasing lack of attention and affection, and constant flirting with other women, especially when I had eyes only for him, gradually destroyed the relationship.

Rose Gift

One day, in particular, during the last four years of the marriage, I decided that, instead of just thinking of him warmly at work, I would send him some roses with a loving message to show how special he was to me. I knew he got them early in the morning but he did not acknowledge them in any way. When he came home, he did not say anything about them either, neither did he have them with him. Curious, perplexed and disappointed at his reaction and lack of acknowledgment, I asked if he had not received the roses.

Oh, yes, he had, he said, but he did not do anything about them because “a woman at work” had told him that I must be “guilty about something” and that’s why I was “buttering” him up! It is difficult to describe the hurt and pain I felt at this remark, especially relating to another person who knew nothing about our relationship and who might have had her own agenda. All I was trying to do was to encourage us to act more positively, to rekindle our feelings and to regain lost ground in the relationship, but even that made no difference.

His perception of my genuine actions was entirely negative while my perception of how I should treat him was more positive. We could never achieve anything together unless those perceptions aligned with one another in a more acceptable and agreeable way, and that was not going to be possible, in view of the resentment on both sides. Small wonder I began to look outwards for affirmation, which only confirmed his worst perception and expectation of me.

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One Response to “Betrayal From a Gender Perspective”
  1. El Muerte Says:

    You my lady are feminist….and extrene one:
    “They would never admit that they might be boring whingers, who are also lousy with sex or emotion, because what one lacks one tends to seek elsewhere.”
    Then wy on earth do you women stay with “us” bored guys couple years before you leave us???? I will tell you becouse you are cowards and you wont leave if you don’t have backup plan…….in this case its another man.

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