Relationship Fitness

P20 E3: Psychological Factors that Impact Infidelity

In the insightful third episode of “Relationship Workout for Men” season 20, Nihinlola Olowe, an empathetic psychotherapist from Lagos State, Nigeria, explores the complex psychological landscape that can lead to infidelity in men. The episode delves deep into the reasons behind unfaithful behaviors, shedding light on emotional dissatisfaction, societal pressures, and the quest for sexual variety, which are often overlooked yet crucial factors.

Nihinlola begins by addressing emotional dissatisfaction as a key driver of infidelity. She explains that when a man feels that the vibrancy and excitement that once characterized his marriage have dimmed, he might seek fulfillment elsewhere. This is not just about seeking new sexual experiences but about filling an emotional void left by a lack of engaging interactions within the marriage. This type of dissatisfaction can stem from routine interactions and may push a man to find excitement in new, albeit forbidden, territories.

The discussion then shifts to a cultural analogy that is poignant in its clarity yet disturbing in its implications. Nihinlola uses the metaphor of a man needing to eat different varieties of food, which is a euphemism used in Nigeria to justify seeking multiple sexual partners. This societal metaphor not only trivializes the commitment of marriage but also normalizes the act of seeking multiple partners, thus culturally embedding infidelity in the male psyche. She points out that some local motivational speakers even encourage women to diversify their personas to maintain their husbands’ interest, further indicating the skewed expectations placed on women to prevent men from straying.

Furthermore, self-esteem issues are highlighted as significant contributors to why men commit infidelity. Nihinlola discusses the traditional view of men as stoic figures who must always “man up” and not show vulnerability. This normative expectation can lead men to seek validation outside their marital relationships, especially when they feel overshadowed by their partners’ successes or when their own self-worth is challenged. Infidelity, in these cases, is used as a tool to regain control and reaffirm self-esteem.

The psychotherapist also criticizes the double standards in societal norms regarding infidelity. She points out the stark contrast in how society perceives unfaithful men versus unfaithful women, with men often receiving a pass while women face severe repercussions and lifelong stigma. This normalization of male infidelity by society provides men with a psychological cushion to justify their actions, further entrenching the practice.

Nihinlola wraps up the discussion by touching on the role of opportunity and temptation in infidelity. She suggests that sometimes, men do not premeditate unfaithfulness; rather, they succumb to situations that present themselves. This aspect of infidelity highlights the complex interplay between intent, opportunity, and societal conditioning, which can sometimes put men in positions where their moral and marital commitments are tested.

In conclusion, the podcast episode not only brings to light the various psychological and societal factors that drive men towards infidelity but also calls for a cultural reevaluation of how marital fidelity is perceived and taught. By understanding these underpinnings, there is hope for more effective dialogues and interventions that can help men address their emotional and psychological needs in healthier ways, ultimately leading to stronger, more fulfilling relationships.

Listen to the Episode

Nihinlola Olowe is a seasoned psychotherapist with expertise in counseling psychology, offering specialized services in trauma, behavioral modification, and psychological testing, among others. She provides tailored therapy to a diverse clientele, including traumatized children, professionals, families, and couples, as well as individuals facing fertility issues, using a compassionate and scientifically rigorous approach to promote emotional and behavioral recovery.

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