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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Is there a link between men who come from dysfunctional families

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Is there a link between men who come from dysfunctional families and men who cheat on their spouses/partners?

My partner suspected his father was cheating on his mother for a long time while he was growing up, but never proved it outright. I've heard that if someone's parent was unfaithful, chances are they will, too, be unfaithful. I already have a hard time trusting him (for my own reasons, he hasn't really given me any reason to do this) and knowing he may be prone to cheating is devastating to me.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.


There can be a link between dysfunctional behavior and cheating. When a child does not get their needs met, they can respond in many different ways. Some become depressed, others anxious and others can develop dysfunctional behaviors such as attention seeking or even criminal behavior.


When a child grows up seeing their father cheat or even suspects it, they also have a choice in how they respond. Depending on the child's personality and other factors, they can grow up to either abhor cheating and be a very faithful spouse or they can cheat as well.


I would not read too much into your partner's chances of cheating. Unless he gives you reasons to believe he is cheating, you should give him the benefit of the doubt. Since there is no way to predict behavior, you should try to give him a chance to show he can be trusted. He could very well believe that being faithful is important. If he treats you well in every way, is attentive and shows he is trustworthy, he probably is.


I hope this helps you,

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