Ep. 98: Why Good Men Stray

I suspect that, like me, you all are probably reading a lot headlines about Bill and Melinda Gates in the wake of their divorce announcement. The most recent one I read was in the WSJ about a sexual relationship Bill Gates had many years ago w a Microsoft employee. A spokesperson for Gates said, “There was an affair almost 20 years ago which ended amicably.”

As soon as I read this headline, I thought about all the people who will hone in on this event in the Gates’ marriage and imagine a gotcha moment as in, “Ha! That’s why Melinda Gates filed for divorce! Her husband is a philanderer!”

What you will never hear about are the circumstances that surround an affair, particularly when men are the ones who have it. If a woman has an affair, it’s because she’s been wronged in some way. But if a man has it,  he’s just a bad man or a bad husband.

I’d like to challenge that narrative by telling the truth about why good men stray.



2:40  Suzanne reads an email from a listener about affairs and the rationale behind it

5:00  The idea of remaining attractive, pleasant and kind with one’s husband is oftentimes met with resistance due to life stresses, etc.

6:00  The idea that you can succumb to those pressures and become someone totally different from the person your spouse dated is unfair

7:00  For the average marriage, you can start to behave the way you did when you were dating and get those feelings back pretty quickly

8:30  The idea that you can starve a man sexually and expect him to remain faithful is ridiculous and immature

8:50  It isn’t just about sex—millions of husbands are starving from affection from their wives, which is almost more significant than sex

11:20  A lot of women wait for the “feeling” to envelope them before they act. Sometimes, it takes the act to get the feeling

13:00  On all of Suzanne’s intake forms for coaching, when men answer questions it has to do with the lack of sex and affection

16:45  Not having sex with your husband is cruel

Suzanne Venker

Suzanne is an author, a coach, and a podcast host committed to helping women let go of cultural beliefs that undermine their happiness in life and in love.