Actually, less than a quarter of men in relationships stray.Regardless, your goal may be to remind your friend infidelity has hurt countless other women.
"The implication here is that your friend did something wrong or that her relationship was somehow lacking," says Helen Friedman, Ph D, a psychologist in private practice in St. "Avoid finger-pointing and inadvertently 'blaming' her for his actions." A wiser idea: Recognize the complexity of what happened with "situations like this don't make sense."You may think you'll cheer up your friend with someone else's horror story that seems worse than hers, but this discredits her own experience.Perhaps you feel your friend should never again trust the person who was unfaithful to her."But this type of all-encompassing comment leaves no room for the possibility of the situation getting better," says Dr. "You're squashing all hope, when, in fact, some relationships do heal and improve with work." Instead, focus on her present state of mind and acknowledge the intense pain she's experiencing by saying something like, "I can't even imagine how you must feel."The reasons people cheat vary, ranging from immaturity to compulsive sexual behavior.The first question that comes to mind when a spouse cheats is: Why?A recent study by the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, attempted to answer that question and found that the reasons behind infidelity differ greatly between the sexes.When a friend feels lost, being her guiding star can feel like the best course of action. Saying something like, "I know you need a chance to sort out what's right for you," which shows your concern as well as your trust that she can decide for herself what to do going forward.You're not in her shoes and don't know how you'd behave in her circumstances, though. "Neither comment recognizes that she needs time to feel her feelings and work through them," says Dr. Again, the reasons for affairs aren't so black and white.Even if you did have an inkling, confessing this now accomplishes nothing positive."It makes your friend feel stupid for not knowing," says Dr. "And it makes you seem untrustworthy because you didn't tell her." Rather than sounding like a know-it-all, it's far better to say something that reflects your sincere concern for her such as, "I'm so sorry you're going through this." On the flipside, if she hasn't confided in you, but you suspect he's cheating, think long and hard about whether or not to clue her in. Now more than ever you may want to make your friend smile by saying that other gal is a total #$%*&. "The issue at hand is her relationship with her partner, not the other woman," says Dr. "These kinds of comments typically stir up more bad feelings." Boost her confidence directly by reaffirming what you love about her, whether it's her amazing sense of humor or her incredible compassion.For men, it's typically about the sex—the more sexually excitable they are, the more likely they are to cheat.For women, it's more about the level of satisfaction in her relationship; if a woman is unhappy in her marriage, she's 2.6 times more likely to cheat.