Understanding the complexities of “forbidden fruit” attraction in the context of relationships requires a multifaceted approach. It’s crucial to acknowledge that these attractions can emerge from a wide range of past circumstances and learned perspectives. Lack of positive role models, patriarchy power structures, low self-esteem, and fear of commitment all come into play when exploring this phenomenon. By examining the motivations and implications of such attractions, we aim to encourage empathy, personal growth, and a deeper understanding of human behavior.
Not more than three to five generations ago, men could get away with a lot including polygamy and infidelity but now we know holding men (and boys) accountable for their actions helps in character building.
For the most part, men today are doing better than their ancestors. They are generally better informed, more mindful of others’ personal space, and have a sense of personal accountability. ‘Boys will be boys’ is an idea that is tossed about a lot less carelessly today.
Men’s Complex Relationship Attraction
While most men nowadays are focused on being the best versions of themselves; there are still those struggling with simpler, or at times, more complicated internal growth processes. One area where certain men seem to fumble is the establishment of consistency within romantic relationships.
What is even more alarming is that many men seem to seek out others who are already in a committed relationship. So what’s this all about? Why is it that some men seem to have a forbidden fruit desire or inclination towards other people’s partners? Let’s find out.
Lack of Positive Role Models
Many men seek out partners happily committed because of past negative role modeling. While growing up, they may have seen their fathers, uncles, grandfathers, or other male authority figures behave in a certain way and may have concluded that is how the world works.
In such cases, it is not uncommon for men to repeat the same behaviors that they may have witnessed and wrongfully idealized. Remember, a child does not need to see this in action. Children are observant and parents in a troubled relationship, coupled with the eventual absence of one parent, is enough for most kids to subconsciously put two and two together.
Patriarchy Power Play
Out of all the elements of the patriarchy, the association of a man’s worth with dominance and power play is possibly the most toxic. Many men who end up getting romantically involved with those already committed to other people may feel quite inadequate under the surface.
For such individuals, getting someone to stray from a prior intimate commitment, particularly one with another man, serves as validation. In other words, the fact that the man in question could steal away, distract, or charm someone devoted to another man makes them feel like the alpha and feeds their ego.
As many of you know, gender does exist on a spectrum. There are a lot of internal processes common to both men and women. Low self-esteem is one of them. Similar in the cases of women who seek unavailable men, men who do the same may have self-esteem issues.
They may feel like no one will ever love them and which is why they continue engaging with someone for whom they are a side interest. The issue with this type of relationship is it does nothing for the low self esteem. However the person involved sticks it out in the hope that they will feel better about themselves.
Fear of Commitment
This is another trait that predominantly resides in both men and women. Much like women, men may also need to seek out pre-committed partners thinking that they would not have to invest in the relationship. A married person with kids will likely not demand exclusivity, is probably not going to rush to get your life together to settle down, or push to have kids.
This model might make sense if you were dating a divorcee or a widow but it’s a different story if the person’s partner is alive and well and their relationship is formally intact. A fear of committing in a relationship can sometimes lead men to go for a partner who is unavailable.
Consider the Damage of a “Forbidden Fruit” Relationship
If you’re a man who is currently involved with someone who is committed, take into account the consequences of this type of relationship. If the points above don’t concern you, consider the damage you may be doing knowingly or unknowingly.
The person who you have a forbidden fruit relationship with has a life that is likely being derailed because of your mutual actions. Furthermore, you’re probably doing irreparable damage to the person’s family, particularly to the partner who is being cheated on. Infidelity or having romantic encounters outside of the relationship or marriage, according to research, can result in PTSD and other problems so we’re not talking about anything insufficient here.
Further, if there are children in the picture, you’re probably impacting their lives and may be hindering their intellectual or emotional development. You might not want to think about all this but if you still do, indicates that you’re not a bad person altogether!
How Can I Better Myself?
If, after reading this blog, you are considering getting some help addressing the behavior discussed above, you have come to the right place. One method is getting to a space to better understand your choices, and in doing so, become a better version of yourself, is by connecting with a therapist.
If you’re located in Palo Alto and looking for support with infidelity, depression, or anxiety, we’re here to help. What we need to do is make sure that our means of emotional survival do not put others in harm’s way!