The Monogamous Cheater


In more than twenty years of counseling couples I have discovered that many men and women cheat on their spouse without even having sex outside of their relationship. I want to identify several types of monogamous cheaters to see if you are one of the millions that are married and yet feel alone.

The first type of cheater is the emotional affair cheater. This spouse shares their emotions, dreams, aspirations with anyone other than their spouse. They may do this at work, on Facebook, texting old flames, or just always having a friend of the opposite sex available to share with. So when this cheater comes home, they really don’t need to connect emotionally with their spouse because they already have someone else for that.

The second type of cheater is the porn addict. This person literally is neurologically and psychologically attached to a fantasy world. If they have viewed porn for most of their life, it has robbed them of the emotionally maturity needed to be monogamous in a relationship. As this cheater’s spouse you feel shut out, like you are never enough and feel confused. This is especially true if you don’t know if their cheating with porn. It’s always good to ask your spouse how much porn they are viewing so it’s not a secret between you.

Intimacy anorexia is also a type of monogamous cheater. This person has the following characteristics: 1) too busy for their spouse, 2) blames the spouse for all the problems in the marriage, 3) withholds love, 4) withholds praise, 5) some withholds sex or connected sex, 6) withholds spirituality, 7) unwilling or unable to share feelings, 8) controls with silence or anger, 9) ongoing or unwarranted criticism of you, 10) can control or shame you around money. Often if you’re married to this man or woman you feel like roommates not lovers. Take the test at

The next cheater is married to their money and not their spouse. This spouse is married to the deal, or the next big investments and are always chasing the illusive “it.” You are second in line at best. This person can also be the proverbial workaholic.

The “cause” cheater has the best friend of all. They are married to a cause whether it is a social, political, religious, local or personal cause. They seem justified in all the time, energy and emotion they give to their cause. After they give so much to the cause, just like the money cheater, they have little left over for you and you can feel alone in this marriage.

The last monogamous cheater is a person I call the pleasure cheater. This person has some hobby or way they pleasure themselves, be it working out, marathon running, hunting, fishing, art, the list goes on and on. The pleasure is more important than the spouse.

When you are married to a monogamous cheater you often feel alone, less wanted or like you are living in their world, not in a world together. Over the years, pain can cause this spouse to start to medicate to numb the lack of connection and value they hoped to have.

If you are the monogamous cheater, get honest about the imbalance in your life and the consequences it is having on your marriage and spouse. If you are the spouse I would encourage you to first get educated in the area that your spouse cheats on you. Then get support from others; a friend, counselor or support group are great options.

After you feel educated and supported, then address the issue of monogamous infidelity. Have a plan for help so your spouse can demonstrate progress. For example; reading books, getting counseling, attending support groups, agreeing to boundaries with consequences, dating each other, regular sex or whatever would bring balance to your marriage.

The monogamous cheater is often in denial but if you, as their spouse, start this journey, then it is possible to bring your marriage back to where you both have a more satisfying relationship. I have seen many couples in our 3 Day Intensive get these necessary tools to make this happen.

Next Steps

To learn more about Intimacy Anorexia purchase the book.  While you are reading this book, it if any time questions come up we are here to answer any questions. Feel free to email us at or give us a call at 719.278.3708.

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  • AliceG

    Thanks for writing this. I’m currently going through divorcing what I would call is a monogamous cheater. For the past two years, I’ve felt like a ghost in my own home. The only times he talks to me is when he wants me to do something for him. I’ve had enough and now want a divorce. He’s not happy but my decision is made. I’ trying to get through it as quickly and painlessly as possible – currently using an app called which can hopefully get me through this without needing to go through litigation. Cheers and thanks for affirming my suspicion that his behaviour isn’t okay. Alice

  • Ginger

    After living with and emotionally abusive, intimacy anorexic for 26 years, I read the description of intimacy anorexic and can answer that I have many of the same traits. However, my withdrawal to other things and from sex is due to becoming nothing more than an object to my husband. Despite trying over and over to explain that I need NONsexual touch, he only ever touches me in a sexual way. He will offer to take me out to my favorite restaurant in exchange for “lace.” ..aka dinner for lingerie and sex. I never trust his motives because they always seem to have an underlying motive to do something for him. For example, he will call me up to the bedroom to see if he has a temp. (he has incurable cancer) Concerned for his health, I go up and feel his head or take his temp. after which he almost always either tries to get me to have sex or do something else for him. Total manipulation! While I have been told that is not only ok but appropriate for my husband to watch me dress/undress/be naked at any time, he acts like a voyeur. He says, “come here.”…aka lets have sex. He peeks at me in the shower, takes pictures of me naked through the crack in the door, etc. Is it still ok for him to see me naked whenever he wants to? I feel devalued, like an object simple for his pleasure all the while crumbling inside. There is much more I could write but simply want to know, do I now need to take on the label of intimacy anorexic too?!!!? He owns nothing and I feel like once again, I have to own another fault. It makes me so angry and depressed. Is there any hope left?