While Khloé Kardashian is just days away from delivering her first child, her NBA player boyfriend, Tristan Thompson is making headlines for allegedly cheating on the pregnant reality TV star. On Tuesday, both the Daily Mail and TMZ released videos that reportedly feature Tristan Thompson kissing multiple women in nightclubs, with one video showing Thompson and an unidentified woman entering the Four Seasons Hotel in New York City earlier this week.
The Cleveland Cavaliers star is the latest celebrity to be accused of cheating on their pregnant partner. Actor and comedian Kevin Hart admitted to cheating on his then pregnant wife, Eniko Palmer, in 2017, while reports surfaced earlier this year that Donald Trump Jr. had an affair in 2011 while his wife Vanessa was pregnant with the couple’s third child. Trump Jr.’s father, as also accused of allegedly having sex with pornstar Stormy Daniels in 2006, months after his wife Melania gave birth to their son, Barron.
At first glance, it may seem as though the alleged indiscretions by the aforementioned public figures could be related to fame and wealth. However, Robert Rodriguez, a psychologist and author of the book, What’s Your Pregnant Man Thinking?, says that 10 per cent of all fathers-to-be cheat on their partners during pregnancy. Similarly, 15 per cent of all expectant couples break up before their baby arrives.
While the reasons that lead men to cheat are varied, the most common factors are an inability to cope with the impact a child has on their lives and relationship as a couple. During pregnancy, there’s a shift in focus from the needs of the couple, to the needs of the family. Sometimes, men feel unsure of their role in the pregnancy and uncertain of what will come after the baby is born.
“When I talk to dads in groups, they talk about finances and how they had to turn their office into a nursery,” Rodriguez tells Health Day. “But the undercurrent is that they’re afraid of losing their identity.” The impending arrival of a child drastically alters one’s individual plans for the future. “All of a sudden, from now until the [grave], his life won’t be the same.”
Pregnancy can also seriously impact a couple’s sex life. For women, the physical and hormonal changes during pregnancy can lead to sex seeming off-putting or undesirable. While a new study suggests men actually desire their partners more during pregnancy, many men interpret their partner’s low sex-drive and rejection of sexual advances as a personal rejection of the man himself, and resort to infidelity to fulfill a need to be desired.
“For many men, engaging in sex is a form of emotional closeness,” explains psychiatrist Scott Haltzman to fitPregnancy. “When their partners push them away, they feel rejected not just sexually, but also emotionally.”
In a 2014 interview with Vice, Ashley Madison creator Neil Biederman said he believes the dry spells that accompany pregnancy is what spurred millions of men to access his site. Biederman said the “period of abstinence” that is demanded by pregnancy, as well as the stresses of caring for a newborn lead men to feel as though they were replaced by their children. Biederman suggests men being “ill-prepared” for the changes that accompany a committed relationship or marriage, including the building of a family, is what leads men astray.
The feeling of being unprepared is why experts are suggesting couples openly discuss not only their emotional needs, but also their sexual ones.
“If you say, ‘I really want to talk about our options if I don’t feeling like having sex,’ believe me, he’s going to pay attention,” advises Haltzman. “Experiencing sexual release through touch, mouth or massage speaks very powerfully to men.” Haltzman also suggests involving your partner as much as possible in the pregnancy to help strengthen the relationship between the couple, and the budding family.
Although it makes headlines when it involves celebrities, infidelity during pregnancy affects couples from all different walks of life. Being aware of your partner’s feelings and actively working throughout your pregnancy to support one another is critical for a relationship’s health. While it may be only nine months of a relationship, the consequences of cheating during a pregnancy can have lasting impacts for not only the couple, but also their child.