“Instinctively, monogamy is not in our genetics. People cheat. I’ve cheated. And you know what? There’s nothing worse than the feeling of doing so.” The phrase is from Adam Levine, the lead singer of Maroon 5, in an interview with Cosmopolitan in 2009. Married to Behati Prinsloo since 2014, the American singer became the subject of the international press after being accused of cheating on the pregnant model. of the couple’s third child, with model Sumner Stroh, 23 years old.
On TikTok, the young woman exposed Adam Levine, revealing that she got involved with him in 2020, when she was 19 years old and she was “new in Los Angeles”, also showing messages exchanged between the two already in June of this year and in which the singer told her asks if, if the third child is a boy, he can call him Sumner.
Claiming she’s only telling the story because a friend she shared the screenshots with tried to sell them to a tabloid, Sumner Stroh turned out to be the first of several women who disclosed that Adam Levine sent them messages, some with sexually explicit content, through social networks.
In a short statement on Instagram, the musician admits that he was wrong and says that he “passed the mark”, becoming “inappropriate”. He also stresses that the family is the most important and that he is working with his family to correct what happened.
“I failed to talk to people other than my wife. I didn’t have an affair, but I still passed the mark during a period of my life that I regret. In certain circumstances it became inappropriate. I realized that and took action.” to make it right with my family. My wife and family are the only things I care about in the world. Being innocent and stupid enough to risk the only thing that really matters to me was the biggest mistake I ever made. I will never make that mistake again. I take full responsibility. We will get through this and get through it together.”
To People magazine, a source close to the singer assures that the messages to women other than Behati Prinsloo happened because Levine “needs attention”. “He exchanged messages with her, had flirts with three other women. (…) Why did he do this? Because he likes attention. It’s what he likes best.”
Concept of betrayal is not universal
Filipa Jardim da Silva, a psychologist specializing in clinical and health psychology, explains in an interview with CNN Portugal that the concept of “compulsive traitors” (or serial cheaters as El País calls them), is not yet part of the DSM, but “of somehow”, it is noticeable that “there are patterns of repetition and patterns that some level of addition”.
“Many times some people even refer to it as an act or a temptation to betray a little uncontrollable and impulsive and it is in this sense that this behavior, as well as other patterns of more impulsive behavior and more felt as uncontrolled, have been studied”, reveals the specialist.
Rute Agulhas, a clinical and forensic psychologist, also considers that “in some people, repeated betrayal behavior can take on characteristics of compulsive behavior”.
“We are talking about a behavior that arises in a sequence of persistent and obsessive thoughts, fantasies or images, which the person cannot control and which generate an increase in anxiety. When having this behavior, anxiety decreases and there is a sense of relief and pleasure. However, this feeling of relief and pleasure can be temporary, which leads to obsession-compulsion cycles, which tend to repeat themselves over time. obsessive-compulsive disorder”.
However, despite being repeated over time, the fact that the The theme of betrayal being “multifactorial” and this concept not being “universal”, varying from person to person to person, often makes it difficult to understand and define what is or isn’t a betrayal.
Filipa Jardim da Silva even says that, in some marital dynamics, what one member of the couple may consider cheating, the other may not consider it, which “entails some disagreements in relationships and some difficulty even for some people to assume that they have this type of behavior”.
“When we get into behaviors that are repeated and that are compulsive, we get into the parameters of addictive behaviors. And we know that conquering another person, but also sexual involvement, whether physical or exchanging messages, conquering another person and actually engaging sexually with another person, all of this triggers the secretion of endorphins and adrenaline. And this is where it becomes so addictive and enters the spectrum of addictive behaviors as do other behaviors like binge eating, substance abuse, alcohol, nicotine”.
Addiction and lack of control lead to the suffering of the other
After Sumner Stroh revealed that he had had an affair with Adam Levine, other women (one of them a college student) came forward to reveal that they too had exchanged messages with the singer, some with explicit sexual content. In total, five women revealed having been in contact with the Maroon 5 frontman and, according to the Daily Mail, one of them even says that she warned him about behavior that was not right for a married man.
To CNN Portugal, experts say that this search for interactions with people other than the person with whom you have a relationship can happen for several reasons, with the three main categories being personal issues (the person’s beliefs/level of self-esteem), relationship dynamics and contextual and situational issues (such as travel, access to social networks and others).
In the case of betrayals that are repeated continuously in a relationship, they are “people who enter the spectrum of addiction and lack of control”, with “impulse control” difficulty.
“In this case we are talking about betrayal, but it can be compulsive purchases, it can be gambling, alcohol, drugs, food. The structure in brain terms and the functioning of what happens is very similar. And that is why the first indication is that, when in a relationship or one of the people realizes that he is having a repeated behavior or starts an escalation of behaviors and that something is getting out of control, we always recommend seeking psychological support so that this person can first understand what what is happening to her”, explains Filipa Jardim da Silva.
Because, according to the expert, “People often don’t admit they have a problem because they’re not yet on the side of suffering, they’re still just on the side of adrenaline and repeated immediate satisfaction and they refuse, or often lack emotional/brain/cognitive capacity , to create enough distance to critically reflect on that behavior”.
Social networks as a trigger
“There are people who don’t have this notion that when they get frustrated with their partner they find themselves wandering around on any social network and engaging in conversation with other people. They don’t have this perspective of this action and effect, of these triggers.”
For experts, in the case of compulsive traitors, actions arise “from a place of immense adrenaline” in which they only want to satisfy “a primary or animal impulse” and that “it’s not a good place to be”.
And this is where social networks come to complicate relationships. According to Filipa Jardim da Silva, “there are many people who do not consider that being on a social network to meet new people (often in conversations with provocative content, of some seduction or even of a more sexual or erotic nature), is a betrayal”.
“They see it as an escape, as a behavior that relaxes them, that makes them feel more confident in the women and men they are, but they don’t see it as a betrayal”, he says, explaining that, often, only when they seek psychological support is that they can see that the behavior they had online was a betrayal.
The specialist also explains that “there are many people who make the separation between what does not come out online and which is not considered a betrayal and what comes out of the online and is a betrayal” and that “convince themselves that what happens between two screens is not real”.
“But the truth is that what happens between two screens, if it happens between two real people, has a real component.It’s not because it’s online that it doesn’t involve people of flesh and blood, with emotions, with very concrete needs. The notions of limit and respect have been heavily attacked by this easiness of everything that happens in digital and this is one of the themes that has emerged most in psychotherapy and couple therapy”.
How to solve the problem?
The search for help often happens during marital therapy sessions where there are also individual sessions and “it is realized that a betrayal has happened and that the partner does not know about it”. Or when, “confronted in couples therapy with the existence of a betrayal, it is not the first time, and that in the past there would have been betrayals to other partners”.
But even in this context, Filipa Jardim da Silva explains that there is often a lack of responsibility and a lack of “critical sense” in the face of the problem. “The speech is focused in the sense of ‘in this situation, the responsibility was that person, in this one, it was this'”.
“When this is the speech, we realize that there is still a step to be taken here, which is to take responsibility for the acts and to recognize that any of these behaviors can be harmful for me and for the other. that any behavior gives us, such as involvement with another person who is not in a relationship with us, this behavior comes from a place of lack of control”.
Rute Agulhas, in turn, states that “it is important to point out that these people often have some characteristics that should also be the target of a psychotherapeutic intervention, namely: pathological lying, low self-esteem or feelings of inferiority, with a strong need to feel that they are liked, like to take risks, with a great need for stimulation, and difficulty dealing with monotony, need to feel power and control”.
“In some situations, with a worse prognosis in terms of change, promiscuous sexual behavior, pathological lying and the need for stimulation are combined with a grandiose sense of self-worth, manipulative behavior, affective superficiality, impulsiveness and to a deficient behavioral control. Characteristics that are related to psychopathic traits”, says the specialist, adding that this situation “requires psychotherapeutic intervention, often combined with psychiatric intervention”.
Rute Agulhas even says that, many times, “the person does not recognize the situation as being a problem and, consequently, does not experience a genuine desire for change”.
An analysis shared by Filipa Jardim da Silva, who considers that the “psychological follow-up is decisive and that at times it may have to be complemented later with other types of interventions, namely with psychiatric follow-up”, but that “givesdepends a lot on the degree of the behavior and the severity of the addiction”.