Only ‘bad’ girls cheat, right? Our American society is so quick to condemn women who cheat on their husbands or boyfriends that it is difficult to get quantifiable data on the subject. What woman wants to admit to being a harlot, a slut, or a ‘ho’ after all? And that’s what everyone will say when they find out. Even if no one says it to your face, because of the way we’ve been socialized, the guilt alone is enough to keep a woman from admitting it to even her closest of friends.
We are always quick to judge what’s gone on in a marriage or long term committed relationship when it fails. We love to put things in tidy little boxes with labels. It is somehow comforting to our psyches. When I was going through my divorce, it was interesting how many people would ask if it was infidelity that caused the breakup. Relationships are very complicated, and so are break-ups. So what makes anyone think you can explain it in a word? Everyone wants a simple and obvious explanation. It’s as though you have some sort of disease and they want to diagnose it quickly and specifically so they can make sure they won’t catch it.
The word ‘cheating’ itself just irritates me, quite frankly. It sounds so juvenile to me. It reminds me of something we used to say in grade school during Monopoly marathons or kickball in the recess yard. I have more of an aversion to this word than most women have to the word ‘slut’. The truth is, the reasons why women break their vows or unspoken promise of monogamy are not that cut and dry. So let’s break it down. What constitutes cheating, really, and why does it hurt so much?
Some people think that if you flirt online, partake in ‘sexting’, or have a drink with someone of the opposite sex, it constitutes infidelity. For the sake of this article, I’m going to define an act of infidelity as actually having sex with someone else. Is the mere thought of your partner getting naked with someone else really the problem here? Even though most people get really freaked out by that, I think the issue is much deeper. Someone you love and trust did something that you never expected them to do. It comes down to someone breaking an agreement, and that’s betrayal.
There have been many studies on the topic of infidelity. There are many articles and opinions as well. Because of the nature of the topic, it is difficult to get accurate numbers, but some recent polls show that 45-55% of women and 50-60% of men admit to having engaged in extramarital sex. With over 50% of American marriages ending in divorce, these statistics are really not all that surprising. Add to that the fact that a much higher percentage of women are in the workforce than ever before, and the internet has made it easier than ever to meet people even if you rarely leave your home office, and it all makes sense really. Smart-phones and sites like AshleyMadison.com, AffairMatch.com, and SeekingArrangement.com, just to name a few, have taken the art of ‘cheating’ to a whole new, and almost cyber-socially acceptable level. And let’s not forget Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, which for those of us who are single have become the web’s best free hook-up sites available. The bottom line is – women want more from life these days – from their jobs to their relationships. The empowered woman of the 21st century is more independent than ever. She knows she has options and feels she deserves to be fulfilled and appreciated in her relationships. In addition, fewer women enter into marriage as virgins these days. They are quite comfortable with their sexuality and know what variety is all about. Many of them have already juggled multiple lovers simultaneously.
So how do you know if your woman has strayed, and what can you do about it? Stay tuned for part two of this article on what I’ve uncovered in interviews with women who have had affairs, and how to prevent it from happening to you.