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Todays Cheating Women
Todays Cheating Women
Why More Women Are Having Extramarital Affairs
Women are having nearly as many extramarital affairs as men, one study finds. What leads women to stray and what should you do if youre tempted to cheat?
X-Factor judge Simon Cowell, who is 55 and single, is a father as the result of an extramarital affair.
Thats not a surprise, but this is: It was the woman not the man who cheated on her husband. Say goodbye to the stereotype that women arent wired for cheating.
Men still hold the lead as cheaters, but women are quickly closing the gap. The percentage of cheating wives rose 40% from 1990 to 2010, according to a July 2013 National Opinion Research Center (NORC) survey. About 15% of married women admitted to extramarital affairs; the percentage of philandering men remained at 21%.
Some experts arent surprised that more women are cheating.
Women today are more vocal about having their sexual and other needs met even outside of marriage, says criminal investigator Danine Manette, an infidelity expert and author of Ultimate Betrayal: Recognizing, Uncovering and Dealing With Infidelity
Why are there so many more cheating women? Here the top 6 reasons why women cheat.
1. They can afford to.
The No. 1 reason more women are cheating: Theyre more financially independent. Higher-paying jobs allow them to forget about potential financial consequences if an extramarital affair leads to divorce, the NORC survey revealed. Women today are less likely to see incomes fall after divorce. In fact, one-fifth of divorced women saw their incomes rise more than 25%, because of their better earning power, according to a 2012 Pew Charitable Trust survey.
Most women are paid salaries and dont fear divorce, as women did in the 1950s, 60s, 70s and 80s, says sociologist Julie Albright, Ph.D., a marriage and family therapist and lecturer at University of Southern California in Los Angeles.
Theyre looking for personal and sexual fulfillment a friend, lover and partner and there are many places to find that, she adds.
2. Cheating at the click of a button.
Technology has made it easier to have extramarital affairs.
Cheating women once had to sneak off to public phone booths to make plans with a lover. Now they can call or text on personal cell phones or connect on dating and social media websites, Manette says.
The pool of available men, in the office or online, is now huge and offers many more opportunities to cheat.
If you had an old high school flame, you can reconnect with him on Facebook, Manette says. Emails turn to conversations, which turn into emotional affairs, [and] next is the physical affair.
Online dating sites, also have made it easy for womens eyes to wander.
Its all done with the click of a button, Manette says.
3. The definition of cheating is looser.
Technology has also made it easier to have emotional affairs, with no physical contact.
These affairs have sexual chemistry and emotional intimacy, and are kept secret from the spouse, according to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT). Even if youre just friends, these are still affairs under the AAMFT definition.
Cheating is anything youre doing of a romantic or sexual nature with a person outside of your marriage that you wouldnt do in the presence of your spouse, Manette says. Its the violation of the set parameters for each individual relationship.
One example is sexting sending sexually explicit messages or photos via cell phones or e-mail, as New York politician Andrew Weiner did twice.
Most people 85% of women and 74% of men believe that sexting is cheating even if theres no physical sex, according to a July 2013 YouGov poll of 1,000 U.S. adults.
Yet women are likelier to have emotional affairs now than in the past. Two-thirds of women had cheated online while they were in a serious relationship; half of the men had done so, the Internet infidelity study found. Women are also more likely than men to sext.
4. Women want and like sex.
For centuries, Western culture has held that womens sex drives were less intense than mens and that it was easier for them to stay in a monogamous relationship.
Not true, according to Albright: Women have a strong sex drive, but theyre taught to mask it to be marriageable in society.
Its also a myth that women are less able than men to separate sex from an emotional connection.
In reality, [women] want sex, Albright says. Its wishful thinking to assume that women use sex only for intimacy.
Thats backed by a 2012 study published in the journal Sex & Marital Therapy. Partnered women whose sex drive was higher than their partners were less satisfied than men in the same situation, according to the researchers.
5. Cheating is more culturally acceptable.
Before the 70s, women were supposed to think that sex was their wifely duty, says Albright, whose studies focus on the history and myths of womens sexuality and society.
Popular culture, especially movies, reinforced the stereotype that women who had sex outside of marriage became suicidal or crazy, she says.
Between 1970 and 2006, womens sexual behavior shifted to include more sexual relationships. The number of womens sexual partners increased from 1.8 in 1970 to 3.3 in 2006; for men, the figure remained about the same 11.8 versus 11.6, according to a 2010 French study published in the journal AIDS.
Among the reasons: more women in the work force, greater freedom in society and oral contraception.
When the birth control pill became available in the 1960s, women became less worried about unwanted pregnancies and more free to explore their sexuality including having extramarital affairs, Albright says.
TV also influenced morals.
By 1998, when the TV show Sex and the City began airing, women were much more willing to talk about their sexual desires, Manette adds.
Women had Sex and the City parties and talked about affairs and having their sexual needs met, she says. Guys always had that freedom, but this was the first show that had women talking about being sexually satisfied without the social repercussions earlier generations faced.
6. Women just want to have fun.
For women and men, familiarity can breed boredom, especially if you and your spouse focus more on work, kids and other household responsibilities, and less on sexual intimacy.
Affairs are attractive because theyre fantasy no ones picking up dirty socks or doing other unglamorous marital activities, Albright says.
During the fun stage of courting, you dont deal with lifestyle issues that marriage brings to the table, Albright says.
How to Stop an Affair Before It Starts
If youre tempted to cheat, consider these suggestions from Marriage Advocates, a nonprofit organization that promotes healthy marriages:
1. Imagine that your partner is your audience. Would he feel OK about your behavior at the office, such as sending emails and making personal phone calls to another man? If not, avoid it.
2. Avoid going for drinks with co-workers, acquaintances or strangers of the opposite sex. It lowers inhibitions and raises the risk of cheating.
3. Keep business relationships businesslike. Avoid out-of-the-office meetings with someone youre attracted to. Instead, arrange group meetings. Also steer clear of meetings in bars and restaurants.
4. Assume youll get caught. Is the pain and suffering that an affair will cause your family worth the ego boost and pleasure? The truth almost always comes out; the road to recovery afterward often is difficult.
Will You Cheat? Rate Your Risk
Its estimated that as many as 55% of women and 60% of men
cheat at some point during their marriages. Although you cant
always control what your partner does, how likely is it that
youll be the one to stray? Take
our cheating quiz and find out!
The affair: Maybe you've considered it. Maybe you're in it. Today's women are acting on the urge, more than ever before, a new survey reveals.
One in five married women has had a fling -- the highest numbers ever recorded, according to one group of researchers. In fact, the numbers of cheating wives now equals the statistics on cheating husbands, according to a study by Tom W. Smith with the National Opinion Research Center.
In these Sex and the City days, that's hardly startling. "Society has given women permission to be sexually active, and it's perfectly clear why women do it ... it's for the same reasons men do. They're not getting what they want out of their marriage," says David Kaplan, PhD, a marriage counselor with 15 years under his belt, and now a spokesperson for the American Counseling Association.
The workplace, working out, the Internet -- women have more sexual opportunities than ever before. With better salaries and no children, the stakes seem low if they are caught.
"My ex-wife cheated and left me for her boss," writes one male. "I took part of the blame myself. To be fair, I didn't pay her enough attention or affection. Though I didn't know why at the time, I was very closed off and introverted. I don't think I knew how to be in a good relationship."
A woman writes: "Yes, I have cheated. I am not proud of it, but I got married young and hubby wasn't paying any attention to me. I worked 12-hour days to come home every night to be by myself. The morning came when he went to work and I left for three days. Can't say I had a miserable time but now that I have kids, I wouldn't do it again. We went to counseling and now are happy with two kids."
Another woman shares her story: "I have been the "other woman" for a married man. We used to meet almost every day while she was at work and we would just walk around the park where no one would know. One day ... he told me he had fallen in love with me. ... It remained sexual for about four months. I finally ended the relationship. I felt guilty lying to his wife ... and I wanted a real relationship."
What Married Women Want
For some cheating wives, the affair is truly all about sex, says Nadine Kaslow, PhD, a family counselor and psychologist at Emory University School of Medicine.
"When they were dating, there was passion, they want that passion back. If they're physically attracted to someone else, they may act on it," she says.
Not that every woman is unfaithful, says Kaslow. "Certainly many women have affairs. But many, many don't. When you wait to get married when you're older and more mature, you make a better choice of the appropriate person, and you may be more engaged in the relationship."
Also, not all affairs are flings, she points out. "Sometimes people develop an emotional connection, an emotional affair, rather than something sexual."
For most women, an inattentive husband is indeed the biggest problem. His "affair" with his work or some other passion like sports may turn her into a cheating wife. "She doesn't feel valued, respected, she's not treated nicely, she feels taken for granted. If she finds someone who helps them feel good about themselves, who does those small things, says the right things, it's very seductive, very appealing," Kaslow explains.
A married couple's views of their roles may clash: He wants a "traditional" she-cooks-dinner marriage. She prefers the gym after a stressful workday -- not the kitchen. Both styles of marriage can work. "What makes the difference is whether they're in sync or not. When that's not resolved, it's likely someone will be frustrated," says Kaplan.
Their emotional relationship can also be problematic. If they're joined-at-the-hip constantly, they may be smothering each other's identity. If they are too "distant" and independent, they will likely seek a bond with someone else, he adds.
In fact, all couples have problems, Kaplan says. But couples who have warm, supportive feelings for each other -- and express those feelings -- will stay married.
One large study looked at this issue. "Researchers thought they would find those who wanted divorce had more problems," he says. "But that was not true. All the couples had problems. The difference was the number of positive statements they made about each other."
The happy couples said many more positive statements than negative ones to each other, says Kaplan. "Unhappy couples say more negative statements than positive. There's a very specific ratio -- three positive things for one negative."
Can This Marriage Be Saved?
If your marriage is getting dusty and rusty -- if another guy has caught your eye -- think twice, three times, then think again before you act on it, advises Kaplan. "You need a marriage counselor, not an affair," he says.
Your "need" for an affair has nothing to do with that new guy, he says. "And it's not about sex, even though it may seem that it is. That person represents the needs that you want fulfilled. This is about problems in your marriage, what you're not getting from your marriage."
"Having an affair always has a negative affect on a marriage," says Kaslow. "It erodes trust, people feel betrayed. But it doesn't always mean they have to end the relationship. I have seen affairs become a painful wake-up call. It takes a long time to rebuild trust. I have seen couples get past affairs, but it's hard."
Of course, when children are involved, the priorities shift dramatically to them. "Those couples have a real responsibility to look at their problems, to look at what they're not getting in the marriage. It's a good time to get a marriage counselor involved," advises Kaplan.
Will your marriage weather an affair? "It makes a difference what kind of relationship you have," says Kaslow. "If the marriage is based on friendship, mutual respect, and caring, it can weather many problems. But after an affair, it's really hard to build that kind of foundation."
It may sound un-sexy, but relationships take work. "If couples don't actively work on their relationship, then they drift apart. One will seek attention elsewhere. It's a human need," Kaslow says.
The essence of "working on a relationship" is to talk more often -- and more honestly, says Kaplan. "Unfortunately, couples often get stuck in a pattern ... a certain problem keeps coming up, and they are unable to solve it. Frustrated enough, they may look for someone they don't have that conflict with." That's where a marriage counselor can help," he adds.
While parents often say the kids don't know about the affair, they will know something's wrong, Kaslow says. "There may not be a cold war, but there will be tension."
Their parents' bad relationship teaches kids negative patterns -- even if they don't learn about an affair, she adds. "If there is disrespect or no passion or if parents don't communicate effectively, it increases the chances kids drawn to repeat that pattern. They have fewer strategies in working out problems, in getting their needs met."
If your marital problems have been ignored too long, the worse the prognosis for your marriage, says Kaplan. "We try desperately to get to people before they have an affair. An affair complicates things greatly. Then you're dealing with the lack of trust, the emotional repercussions."
Before you cross the line, realize that cheating wives gain
nothing. If you're trying to send a wake-up call to your husband, an
affair is not the way. "I've worked with innumerable couples, and not
a single affair offered anything positive."