A social researcher confirmed some beliefs I’ve held for a long time now. First, that women are almost always premeditated cheaters who justify their decisions by blaming their husbands. Second, that, unlike men, in their premeditated schemes, women demand to have their cake and eat it too—right from the start. What I mean, is that women who cheat expect their paramours to only cheat with them, i.e. be faithful to them, when ironically, they are married, or both are. Women’s innate desire for attachment and emotional connection, makes cheating almost always a dangerous situation that will inevitably destroy families.
Eric Anderson, Ph.D., is a sociologist, professor and author whose studies focus on attitudes regarding sex and sexual orientation, as well as attitudes towards the sexual orientation of athletes. I’ve followed his career over the past few years and interviewed him via email last year and this week. (Last year his book The Monogamy Gap: Men, Love and The Reality of Cheating received a lot of buzz. In my interview with him entitled Is Cheating the ONLY Rational Choice for Married Men?, he outlined why open marriages are a good option for couples.)
Since Dr. Anderson only interviewed men last year in his study regarding monogamy, I asked whether or not he’d ever conduct studies about women. His research is just about concluded and he found, by following hundreds of women on the Ashley Madison website, that women plan, while men often fall into cheating. After reading thousands of conversations from women, he saw a pattern of most seeking someone to have an affair with—while blaming their husbands for their decisions to cheat.
“So I can’t say how many cheated. I can say that of the 100, 35-45 year old women on the site, they basically all blamed their husbands for a lack of passion, but none wanted to leave their husbands,” Anderson explained.
“Instead, they scapegoated their husbands ‘lack of passion’ as a euphemissm to correctly and politely say that they were desiring some sex, but that they wanted some emotion with it.”
Many of you may say that men do the same thing. And I’m not saying that they don’t. TRUST ME. But more often then not, Anderson says, men will just happen upon the opportunity. They don’t think for months ahead of time, about the justifications for wanting to cheat. In fact, most men, will just start to crave variety, even if happy in their marriages and even if religious or highly value keeping the family intact. (I surmise that all the justifications for the cheating and continued lying by men come afterwards if they continue to cheat with one person and it develops into an affair.)
As mentioned, women, more often then not, make the opportunity. So, by that I mean, many men that cheat do not have an unhappy marriage. In fact, they may be having sex with their wives, whom they love, three times a week. But the chance of having sex with a new, attractive person, is just hard to pass up if the opportunity presents itself. It’s rarely a love-at-first-sight kind of thing for men.
Another big difference, according to Anderson, is that men don’t desire a long-term, restrictive affair if they are going to cheat. In fact, an anonymous one-night stand would be their preference. The hard part about that, is that woman who cheat, often have claws. Many just refuse to let go after the first roll in the hay—or even before they have sex. Most women that Anderson studied on Ashley Madison, stated—before having an affair—that they didn’t want the other person they cheat with to have sex with anyone else.
“Interesting, however, unlike men who want sex without emotion and with many others, they (women) wanted ONE person to be a serial cheater with. They wanted monogamy with their non-monogamy! Fascinating,” Anderson said via email this week.
So it seems that men’s need for variety often makes them vulnerable to becoming ensnarled in the arms of a paramour, who just won’t let go—risking their marriages and the welfare of their children. If most men could see the end results before going into a situation like that, I think many would likely walk away. Since men are wired for sexual variety, according to Anderson, open relationships could save many a marriage. But, I imagine that it’s a hard subject to bring up with wives, isn’t it? It’s far easier to have a one-night-stand. Sadly, women who cheat, want much more than that. And, there lies the rub.
Now that I’m clear about the reasons women cheat—and what they want from the person they cheat with—I’m not sure how an open relationship would work within a heterosexual marriage. Wouldn’t the other women in the dynamic become a potential problem for a couple if she became attached to your husband? Or, what if the wife began to prefer another man over her husband? It’s a risk isn’t it? And the idea of only having sex, occasionally with strangers is a bit scary too, especially for women. So that same dynamic within women who crave emotional attachment, just gets in the way. Perhaps successful open marriages are easier to achieve within same-sex male couples? What do you think? How many traditional married couples would welcome occasional, non-emotional sex, periodically, with strangers? Would it be exciting? Would it make both in the marriage less likely to cheat? Would it strengthen the marriage or erode it’s intimacy? Watch Anderson’s interview this week on HuffPostLive where he outlines his case for open marriages and get back me. I’d love to hear your thoughts!
- Cheating Wives Narrowed U.S. Infidelity Gap Over Two Decades (bloomberg.com)
Just want to clarify something…My first paragraph, showing Dr. Anderson’s research, basically just means women need to feel good in order to behave bad. (It makes sense. How many women want to be a little bit naughty, but still seen by their love interest as an angel?) I had a few people send me personal notes about this story, as the topic matter is too personal for some to write about publicly … For the record, I’m not trying to suggest that women are worse than men. It’s just that Dr. Anderson’s research shows that women want to feel better about cheating and also want the person they cheat with to become emotionally attached to them. While men might just want to have a sexual fling with nothing else attached to it. (This is Dr. Anderson’s research findings.) And, many of us have suspected this all along…I’m also not in favor or against open marriages, just think women’s need for emotional attachment makes it hard. One person wrote in telling me that people who cheat are morally empty and need to focus on bringing the love back into their marriages … Dr. Anderson’s findings show that almost all men want to cheat after being in a long-term monogamous relationship…so it may be they are wired to want to, conflicted, love their spouse, and may or may not act on it. Just food for thought. Thanks for reading! x