Tag Archives: infidelity

Women Who Cheat and Open Marriages

legocatwoman

Cat Woman: The Ultimate Schemer

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!

Advertisements

Men ARE Rats: There’s Scientific Proof!

Scientists who examine rodent sexual behavior have found that male rats and human men have similar behavioral characteristics when it comes to sex and the need for variety. But to be completely fair, at least one study implies that some women have much in common with their female rodent counterparts as well—and that’s a good thing.

I’ll explain. Eight months ago I read the Scientific American article “A Tale of Two Rodents”. Interestingly, over the past eight months, the studies reported in this article keep popping into my mind when interviewing experts on human sexual behavior. This was especially true during my recent interview with Eric Anderson, Ph.D.—whose research and book, The Monogamy Gap: Men, Love and the Reality of Cheating, shows that men crave variety in the bedroom to the point of having extreme difficulty with monogamy. During my interviews with Pat Allen, Ph.D., I thought of the rodent article yet again when the leading relationships expert and best selling author pointed out, that while men aren’t built for monogamy, women repeatedly fall for dishonest and selfish guys after they have sex prematurely, and are blindly bonded due to a rush of oxytocin. (See an interview with her here.)

Here’s why the Scientific American article keeps percolating in my mind. One study in the article revealed that when a male rat and his mate were put into a cell together, the male rat was extremely amorous in the beginning and initiated sex multiple times a day. In fact, the male rat often sang during sex and seemed to keep going for a long time. (The results of this study were shown to college students that apparently became very interested during this period!) After a while with the same female rat, the love making  sessions became shorter and less frequent. After one particularly short love making session, with the male rat becoming listless afterwards, the researchers put a new female rat in the room. Suddenly, as one might imagine, the dynamic shifted and the once tired rat transformed into a sexual dynamo—but with his new love interest.

Another provocative study reported in the article was of female rats (presumably with gps locators on them) who would walk many city blocks thwarting the advances of male rats. In fact, Kelly Lambert, Ph.D., concluded: “Rodent females are choosy, traveling up to seven city blocks—a long way for a rat—to find a male who meets her standards. She sniffs out his biological germ-fighting arsenal.” Basically, she’s looking for a male with the “right” smell. (Old Darwin obviously knew a thing or two about this type of selection.) Females in this study waited to mate until they found a male that smelled healthy enough to give her healthy children.

I remember reading this article in the waiting room of my son’s therapist’s office and just busting out laughing. Basically, it proves what a lot of cynical people already espouse: men, at their most base (rodent) level, will take sex any way they can get it and variety is the spice of life. Women, however, know they can get pregnant and need to be sure their man is healthy and kind. He has to have the attributes she’s looking for to give her healthy children if she gets pregnant, and be kind enough not run away and help take care of the children when they arrive.

Why, then, aren’t all of us females as strong-willed and as savvy as that female rat who hiked seven city blocks? Why can’t we all thwart the advances of those smelly bad boys?

Of course, we humans have complicated the issue a bit, haven’t we? We’re all looking for our soul mates—well, some of us anyway—and think we’ll find them on the internet or at bars. And we just might. But the key for women to be successful with our rat-sniffing abilities, according to some experts, is to keep alcohol and drugs out of the picture and NOT to have sex too soon. Dr. Allen explained to me during private sessions, when I was grappling with my ex’s infidelity, that men and women are just built differently. Not all men will cheat—but they want to. Finding the men who actually won’t disrespect their wives, takes a bit of effort. Women, however, have built-in radar called intuition that lets us know when a man is kind at his core. We also know instinctively when they aren’t. We lose this radar, however, when we drink or have sex too soon in a relationship—blinding us from acknowledging blatant red flags and putting us in line for future heartache.

I imagine that Dr. Anderson might look at these rodent studies as further proof that human beings need to re-evaluate how we perceive relationships and our expectations for monogamy. What do you think? Are we really just rats at the core? At the end of the day, will you, as a single mom, walk the metaphoric seven city blocks until you find a man that sniffs of kindness who will love you AND your children? I’m sure many of you are nodding saying, you bet. But years down the line, once you have the right man, will you be willing to let another female into the room to give your kind, nice-smelling man a bit of the variety that he craves? That’s a hard one to even consider isn’t it? I think I’ll leave that scenario to the rats for now.

EndNote:
“despite all my rage, I am still just a rat in a cage
tell me I’m the only one
tell me there’s no other one
despite all my rage, I am still just a rat in a cage”
~ Smashing Pumpkins

Finding the Light Within

Whenever I begin to feel jealousy, anger, pity or fear creep in—the four pitfalls I imagine many single moms tripping over—I stop and take a breath. I let myself step aside (sort of like a Woody Allen moment with the protagonist asking the audience for insight) and ask why I am sinking to these depths. Intellectually I know it’s not helping. Going through the process of divorce is gut-wrenching enough. Adding insult to injury by sinking to such negative thoughts, only keeps us mentally in the basement. How someone else treats us isn’t always deserved, or in any way reasonable. But knowing this, and feeling this, are two different things entirely. I understand. For two years I’ve wrestled with insecurities that I never had before. Getting to the place where I feel beautiful, loving, and like I am a gift to my children, has been a long walk of faith.

I’d like to walk that with you. I’m still finding my own way, but want to walk with you—especially those who are just going through the storm—as you hold your breath and put one foot, (metaphorically) in front of the other.

I’m currently working with a spiritual counselor and feel so blessed by her insight. One of the exercises that has helped me the most is that of meditation and focus on love. Love requires no formal religion—so no matter your faith—this exercise will help you. Over time, it creates what is called a bleed-over. The more you visualize yourself as a seed of light and love and harmony, the sooner you realize that it’s true. And once you do—no one, or anyone’s behavior—can take that away from you.

If you’ve received a crushing blow to your ego and self esteem, as many women who are dealing with infidelity have shared with me, there comes a time when those insecurities will begin to lift. Sure, there will always be people who are younger, physically more beautiful, more intelligent or more athletic than you. But these qualities don’t ultimately define us. They aren’t the essence of who we are. They don’t create the “je ne sais quoi” that the French refer to—meaning the intangible, or inexplainable quality that makes someone distinctive or attractive or irresistible. I’ve always imagined that this comes from an inexplicable source of light within a person. Have you ever met someone who isn’t quite beautiful, but his or her smile or lightness in mood or sense of goodness blows you over until you begin to think of that person akin to an angel? If you haven’t experienced this, you may think I’m nuts. If you have, you know exactly what I mean. I don’t pretend to have any of the answers for us, but I do know that we are all equal in God’s eyes. We all have access to light and love. All I know is that the more I focus on that, the less I focus on anything dark. Hurtful things people say or do begin to fall to the wayside as I focus on being a light to myself, my children and those I love.

If you are motivated, try this exercise with me for a week and let me know if it is changing your perceptions, mood, relationships with your kids, your Ex, etc.

Each night as you drift off to sleep, breathe deeply and visualize divine light bubbling up from the core of your body. It begins to spread throughout your body: up through your chest, your arms, down your legs, and out your toes, fingers and head. Say to yourself, “I am filled with light.” Imagine sharing the light with your children and even extend some love and light to your Ex, your extended family and any friends that you want to reach. Hold no other thoughts other than letting those you care about, feel light and love. Hold no agendas. Breathe deeply. Feel warmth run through your body, and begin to think of at least five things you are thankful for. Even if you can only think of things such as food, your car making it to work, or running water, be thankful for those things. The list will grow over time.

Allow yourself to drift off to sleep after saying your thanks.  Do this every night for a week. Even if you are in pain. Even if you are distracted. Perhaps especially so.

Remember, no matter what someone has done to you, it doesn’t define you. It doesn’t diminish your “je ne sais quoi” —your light within.

For some of you reading this, my words may seem a bit cheesy or saccharine. Sure, I know some of you are struggling with child custody battles, health issues, child support default, etc. The issues are heartbreaking. Perhaps this little exercise seems useless. Perhaps you think it’s silly. Try to push self-depricating thoughts aside and entertain this idea for a week anyway. What do you have to lose? Over time, you may begin to really feel that you are a source of light and love. And once you do, I have a hunch that your contagious energy will carry you forward throughout all your struggles with much more ease, confidence and less stress. And lowering stress is essential. I’m currently writing an article for a national magazine about the effects of severe stress on women’s health. It’s not pretty. Our children deserve healthy and happy moms. Lets try to give them what they—and we—deserve.

Lots of love,

Laura