You have been married to the same man for what seems like forever. He is the love of your life (or so you thought). He is the father of your children (or so he thought). He has been a provider and a lover and your best friend.
You both meet at the end of the day and the words escape you. You have nothing to say to each other. You want to talk, but if he’s not making the effort, why should you? He escapes to the solitude of the baseball game on television or his man-cave. You check on the kids and then you check Facebook or Twitter. Seeking some sort of human interaction even if it’s through your computer screen.
Then it happens. The old friend who found you on Facebook makes an innocent move. He invites you to lunch. What starts as a simple repast over time becomes a substitute for what you are missing at home.
Statistics tell us that approximately 50% of married women cheat on their husbands. It is no coincidence that the divorce rate is approximately this same number (depending on what study you reference). Author Diane Shader Smith asks these questions in her book, Undressing Infidelity: Why More Wives Are Unfaithful:
“Because of my own mixed feelings of attraction, guilt, and longing, I became fascinated by in the inner workings of extramarital affairs…Are there any circumstances that would justify an affair? Are there men who deserve to be cheated on? What if your husband cheats first? What if your emotional needs aren’t being met, or the passion is totally gone? Is having an affair equivalent to marital suicide?”
Some of the answers are the ones that we expect. Myriad complaints of unfulfilled needs not being met. Verbal abuse instead of tender compliments. Husbands who ignore instead of connect. A spouse who seeks to control instead of partnering. Sometimes it is simply the dish best served cold…revenge. These are just a few of the reasons some women give for not living up to the sanctity of the marriage vow.
Sometimes the reasoning is more instinct than intent. More guttural than grandiose. More passion than purpose. Sometimes its the fleeting glance of a stranger passing in the street. Or the validation of a co-worker for a job well done and hard work appreciated. Or maybe its the best friend’s husband noticing a quality about you that your own has lost interest in. Whatever the situation, it sets you on fire and leads to chain of events that lead to the destruction of your marriage.
We are human and, at times, we are tempted. We have also been given free will. The ability to choose. You can pursue the flirtation or resist it. If there is something that you are missing and your husband can provide it, talk to him about it before seeking it elsewhere. Seek counseling. Try to find out if he is missing something as well. There is a excellent book called Love Dare (featured in the motion picture Fireproof) that shows you how to reclaim your marriage when all seems lost.
So why do married women cheat? The answer is quite simple…
Women cheat for all of the same reasons that married men do.
Join the conversation: What additional insight can you offer on what would lead married women to cheat?
Read more of P.J. Easter’s work at Dear Mister Man