Is Male Infidelity On The Increase With The Recession?

An article by Anna Moore in the Mail online today has suggested that male infidelity is rising. She also adds that this is in direct correlation with an increase in the numbers of women who outstrip their partners when it comes to earning power. Recent figures show that almost a third of women in the UK now earn more than their partners or husbands. This is one of the many fall-outs of the current recession, and something that could potentially change male-female relationships for a whole generation and beyond.

Our female-only business has been running for a few months now, and we’ve been inundated by female clients who suspect their partners are playing away. The demographic of many of our clients is, indeed, high-earning women who have prestigious careers and spend a lot of their time away from home. They come to us wanting answers to their suspicions.

One might ask why they bother: surely, if you don’t trust your partner, you should end the relationship. Why spend your hard-earned cash on hiring a private investigator to tail your partner and tease out the sordid details? (Of course, it goes without saying that we never actually ask our potential clients this question: if we did, we’d be diddling ourselves out of a lot of business!).

Well, for many women who find themselves in this situation, the issue is not money: it is pride. For their own self-esteem and certainty, they just need to know. Women in this situation have already had enough ‘if’s and ‘but’s in their lives and in their relationships. Many are willing to pay their hard-earned cash in exchange for this certainty. If their partners are cheating, they are not going to spend a day longer in a relationship that is damaging to them, both emotionally and financially.

When the facts are clear, they don’t look back.....

So has the demand for an exclusively female Private Investigators’ Agency come about because of the recession? Certainly, Anna Moore’s article asserts that men are five times more likely to be unfaithful if they are financially dependent on their wife or girlfriend. If these figures are to be believed, over the next few years there’s going to be an adultery epidemic in the UK!

That is, unless men and women both change their unconscious attitudes towards finance and dependence. The current situation is that 50% more men than women are losing their jobs, leaving their wives or girlfriends to foot the bills. Traditionally, the man was the breadwinner of the family. It was the mark of a true man that he could go out and earn enough money to put dinner on the table for all of his family (and still have enough left over for fish and chips and a pint on Friday night!).

Christin Munsch from Cornell University, New York, headed a recent study of relationships in the US. She is quoted in The Money Times: ‘For women, making less money than a male partner is not threatening, it is the status quo.’ Boundaries were traditionally rigid, and part of a man’s masculine pride comes, however unconsciously, from being able to provide. However, since the 1960s, according to Anna Moore’s article, there has been a ‘five-fold increase’ in the number of women outstripping their partners when it comes to earning power. This is quite an achievement, given that the gender pay gap is still criminally high in the UK.

The emerging trend is the woman going out to work and the man either working part-time in a lower-paid job or taking time out to look after home and family. But currently, even couples who profess to be forward-thinking and pro-feminist are finding that problems are emerging in their relationship; cracks are beginning to show and resentments escalating. Women who hire us to check on their husbands are, understandably, irked that while they’re working away to earn for the whole family, their partners may be enjoying the fruits of their labour with someone else.

So what reasons are there for low-earning men to cheat more often? According to the study by Christin Munsch: “Having multiple partners may be an attempt to restore gender identity in response to these threats. In other words, for men, intimacy [outside their relationship] may be an attempt to compensate for feelings of inadequacy with respect to gender identity.” So again, it seems to be that pride is an overwhelming motivational factor, for both women and men.

So equality, with changing work patterns and family life, whilst they are necessary for progress, is causing what might be termed as ‘teething problems.’ This is a natural evolution, and we cannot expect attitudes to change overnight. After all, these attitudes and gender expectations have been in place for hundreds of years.

As a young woman who has a professional career and owns my house, I would resent any intimation that a man would feel threatened or emasculated by my financial independence or success. But I couldn’t guarantee that on some level I wouldn’t resent a partner who didn’t earn as much as me and had the capacity to pay his way. And I couldn’t say for sure that financial issues wouldn’t ever have an adverse effect on a relationship, no matter how proud I am of my independence.

Attitudes are slowly changing, and the number of women who hire us reflects this. They are no longer willing to sit back and bury their heads in the sand. They want answers, and when they have them, this is the time for them to move on and focus their resources on their own futures.
 

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