Women And Infidelity

So, do women just want a steady, committed relationship with one man for the rest of their lives à la Stepford Wives, or do they also indulge in no-strings-attached intimate relationships? The simple answer is that it is pointless to generalize; there are as many experiences as there are unique women in the world, and as we have found in our line of business, to pre-empt, presume and judge is never wise. But what we can say for sure is that there is certainly no shortage of men who hire us to check up on their wives or long-term partners. And no shortage of women who, through our investigations, are found to be cheating on their partners.

So much for women only indulging in intimacy to please their partners and ensuring the continuation of their steady monogamous relationship! If our experience is anything to go by, there are plenty of women out there who are finding their long-term marriages or partnerships inadequate, and seeking their intimate fulfillment elsewhere. Indeed, the internet is full of websites enabling married men and women to do just that.

An article published by the Mail online in September 2009 asserted the (to some) shocking hypothesis that ‘women are better at having affairs than men.’ A study carried out by Dr. David Holmes, a psychologist at Manchester Metropolitan University found that women are having more affairs than ever before.

If we believed all that we read in the tabloid papers and gossip magazines, which are a heady cocktail of cheating footballers and their down-at-heel, devastated wives, pictured with tearful eyes, smudged mascara and sudden weight loss, we would think that it is only men who indulge in extra-curricular activities with good-time girls and shady acquaintances. We would believe that female partners are merely the passive receptors of circumstance, the element of the relationship that does not act, but just accepts whatever acts are committed on their territory.

On the contrary, Dr. David Holmes goes as far as saying that the only reason the infidelity of women is not more widely reported is simply that they are much better at secrecy than men: ‘Women are better liars because they’re more psychologically sophisticated.’ This certainly makes sense, in the light of years of evidence showing that academically, girls consistently exceed boys at school and beyond. Much has been made in the media of women’s ability to multi-task in practical situations, and of men being so useless at it that it somehow relieves them of even trying.

But Dr. Holmes goes one step further by asserting that women are superior to men when it comes to ‘mental multi-tasking.’ So, when it comes to managing an extra-marital affair, a woman can see the situation and its implications with a wide-angled lens, instead of through tunnel-vision. Their stories are consistent because they have thought ahead, their affairs concealed more expertly perhaps because our society has been taught to see women as the victims and not the perpetrators. This is in many ways disabling and degrading for women, but it does have the effect of making infidelities less likely to be suspected.

But do women develop this skill for concealment just because they can, or because it is essential?

Men’s infidelities have long been publicized; written about ad nauseum in papers and magazines. This has fuelled outrage on some level, but in many ways it has also normalized it as a concept; made it more acceptable. Society has moved on in many ways, but when it comes to faithfulness, women are still judged more harshly than men for their transgressions. Put a woman on a pedestal of faithfulness and morality and she has further to fall.

So, we’ve established that cheating women are in fact almost as rife in modern society as unfaithful men. After all, we’re all sold the myth that marriage, monogamy and a family are what should and will make us all blissfully happy, for ever after. This isn’t always the case, and for some, the grass is greener on the other side. The bottom line is that some men are faithful and some are not, and that some women are faithful, and some are not. The only possible gender difference may be the reasons why men and women commit adultery in the first place.

According to Natalie Lue’s popular blog Baggage Reclaim, the three primary factors in women embarking on an extra-marital affair are self-esteem issues, feeling neglected or under-appreciated, and revenge for their partner’s own infidelity.

What seems certain is that the leap in women’s infidelity over the last 20 years, as reported by Dr. David Holmes, has grown with women’s greater freedom, careers that take them away from the home, enhanced personal income and a technological age which makes finding and keeping in touch with lovers far easier.
 

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