It isn’t uncommon to hear of men who cheat. It’s almost as if it’s expected, at times making it feel like a forgivable offense. Whether or not the case for you, that is a very different conversation. But what do we think of women who do the same thing? Is she labelled “no-good” or worse? Is she judged differently because she is a female? Is one gender more likely than another to cheat on boyfriend, husband, partner?
According to a 2013 by PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA) human beings weren’t necessarily born to be monogamous. The development of monogamy in primates came from a need for males to protect their male babies from groups looking to eliminate them; to procreate with the women. It’s estimated the practice began about 1,000 years ago creating a new normal. Science Magazine highlights other hypotheses as to why monogamy. The debate continues to be an interesting point in the topic of the evolution of human behavior. Whatever, the reason is for the establishment of monogamy. I tend to believe we’re mostly monogamous in our relationships unless partners have alternate arrangements or decide to dabble outside their union.
Generally, men are the ones often committing the indiscretion during the life of a relationship. However, as women’s roles evolve so does their thinking about many things including infidelity. It seems there is a recent uptick in the rate of women admitting to cheating on their partners.
Everyone is aware of the fact that we have a tendency to conceal our true self. We do it at work, home or socially. We wear different masks to be accepted or fit into some mold or other. Many people don’t openly divulge their deepest self. Those intimate emotions and desires we hold dear deep down stay in our personal vault. Sharing unconventional thoughts that aren’t mainstream can create backlash from society which can be incredibly overbearing. The majority of society goes with the norm. We fear humiliation or guilt if we don’t follow the standards set forth by society. Sometimes, it leads to suppressing our most innate needs to make sure boundaries are respected.
Women throughout history have been expected to act accordingly. We’re taught at a young age to adhere to the rules put in place years ago. Modern time has advanced some of the old world mentality but we have ways to go.
In recent years, women are increasingly admitting to cheating on their spouses or partners. Books are being published discussing the subject. Esther Perel’s “The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity” is a New York Times bestseller. Women are less willing to accept the status quo instead risking their security by cheating. Many in search of a more satisfying relationship or use as means to endure an unsatisfying home situation.
Relationships aren’t easy, certainly not the fantasy sold by Hallmark or Disney. Things can fizzle out or be slowed down by the dullness of routines and chores. Women can be challenged by all the roles played as partner to the men in our lives. The caretaker, cheerleader, teacher, nurse, lover, friend, cook, housekeeper and whatever he needs. It is assumed we will provide. We should also highlight, we are human beings trying to cope with life’s situations as best possible. Women can find themselves vulnerable when needs are not aligned with mates’. For generations prior, this would have been the cause for a dissolution of marriage. Today, some may not be completely against modern solutions such as an open relationship. Avoiding the disruption divorce causes. Instead, considering finding other ways to manage everyone’s unhappiness.
Although, a kaleidoscope of factors and situations change the scope for reasons of an affair. Conversations with females over the years have given me a view as to possible reasons for cheating.
- Neglect: Priorities change over time. Careers, children, social pressures can all take chunks of time from our relationships. We can be left feeling alone when burdened with responsibilities. This may cause some to experience insecurity if a partner is seemingly disinterested in what we do with our days to how we’re feeling. Women naturally want to feel wanted, needed and desired.
- Boredom Leading to Seek an Outlet: The initial stages of meeting the object of our affection can be exhilarating. Usually cats go into heat after 6 months reaching sexual maturity. There are couples enjoying the tail end of their romantic climax around that time. Most human beings ignite furious fires during the beginning of courtship. Afterwards, things slow down. Hormones play a part in the process leaving some feeling disappointed. Reality sets in over time in all relationships. Cheating is one way of satisfying curiosity. Stepping out of the humdrum life for a blink. Risky yes – but there are people willing to run with it.
- Modern Last Option (Plan B): The most interesting of modern marriages are family corporations. Couples have children investing time, energy and finances into a life that may look like a storybook picture on the outside. The partners run an efficient ship but some drift away leaving a shell of a marriage. The spouses work well together as they raise their brood getting them through college. Loyal to the family structure, however, not always as successful in the romance department. Despite the lack of intimacy with husband or partner they refuse to give up “The House that Ruth Built.” Instead filling the gaps with a third party outside the marriage or relationship. This outsourcing of intimacy can fulfill her basic physical, sometimes emotional needs.
There are those who show up everyday for their loved one. They put effort into the relationship without guarantees of what or if it will work. Inevitably, partners change over time as does the connection. Communication is key to ensure partners are evaluating the marriage or partnership with eyes wide open. Individual choices are determined by each person’s unique situation. There should be no judge and jury. Different things work for different people.
Keep in mind, we’re all human beings made of flesh and bones. Breathing the same air with similar innate desires that require satisfaction. Women are not the exception, and should not be put on a pedestal that demands perfection. It’s idealistic and unfair to set such expectations. We are no more or less human than any man.
We are strong beyond measure. There is no shame in asking for what we need from our partners. It is equally not necessary to apologize for creating your own happiness. The key to both is having conviction in what you want then relaying it to your partner. Where the personal journey takes you as a couple should be decided within the privacy of your circle of love and friendship.
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