A Woman’s View: Why women cheat

We have heard all the theories behind the idea of why women cheat: lack of intimacy, strained emotional connection, stress and even an escape to reclaim their independence. But is this why women in NEast really cheat on their partners? Whether it is a boyfriend, fiancé or husband, cheating happens all the time.

Many people could understand why a person in duress would venture elsewhere to find gratification, but why would someone who is in a perfectly safe and stable relationship jeopardize everything for moments of passion? What is it that drives women to cheat and what do they hope the outcome will be?

Lack of emotional intimacy seemed to be the top rationale of why women in the NEast have cheated or have considered cheating.

“I think that women are far more emotional than men,” Amanda said. “When a man cheats it’s usually physical, but for women, you kind of have to win us over first with our emotions.”

While this does not hold true for all women, it seems the majority of women I have spoken with in the NEast agree very strongly with this particular reasoning. True, that in most cases, women are slower to express themselves physically than men, but when it comes to passion and emotions, women relinquish themselves much faster than men.

Stress in today’s society and a growing individual outlook has helped increase the void between couples that causes emotional distress. It is much easier to just find someone new rather than spend the time fixing a relationship or talking out problems. This kind of outlook will only continue to create rifts between couples who don’t have the time to seriously put effort into repairing their relationships.

Women are known for wanting to communicate and often times feel their efforts are turned down. Cheating on a spouse or partner can cause long-term problems, which my not ever be able to be repaired. Cheating is the second leading reason (money and finances being the first two) why couples break up. It is very hard for significant others to ever forgive and trust their partners again after cheating has occurred.

“I worked with a man for around four years and we got to know each other well. My husband was not very attentive and didn’t seem to care about my needs or me as long as he got his,” Angelina said with emotion in her eyes.  “Even our sex life had slowed down and we were on his schedule for whatever he wanted to do. My colleague at work was very understanding and he listened to me, and over the years we had a brief affair.” She continued, “I felt so guilty about it and eventually called it off. Through some emails my husband found out and I was so surprised how upset he was. We divorced in a couple of months, and I haven’t even spoken to him since.”

Not all cheating is limited to physical interaction. Emotional cheating is far more common and closes off communication with a partner. Believe it or not, it is more likely for a woman to cheat on her partner with someone she has known for a while than it is for her to cheat with a man she has just met. Most women need to build a relationship of some kind in order to have a physical connection. That being said, that is not always the case.

“I was very happy with my live-in boyfriend for such a long time, and then I went out with my friends for a girls night and met this guy who I didn’t really like but, we had this amazing one-night connection. I figure I am not cheating if we are not married,” said a woman who asked that her name be withheld for privacy.

Ever since the birth of Sex and the City, men everywhere have had a glimpse at how some more carefree women live and think. Not always are women the conservative and shy creatures they have been made out to be, but now they are bolder and more aggressive, going after what they want and not settling.

Most women are no longer looking for the metaphorical knight in shining armor, or that one special man to “complete” them, but rather they are career driven and goal-orientated. When they sense there is something taking them down a wrong path, they tend to get off that path before it leads them too far in the opposite direction of what they set out for. This independent attitude has shifted the need to be protected and sheltered, allowing women more options and choices than ever before.

Of the 10 NEast women interviewed who admitted to having cheated on their significant others, eight said they are no longer with the men they cheated on and would have left them eventually, anyway.

“I cheated on my husband because we were not connecting anymore, and I was more like a servant then a wife. My say didn’t count for anything, and when I cheated I was hoping that I would be able to connect with someone else and possibly build a new relationship,” Katye said. “Starting out a relationship with cheating is doomed and I lost my marriage and my man.”

Of the 10 women who have cheated, six admitted they were hoping to build relationships with the men they were having their affairs with. None succeeded. Regrets are a hard burden to live with and we all have them, but many of the women who cheat are looking for a long-term and continued connection with the men they are cheating with. Very few relationships that start out in this manner are successful.

Whether it is lack of intimacy, emotional connection or just an animalistic attraction, women of today are finding more options readily available and more men at their disposal. The rate of cheating spouses has almost doubled since the early ’90s, and with added pressures of an ever-failing economy, stress levels are rising and causing more disputes in the home environment and more need for fulfillment.

If you are in a relationship that is displeasing to you, re-evaluate the situation and your issues to see if there is a possible solution or means of communication before you make a rash decision out of desperation. Remember that cheating can permanently damage a relationship and a person’s self-confidence and trust. In most cases, the relationship ends or is forever changed. Old advice a mother would give a child could best summarize: look both ways before you cross the street.

A Woman’s View is a column about women’s issues written by Donna Ward. The column appears every other Thursday on NEastPhilly.com. See others here. Read other NEastPhilly columns here.

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