Historically, men have been considered to be more frequent cheaters than women. However, it looks like modern women are just as likely to cheat on their husbands as men. According to researchers from Indiana University in Bloomington, women cheat at the same rate as men but they report the reasons they cheat are different.
It’s hard to determine the exact percentage of men and women who cheat. After all, how many people are going to be honest on a survey or questionnaire when their infidelity may still be a secret? So gathering accurate data can be tricky.
Studies also often don’t define “cheating.” Sometimes they ask questions about sexual activity but even that can be a gray area to volunteers answering the question. For example, does a kiss count as cheating? It may to some people but not others.
With that said however, the University of Indiana found that 19 percent of women and 23 percent of men admitted to cheating. In the past, there has been a bigger gender gap between men and women who report infidelity.
Reasons Why Men and Women Cheat
Both men and women report that they cheat because they don’t care about the consequences of their actions. When they aren’t concerned with getting caught, they don’t seem to be bothered by their infidelity.
Interestingly, a fear of poor sexual performance also leads both men and women to cheat. This seems like a strange factor because if someone is concerned about their sexual performance, why would they go practice with a stranger instead of their spouse? Perhaps practicing with a stranger causes less anxiety because there are no expectations.
Differences in Reasons Why Women Cheat
The main reason men offer for cheating has to do with the sexual excitement of an affair. Men often report feeling energized when they are cheating.
Women on the other hand, report they cheat because they are unhappy in their current relationship. They also reported they cheat because their partner does not hold the same beliefs about sex. For women, it seems to have less to do with the excitement factor and more to do with trying to find happiness.
Reasons Why the Gender Gap May Be Closing
There’s a lot of speculation about why women may be cheating as often as men. One theory is that women are now in the workplace more than ever. Affairs frequently happen at work. Women are often away from their families for longer hours and may even travel for extended periods of time.
For women who are unhappy in their relationship, spending more time with a co-worker than a husband can be dangerous territory. A co-worker may seem like a more compatible partner and the idea of an affair may become romanticized.
Another reason for increased female affairs may be due to the internet. The cyber world offers endless possibilities to reconnect with old flames. Talking about the “good old days,” and wondering “what if…” can see tempting to a woman who isn’t happy in her marriage.
The internet also offers promises from strangers. Talking in chat rooms or via social media can lead to thinking the grass is greener. It can also give easy access to starting an affair.
What Can We Learn From This Study?
It’s important for both men and women to safeguard their marriage against an affair. Sometimes the couples who think, “That would never happen to us,” are the most susceptible to an affair.
Most people don’t go out looking to cheat on the spouse. However, there can be a slippery slope where talking and flirting can lead to an affair if they are not kept in check.
If you are unhappy with your relationship, it is important to work through these issues with your spouse. If your relationship is already strained and you have an affair, it may do a lot of irreversible damage. It’s important to take steps to proactively prevent an affair.
Attend to your marital problems as they arise. Don’t ignore them or sweep them under the rug. They won’t go away and will likely get worse.
Don’t allow your marriage to get to the point where you don’t care if you get caught having an affair. It’s important to work on your relationship to keep it fulfilling.
Communicate with your spouse about sex. If you are worried about your performance, talk about it. If your sex life isn’t satisfying, it’s essential that you talk about that as well.
Seek professional help when necessary. A trained marriage counselor can help you learn strategies that can improve your marriage. If you or your spouse has already had an affair, seek counseling to help you deal with it. Many marriages successfully survive an affair but it takes a lot of work.