People tend to react strongly to infidelity. Perhaps that’s because we’ve all had some experience — whether we’ve been betrayed or betrayed another, or know a close friend who’s been jilted. Sit around in a group of women and, eventually, a story of someone’s wayward boyfriend or husband is bound to come up.
So why is that, lately, it seems every guy I meet has been the one who’s been cheated on? Even the best looking, most intriguing of them! And what gives with chicks who cheat?
It’s so easy to imagine men as over sexed and unable to be monogamous — the media and a bit of personal experience suggest it’s rampant. However, my more recent experience suggests that women are as capable of infidelity. And probably as over sexed.
So what brings a woman to cheat? Is it the same reasons men that bring men to? Or are women’s reasons different? Sure, sexual dissatisfaction could be a reason. Sure, there are players. But I tend to believe that most people don’t set out to be unfaithful. In fact, I think many who find themselves in the midst of an affair are baffled at how they got there and completely unaware of how to get out alive. I tend to think they get there because of some vulnerability; perhaps their emotional needs were not being met. Perhaps they or their partners neglected to nurture the one relationship that should be most central.
I’d like to think that I would never cheat on a partner. I can’t imagine it. Once in an exclusive, committed relationship, it’s simply not something I’ve ever done. Even against my therapist’s advice, I remained faithful until after my ex finally moved out. But I can remember those lonely, needy, unloved feelings during the worst times in my marriage. And who can say what might have happened if someone tender, loving and caring had come along when I was at my most vulnerable? I’d like to think I’m stronger than that. I’m pretty sure I am now.
Still, as easy as it would be to judge, I can’t help but feel a certain amount of compassion (and a little pity) for those who stray, even as I empathize with their victims.