I'll never forget the day I had lunch with a friend of mine, who brought along three of her divorced girlfriends, none whom I'd ever met. As we sipped our white wines and chomped on our salads, I listened to the stories of the divorced women.
Two of them were happily involved with the men they cheated and left their husbands for. The other woman's story was entirely different. Her husband had been cheating on her, and then left her for a younger woman.
Since the demise of my marriage had nothing to do with either me being a cheater or me being the victim of a cheater, I couldn't relate to being on either side. What I can say is that it made me wonder, 'Who cheats more? Women or men?'
I got a pretty strong answer just a couple of days ago. It begins with Cyber Dust. Heard of it? Cyber Dust, which is partially owned by Mark Cuban is a new social media app for business networking, friendships, sports news, flirting, and just having fun. You can send and receive text messages and photos that disappear shortly after you send them. I am having so much fun on there, and have met many, many, interesting, wonderful people.
There is a popular account on Cyber Dust called "Cyber Confessions" where users can anonymously confess without anyone knowing their secrets. The beauty of it is that the confession then disappears in 30 seconds.
Cyber Confessions also conducts surveys. One in particular asked users to anonymously answer yes or no to the question, "Have you cheated on your significant other in the past year? Kissing counts." The results from the 178 women and 649 men who participated: 24 percent of the men answered "yes," while 42 percent of women answered "yes."
So, is that proof that women are bigger cheaters? In my opinion, there are a few factors to consider. The first is the possibility that men aren't willing to admit to cheating -- even anonymously, as much as women do. That said, it is interesting to note that 649 men chose to participate in the survey versus 178 women. Are women just generally busier? Or, did some women who cheat choose not to participate because they were too afraid or ashamed to answer yes? The latter would suggest that the results could be authentic.
That brings us to the question, why do women cheat? From the hundreds (maybe thousands) of e-mails I have received on my website from women who confess that they've cheated, their reasons are all very similar. It's never, "He cheated, so I wanted to even the score," or "I need more sex," or even "I'm bored with my husband."
I believe that most women cheat because their relationship is lacking the emotional strength they need and or want. Women often tell me they tried and tried and tried to talk to their spouse for years, and he never wanted to listen or acknowledge that their was a problem in the relationship, simply saying, "Everything is fine." Even the women at the lunch said they had exhausted every option to try to save their marriages before cheating.
Here's the thing. I'm not saying that I condone cheating, nor am I judging anyone for it. I'm simply trying to help men understand a common reason I think it happens, which is women needing more than their spouse can or is willing to give in the emotional department. So, what I would say to men is, when your wife says, "Let's talk," or "Let's go to therapy," it's probably a good idea to agree to it, not after she's asked 10 times or when she threatens to leave, but the first time she asks. Why? Because whether you think you need couple's therapy or that your wife is just being overly dramatic, seeking help is her effort to save your marriage, and that's huge.
Women are very strong individuals. We are passionate and hard working when we want something. That can work either way in a relationship. We can want it to work and fight for it, or we can want out. And, every man knows we are communicators, who want to talk and express how we feel, and listen to how our spouse feels. We understand that can be difficult for a man, but just as we put up with certain male behaviors, men need to do it for us.
In closing, the Cyber Dust survey included only one teeny tiny fraction in the universe, so it's hard to say if women really do cheat more than men. There are hundreds of other studies out there, some which are in line with the Cyber Dust survey, some not. If you think about it, the three divorced women I had lunch with shows 66 percent of women cheating more than men! All that said, in the end, does it really make a difference what gender cheats more? What matters most is making sure it doesn't happen in YOUR relationship.
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