Diane Lane did it in Unfaithful. Annette Bening did it in American Beauty. Sarah Jessica Parker did it on Sex and the City. And they’re not the only ones. Although women haven’t surpassed men on the cheating scale, more married women than ever before are jumping in the sack with someone other than their husbands. According to an American Sexual Behavior study, 14% of married women have cheated at least once, compared to 22% of married men. Not that we’re condoning two-timing from either party, but here are the top 10 reasons women cheat.
Not enough sex
Remember the good old days when you could stay up forever fooling around? Then responsibility entered the mix — and kids — and before you knew it, sleep was more important than sex. Well, women want to feel wanted. If you’re not making her feel that way, she could seek it elsewhere. To keep that spark alive, ask her out on date nights, send her provocative e-mails at lunch, and by all means, don’t let life get in the way of kissing, cuddling and sex.
Being the bad girl
Just as men feel the urge to sow their wild oats, some women have an inner sex kitten just waiting to be unleashed — and when the beast escapes from the cage, look out. This frisky behavior usually rears its ugly head in response to some sort of life change — major weight loss, new job, new friends, mid-life crisis, etc. Keep the lines of communication open and she’ll be more likely to talk to you about what’s going on instead of spilling her guts to a stranger in the night.
Sex can be an instant pick-me-up; a self-esteem booster that makes women feel sexier, more beautiful and more loved. If your wife or girlfriend has self-esteem issues, it doesn’t mean she’s automatically going to cheat — and it’s certainly not your fault if she does — but there are ways to make her feel secure in the relationship that could help her from straying. Pay attention to her, ask her questions and don’t hold back on compliments — a little flattery goes a long way with women.
Revenge/payback for past wrongs
No, you didn’t cheat, but whether you blew your retirement fund in Vegas or got caught in a big lie, you did break her trust (and, possibly, her heart). She feels wounded and betrayed — and wants to hurt you the same way you hurt her. To regain her trust, it’s not enough just to tell her you’re sorry; you have to show her. Actions speak louder than words.
Lack of intimacy
You have it all: the house, the two-car garage and the two-and-a-half bathrooms — at least on the outside. But inside, the relationship is lacking the one thing women want most: intimacy. It’s not just sex that makes women feel connected in a relationship; it’s touching, kissing, cuddling, and communicating. Women crave it, and she could seek it elsewhere if she’s not getting it at home. To improve intimacy, spend quality time together, give her a foot massage, make a romantic dinner for two — anything that will give her a sense of unity and closeness.
Women wear many hats in a relationship — housekeeper, errand-runner, grocery shopper, babysitter, etc. When she feels more like a maid than a girlfriend/wife, that’s when she could stray. The fact that you spend all your time at work or on the golf course gives her double reason to seek attention elsewhere. No, you can’t quit your job, but you can thank her for all her selfless deeds — and do your share around the house.
Your emotional withdrawal
Women are emotional beings. Not only do they need physical support, but they also need emotional support. Once you retreat from the relationship, she sees it as a sign that things are through — a breakup is inevitable. So, she’s not really cheating, she’s moving on. To avoid this, be present in the relationship. Yes, that means sharing your icky feelings, but it’s better than the alternative, right?
Sex can become monotonous if you let it — the same position; the same setting; the same person. An affair adds adventure and gets her adrenalin flowing. To avoid routine, avoid repetition. Sweep her away for the weekend, make out at the movies, kiss her for no reason at all… The unexpected adds excitement.
Instead of breaking up with you, she cheats on you. That way she doesn’t have to deal with the broken relationship, which is much harder to fix. An affair is the easy way out — or at least that’s how she sees it. That’s another reason communication is key. Let her know that she can talk to you about anything and that you love her enough to work through any bumps in the relationship road.
Revenge for your cheating
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. Because you cheated, she wants to get back at you and give you a dose of your own medicine. Cheating is her vengeance, her chance to even the playing field. No, you can’t undo your indiscretion, but you can ask for her forgiveness, assure her it will never happen again and suggest couples therapy to help you get through this tough time.