One of my favorite TV shows used to be this old program called “Cheaters.” It was your typical sleazy reality show. And by typical sleazy reality show, I mean that they used to put people in situations that were guaranteed to start horrible arguments, fights, and even outright acts of assault, and then they had the nerve to act surprised when this kind of thing happened.
I mean, think about it: You spend the build-up period of the show getting the backstory of the woman who thinks her man is cheating, or the man who thinks his woman is cheating. You follow them around and the editors take that footage and edit into something like a storyline, with villains and good guys. With the right editing choices and the right music, they can make you like who they want you to like, and they can make you hate who they want you to hate. It all depends on which quotes you use, what you emphasize, whether you play a funny sound effect after someone speaks, etc.
So what happens when people confront their cheating boyfriends, girlfriends, or spouses? Well, it’s exactly what you would expect. People would absolutely flip out when the host smugly told them they had been caught cheating, and presented them with the video evidence. There would often be scuffles between the guests on the show. Fights broke out regularly, and of course there was a LOT of screaming and arguing. Funny how the people who were supposedly together, intimately, suddenly had nothing good to say about each other, especially when it came to their skills in the bedroom.
And then somebody stabbed the host.
Seriously, there is an episode of Cheaters in which one of the people who was exposed on the show got so mad he took out a knife and stabbed the host with it. Now, the host lived, and the incident made it onto the show. (You kind of have to wonder how he felt about all that being in the episode.) But the lesson was clear: If you go exposing people for their affairs on television, that’s a pretty good way to get stabbed. Because cheating makes people furious.
There’s been a lot of debate about whether men or women are the worse cheaters. You’ve heard the stories in popular culture, of course. Men are dogs, so they say. Men will sleep with anything that has a heartbeat and a nice pair of legs. Hang around the bars long enough and anybody looks good enough to sleep with. Right? Isn’t that what they mean by “beer goggles?”
But what if men aren’t the dogs they are portrayed to be? What if women are just as bad when it comes to being unfaithful… and maybe even worse? Does it make a difference? Does it change how you see women and dating?
In a study published not too long ago, it was found that anywhere between one third and two thirds of married people in the United States cheated or will cheat during the course of the marriage. The numbers are probably low because, you know, these are people self-reporting on the survey, and it’s always the case that people lie sometimes on surveys so that they look better (even if they are told they will be kept completely anonymous, they want to impress the survey taker or look better to whoever is recording the results).
So women, it seems, are taking advantage of side action, sex outside the marriage, in numbers bigger than they have ever been. Part of this is that women don’t lead lives that are sheltered as they used to. It used to be that once a woman was married, she stayed home and raised kids, and that was pretty much it. Now, lots of women work, and you know what there is at the workplace besides work to do? There are plenty of horny guys, many of whom don’t give one good darn about whether your lady had a wedding ring on her finger. In fact, many guys take it as a challenge to sleep with a woman who is already spoken for.
In this environment, women are sometimes taken in by a handsome guy. And it’s a fact that the average woman who has been married for a while is just as easily tempted by some side action as a guy is. Think about it: When you have been married and faithful to just one person, you tend to get a little bored. You also start to wonder what it might be like to have a little variety. And you don’t feel as attractive as you once did, and you wonder if you can still snare a guy. So these women jump at the chance to have an affair because they feel like it proves they are still young, still attractive, still vital, and still worth wanting. It is a fact that every woman wants to feel desirable. This is just how women are wired mentally.
A lot of women get married because they think marriage is going to be the path to happiness. They don’t stop to realize that nobody can truly make you happy with yourself but you. If you are not a happy person, being married to someone is not going to make you happy, and the longer time passes and your marriage doesn’t fill that hole in your soul, the more you are going to start to resent your partner. It’s no wonder, then, that some women decide to have affairs. They think that maybe the affair will bring them the happiness that marriage didn’t. They think that maybe the right guy, the right activity, or the adventure and excitement of an affair will do what their marriages couldn’t accomplish.
In life, there are few easy answers. Having an affair won’t make you happy automatically, any more than being faithful will. Everybody is different and everybody cheats for their own reasons. But it looks like women are more ready for action than ever before.