What drives a married person to cheat on their spouse? It is a loaded question with no easy answer. Psychologists and relationship experts have spent years trying to figure out the science behind infidelity. What research has found is that more women are cheating on their husbands now than they ever have, according to a Bloomberg report. But why?
“A lot of the time the reasons are physical, sometimes they’re emotional, and, sometimes, as much as we don’t want to admit this or know this, sometimes it’s just a matter of somebody having an opportunity,” said Alicia M. Walker, an associate professor of sociology at Missouri State University told Fatherly. “There’s a lot of data showing that a woman will have an affair with a coworker and are more likely to report that ‘My marriage is great and I’m super satisfied. I literally saw an opportunity and took advantage of it.”
For years, cheating has been something associated with men but as research shows, an increasing number of woman are doing the same. Walker, who is also the author of “The Secret Life of the Cheating Wife: Power, Pragmatism, and Pleasure in Women’s Infidelity,” noted there is no one specific reason why married women cheat on their spouse.
This has not stopped experts weighing in on the matter. Here are their seven reasons why married women cheat, according to the medical professionals, and women who have been unfaithful themselves:
1. They feel neglected or underappreciated.
Sometimes, when a woman starts to feel more like a housekeeper or nanny rather than a wife, they look for validation elsewhere, explained Robert Weiss, Ph.D, in an article for Psychology Today. “…they seek an external situation that validates them for who they are, rather than the services they perform,” Weiss, who is an expert in the treatment of adult intimacy disorders and related addictions, wrote.
It may seem like a cop-out but research has suggested that certain people may be more likely to cheat because of their biology, Business Insider noted. Some studies have shown that people who had specific types of oxytocin and vasopressin receptor genes, hormones related to sexual bonding, are more susceptible to infidelity.
3. They feel lonely, or crave intimacy.
Feeling lonely, or craving intimacy, could drive a married woman to cheat, as Reddit user mtwife88 revealed. “He’s (husband) been overseas with his military contracting company for nine months now,” she said, according to Insider. “I’ve missed him horribly. I’m in a town basically on my own without any family or any close friends I can really connect with. It’s been alienating and isolating and has been torture at times. A few days ago, I met a guy about my age in a coffee shop. He noticed a sticker on my laptop that was of a band I was sure no one had ever heard of. Turned out he had, and after a whirlwind of a few hours, I found myself at his house that evening where I did it. I thought at first this guy would just be a friend I could share music recommendations from, but in an instant of a moment my isolation turned to selfish physical need.”
4.They are overwhelmed by their partner’s needs.
Research has shown that women who claim to be content with their spouse, home, work and lives still cheat. Why? Weiss explained that many of these women report feeling under-supported and overwhelmed by having to live up to all these expectations that they seek extramarital sex as a form of life-fulfillment.
5.They are unhappy.
“Dissatisfaction with the marriage either emotionally or sexually is common,” said Amy Morin, LCSW, a contributor for VeryWellMind. “Marriage is work, and without mutual nurturing couples may grow apart. A sexless marriage is often claimed as a reason by both men and women.
6.They are seeking revenge.
Two women who have cheated admitted to doing so as a form of spite. “He pushed me over the edge one night,” said an anonymous Reddit user, according to Insider. “He wasn’t a great guy and he was always accusing me of sleeping with other men when I wasn’t… I just decided ‘screw it all.'” Linda told The Cut she cheated after finding out her partner had been unfaithful. “He was always lying and didn’t care much about what was going to happen next. I was angry so I cheated.”
7. Early life trauma.
Sometimes a person is unfaithful because they are responding to or re-enacting early-life trauma and abuse, noted Weiss. “Sometimes women who experienced profound early-life (or adult) trauma, especially sexual trauma, will re-enact that trauma as a way of trying to master or control it,” he said.
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