By: Dr. Fayr Barkley, Ph.D.
Back in my grandparents’ era, divorce was relatively uncommon. Women had fewer choices then and fewer financial resources. “Divorce” and “adultery” were dirty words only whispered. Most wives looked the other way. There was not any No Fault Divorce on the books, so one had to prove adultery or cruelty, which brought even more whispers and shame from the community.
Flash forward to the ‘60’s and women’s struggle for civil rights, equal pay for equal work and sexual freedom. Increased financial resources meant women didn’t have to put up with infidelity any more; they could now take care of themselves.
Nowadays, almost as many married women as men are cheating. The “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander” is alive…but is it well…for relationships, that is. Celebrities do it. Politicians do it. Now Middle America is doing it. But I have to believe it is taking its toll on relationships and perhaps people are not really focused on the gravity of the marriage commitment so much when they think,”If it doesn’t work out, I’ll just get a divorce, or find someone on the side.”
I also have to believe, there are those of us out there who still believe in the integrity of the institution of marriage. Just this week, a young man whom I have known for a few years texted and asked me to have an affair with him. “Aren’t you married?” I asked him. “And don’t you have a young child with your wife?”
Here is the rest of the conversation:
Him: You know you want to see me. I really want to see you.
Me: There is no potential upside for me to see you. And it would not be fair to your wife or your son. I am sorry you chose to marry a woman with whom you now say you don’t love and don’t feel sexually compatible, but you made that choice and now you have a child with her.
Him: Do you want to see me or do you just want to tear me apart?
Me: I don’t break up marriages or families and I don’t help married men cheat. I have integrity and ethics about that.
Him: OK. I get it. How about we meet just for coffee? We can be friends. Good friends.
Me: Frankly, I don’t associate with liars and cheaters.
Him: You know you want to see me. We had such great chemistry together once. Let’s see if it’s still there.
Me: There is no future for us either romantically or as friends. I hope you focus instead on your relationship with your wife and son.
Afterwards, it occurred to me if women didn’t cheat with married men (and vice versa) then the rate of infidelity would go drastically down. People would think hard about making a marriage commitment and work harder at making better choices and working on the relationship.
Men cheat because we LET them cheat. Maybe wives don’t give them permission to do it, but it makes it easier if other women make ourselves available. I happen to believe I am worth more than being the “other woman.” A LOT more. Think of it this way: Would YOU want some woman helping your husband or partner cheat on you?
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