When women cheat

By DONNA HUSSEY-WHYTE
all woman writer

Monday, December 25, 2006

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The flirting started one day at home while her husband was at work, and her children were at school. Bored, she went outside to get some air, and hailed her husband's friend who was driving by.
He told her she was pretty. He couldn't believe she stayed so lithe after having three children.

A few days later they were heavily involved, he providing the companionship she needed after finding out that her husband was cheating on her, and he, filling the void left behind by a wife who had migrated.
A year after the affair started, the 30-year-old Kingston housewife tells all woman that she doesn't regret any of her actions. In fact she would have gladly continued if he hadn't moved to Mobay. And her husband has never found out, only coming close to catching them in the act once when he came home a mere five minutes after her lover had left.

There are some women who say they just can't stop.
They have debunked the myth that women are the faithful and loyal halves of the marital couple, and though they may be appalled at their behaviour afterwards, they make no move to end it.

There are others who have always proclaimed themselves to be 'not the type' who would ever cheat - until of course they commit the act, and still others who have no problem with the fact that they do cheat, their reasons for doing so varying.
Tradition allows that men are the ones who will cheat and society has for centuries accepted this as the norm. And the woman who cheats stands the chance of being stigmatised by her man and her peers. It's for this reason that many women would never admit to cheating - even when they're knee deep in the act.

"I was very unhappy in my marriage," a 31-year-old admitted cheater told all woman. "But it was more than that which actually drove me to cheat. I felt really alone and insignificant. Nothing seemed to be going right. It seemed no matter what I did I was never able to please my husband."

She said it started after years of emotional and physical abuse from her husband, who was also having affairs, despite her best efforts to satisfy him sexually. Added to this was the fact that he refused to support her and their three children financially. It was at this time that she met an old schoolmate and they started talking.
Her husband's decision to go abroad for a year opened the door for the affair.
"I thought the time apart would do us good. Plus he planned on working and sending some money to help pay the bills and stuff," she said. "He lied, for the first three months or so he sent nothing. I was working but my salary was not enough to pay the rent, pay the utilities, send the kids to school and purchase food."

"I called my husband and explain the situation to him, but he said he had no money, even though he was working. My light and water got disconnected in the same week. Many times my kids told me they were hungry. I sought help from family members but they couldn't help. So I decided I had no choice, I had to seek help from this man. He was willing and I was able to pay my bills and buy food."
After this, the relationship got intimate and continued for close to two years even after her husband returned.

"There is a big difference as to why men cheat and why women cheat," said psychologist Dr Leachim Semaj. "Men cheat for sexual reasons. Women cheat for emotional reasons. If there is a deficit in home environment, this will lead the woman to stray."

Infidelity expert Ruth Houston, who was recently quoted in a New York Times article on female infidelity shared these views.
"Men and women tend to cheat on their spouses for different reasons," she said. "The number one, two and three reasons for men to cheat relates to sex. A woman cheats for the most part as a last resort. She has tried everything, her complaints have fallen on deaf ears and she feels she has no other alternative."

Dr Semaj explained that the woman may not be getting the emotional satisfaction she needs at home. She is neglected, taken for granted, she's not being complimented, ecetera. Then she meets someone who shows her attention and they become involved because this person is now fulfilling her areas of neglect.
Our third interviewee started cheating after her boyfriend of seven years migrated for eight months. For her, it was a matter of actually getting the opportunity to go out with someone else.

"It was a matter of opportunity and inexperience," she said. I never dated before, I met this other guy and I handled it badly," she said. "When my boyfriend went away, this guy came along. We started going out together and even though it was not my intention to get involved, we ended up sleeping together a couple times."
She added: "Cheating didn't benefit me in any way, it just added to the many problems I already had."

She said that had her boyfriend remained in Jamaica, she knew it would never have happened since they lived together. She would not have been able to cheat and then go home to face him.

The women explain that cheating is not something that they talk about, hence the reason many may think that women don't cheat as often as men do.
"One reason is that women are very smart, we might talk about it and our partner will hear, plus it is still an unwritten rule that women should not cheat, as people will judge us," the second interviewee said. "Men, on the other hand, will cheat and they see it as [earning] a stripe for themselves."

Most of the reasons (excuses) cheating wives give for infidelity are things that could be easily rectified by a husband who's willing to make the effort.
"My husband treated me so badly, I had lost my self-esteem. Before we got married I was the pride of his life, we went on dates and we had a lot of fun," a woman who has been married for five years said. "He stopped taking me out and didn't pay any attention to me at all. Yet he has been seen on dates many times with other women."

She said after a while her pain, anger and depression was more than she could take. And someone came along who made her feel special.
"He would take me out and treat me like a queen," she said. "He would also ensure that my financial needs were met and that I was comfortable. This rebuilt my self-esteem and I no longer felt like a cast-off."
Today, she is still involved with this man, even though she remains married and lives with her husband.

"Some women will cheat once and learn from it," Dr Semaj noted. "While there are others who do it and don't learn from it, despite the fact that it may impact on her family. She will continue to do it because it makes her feel younger etc. We also have to remember that some women have character flaws. They are in a good relationship where the husband loves them, pays them attention, provide for them, yet they still get involved with someone else," said Dr Semaj. "Often the people they involve themselves with are the opposite of their spouses. Whereas the husband may be gentle and soft, the other man is rough and coarse."

Explained a 50-year-old teacher: "I used to laugh when my husband, a plumber would brag to his friends that his woman would never cheat. Little did he know why I had so many conferences in Ocho Rios. I had no excuse, it was just something that started with this other teacher at school, and it continued, and neither of us could stop."

Dr Semaj pointed out that women exhibiting this type of behaviour are among the minority.
"Cheating is dangerous. It is a deception that hurt a lot," Dr Semaj warned. He noted that it is always hard for the partner to accept that life with you all this time, had been a lie.

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