Saturday, July 24, 2010

Stuart Schneiderman: Why do women cheat?

41 Comments:

Blogger Oligonicella said...

He's wrong.

"Biologically, a woman has much more difficulty walking away from the possible consequences of extramarital sex than does a man."

The pill.

Women, married or not, can be just as big of sluts as guys. Add legal to the mix, and the guy is in much greater danger.

4:19 PM, July 24, 2010  
Blogger Oligonicella said...

Just to add, anyone (scientist, psychologist or lay) who talks about evolutionary imperatives involved with our 'drives' is talking smoke. It's a guess, no more.

4:20 PM, July 24, 2010  
Blogger DADvocate said...

I read somewhere once that every woman wants to feel irresistible. I think there's a lot to that. Many women I know seem to want to think that every man wants them. Even if the woman is not the least bit interested in having an affair.

They dress provocatively, flirt, etc. Indeed, I think some of them get a thrill out of man wanting them and then telling them "No" directly or indirectly.

The woman in Schneiderman's post was resistible. Her husband spent more time at work and little pursuing her delights. He may have thought building a solid foundation for their future was important. Who knows? As Schneiderman says, the article is short on relevant information. But, the woman made the choice to find someone who couldn't resist her wares, or at least pretended to not be able to resist.

And, it's all her husband's fault.

4:49 PM, July 24, 2010  
Blogger RuyDiaz said...

"Just to add, anyone (scientist, psychologist or lay) who talks about evolutionary imperatives involved with our 'drives' is talking smoke. It's a guess, no more."

No. I don't even feel like explaining. What you wrote is THAT wrong.

5:05 PM, July 24, 2010  
Blogger I R A Darth Aggie said...

The pill.

Um, and that's why abortions are rarely procured?

Also: it protects against STDs? a significant number of women will not show obvious symptons for many common STDs.

I'm sure the woman in question would be thrilled to be found out because it burns when he pees.

6:36 PM, July 24, 2010  
Blogger Eric Blair said...

This is an interesting topic. Many years ago, I dated a young woman who had, um, a very democratic opinion of her own fidelity. I cared very much about that, and she reassured me while not being, well, faithful.

So I never thought of it as "a guy thing." Because women can do that sort of thing, too.

Funny part is that the woman married the fellow she was seeing on the side, has a couple of children by him, and I have nor reason to think that she has been unfaithful to him.

Me, I think it is a maturity thing. She grew up and was responsible later.

6:49 PM, July 24, 2010  
Blogger Oligonicella said...

RuyDiaz --

It's a guess. A guess based on much observation of animals, but it's still a guess.



I R A Darth Aggie --

Love the moniker, by the way.

"...more difficulty walking away..."

I was addressing the more aspect.
An unwanted pregnancy affects both (if the father is known to the mother). STDs affect both. The law over-affects men.

6:53 PM, July 24, 2010  
Blogger Cham said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8:15 PM, July 24, 2010  
Blogger Cham said...

I'm not totally convinced that humans are supposed to be sexually monogamous to one life partner. If we aren't then you can really say one is cheating or not cheating, people are just doing what subconsciously feels right to them.

I've been meaning to pick up Sex At Dawn by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha, who both seem to have a PhD in something.

From the site:

Ryan and Jethá’s central contention is that human beings evolved in egalitarian groups that shared food, child care, and often, sexual partners. Weaving together convergent, often overlooked evidence from anthropology, archeology, primatology, anatomy, and psychosexuality, the authors show how far from human nature monogamy really is.

As soon as the book comes out on audio I'll listen to it and tell you more.

8:18 PM, July 24, 2010  
Blogger br549 said...

I believe women want to be attractive to men, even if they do seem to dress for each other. I have found many women to be attractive, until I got to know them. That narrows things, and changes much. Some women become more attractive, while others become butt ugly.

There is nothing new there, however.

9:22 PM, July 24, 2010  
Blogger Sixty Grit said...

Because they can.

8:45 AM, July 25, 2010  
Blogger Trust said...

Michelle Langley wrote two books on Women's Infidelity. They are very insightful. Women cheat for many of the same reasons men do, but they stated reasons are often different because of political correctness and the image we have of women (and they have of themselves). Men who cheat tend to blame their sex drive, while women who cheat blame their husbands.

10:21 AM, July 25, 2010  
Blogger BobH said...

As somebody who has read way too much evolutionary psychology and who is fascinated with paternity fraud in American law, I find Schneiderman's column to be rather bizarre.

Schneiderman states: "As we know, and as Tammy Worth and her experts make clear, a woman who cheats is running a much higher risk than is a man. Biologically, a woman has much more difficulty walking away from the possible consequences of extramarital sex than does a man." Let's consider that paragraph.

Female cheating isn't a big problem in any species where there is no paternal investment in the offspring except sperm. Arguably, in those species, the entire concept of cheating has no meaning. In those species, which includes virtually all mammalian species, all male reproductive energies will be directed to acquiring and keeping sexual access, preferably exclusive, to as many females as possible.

Female cheating IS a big problem when there is post-natal paternal investment, which includes most avian (bird) species. In the species which have been examined, about 25% of the chicks are the offspring of a male other than the sucker who is investing in them. Why would the female want to walk away from those offspring? What she wants is to avoid detection by the male, which is something else entirely.

Now let's consider the American legal system's response to male and female cheating. If the husband cheats and the other woman becomes pregnant, she can make the husband pay child support. From the wife's standpoint, that is money which should have been used to support her children, not some other woman's. (In serial monogamy, earlier and later wives have the same conflict of interests.) If, however, the wife cheats, because of America's misogynous laws, it's the husband who gets to suffer, solely because he was stupid enough to marry her. Easy mistake to fix!!

3:30 PM, July 25, 2010  
Blogger BobH said...

In the last paragraph of the previous post "misogynous" should be "misoandrous".

6:07 PM, July 25, 2010  
Blogger Joe said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8:43 PM, July 25, 2010  
Blogger Joe said...

Seems to me that Tammy Worth's opinion, at least as stated in his column, is dead on and that Schneiderman is confusing explanation for justification.

But then he throws out the absurdity "At some level, she seems to be trying to get back at him." and rambles on from there with nonsense that is nothing more massive justification pretending to be sophisticated explanation.

In the example given, it's blindingly obvious to everyone but the mental health professional that if Thea's husband had paid more attention to his wife, it's likely that she wouldn't have cheated.

The solution isn't for Thea to get a job or volunteer unless Schneiderman thinks that's a better way to pick up a lover than Ashley Madison. I'm still shocked out a "life coach" is so damn clueless. Heaven help his patients/clients.

8:43 PM, July 25, 2010  
Blogger Der Hahn said...

I've probably had more sex with married women than single ones (leaving out my ex-wife who cheated on me. There's probably a Dr Phil show in there somewhere).

My take is close to Trust's. Women cheat for the same reasons though they justify it differently. I've come to believe that the number one reason is the same for both sexes - they had an opportunity.

There is no such thing as 'enough attention' just like there is never enough money or sex. That is merely a rationalization on the part of cheaters, and whistling past the graveyard for everybody else.

8:28 AM, July 26, 2010  
Blogger Topher said...

I second Der Hahn, Joe's pedestalizing is showing again.

A guy starts a new job and is spending lots of time doing his job right. This is supposed to constitute "neglect" and marital abandonment?

Please.

Notice how the phrasing of the problem subtly programs our first response: "Her husband has a full day of social contacts; she does not even have friends."

I got news for you, honey - high-stress jobs, even ones that involve lots of people, are not a fun social hour. People aren't there to be friends; the psychological games are high-stakes. And if she's home alone so much she has plenty of time to get a life and some friends of her own.

"if Thea's husband had paid more attention to his wife, it's likely that she wouldn't have cheated."

Yeah, and if you don't go outside you won't get hit by a car - but there's a limit to how much one should be expected to do to prevent bad outcomes. He shouldn't have to give her attention every waking moment just because she's emotionally codependent. Spouses have to have separate lives at some point, since they can't spend every waking moment together.

There are cases of inattentive spouses as a pretext for infidelity (in both genders), but this does not appear to be one of them. This is a guy busting his tail and she is reaping the monetary and status rewards and has the gall to cry victim at the same time.

Anybody want to bet if he worked a slower 9-to-5 job she'd shame him to her friends for being lazy and not providing a nice enough "lifestyle"?

11:17 AM, July 26, 2010  
Blogger Topher said...

To say "men cheat if they can" is a half truth. Obviously you have to have opportunity to do the deed, but a lack of emotional attention and other nonsexual factors are huge in male infidelity.

To say "women cheat because they have opportunity" doesn't even make any sense. Most men have very restricted access to female sexuality. But most women have very free access to male sexuality; most any decent-looking woman (50%+ of them) could be in the sack with a man _tonight_ if they wanted.

Female cheating is probably explained by the universal word for female sexuality: hypergamy. The opportunity for either a badder boy or a higher-status guy.

I listened to Gary Neuman's book "The Truth About Cheating" last year. Unsurprisingly, he noted that the most common reason for male infidelity in his practice was feeling unappreciated at home. He went over case after case of a hardworking, attentive husband rebuffed by his wife in a can't win scenario.

He even asked a woman in couples therapy why she didn't put her husband's job and hardware housework on her list of things she appreciates about him. She said "well those are things he's just SUPPOSED to do!"

Another woman (who did not having a straying husband) told him "the idea my husband needs warm and fuzzy signals of my appreciation is kind of a turn-off." To her, a man should be a robot.

Neuman had a chapter where he laid out the radical idea that spouses should have sex regularly and that the emotional bond formation would prevent a lot of cheating.

I got a lot of flack about "this is blaming the woman for cheating!" and all that crap. My answer to that is, "in some cases, damn straight. How long do you expect to berate a man before he seeks a kind companion elsewhere?"

I also got the anecdotal invalidation: "MY guy cheated on me and I wasn't a bad woman so this study must be WRONG!"

Coda: we in the MRA movement need to be careful we don't become a mirror image of anti-male feminism, instinctively taking the side of men in these issues no matter the facts. We should empathize with the victims of true neglectful spouses of either gender, and condemn recreational infidelity on both sides.

11:33 AM, July 26, 2010  
Blogger Edgehopper said...

People cheat because they're dishonest and selfish, and because they put little value on their marital vows or family stability. Is it that hard?

Cham's comment is typical and aggravating:

I'm not totally convinced that humans are supposed to be sexually monogamous to one life partner. If we aren't then you can really say one is cheating or not cheating, people are just doing what subconsciously feels right to them.

"I'm not totally convinced that humans are supposed to honor property rights. If we aren't, then you can't really say one is stealing, people are just doing what subconsciously feels right to them."

The basis for civilization is that we overcome our animal natures to keep promises and make the random, harsh world of nature more predictable, so that we can spend our time and energy making life better than it would be in a state of nature. Absolving people of breaking their promises in the way that Cham, Topher, or the psychologists would is a good way to screw up society.

11:45 AM, July 26, 2010  
Blogger Cham said...

Helen's was "Why do women cheat?". I answered it. I didn't see a stipulation that shaming was mandatory for inclusion in the response.

12:04 PM, July 26, 2010  
Blogger Joe said...

And Topher continues his misogynistic mission of "proving" that women are clueless little creatures with no free will and men are vastly superior in every way.

A guy starts a new job and is spending lots of time doing his job right.

That wasn't stated Topher, only filled in by you to justify putting man on the pedestal. Everything you wrote is to justify why he was right, the woman wrong, but the situation simply didn't specify anything you are writing--you are simply seeing what you want to see and keep twisting until the woman is a total bitch, none of which is justified by the plain words. Why does everything to you have to be WOMAN WRONG, MAN RIGHT. Good Lord, do you ever get out of your cave? Do you not see that your attitudes are simply the opposite of what Dr. Helen is fighting? Mysogyny is not the answer to misandry, though I don't expect you to be rational enough to write a cogent argument in defense of yourself.

(Unfortunately, anyone attacking misandry will attract a lot of mysogynists, just as the movement to attack mysogyny attracted a whole lot of misandrists.)

12:28 PM, July 26, 2010  
Blogger Topher said...

"And Topher continues his misogynistic mission of "proving" that women are clueless little creatures with no free will and men are vastly superior in every way."

Oh for crying out loud, I've said nothing of the sort. All I've said is that people without the willpower to actualize their own lives will certainly blame other people for their problems, as this woman did. There's nothing sexist about telling people to be responsible for their own emotional lives.

The wife is the one claiming she's got no free will...her only effort to solve her emotional discomforts appears to be logging into a website that facilitates cheating.

"'A guy starts a new job and is spending lots of time doing his job right.'

That wasn't stated Topher, only filled in by you to justify putting man on the pedestal."

Did you read the article? It's very clear that the excuse for the cheating is that the man spends "too much" time at his new job. No case is made that he's sleeping at the office, spending weeks on travel, telling her his problems are more important, etc etc. The wife is the on

She just invents a reality that he's got it better than her and that she's a victim. People of both genders are prone to this in relationships - developing a positive-feedback loop where small problems are woven into big resentments.

I'm treating this like a court case, where the burden of proof is on the cheater to explain why the man's behavior is so heinous she is morally justified in breaching the fidelity of the marriage. That case has not been made, just some indirect bromides about hubby working too much.

3:06 PM, July 26, 2010  
Blogger Topher said...

Joe, let me quote myself from above:

"Coda: we in the MRA movement need to be careful we don't become a mirror image of anti-male feminism, instinctively taking the side of men in these issues no matter the facts. We should empathize with the victims of true neglectful spouses of either gender, and condemn recreational infidelity on both sides."

Do you think this case is true neglect, or recreational infidelity? Unless they're prepared to update the facts, it's pretty clear to me that this is the latter, with some self-justifying rationalization after the fact - sounds a lot like the old "I'M not HAAAAPPPY" housewife's lament.

3:13 PM, July 26, 2010  
Blogger Target said...

If "Joe" is really a woman, why did *she* consciously pick the Internet name "Joe"? Lots of that going on in the Interwebs I hear. Joe seems to be pushing a woman's point of view, although with the subtlety one would expect of a Joe.

The other thing I'm wondering about: Helen seems to be fairly smart, why does she put any stock at all into what this "Life Coach" says. I don't get it. It's like someone you think is really smart all of a sudden quoting Archie Comics for insight.

5:17 PM, July 26, 2010  
Blogger Target said...

What does "Life Coach" even mean? Do people actually take this guy seriously? I think "Life Coach" means that you can't even get a degree in psychology directly, but you want to tell people what to do and act superior to them.

5:19 PM, July 26, 2010  
Blogger Joe said...

I am most definitely not a woman, just a man who can watch objectively and wow, Topher, you sure do assume a lot. You are seriously reading into the tea leaves things that aren't there and you consistently come up with a misogynistic viewpoint. You throw very disparaging remarks at anyone who disagrees with your extreme viewpoint which always assumes the man is in the right and the woman in the wrong. Sure, you wrote that "we in the MRA movement need to be careful we don't become a mirror image of anti-male feminism" yet that's EXACTLY how you come across, whether you realize it or not.

For the record, I read the article and the section on "Thea" is extremely short, so I took it at face value. It's also clear that the original article is explaining behavior, not justifying it, while the Schneiderman's article is doing the very thing he complains about (though the issue appears more that he disagrees with the claimed justifications of the original article and offers of his own, comically absurd ones.)

And Target, that is the question I've been asking. Schneiderman makes a few good points now and then, but generally comes across to me as someone who takes money from people in exchange for empty platitudes.

You CAN discuss why men and women cheat without justifying that they do. Heck, Dr. Helen discusses why teenagers become murderers and isn't justifying their actions in any way, though I'm sure many of critics accuse her of doing just that.

5:43 PM, July 26, 2010  
Blogger Topher said...

Joe,

Sorry but I call 'em as I see 'em. When there's a case of a truly neglectful spouse, regardless of gender, I understand why a reasonable person would feel justified seeking a second partner. (Although I don't condone it - damaged relationships should be ended or mended before new nookie starts).

Just answer the simple question - is this a walkaway spouse, or a neglected spouse? Which do you think is more likely? Use the facts at hand and make an educated guess. I want to know your opinion and why you reached it.

5:56 PM, July 26, 2010  
Blogger Demonspawn said...

And Topher continues his misogynistic mission of "proving" that women are clueless little creatures with no free will and men are vastly superior in every way.

Well, "Joe", that's because (most) women are clueless little creatures with little free will... because our society trains these girls to be perpetual victims who aren't responsible for themselves and white-knight manginas like you come around to defend this pedistalization.

There, are you happy now?

Why do men cheat? Because in marriage they are no longer legally allowed to seek sex outside of the marriage. Thus, when a man is in a marriage where he is unhappy with the level of sex he must decide between the lesser of three evils (forgoing the 'solution' of learning LTR game):

1) Get sex outside the marriage and risk the potential of taking a beating in divorce.
2) Take a beating in divorce and then be able to attract the level of women my reduced market value will purchase.
3) Live without sex and remain within the marriage.

Why do women cheat? Because women use sex to attract and keep high-value men. When a woman is in a marriage and she sees a higher-value man outside of the marriage that she thinks she has the opportunity to obtain, she must decide between the lesser of 3 evils (Outside of the solution of using the same manipulation techniques she would use on the high-value male on her own husband):

1) Cheat on the husband with the higher value male risking... well, hell, we barely even socially ostracize cheating wives anymore.
2) Divorce the man, take a good chunk of his value (losing none of her own), and seek the higher-value male.
3) Settle for remaining with the lower-value man.

Please note that the common reasons women cite for cheating: 'communication, personal intimacy, etc.' are legally obtainable outside of the marriage.

Now, tell me that those two sets of cheating are even in the same ballpark.

Now, go ahead and call me a misogynist... then deal with the unfortunate truth that I'm a realist.

6:06 PM, July 26, 2010  
Blogger MB said...

Demonspawn,

I think a few years ago, I would have also thought what you write is misogynistic.

Ever since an incident with my brother, I have kept my eyes wide open as to how women behave. And it's funny what you see when it's not seen through the lens of chivalry ... and assuming that women are these innocent, victimized creatures.

My brother was married to a women for 12 years, and they had a son.

All of a sudden, she started getting really bitchy towards him, and had no time for him. Every little thing was criticized.

She dumped him for a guy who was a lot older but rich. The used car king with lots all over the city. A short, sweaty old guy.

What is bizarre to me is that they had a good family and a good environment for the child. She flat out told my brother that she was nearing 40 and this was her last chance to get some real money. I'm not making that up.

In the meanwhile, my brother accepted it, they have a good relationship, and I have a sneaking suspicion that she is still having sex with my brother. She liked my brother, he just doesn't have 15 million and a multitude of car lots.

On the other hand, he just accepts that fact that he has 50% physical custody (REALLY, the child is in the same school district, and spends half the time in his own room in my brother's house), but my brother is paying hefty child support to a woman who is now really rich.

I find all of this to be completely unfair and manipulative on the part of the woman. And once I opened my eyes, I see it all over the place. Housewives don't "sacrifice their career", they friggin' don't want to work. Women don't cheat because of "communication issues", they cheat because they can and they don't give a rip about the husband. Women don't just wake up married to a guy earning far more than them, maybe with the concommitant problems, they know exactly what they are doing to get their hooks into the money.

That is all sickening to me, and the chivalrous men who are absolutely clueless as to the manipulation of woman are even more sickening.

6:23 PM, July 26, 2010  
Blogger MB said...

... and yeah, Life Coach ... whatever.

Anyone who thinks that a Life Coach is going to help them is a sucker. I have no respect for Life Coaches who dupe unwitting people out of their money.

But I do wonder why Dr. Helen is even considering anything this guy says.

6:41 PM, July 26, 2010  
Blogger Topher said...

"But I do wonder why Dr. Helen is even considering anything this guy says."

Again, it's unstated whether Helen agrees.

However, it is creating lots of discussion. Maybe that's the point.

6:54 PM, July 26, 2010  
Blogger Helen said...

Topher,

"However, it is creating lots of discussion. Maybe that's the point."

Yes, I am interested in what you all think, I often just use articles or posts as a jump-off point. I may or may not agree with them.

7:07 PM, July 26, 2010  
Blogger Mario said...

Demonspawn -- I find your assessment ("lesser of 3 evils") to be very intriguing. I really know nothing about Game Theory, other than there is such a thing, but when you try to figure out the consequences for each when it comes to cheating, the little I know about Game theory seems to make your conclusions so obvious it hurts.

It's a sick world we've got here, and it isn't going to get any better until we make the legal, financial, and social consequences equal for both parties.

8:57 PM, July 26, 2010  
Blogger Der Hahn said...

FWIW, *every* single married lady I got some from had never cheated before. Most can't even tell you why they are doing it.

And I'm just an average looking guy pushing 50 pretty hard.

8:33 AM, July 27, 2010  
Blogger Cham said...

Der Hahn:

The women didn't ever cheat before or did they say they never cheated before? There is a difference. Lying and cheating, sort of 2 sides of the same coin. If you believe them then you are a sucker.

9:07 AM, July 27, 2010  
Blogger LordSomber said...

I was going to comment but Edgehopper nailed it better than I ever could.

Don't people keep promises anymore? Or at least try?

2:16 PM, July 27, 2010  
Blogger Peregrine John said...

People withhold sex because they're dishonest and selfish, and because they put little value on their marital vows or family stability. Is it that hard?

5:49 PM, July 28, 2010  
Blogger ck said...

Why do women cheat? Because they cut their mans balls off and ask "why isn't he manly?".

9:07 PM, July 28, 2010  
Blogger globalman100 said...

My comment was:
"All of which to say that this issue is far more complicated than we imagine."
Nope. It's not complicated. Women cheat because they can and no-one will hold them accountable for this action any more. When a woman cheats it's because HEs not fullfilling her needs and she deserves to have her needs fulfilled. When HE cheats it's because he's a low life scumbag.

How about you report what is accurate? It's not rocket science to see that when there is no punishment for pleasurable behavior women will do it. They have no self control.

2:39 PM, July 30, 2010  
Blogger globalman100 said...

LordSomber said...
"Don't people keep promises anymore? Or at least try?"
Women and promises are like oil and water. They don't mix. Women haev no consequence of lying. Indeed, in the west today women suffer no consequences for anything. A woman learned how to make napalm and she burned her husband to death. The then prime ministers wife who is also a QC gave her an award and called her 'an example to all women'.

Women can murder a man or her children and pretty much expect to be treated like a 'victim'.

Break promised when you can get away with murder? Why not?

2:42 PM, July 30, 2010  

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