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And the Answer Is ...


Why do women cheat? It is sex? Romance? Boredom? Revenge? Here are some of your thoughts ...

RITA: "I'm a 46-year-old single mother, separated two years after a 15-year marriage. I was never unfaithful while my husband and I were together, but after a year alone, I became promiscuous. One affair led to another affair, and now I've cheated on the new boyfriend with another man and my husband. I've lied to everyone, worst of all to myself.

"In truth, I had some very good times during that year, and in the same situations, I'd still have a very difficult time resisting temptation. But was it worth it? Absolutely not. I feel like pond scum, and I could probably find plenty of people to agree that that's exactly what I am. I've hurt them and feel very guilty, as well I should.

"I lived most of my life before this last year as a typical, middle-class mom involved in my kids' school, sports and activities. But I made a lot of big mistakes and lost sight of what's important. Now I need to get my priorities straight, and if that means going back to living like a nun (only without the peace and quiet), then so be it."

MAISIE: "I cheated because I had something like an emotional tapeworm. You know how people with tapeworms can eat and eat and never be nourished because everything goes to feed the worm? My tapeworm was not knowing what I had a right to expect from a relationship.

I always felt like I'd gotten into good things by accident and would be found out as a party crasher and shown the door. So I figured whatever there was to grab, I'd grab, and if there were some unpleasant side-effect — like an abusive or neglectful partner — so be it. I wanted better, but I didn't believe I deserved better. So, whatever I consumed fed the worm instead of me. I'm getting help, but I still have a way to go."

JILLIAN: "From my teens to my early 20s, I was insecure and hungry for attention, yet I kept choosing emotionally unavailable guys. As a result, I often felt neglected, and so I cheated. I was reliving my dysfunctional relationship with my father. My dad was emotionally unavailable, volatile, aggressive, dismissive and an alcoholic. He made me feel defective and inferior. This was all I knew of relationships with men, so I sought to recreate it, albeit subconsciously. What a colossal waste of time.

"The repeated failed efforts to find love sent me into a downward cycle of attention-seeking. I turned to whoever showed any interest in me, whether or not he was good for me. The affairs left me demoralized; no better off than when I started. I hit a point where I knew I needed therapy. I figured out why I was cheating and after a time, I felt better about myself and started making better choices. I didn't feel the urge or need to cheat anymore. It was a huge relief. The hurt I caused was never worth the few fleeting moments of gratification I got from the infidelities, and the guilt I felt was unparalleled."

Why do you cheat? Send your tale, along with your questions, problems and rants to



8 Comments | Post Comment
Rita: Stop beating yourself up. I think most newly divorced women go through a "crazy, wild" phase, for whatever reason. You are not pond scum, you are a woman who spent 15 years being faithful to one man, and now that seems to be over. Rather than deciding to live like a nun, I think you need to decide to define your relationship with your estranged ex. After 2 years, the 2 of you should know whether you want to try to patch things up or get that divorce once and for all. BTW, New Years is the perfect time to make that fresh start.

Masie and Jillian: Congrats on figuring out what your real motives are. Best wishes to both of you on moving forward with your lives.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Madelyn
Sun Jan 11, 2015 7:49 AM
Re: Madelyn - What about the ones they hurt with their cheating? Rita was not a "newly divorced women" she was still married as if it matters anyway. I'm assuming if the roles were reversed, Rita, Masie, and Jillian being men, your advice and Best Wishes would be the same?
Comment: #2
Posted by: J
Mon Jan 12, 2015 5:19 AM
Re: J: I used to feel the way you do, that people who are officially still married should wait until the divorce is final before dating again, but what's the point? If she were still living with him but claiming to be "unhappy", that would be different. I now feel that after one party actually moves out of the home, that's at least an emotional divorce.
As to the other men, unless she lied to them about her marital status, they knew the score. I don't think they're really all that hurt. My advice to man or woman after a 2-yr separation is to make that decision: try to patch things up or get that divorce.
Comment: #3
Posted by: Madelyn
Mon Jan 12, 2015 8:52 AM
Re: Madelyn - I'm with you on the officially married; there is no use to wait if you know it is over. When I got a divorce 19 years ago with my religious beIief's and upbring felt you weren't suppose to have sex until you were divorced. I did date and passed up sex several times, sex was a big reason I got a divorce - I wasn't getting any. My ex kept the divorce going for 15 months.

As to the ones they hurt I wasn't only speaking about Rita, but Masie and Jillian too. And for that matter anyone that cheats, the other person may have feelings. But nowadays what is cheating if your not married? People are dating multiple people at the same time and are having sex with them so I guess if you don't get a commitment then it's not cheating. But 'm still old schooled there, I feel you don't date others if you are having sex with someone.
Comment: #4
Posted by: J
Mon Jan 12, 2015 12:58 PM
Rita: Definitely stop calling yourself pond scum over having one year of uncontrolled sex. You didn't make a mistake by having sex. Maybe you were premature about calling your booty calls "boyfriends" or thinking you had to be faithful to someone if you spent the night. It's your perspective that's messing with your head. You were DATING, not cheating. Give yourself a break.
Comment: #5
Posted by: LouisaFinnell
Mon Jan 12, 2015 6:42 PM
Re: LouisaFinnell - Thank you for confirming what I've repeatedly been saying that Dating is synonymous with sex. What I fail to see is how someone that has sex with many, as Rita, Masie, and Jullian have, and then one day decide that sex has meaning - the way it was intended. How can you just turn the "light switch" - sex with meaning - on and off?
Comment: #6
Posted by: J
Tue Jan 13, 2015 3:56 AM
Dating can be synonymous with sex, J, but it doesn't automatically have to be either. That's up for each individual to decide.

And it's the same thing with this idea of sex "with meaning" or "meaningless" -- it's not either/or, it's a spectrum. You have a hook-up, maybe there's not a lot of deeper emotional meaning. It happens a few more times, maybe some feelings develop and it gets more meaningful. Maybe you start to talk with this person about dating exclusively, and the sex can have even more meaning.

The meaning grows as the feelings develop. If that's the way you want to do it, of course.
Comment: #7
Posted by: Mike H
Wed Jan 14, 2015 6:37 AM
Re: Madelyn #3
"I used to feel the way you do, that people who are officially still married should wait until the divorce is final before dating again, but what's the point?"
Well, actually, there are a few points that don't have to do with morality... For openers, a woman who is still his legal wife retains all the legal benefits, including inheriting, as well as taking all the decisions in the hospital room should he become incapacitated, including booting you out of the room and forbidding medical personel to give you any information. It's all very nice that you're not with the man for money, but do you REALLY want his "ex" to end up with the survivor's pension and the 401K while you may have to get two jobs and food stamps to feed his kids? Do you REALLY want to be kicked out of your home if the house belongs to non-hubby and she inherits it because they were never divorced? I didn't think so.

Second, there is question of integrity here, as in, finishing what you started before you start something else, and showing where you want to commit. A woman who has no standards in that respect ends up with a man who is still married to his "ex" after years of being shacked up with her and a couple of children, and who has no motivation whatsoever to go through the motions of divorce. Once the status quo is installed, it can be next to impossible to change.

And we've seen seen letters, to different columnists, from such women.

Comment: #8
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Wed Jan 14, 2015 5:36 PM
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