It's a cliche: Men cheat for sex; women cheat for connection. Is it true?
HALEY: I had sex outside of my committed relationship purely for physical gratification. I didn't want any emotional involvement. I just wanted hot monkey sex! I didn't want to hear about his day or his aches and pains or all the injustices in the world. I didn't want his opinion about anything. I just wanted some fun or to put it a bit crudely, I just wanted some "strange." I'm not proud of it. I know that it was wrong and if the tables were turned, I would be unhappy.
Do women read "bodice-ripper" romance novels for the romance or the bodice-ripping? I'm willing to bet more women now just want the latter. It's taken us a long time to "out" our sexual needs and desires and now we want to act on them.
JESSICA: I think cheating is a peripheral issue.
The same things that motivate cheating relationships also motivate non-cheating relationships.
Almost every relationship I've ever been in (whether I was cheating or not) was motivated by my feeling neglected and unloved. It's taken me a long time to realize that.
ALICE: I was almost 60, the loyal wife, even
though my husband was an alcoholic. Then he quit drinking, but the emotional closeness I craved never happened. He shifted his loyalty from the bottle to AA, and I was still alone. I had an affair with a man who was in a marriage that also had no emotional closeness or sex. As my therapist explained to me, we each had a vacuum in our lives, and nature abhors a vacuum!
I divorced my husband. After 10 years of dating, I've now resolved this issue of emotional closeness by being close with my children and my female friends. Who wants to have sex with a man of my age anyway?
EMILY: Lately the only guys who are interested in me are married, middle-aged men who think their wives are boring. And if I look more closely, they aren't really interested in me. They have a fantasy of what I represent. Because I'm divorced, I seem exotic to them.
They don't interest me. And I don't care to hurt their wives or children. I think I'd feel a much stronger bond to their wives if I met them than I do to these men. But I must say, I like the attention, and when I'm having a bad day, I fantasize about what one of these guys might have to offer.
REESE: My first husband cheated right from the start of our marriage. It hurt a lot. After two babies, three miscarriages and a preemie who didn't make it, I had a tubal ligation and started cheating back. I was looking to hurt him, but he loved it! He wanted to watch and take photos and videos!
As I began to realize that it was time to end the marriage, my husband hooked up with a woman who apparently thought that group sex with him and me and her husband was a good idea. It never happened, but both marriages broke up, and I have been married to that other woman's husband for 25 years. And we don't cheat!
Have you renewed your vows? Why? Send your tale, along with your questions and problems to [email protected] And check out my new ebook, "Dear Cheryl: Advice from Tales from the Front."