(Appears in SHE Caribbean’s 2o1o spring issue)
For most of those who cheat there will never be a press conference, and there will never be paparazzi crouched behind bushes trying to get their money shots. A confession may never ever cross the lips of the debaucher though categorical denials slide with such ease off that tongue. And while those on the periphery hanker for the dirty details, the wronged party may merely want answers to the simplest of questions – why?
Here are ten real life confessions — not justifications – revealing the top motives behind the sexes’ cheating ways:
The Women confess:
“After 20 something years of marriage, my husband takes me for granted. I love him, but he shows no appreciation whatsoever. My boyfriend is much more attentive. ” Cherene, Jamaica
According to marriage therapist Terri Orbuch, dissatisfaction is a major reason why women stray. When a woman feels lonely, unsupported and unloved in a relationship, as Cherene obviously does in her marriage, attention from the outside emphasizes the deficiencies of the relationship and increases the likelihood of infidelity.
Lack of intimacy/passion
“Yes I’ve cheated and at first I felt guilty but I mean… my boyfriend at the time was so damn boring. We never went anywhere. We never did anything.” Karen, St. Lucia
Clinical psychologist Nancy O’Reilly points out that for women like Karen, when the romance and excitement fizzle and that connection has timed out, infidelity provides the thrill, albeit brief, which is lacking.
Fallen out of love
“I cheated because he’s not the man I fell in love with. He’s lazy, dishonest and I don’t even know where this relationship is going.” Gayle, Trinidad.
In Gayle’s case, her former knight’s armor has lost its shine and gained many unsightly chinks. While she still remains in the relationship, she keeps an eye out for ‘the one’.
Low self esteem
“I needed someone to make me feel like somebody special and the other guy gave me that.” Tessa, Barbados.
Orbuch explains that when a woman relies on her mate for validation and he does not provide that, there is a possibility that she may go off with someone who fulfils that need for her.
“I know he cheated on me, so two can play that game.” Rashida, Guyana
A woman like Rashida who has been betrayed by her spouse may use this as justification for her own jaunt into forbidden territory. Dating expert Stephany Alexander recognizes this game of tit for tat.
The Men confess:
“I have been with other people apart from my girlfriend, but it’s just sex. That’s how men are.” Elvis, Guyana
Elvis’ basic instincts argument is very popular. “It’s our biological nature to be with as many females as possible,” says author Steve Santagati who supports this view. However, many psychologists do not believe that this precludes a man’s ability to choose.
Emotional disconnect in a relationship
“Too many issues at home. She has changed or maybe I have changed. But something is different for sure.” Jason, Jamaica
Jason’s reason confirms that with men it’s not always about the sex, but the emotional divide factors in as is the belief of therapist Gary Neuman. A man who’s unhappy in a relationship may resort to having an affair as a diversion, instead of trying to resolve the issues.
“Women must understand that there is always another woman out there to make us men feel sweet, when they making us feel like shit!” Ryan, Trinidad
Neuman firmly believes that men don’t necessarily cheat with women who are more attractive than their spouses but with those who make them feel respected and valued; these may be the feelings Ryan paraphrases as ‘sweet’.
“Since I’ve gotten married the sex has diminished. My wife never seems to be in the mood. A man has needs you know.” David, St. Lucia
Marriage therapist Katherine Hertlein suggests that some infidelity is caused by a man’s higher sex drive. In addition, men may want to have some sexual experiences which they know that their spouses will not agree to.
“Every now and then I just check to make sure I still have my skills.”Andy, Barbados.
Santagati acknowledges that there are many men like Andy who cheat for the thrill of the chase and kick of the conquest. Infidelity also represents the opportunity to break away from the routine of being with one partner.