Cheating. A word that holds so many stigmas and stereotypes, I can’t keep count. I think I’ve always associated cheating with men -- probably just because famous cheaters are splashed across daily headlines -- but an article on The Daily Beast introduces us to (not-so?) unlikely cheaters like Shauna, a woman who’s been married for years, but also has been in a two-decade-long affair with her gardener. Shauna and a slew of other unconventionally married woman are profiled in a new book, The Secret Lives of Wives.
In the book, author Iris Krasnow exlores the love lives of more than 200 women. During her two years of research, Krasnow discovered that many women are looking outside of their homes for true fulfillment at home. Like Shauna says, “My husband is only capable of doing so much, and it’s not enough.” So she keeps her gardener for daytime romps. (Hmm...the garden...tempation. This is getting deep...)
Ladies, I’m sure you’ve guessed by now that I’m a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to marriage and monogamy -- mainly that they should go hand in hand. And when Krasnow (a professor at American University and in a monogamous 23 year-long marriage) says something so brash as, “To expect one person, man or woman, to make you happy for the rest of your life is a ticket to divorce,” I can't help but be taken aback.
Then I read on: Krasnow says that most of the women she interviewed who are content with their marriages and lives have something going on outside of the marriage -- whether it's an affair that's been okayed by a spouse, a "harmless" flirtation, full-blown cheating or just a non-sexual recreational pursuit. At this point in my life, Jack and I are so happy because we have our own lives. But if I didn’t have my writing, would I do something drastic, like have a weekend tryst? Absolutely not -- but this article is suggesting I might.
Now, not all affairs outside the marriage are cheating, as we all know. According to a survey on Oprah.com, “21 percent of men and women happily identify as in an ‘open’ marriage; some 4 million Americans, meanwhile, consider themselves swingers.” Of course, that’s nowhere near the majority of married couples, but it’s certainly nothing to sneeze at. When you consider that 65 percent of women say they would cheat if they knew they wouldn’t get caught, it certainly doesn’t give me much hope for my idea of marriage. But I'll have to make peace with my traditional idea of marriage becoming outmoded -- just as long as Jack never outgrows it!
What do you ladies think? Have you ever cheated? (Don’t worry -- I can (almost) guarantee your hubby won’t know your online handle!) Do you believe an affair (secret or consensual) can hold your marriage together -- or will it inevitable break it apart?