Vail Daily column: Unfaithfully yours
Guys, you’re in the dentist’s office waiting for your annual check-up so you begin searching through the 2-year-old magazines on the lamp table. You spy a copy of Field & Stream with a large-mouth bass on its cover, so you pass. Then you spot a copy of Sports Illustrated and for a nano-second you think, “Great, I’ll catch up on some sporting news” until you realize that it’s the 2005 Stanley Cup playoffs edition.
In desperation, you pick up a woman’s magazine because it really doesn’t matter if it’s current since the articles never change — just the titles, i.e., “10 ways to spice up your sex life,” “8 days to a flatter belly, “Celebrity beauty secrets for the recently divorced.” Besides, if nothing else, there are lots of photos of pretty girls.
Well, last week I picked up one of those ladies’ magazines and to my amazement, it had an interesting topic — cheating! The article began with the predicable questions: What’s cheating? Flirting with a stranger at a bar? Having lunch with your single co-worker? Kissing someone other than your partner? Men and women define it differently. They asked relationship experts to explain the gender gap and the difference between real life and online. Plus, there was a quiz to find out if you or your partner is a likely two-timer.
The expose discussed provocative emails, harmless office flirtations, visiting erotic websites and, of course, anecdotal stories and theories from “experts” in the field, such as MSNBC revealing to the reader that 22 percent of American adults in monogamous relationships have cheated on their current partner. And nearly 50 percent of the 70,000 adults surveyed admitted being unfaithful at some point in their lives. Good to know the network is on top of such things.
Amid the statistics one particular anecdote caught my eye, which went something like this. “Years ago, I met a film critic who was in New York on assignment. He was married. I was not. There was an immediate spark. Drinks led to dinner and eventually back to his hotel room, where he was perfectly comfortable doing everything but. He drew the line at having sex. That, to him, was too far. He said, ‘It’s not cheating if we don’t have intercourse.’” Interesting perspective, but somehow I suspect this guy’s wife might disagree.
REASONS CITED FOR CHEATING
The article’s author also proffered that with texting, tweeting, email and every conceivable type of website that offer almost unlimited opportunities to become intimate, the cyberworld creates a lot of murkiness in these matters. For instance, many might not consider salacious emails to be cheating, after all they reason, you’re only exchanging thoughts or fantasies — bodily fluids. But the most fascinating aspect of the article was its exploration of rationales men and women use for being unfaithful.
According to the article, the most common reasons women cheat are, in order
• They feel taken for granted.
• They feel their husband is “traveling a different life path.”
• Boredom and the need for excitement.
• The passion in their relationship fizzles — with a corollary that the woman realizes the guy she’s living with is not the same man whit whom she fell in love.
• Anger or revenge: Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, as the saying goes. When a woman catches her man with his hand in someone else’s cookie jar, she figures she’s got a right to a little indulgence of her own.
Men on the other hand had their own reasons for cheating say the experts — it should also be noted men had nearly twice as many reasons for being unfaithful as women.
As with the women, these rationales are itemized in descending order:
• Men crave sexual variety.
• The woman let herself go. (I think that was Tiger Woods’ excuse with Elin Nordegren.)
• A nagging wife.
• She doesn’t get me. (I think Tiger used this one, too — I mean, Ms. Nordegren was a foreigner after all.)
• It’s the thrill — with the corollary that a man’s innate hunter instinct compels him.
• It’s biological.
• It’s just sex.
• She doesn’t want sex as much as I do.
• There are just too many temptations out there.
Good reasons all, I’m sure. But I believe there is another rationale men use as to why they cheat — there was a woman in the room!
Regardless of the rationalizing and splitting intellectual hairs there is one sure-fire method to determine if you’re cheating. If temptation crosses your path, first ask yourself “Would my partner feel comfortable with what I’m doing or saying, regardless of whether it’s a “harmless flirtation” with an office co-worker or a visit to ashleymadison.com or lonelyhousewives.com? In other words, if it would hurt or anger your significant other, you’re probably out of bounds.
Quote of the day: “Sometimes I wonder if men and women really suit each other. Perhaps they should live next door and just visit now and then.” — Katharine Hepburn
Butch Mazzuca, of Edwards, writes regularly for the Vail Daily. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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