Sunday, 18 December 2011

Her cheating heart

More wives are straying; changing social attitudes and earning power of women among reasons

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Guanyu 道 said...

Her cheating heart

More wives are straying; changing social attitudes and earning power of women among reasons

By Theresa Tan
18 December 2011

Women are catching up with the men in the cheating game.

More men are seeking help to deal with their adulterous wives, said 10 divorce lawyers, private investigators and marital counsellors to whom The Sunday Times spoke.

These professionals said that out of every 10 unfaithful spouses, between three and five are women. This figure is up from about one a decade ago.

Marital therapist Benny Bong, who has 30 years of counselling experience, said: ‘In an equal opportunity world, if men can play around, why not women? Morality has changed such that women also feel they are entitled to enjoy themselves.’

The cheating wives range in age, from their late 20s to mid-40s. Many have children, are highly educated and hold white-collar jobs.

Private investigator Raymond Lim said a client of his, an air steward, told him his wife - a housewife in her 30s - would meet her lover whenever he was away. She would go on these trysts after putting their two young children to bed.

Experts The Sunday Times spoke to gave several reasons for the rise in infidelity among married women.

Many of these women, better educated than their mothers and grandmothers, no longer have to depend on their husbands for financial security.

They view marriage on equal terms and look to men to fill their need for love and affection. When their spouses fail to do that, they may veer off the straight and narrow when a more attentive man comes along.

Lawyer Koh Tien Hua, a partner at Harry Elias Partnership, said: ‘Men and women cheat for the same reasons: to fill that void they feel. We are all looking for love, care and attention.’

Lawyer Amolat Singh had a client who caught his attractive housing agent wife, a mother of two in her 30s, with another man in his own house.

A paternity test followed and he discovered his younger child was not his.

Mr Singh, who runs his own firm Amolat & Partners, said of the adulterous wife: ‘She said her husband was not attentive to her after their first child was born. They hardly talked and marriage became a routine.

‘Her colleague was very attentive and the affair just happened naturally.’

With more of them in the workforce, married women today - unlike their homemaker predecessors - have more opportunities to meet new lovers.

Experts also say that the Internet and the plethora of social media now such as Facebook have opened up avenues for meeting strangers and old flames.

Mr Terence Yow, centre director of Reach Family Service Centre, said mores have also changed and there is less stigma placed on extra-marital affairs now.

He added: ‘It’s also the entire post-modern ideals and values where there is no right or wrong. People are starting to be less judgmental and more tolerant (of many things). If I’m not happy with my spouse, what is wrong with finding someone else?’

In the United States, in a recent study of more than 900 married and single respondents who are dating, to find out why they cheat, researchers found that 19 per cent of women and 23 per cent of men polled admitted to infidelity.

The ABC News report said that more women are cheating on their partners now; research from the 1990s found that only 10 to 15 per cent of women were unfaithful then.

The study also found that women who are unhappy in their relationships are more likely to stray, while men cheat in search of sexual excitement.

A recent Dutch study of more than 1,500 professionals found that women in high-powered jobs are just as likely to cheat as men in similar positions.

The study also found that the more power - in terms of job title - a woman or man has, the more likely the person will cheat on his or her partner.

Guanyu 道 said...

Men are from Mars and women from Venus

However, there remain fundamental differences between men and women who cheat, those who were interviewed note.

Women are a lot more likely to be committed to one lover, compared with men who have a higher propensity to ‘ look for sex’ and have a string of affairs.

Mr Koh said: ‘For women, the affairs are not just a release of sexual tension; they are looking for love. For some men, it’s just a fling.’

These observations back up a recent worldwide study by condom maker Durex, released on Dec 6, on sexual attitudes and behaviour.

Durex polled 506 people, who are married or singles who are dating, online in Singapore, and found that women who were unfaithful have a regular lover, compared with their male counterparts who are more likely to be paying for sex or just having casual sex.

The poll, done in 36 countries, also found that 19 per cent of women polled in Singapore were unfaithful to their partners, just slightly lower than the 22 per cent for men.

Divorce lawyers note another difference between straying men and women. The men might hide the existence of their mistresses and illegitimate children from their families for years.

An unfaithful wife, however, will likely choose between staying with her husband and leaving her marriage for her lover at some point in an affair.

Lawyer Tan Siew Kim, partner at RHT Law, said: ‘Men want both - they want to have fun and they want to keep their marriages. But women find it hard to love two men at the same time.’

Unreliable statistics

Among Muslim couples who cited infidelity as the main reason for their divorces last year, 40 per cent were husbands who claimed their wives were cheating on them - up from 32 per cent a decade ago.

However, there was a dip in the proportion of such non-Muslim husbands. Only 30 per cent last year, down from 38 per cent in 2000, of those who claimed their spouses were unfaithful were men.

But divorce lawyers and private investigators insist that the numbers are inaccurate and that more, not fewer, men have been cuckolded in the past decade.

Not many husbands list their wives’ infidelity on official divorce documents, as it is costly to hire a private investigator - which costs an average of $5,000 for a week of surveillance - to gather evidence of adultery required in court, said Ms Tan.

Besides, the wife may contest accusations of infidelity and this will lead to a longer period fighting the case and higher lawyers’ fees, she added.

So, to spare themselves all this agony, spouses often cite unreasonable behaviour as the poison that killed the marriage.

More men seeking counsel

Counsellors note that men these days are more open to talking about being cuckolded. This, they say, could be because men, unlike women, find it harder to share their woes with family and friends. They would rather turn to a professional over such problems.

Despite his wife’s infidelity, John, a 36-year-old who works in a university, still wants her back. Earlier this year - without any signs that their eight- year-old marriage was in trouble - his teacher wife suddenly left home with their daughter, seven, and son, two.

She refused to speak to him and later demanded a divorce. This abrupt turn of events left John so devastated he had to see a psychologist. It was only later that he discovered his wife, who is in her 30s, had another man waiting in the wings.

John said: ‘It hurt me a lot to find out she’s seeing another man, but I’m willing to take her back. I don’t believe the person I have known for 10 years is someone to execute such a well-planned scheme to get me out of the picture. I think she’s manipulated by someone.’

When asked if he still loves his soon-to-be ex-wife, he said: ‘Always.’

Cheating Spouse said...

I completely agree that the independence of women today has probably encouraged more infidelity. But perhaps it has also freed them by allowing them to become more confident and seek better prospects for themselves than if they were just mere housewives.

Beresford Davidson said...

Women has always been the best cheaters than us fellows. We will take chances and also don't give a hoot only when we found something wrong about our wives or girlfriend. When a guy and a gal cannot get enough of each other neither wants to mess about with other people. Men can tell when a woman is messing about, easily; we just don't talk about only act upon what our body sensors exposed.

Theexpat Counsellors said...

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Marriage Counsellor Singapore