Women Narrowing Infidelity Gap

Posted on May 7th, 2015

Women Narrowing Infidelity GapWomen have been narrowing gender gaps in many areas of life, many of which represent positive changes. Along with the good, however, comes the bad. One example of a negative change is the rise in infidelity rates among married women. Having affairs used to be largely the realm of husbands, but now wives are getting in on the game and the gap is closing quickly. Just how much are women cheating and what lies behind this trend is uncertain, but what is definite is that it isn’t good for relationships.

Facts About Women and Cheating

Unfortunately, women still trail men in a number of factors like money earned and executive positions, but they are closing the gap on infidelity. According to survey data, the percentage of married women cheating on their spouses went up by 40 percent over the last two decades. Nearly 15 percent of all wives have cheated. The percentage for husbands cheating is higher at 21, but that number has stayed constant while the rate for women has increased significantly.

We can also see trends by age and gender. The infidelity website Ashley Madison records data about users and says that the greatest ratio of men to women is seen in the over-65 age group. There are 14 men for every woman in this user group. Compare that to the one-to-one ratio in users in their 30s and you can see that the trend in women cheating is a recent one.

Why Women Are Cheating

There are probably many reasons why the infidelity gender gap is closing rapidly, but one is obvious. Women are in the workforce more than ever, which means greater opportunities to cheat. When most wives were homemakers, they stayed in the house for much of the day and had minimal contact with men. In the office, women have more contact with men and have more chances to strike up a relationship. Having a job also means that a woman has more financial flexibility. A housewife is economically dependent on her husband. A woman with her own income can afford to risk the destruction of her marriage.

Another reason we may be seeing more women engage in affairs is the advancement of technology, particularly social media. While sites like Ashley Madison make it easy to plan out an affair in advance, while social media sites are breeding grounds for spontaneous cheating. Women and men are able to connect online in relative secrecy. Social media also helps women connect with men from their past and to rekindle old flames.

Yet another argument is that women have always been as suited to having affairs as men, but they simply haven’t had the same opportunities. They have also been held back by cultural taboos. It has long been more acceptable for a man to stray than for a woman. Women are supposed to be more geared toward monogamy, but maybe that isn’t true. It may be that women have the same sex drive as men and that they desire satisfaction to the same degree. With cultural, social and economic barriers coming down, they are simply doing what men have always done.

It is important that women and men gain equal economic and social footing, but infidelity may be one area in which equality has a negative effect. Women should feel empowered in relationships, but affairs are not the answers to unhappy situations. Both men and women need to think twice about their partners before engaging in an extramarital affair.

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