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Infidelity: Experts Say Men Want Sex, Women Want Emotional Support
By Lenore Skomal
“In a marriage, you can tell someone you love them all day long verbally but if you don’t demonstrate love, they don’t feel it.”
Or put another way, boundaries. “For every relationship where there is a chronic cheater, there is another spouse who knows it is happening at some level,” Weiner-Davis said. “Say it is the guy who is cheating, and she knows it, she has a choice: She can try to get him to change, and if that works, God bless them. If doesn’t work, she can decide to get out. It’s about her boundaries and self esteem. Or she can decide that his need to have affairs comes from his insecurity and has nothing to do with her, and she stays.”
“Marriage is a package deal. It’s not just the other person. She may decide that finances are important, he is a good father, or whatever. But I have known women who have made the choice consciously to just look the other way and they are not miserable. I think it is an individual choice. If you are miserable, get out.”
But while chronic cheaters may not want to change, most sex addicts do. While many confuse the two categories, psychologists say that those who continually need the validation of varying affairs and conquests are not necessarily addicts. Sex addicts could have one or more disorders, or be the victims of past sexual abuse that has basically predisposed them toward their dysfunction. In other words, their actions are out of addiction rather than choice. Chronic cheaters, on the other hand, choose to have multiple affairs.
“I once counseled a guy who had a 10-year affair in his 11-year marriage. He was having lots of sex at home and lots of sex at work with this other woman. In between, he was masturbating several times a day to point of sheer pain, and he felt he couldn’t stop. Unless he was having sex, it was on his mind,” Weiner-David said. “I don’t think people choose that lifestyle. In the DSM [Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders] it is not considered a diagnostic category. But whether here is technically an addiction or not, I feel people don’t choose that lifestyle.”
“Some might say they have a narcissistic disorder or borderline personality disorder. You might see that addiction with people who were sexually abused, or abandoned by a parent,” Granat said. “They have this emotional vacuum that they are trying to fill up with relationships.” Sex addicts oftentimes need to seek help from 12-step programs and get counseling to control their addiction. But experts say it can be controlled, and sex addicts can lead a monogamous lifestyle, which many want.
While for most, an affair can be an unfortunate outcropping of dissatisfaction in the marriage – either emotionally or physically, or the lack of needs being met, ot boredom, or just plain stupidity and curiosity, for others, affairs can be a branch to jump to. For some, the marriage is already over in their minds and they need to gain the strength to leave.
“Sometimes people have affairs as a stepping stone out of the marriage,” said Weiner-Davis. “They find another partner to link up with to reassure themselves that there are other people out there. It gives them more confidence to get out of the marriage. A lot of people won’t leave a marriage until they have somebody else.”
And every once in a while, an affair actually does and can lead to a happy ending. “There are people who are married to a very decent, very nice person and for whatever reason – either they married too young, married for the wrong reason, married during a time in their lives when they shouldn’t – they discover that this is not the right person for them,” said Wish. “And they have an affair with the person who is the right person. And then they get divorced and marry that person. It does happen, you know.”
BY THE NUMBERS
Thomas Martin, president of Martin Investigative Services, a private investigative service based in Long Beach, Calif., says his 38 years as a private investigator has given him a birds eye view of affairs and cheating spouses. He even wrote a book about the topic that is posted online at www.investigatorconfidential.com, with a chapter devoted specifically to determining if your spouse is cheating. “We have done a lot of high profile cases but the bulk of our clientele is the everyday hardworking person,” said the 61-year old former federal agent with the FBI. “The average case is wrapped up in four to eight hours.” Here are some statistics based on his cases.
1. A total of 80 percent of those who have hired Martin Investigative are women and 20 percent are men.
2. A total of 65 percent of the women who have caught their husbands cheating, divorced them.
3. A total of 100 percent of all men who have caught their wives cheating have divorced them.
“It’s a guy thing. When your wife, your significant other has been soiled by another man, you cannot handle it,” he said.
4. Most men are easily caught in the act because they take throw caution to the wind in acting out their affairs. “It’s all ego. About 80 percent of the 25,000 men who we had followed were caught so easily. Many men don’t think that their wives will call a PI and have them followed,” Martin said.
5. Out of all their cases, about three percent have been with same sex partners.
“Women really Internalize this. I tell them, ‘You didn’t make him gay or bisexual,’” he said.
6. Eight clients have died from AIDS contracted from their cheating spouses.
“The first thing I tell them once they are done crying is, ‘Get your ass to the doctor,’” he said.