Hi, handsome, my husband’s away


They’re staying late at the office, are secretive about phone calls and text messages, are putting more effort into their appearance and wouldn’t notice if their partner went missing for an entire day.

Sound like a cheating man? Think again.

While men usually have the bad reputation when it comes to infidelity, increasing numbers of women are being unfaithful to their partners these days – and they behave just like cheating men.

“In today’s world the percentage of women who cheat is growing and balancing out the men,” Gauteng-based psychologist Adele Romanis says.

“It could be because more women have full-time jobs than before, feel more independent and are exposed to more opportunities for infidelity,” she says.

A woman who cheats may seem to have it all – a loving husband, kids and a great career – but if her needs (especially her emotional needs) aren’t being met and a willing man comes along there’s a chance she’ll cheat on her husband.

“While men cheat mostly for physical reasons, women cheat for emotional reasons, even if it starts off being companionship because her husband hasn’t been there for her in years,” Romanis says.

Willard Harley, author of the bestselling book His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-proof Marriage, says cheating is often a woman’s last resort in a relationship – she would have tried everything to save her marriage before looking outside it.

“A woman’s choice to cheat is often a desperate plea for help and a daring catalyst for change in herself. For her, an affair is serious stuff. Deep down it’s not about fun.”

The main reason women cheat is because an emotional need isn’t being met, Cape Town-based psychologist André Pieterse says.

“Relationships are full of wants, needs and desires. If a woman feels neglected by her husband emotionally or physically it’s possible these needs, desires and wants can be met by someone else,” Romanis says.

“She may ineffectively communicate her wants, needs or desires to her husband or she may feel her requests fall on deaf ears.”

“Often in a marriage compliments, kissing, cuddling and sex become neglected issues very quickly,” American counselling psychologist Alison Young says.

“Sex can be an instant self-esteem booster that makes women feel sexier, more beautiful and more loved. Women crave it and could seek it elsewhere if they’re not getting that kind of intimacy at home.”

“The loss of the excitement experienced at the beginning of the relationship can also cause a woman to cheat,” Pieterse says.

Read the full article in YOU of 24 February 2011 for advice if you’re a woman thinking of cheating or a man wanting to know what to do about an unfaithful partner.

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