• Thu, Jun 30 2011

Single Women Less Forgiving Of Infidelity

Now that the news has broken that some politicians cheat, the debate is raging about what the average women should and would do if faced with such infidelity in her own relationship.

Over at iVillage, a poll shows that most women, single or married, would tell their cheating partner to go fuck themselves, and leave. But notably, there’s a pretty big difference between what single women say they would do and what married women — particularly moms — say they would do, and a lot of it boils down to money. They report:

48 percent of married women said sexting a la Anthony Weiner was unforgivable, compared to a much larger number for single women — nearly 70 percent. And when it comes to a one-night stand, 60 percent of married women considered it an unforgivable act, versus 75 percent of single women. Meanwhile, cyber-flirting with an ex on a social networking site was unacceptable to 36 percent of married women and 51 percent of singles…

We also wanted to know what factors moms specifically might take into account before deciding whether to leave a cheating spouse. The top answers? Children living in the home (85 percent) and their current financial situation (70 percent).

I’m sure that a lot of people who answered this poll would worry about the long-term repercussions of staying with someone who strayed outside their marriage. After all, forgiving something as significant as cheating – specifically, when it goes hand-in-hand with lying, not the “we have an open marriage so everything is cool” kind of cheating, because that’s not really cheating, that’s adhering to the terms of your marriage – takes a lot of work and, I imagine, a shitload of soul-searching, and that’s not something everyone has the time or emotional capacity for. And if people stay together without doing all that, they run a huge risk of resenting each other.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m not judging anyone who stays with their partner for financial reasons, or to avoid being a single parent. Every relationship is different, and there are some practical (and sometimes unfortunate) realities with which we all have to contend. But it is sad that women still have fewer choices about our lives and happiness, as well as the long-term happiness of our children, because of financial and childcare disparities.

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  • Eileen

    Random thought: Someone should do this survey with men and see if they react the same way.

    • Joe

      Truth. Would love to see the results.

  • Arnie

    I think part of it could also be to do with the emotional attachment factor.

    Answering a survey like that when you’re married, you’ve generally got a specific person in mind, so you think about what you’d do if that specific person cheated, and you’ve got a pretty huge emotional attachment to them, so it makes the decision trickier.

    Whereas, if you’re single, and talking about some hypothetical bastard future husband who is cheating on you, it’s a lot easier to just think of him as a cheating wanker and be done with it. It’s always easier to make that decision on principle, than it is to actually go through with it, or apply it to a specific person who you care very deeply about.

  • bobbie

    ‘Truth Games’ http://is.gd/gAg3ZZ explores issues of infidelity in 1970s London UK, when the freedoms of the swinging 60s began to run into trouble. It’s the two blazing hot summers of 75 and 76, and a group of friends are getting way out of their depth in infidelity. Thought-provoking stuff.