Saturday, May 28, 2016

When Wives Cheat

To no one’s surprise, today’s careerist feminist women are more likely to cheat on their husbands. And they are less likely to care about the consequences of their actions. After all, they have a constitutional right to sexual pleasure and they have a right to get it where they can. Isn’t that what men have always done?

In this new lifestyle, women do not care about their children. They do not care about their marriages. They care about themselves and only themselves.

For those who believe that men and women are fundamentally the same, this all poses no problem. It’s payback for all of those cheating males that women have been tolerating for millennia. For families, for children and for society at large, it almost certainly is a problem.

At the least, it’s a problem that requires some coherent thought. In reporting the story Alyssa Giacobbe suggests, in the story’s title, that women are now cheating as much as men, but with “fewer consequences.”

The judgment is belied by her opening paragraph:

Rebecca, a mother of two in a quiet New England town, must first clarify: “I myself have not had an affair,” she says. But many days she feels like she’s the only one. In the past few years, three of Rebecca’s closest friends have ended their marriages following year-to-two-year-long affairs with other men. “All three were working and traveling,” she says. “All had younger kids.” Two left home, voluntarily giving up primary custody to their exes. “We were all best friends and now barely speak,” Rebecca says. “But we run into each other at soccer … in a small circle of friends, it seems crazy. We’ve seen this happen three times!”

The crazy part, she elaborates, is not the apparent epidemic of adultery, but that it’s the women who seem to be fueling it.

What does this tell us?

It tells us that women who have affairs are likely to become so attached to their lovers that they are willing to abandon home and family for the thrill of true romantic love.

Or, should I say, for the oxytocin rush. Dare we mention that male and female sexuality are not the same? Darwinians have known this for quite some time now. For a woman an affair is rarely just a way to find pleasure or to act like a man. Almost by definition, it is more personal and must have more consequences.

Perhaps these women are having better sex. For their sakes, we certainly hope so. But, don’t they care about heir children? One has a right to be appalled to see women abandoning their children for true love. And one has a right to call these women out on their reckless behavior, their lack of concern for anyone but themselves.

To my knowledge, and perhaps this shows how sheltered I am, precious few women abandon their children… for any reason. They understand the moral responsibility they bear for bringing up their children and they take it extremely seriously. A woman who abandons her child, for love or money or whatever, is not likely to be accepted by other members of the community. Especially not by other women.

Thus, when Giacobbe mentions that these women are being shunned at soccer games, we can easily draw the conclusion that this new custom is not being well received… by sensible moral women.

The notion that cheating women are suffering fewer consequences is risible. But, why are so many women cheating today? One might ask whether women in the past have cheated as much but have been far more discreet about it… but we have no statistics upon which to base such a conclusion

As for today’s liberated and largely irresponsible women, the experts assure us that this has to do with the fact that these women are more likely to be breadwinners. And, breadwinner women are more likely to push their husbands into becoming Mr. Mom. For reasons that feminist thinkers will never understand, Ms. Breadwinner and Mr. Mom often find that they no longer desire each other. Or perhaps, that they need the odor of the illicit in order to feel any desire at all.

It might be that a man who stay home and bakes brownies is going to feel so thoroughly unmanned that he will no longer lust after his wife. It might be that he will not lust after a wife who acts like a man, who has adopted, often unconsciously, any one of a number of manly characteristics. Or, you might think that Ms. Breadwinner no longer desires the pitiable creature she has created. He is too weak and too motherly to elicit her sexual interest.

In any of these cases, the role reversal marriage, so often touted by feminists as the next stage of human evolution, is apparently devoid of desire.

But, also, in the feminist mindset, no one shows any concern for the effect that any of this is having on children. It’s the price of ideology. No one is considering how children will react to seeing their father humiliated on a daily basis. And no one, certainly not Giacobbe or her experts, much cares about what happens to these children when their mothers abandon them for the flavor-of-the-month.

In Giacobbe’s story, it’s the men who try to keep their marriage together… even after they discover that their wives have been cheating. Yet, these men are not above shaming their wives as adulteresses. Does this suggest to you that these women are really suffering less? Do they have no feelings for their children? Do they, alas, have no empathy?

She writes:

Though, increasingly, women are suffering through it less. These days, that’s the man’s job. Kara, 33, a PR exec in Texas, filed for divorce three months after her affair with the family pediatrician began. Once her construction-worker husband found out she was leaving for someone else, “the shit hit the fan,” she says, and he begged her to try to work it out (right after he texted all the parents on their son’s hockey team, which he coached, to explain why he hadn’t shown up: Sorry I didn’t make practice, he wrote. My wife’s sleeping with our kids’ doctor).

You might say that these men are fighting for their marriages. You might even imagine that they are fighting to maintain the stability of their home lives, especially to protect their children. And they are capable of shaming their wives, as Kara’s husband did, the better to show others what she really was. How many wives will now be shunning Kara… or her pediatrician?

Naturally, in Giacobbe’s story, these men are portrayed as weak. One might also say that they are the only sane, adult members of their marriages, that they alone have a sufficiently functional moral sense and that they are trying to protect their families and to promote social harmony, not social chaos and anomie.


Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Men move human societies forward, women hold human societies together. When the two stop living these roles, we get economic stasis/stagnation and social chaos.

Sam L. said...

Children--Collateral Damage, incarnate.

Ares Olympus said...

Too much extrapolation for my taste. There's not a statistic to be had in this long judgmental narrative.

I don't have much experience to contrast, but perhaps I've noticed a pattern of a two female cousins asking for a divorce from their husband, while no cheating known before that. The first had young kids but felt unloved, and very quickly remarried a man she already knew, and that marriage lasted less than a year, and the other had no kids and was just bored, and also dated a man she knew, and they married eventually and still married.

Oh, I also had one young woman cousin who's husband thought he might be gay (or bi?) and wanted to experiment while staying married and she said no, and remarried a few years later.

Maybe Minnesotans are mostly boring? Or are the affairs all secret? I'm probably overly trusting.

So my mostly blind extrapolation perhaps follow the idea that women even thinking about cheating might be more serious sign of trouble - and they don't want to stay married to a man they no longer love. And we do know more women ask for divorces than men.

I remember in college at a small party where we were playing some game of questions, and one of the questions was "What would you do if you found out your husband/wife had cheated on you?" I remember because there was a woman I liked and her answer was "I'd scratch his eyes out." I thought that was rather extreme. And when it was my turn I said I'd ask her "Why?" and the same woman groaned "Oh! You'd make her feel guilty!" And I felt really bad at the accusation of making my imaginary wife feel guilty.

I'm not sure if asking "Why?" is a useful question or not, or maybe its just important to hear how a person answers, or maybe just a chance to delay my reaction as long as possible?

If my wife admitted to an affair and also admitted she did it just to hurt me (for whatever reason), but I'd respect her honesty, and it would make it easier to divorce, and not bend over backwards too much to make her feel better.

I've also heard the moral predicament "Should you confess to an affair or keep silent?" And I'd probably be on the "keep silent" side, or more accurately I believe in answering direct questions honestly if asked, but you also have to make sure someone really wants to know:

Wife: Have you cheated on me?
Me: Do you really want to know?
Wife: Yes.
Me: What level details do you want to know?
Wife: Everything.
Me: Okay, define cheating.
Wife: You know what cheating is.
Me: If I answer, will you answer me honestly as well afterwards?
Wife: Yes.
Me: Okay, no, I've never cheated. Your turn.
Wife: Why didn't you just answer no?!
Me: I wanted to know if you'd answer me truthfully if I needed to ask you.
Wife: Oh darling, you know I'd never cheat on you.
Me: Okay, but if you ever do, please don't tell me unless I ask first.
Wife: Why?
Me: Because then it's all on your conscience!
Wife: [Groan] Oh! You want me to feel guilty?
Me: No, that's your problem.

I confess, I'm probably not ready for writing romance novel dialogues. I don't even know if romance novels are good morality plays to keep wives faithful? Probably not.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Ares Olympus @May 28, 2916 at 5:00 PM:

"Too much extrapolation for my taste. There's not a statistic to be had in this long judgmental narrative."

Ares, are you serious? Have you no self-awareness, nor shame? Do you just write whatever comes to mind, and forget what ye hath written hence? Please...

Of course there are circumstances and considerations. Yet how do we come to a decision, man??? Life is complex, and simultaneously simple. I err to the discover simple, and I'm sure you say, "Of course you do, IAC, you're a Trump supporter." Touche. Yet do you think me a simpleton? I suspect not, yet I hope I am not presumptuous of my cunning interlocutor. I'm not sure of what "esteem quotient" I am currently held by, in your esteem.

My reasoning is that we all must move on... yet retain the CONTEXT of what is going on. My sense is that context is what is Stuart's point, though I defer to our host.

Ares Olympus said...

IAC, Stuart's posts like this annoy me with his grand extrapolations like "In this new lifestyle, women do not care about their children. They do not care about their marriages. They care about themselves and only themselves."

I don't even know what to say about such assertions. It's irrefutable because its not dealing with individuals but classes of people, and projecting a whole class of people, women in this instance, are completely irredeemably selfish.

So when hear such things, all I can do is to go back to real people know, and have various degrees of respect and disdain, and wonder if their behavior fits this grand narrative. And I can't see it.

You offered an artistic platitude "Men move human societies forward, women hold human societies together. When the two stop living these roles, we get economic stasis/stagnation and social chaos."

I mostly would reject such a reduction, although I'm sure I could find evidence to support its intent, and perhaps counter evidence as well.

If Donald Trump is forward, then I don't want to go forward. Forward is based on complete and utter self-deception. But at least Hillary held her family together, so that's something, except if we judge her motive was purely self-interested and then we're back to Stuart's degenerate analysis: "Women care about themselves and only themselves."

Sam L. said...

AO, I will say no more than they stayed married/did not divorce. Seems to me that saying she held her family together is an assumption yet to be proved.

Ares Olympus said...

Sam L, HA! That's an interesting prediction - will Hillary divorce Bill once her political aspirations are done?

I see they married in 1975, so they had their 40th wedding anniversary last October.

I've not seen statistics on divorces for couples in their 70s after 40 years of marriage, but overall I'm betting the statistical divorce rate is rather low.

Also the statistics also generally show that upper-class divorce rates are relatively low. And a grandchild is a bonus. Finally you can buy a lot of marriage counselor (or life coach) time with a 100 million dollar net worth.

Vegas surely knows the odds better than me, but I'll give 50:1 odds against. Still I accept Bill might still surprise us and ask for the divorce. I'd count that outcome off-odds.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Ares Olympus @May 29, 2016 at 2:16 PM:

Stuart: "In this new lifestyle, women do not care about their children. They do not care about their marriages. They care about themselves and only themselves."

Your annoyance is laughable. It's self-evidently true. The context for female fidelity has fundamentally changed. This is a $&%#ing blog, man! Stuart doesn't have the time to provide you with endless footnotes and annotations. Stop being such a pedantic pest!

I was just talking about this with friends and acquaintances tonight! Women are flaking out on their traditional duties at an alarming rate. I'm not sure what you're not seeing, but the modern paragon of feminine virtue is creating social chaos.

Dennis said...

Ares Olympus said...

IAC: "It's self-evidently true." and "Women are flaking out on their traditional duties at an alarming rate."

These sound like a self-fulfilling prophecies. You decide how things are and you pay attention to whatever confirms your bias. And here you seem to think "If only women would care more about something besides themselves and perform their traditional duties, everything would be better."

And its easy enough to agree, but the premise seems flawed. It assumes you know what "care" means, and you know what women really care about and what it means to them, judging from the point of view that what they care about isn't important.

Stuart frequently expresses a very negative view of empathy, and I always try to go back to the idea that empathy is more than a single thing - namely affective empathy and cognitive empathy, and there could be a gender divide between these. I admit I'm impatient with affective empathy, but it could just be a deficit in my skills, and I see it contains a greater interpersonal communication than cognitive empathy which is more about my needs to understand and fix things.

On a random google search I find this article:
You’ve probably heard the generalization that asks “are women more caring than men?”. In some cases, that’s true — but it depends on which type of empathy you’re talking about. Also, men do a much better job of turning off their empathy so they can manage the associated stress. It’s all in a part of the human brain called the insular cortex, which helps our own brains mimic what another person is feeling.

Within the insular cortex, also called the insula, humans experience a wide range of subjective emotions including love, resentment, hate, embarrassment, and self-confidence. When the insular cortex becomes damaged, people become apathetic. They also have a hard time interpreting emotions displayed by a conversational partner.

When women sense someone’s emotions in the insular cortex, they tend to keep thinking about those emotions. By contrast, men sense those emotions for a moment and then switch to another part of the brain, usually a problem-solving area. This difference could explain a common anecdotal complaint that women have about conversations with men. Women want to share their problems to get understanding from their male partners; men bypass the emotions and start solving the problems, which makes women feel like they’re not being heard.

Women and men function relatively equally at two kinds of empathy: cognitive empathy, which involves knowing how another person sees things, and empathic concern, which involves being ready to help someone who’s in need. Women, however, are markedly better at emotional empathy, which is the ability to feel what another person feels. On one hand, it helps women to offer nurturing and support. On the other hand, it makes it tougher for women to shield themselves from distressing emotions.

I imagine if "traditional duties" include expressing a higher emotional empathy, perhaps many women are failing. OTOH, if we read Stuart's contempt for empathy, and believe him an authority, then perhaps we should say emotional empathy is just mushy unproductive stuff that is only worthy of contempt, and hence it makes sense women would prefer to abandon that unvalued skill especially career-oriented women, and as you say, we are creating social chaos in the process.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

I've never had the sense that Stuart dismisses empathy altogether. It's a human emotion. That'd be like Martha Nussbaum's contention that anger is a malfunctioning emotion.

My sense has always been that Stuart objects to empathy as the perennial one-size-fits-all solution to every social or psychological challenge. This idea that "if we just talk about it" for everything, all will be well in the world. This requires us to accept another's reality as the truth. It's a personalized duty to recognize perception as reality. If someone feels something, it is true... and if we empathize with them, they will be miraculously healed. It's self-congratulation and gratuitous. Empathy is personal, it is borne of an emotional connection. It's not a cognitive strategy, lest it be disingenuous at best and manipulative at worst. I'm not saying that doesn't happen, I am saying that the ubiquitous call for empathy is feminizing our society and allowing wimpy/sappy men to be socially acceptable. It goes both ways (no pun intended).

We all have roles, and it is best when we recognize and acknowledge those roles. Yet so many career-minded, Type-A women attempt to persuade all women that career and power are the paths to happiness. Thankfully, they have not been successful. But the media-saturation of the message has made inroads.

If that's cool with you, fine. I'm not going to do anything to stop it. This is America, so people can do what they want... as career women or whatever else. Freedom and liberty must be tempered with responsibility, and governments are not equipped to demand responsibility. That conversation belongs in the social realm. And here we are, having a conversation. I'm saying family breakdown creates social chaos as it becomes normalized and celebrated. I'm saying that it contributes to a breakdown in social stability.

Power is not a path to enduring happiness. Just because you can do something does not make it wise. In the end, women are socially normative. Powerful women want to stake out the new norm and make their way of life socially acceptable. To that end, most denigrate the traditional female role. Sheryl Sandberg, et al, are not saints or trailblazers. They are social activists... crusaders with a specific point of view. They marginalize those who disagree with them, not because they are engaged in the battle of ideas, but because they hold their opponents as wrong. That kind of attitude is becoming more typical of people -- both women and men -- who share Sandberg's educational and career pedigree. They are insufferably arrogant and self-righteous.

Liberals won the culture war, but there is abundant resistance in the populace because the "peace" was settled through the courts rather than the legislature. Therefore, a great number of people hold it as illegitimate. This resistance cannot be tolerated, and eventually the Left will step in and go house-to-house (metaphorically), talking on a guerilla army that ambushes and then vanishes into the wilderness. It is a struggle that is not over. We do not have to embrace the values of the sophisticated BoBo elite and their way of life. This freedom to do whatever you want applies to your opponents, too. Or does it?

As I have said before, men make society move, and women hold society together. In our increasingly feminized culture, we are getting less of both. I am saying we lose something in that trade-off. Few are talking about responsibility. Many say "You can have it all!" No, you can't. And it's in trying to have it all that our decadent culture is leading us to an destabilized society.

Shaun F said...

Most peoples marriages aren't based in love. But self centeredness. It's basically a codependent dance of death, until partners are switched. I'm not at all surprised there is so much cheating. Just another object to use and feed the bottomless emptiness through pleasure and idolatry.

David Foster said...

AO.."Women and men function relatively equally at two kinds of empathy: cognitive empathy, which involves knowing how another person sees things, and empathic concern, which involves being ready to help someone who’s in need. Women, however, are markedly better at emotional empathy, which is the ability to feel what another person feels." Interesting if true--any links on that, perchance?

My intuitive sense, based on anecdotal data, is that women are generally better in predicting how someone will react to something or to someone...which seems basically like what you're calling cognitive empathy....whereas the genders are about the same on actually being ready to help someone in need of help.

"On one hand, it helps women to offer nurturing and support. On the other hand, it makes it tougher for women to shield themselves from distressing emotions." There are a very large number of women in professions like nursing, which surely require a person to put at least some emotional distance between themselves and what their patients are feeling.

As another observation, I note that there are many people who do seem to feel what others are feeling and take action to help---until it gets too painful or dangerous. Suzy may feel genuinely sympathetic to Rachel, who is being persecuted by the Mean Girls' Club, but when open expressions of sympathy become too dangerous to her *own* social status, the sympathy for Suzy shuts down.

Marsh said...

Both sexes in the throes of an affair do not give a crap about anyone or anything except their drug of choice. And that is a fact. The affair is every bit as addictive as a drug. And a druggy will do everything in their power to get their fix.

I applaud men, who expose their affair to everyone their wife cares about. It is the first step in breaking up an affair. Once the wife sees the reaction from her friends and family, her boyfriend will look a lot less appealing. There are many more steps a husband can take to turn his wife around, but that is the first one.

Men have to reclaim their position in society and especially in relationships. A woman will not respect a man, who is not the bread winner and who does not know how to tell her no...often. Once a woman loses respect for her man all bets are off.

Anonymous said...

My wife and I have a saying. "if you don't want to know the answer, don't ask the question." This does not always work out as well as you'd hope, but it speaks to several of Ares' points earlier.

Many people ask the question "Did you cheat?" or "Are you having an affair?" without thinking about the ramifications or how they would react. They just want to know. Frankly, and I'm no psychiatrist, I think that's a bad way to approach it. If the answer doesn't turn out to be what you want, what are your alternatives?

Cheating, from my perspective, is 'normal' in the sense "everybody does it" - which doesn't mean EVERYBODY (since absolutes are typically incorrect), but it is common enough that one shouldn't be too surprised. When I was first married, the idea seemed inconceivable. As I aged and learned that some of the happiest marriages I was familiar with had gone through some rough times involving cheating, I had to rethink my position.

Cheating comes down to a few things. Opportunity, availability, desire and situation. Depriving oneself of the opportunity is one way to remain true, but it means you're still suppressing something. Availability of a partner to cheat with, or more logically one who is willing to cheat with you, isn't as common as we think and even harder to determine. Honestly, I've met quite a few women I thought were willing to cheat, only to learn they were just being flirtatious. Maybe they were masking a deep desire with play-acting, though. Opportunity and availability go hand in hand just as desire and situation do.

Desire is something I'm more familiar with. Having traveled quite a bit, both opportunity and availability have presented themselves frequently. Desire, less so. That's not to say it's never been there. But usually on business trips you don't have as much down time as you'd think and by the time you have time to yourself, the concept isn't interesting. Or the person isn't. But situation is the real issue here. If the home life has become bland, boring, the feeling of being unloved (or even if you feel you're ready to move on), you certainly have increased the possibility of desire, and creating the opportunity is always an option (particularly if you travel) which gives you more chances for finding available partners.

Ultimately, cheating is a response to home life. It's not the only factor, but it's a big one. There is a moral aspect to it, certainly, but only insofar as "well, I'm here, they're there - who will find out?" keeps anyone from worrying about infidelity and damaging home life. While a strong moral attitude, or fear of guilt, can keep someone from ever acting on this, it's not really the strongest bit of prevention. Only open and honest conversation (severely lacking in today's world) can prevent home life from becoming so tepid that other options seem interesting. Even that may not be enough. I just know from my own observations of friends and family what was missing. I was always surprised, but never so much that I couldn't put my finger on some of the main problems they'd faced.

As I said, I'm no psychiatrist. I'm sure professionals will rip this to shreds. But it all seems pretty obvious to me when I think about the examples I'm familiar with.

Marsh said...

People ask those questions ( Are you having an affair) b/c they want to understand their spouses hostile attitudes. If your spouse is having an affair, it can result in divorce and the break up of your family. So the sooner you find out, the sooner you can protect yourself and your family.

I'm sure there are people who can compartmentalize one night stands, but the majority of affairs follow a distinct pattern. One that does NOT make for happy marriages.

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