Ask Beatty: Are You Willing to Live With a Cheater?

Young man holding hand of wrong girl on a summers day - is he a cheater
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Most people experience a great deal of pain and loneliness after a divorce, death of a spouse or end of a significant relationship. It’s one of the most unsettling times in a person’s life and it’s perfectly understandable to want to fall in love again. However, in our haste to feel wanted, needed and desired, we need to think about the consequences of starting a relationship with a married man or woman.

STATISTICS

Current research indicates that both men and women are almost equally likely to cheat on their partner, a statistic that used to heavily favor men in the past.

About 15–20% of married couples cheat. The rate of cheating increases with age for both married men and married women.

13% of women and 20% of men admitted to having sex with someone who is not their spouse while married.

What’s new, is that there has been a 40% increase in the number of women cheating.

Men are 3 times more likely to use dating sites and apps for casual sex.

1 in every 6 people in dating apps are using the app to cheat on their partner.

Most people who cheat have been married for 20–30 years and are between the age of 50 and 60.

More that 50% of cheating spouses, both men and women say they confessed to their spouse about their affair.

Men are more likely to report cheating on their spouse multiple times.

Married men are about 25% more likely to report having one-night stands than women.

Married women report their highest rate of infidelity in their 60s.

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), infidelity in the United States accounted for 20–40% of divorces.

People who are under 30 and over 70 were least likely to divorce after an affair, compared to those in their 50s and 60s

Dear Beatty,

I am a 59-year-old professional, attractive, affluent, divorcée with grown children. My ex-husband was a serial cheater, who broke my heart over and over again throughout our 25-year marriage. He left me 4 years ago for his long-term girlfriend.

Last month I met Bob, a married man, on an online dating site. We emailed and spoke on the phone on an almost daily basis and when we finally met in person, we both felt a very strong emotional and physical connection.

He told me that although he has been unhappy with his marriage for many years, he has no plans to divorce his wife and disrupt his children’s life. He said that as long as I could accept this situation, that he was committed to having a relationship with me.

I know that this is not the best way to begin a relationship. However, I am very attracted to him and I am leaning toward accepting this arrangement on his terms.

Do you think that this could possibly work for me?

Anna B., Sag Harbor

Dear Anna,

I’m sorry to rain on your parade. HOWEVER, you’ve already lived with a serial cheater who broke your heart over and over again. Why do you believe that this arrangement could possibly be in your best interest? The only person who I see benefiting from this is Bob. He continues to live with his wife and children, without disrupting his life AND he has a mistress on the side. It’s a win-win situation for him and a very dicey predicament for you.

How do you imagine this relationship playing out? Would you be able to go out with him in public and socialize with friends? Probably not, since you both live in the same community and know many of the same people. Are you willing to spend your time with him hidden away in a hotel or at your home? Try and think about what this reality would be for you — knowing that his wife and children are really his number one priority. He has made that very clear to you. It also is very clear that you are repeating history with a man who is a cheater, who is neither committed to you or his wife. It’s all about him as it was with your ex-husband.

For 25 years you enabled a man who hurt you and betrayed you. Why do you think that you put up with that sort of disrespect and abuse? Haven’t you been hurt enough? Why would you want to put yourself in a similar situation where ultimately you will be the one to be hurt?

A good therapeutic experience would enable you to see and deal with some of your issues, including your lack of self-esteem. Do you not feel that you deserve better? Do you not want to be your partner’s number one priority? Why settle for crumbs? Why repeat history? Do you not feel that you are worthy of love, respect, fidelity and commitment? These and many other possible issues need to be looked at and addressed. I would like you to consider them seriously before agreeing to put yourself into another very risky and self-destructive situation. Please let me know if I can be of help.

Beatty Cohan, MSW, LCSW, AASECT is a nationally recognized psychotherapist, sex therapist, author of For Better for Worse Forever: Discover the Path to Lasting Love, national speaker, national radio and television expert guest and host of the weekly “Ask Beatty Show” on the Progressive Radio Network. She has a private practice in NYC and East Hampton.

Beatty would love to hear from you. You can send your questions and comments to her at [email protected]. For more info, go to beattycohan.com.

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