5 Common Myths About Infidelity

posted: 07/30/15
by: Courtney Reimer
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Infidelity has been in the headlines a lot lately -- what with the Ashley Madison hacking scandal and speculation that the demise of the Ben Affleck-Jennifer Garner union may be due to his cheating -- and along with all that cheating buzz comes a lot of myths about who does it, why they do it, and with whom. Let's take a look at some of these common myths about infidelity.

Myth #1: Men cheat a lot more than women. They only cheat slightly more than women. According to a recent poll by YouGov, as reported by NPR, the 19 percent of women and 21 percent of men admitted to cheating on their partner.

Myth #2: It's always the nanny. While some tabloids are reporting that Ben Affleck has pulled a Jude Law/Ethan Hawke and cheated with the nanny, more often than not, it is a coworker -- especially when the cheater is a woman -- but more often it's someone they met online.

Myth #3: The internet makes people cheat. Sure, a lot of people go on the internet to cheat -- 37 million go to Ashley Madison, the site catering to people who specifically want to step out on their spouse -- but the internet is merely a vehicle, not a cause. (But who can blame people for accusing Ashley Madison for enabling cheaters, with their tagline: "Life is short. Have an affair.")

Myth #4: Only sex counts as cheating. As we've long known, "emotional infidelity" is also a real thing, and now we can add to the various types of cheating: digital cheating. In a 2014 poll, 68 percent of women and 51 percent of men perceived a "flirty text message" to be classified as a form of infidelity. Perhaps most surprising among the recent polls on infidelity: only 37 percent of men thought having a Tinder online dating profile counted as cheating (compared to 48 percent of women).

Myth #5: Everyone agrees sex counts as cheating. Then there are those who think there is such a thing as "ethical cheating," and turn to sites like OpenMinded.com, which, unlike Ashley Madison, involves informing the spouse of the impending extramarital sexual activity. He says that the motivation for this kind of arrangement is because "monogamy in the traditional sense is not working for the majority of us. There is a growing movement of people who are able to be honest with their mate that the traditional model isn't working."

Despite the fact that the divorce rate is plateauing, it seems like infidelity isn't going away anytime soon. Though the marriage rate is declining, too, so perhaps less opportunity to cheat on a spouse could count toward a drop in infidelity? Sadly, that's just semantics.