Today’s woman has changed with the times, and so has her definition of a successful relationship as she is open to finding love outside her marriage. Let’s get down to the statistics. A recent UK-based survey revealed that women are cheating more today than ever before. One in five married women has had a fling, the highest number ever recorded.
Shocking, isn’t it? Well, it’s no longer just a man’s ‘prerogative’. While it’s not something to be condoned, women no longer embrace the likes of Hillary Clinton, who became the symbol of a long-suffering married woman everywhere when she stood by her man… twice. But these days, when a woman feels dissatisfied in her relationship, she doesn’t just suck it up and complain to her friends while shedding copious tears, she goes out and gets herself some! Is this because the woman of today is more independent financially and is far more educated and worldlywise than her counterpart of a generation ago?
Psychologist and marriage counsellor Shymala Bhadran says that women need to feel loved and respected, otherwise, like men, they will look for it outside the relationship. “If there’s a failure to communicate – which is so reinforcing to women in terms of intimacy, emotional satisfaction and relationship satisfaction – then women look outside the relationship for that kind of connection. This is the most common reason women cheat. When you’re unhappy or dissatisfied in your relationship, you’re more likely to be tempted to look elsewhere,” says she.
So, is this the only reason? Why are more women having affairs than ever before? One could argue that more women are in the workforce today and have social lives beyond the confines of the home. The job, gym, business meetings, work-related travel, and the internet are all breeding grounds for infidelity.
Model Neeraj Anand agrees. Says he, “Today’s woman has a number of avenues where she can meet an interesting man. Earlier, women depended on their spouses for security of all kinds, financial or otherwise. Things have changed now. Many women make just as much or more than their spouses and don’t depend on them for survival. And, many women today are choosing to have children later, or not at all, and don’t have little ones to consider if they opt to test the waters outside an unfulfilling marriage. It’s not a matter of pride, but it’s no longer a man’s prerogative alone.”
Says Minnie Menon, a socialite and columnist, “Today’s woman is more sexually liberated. It stems from the confidence that financial independence infuses. Open marriages are on the rise. As it is said in the popular sitcom Sex And The City , ‘Women must learn to have sex like a man’.”
Ahalya Menon did the unthinkable in her conservative family when she chose to look for satisfaction outside her marriage. “I do not regret what I did,” says Ahalya. Ask her why and she says, “My husband worked out of the country for the longest time and even his visits to India were short and infrequent. When he came here, we would be physical at best but there was no emotional connection. I spoke to him about this and even urged him to get counselling with me, but he said it was a figment of my imagination. I felt unloved, uncared for and totally strained by a dead marriage. Trust me though, it was not a physical void alone, he just couldn’t meet my emotional needs. I cheated on him with one of my colleagues, and then confessed to him. Initially, I felt miserable, but when I got to know that he was having his own fun on the side, we decided to part ways.”
So, it seems that it’s not so much the independence and financial freedom, as much as the change in mindset. Women consider themselves at par with their male counterparts and have the same opportunities to cheat as guys always did – and are doing so.