Was talking with a friend of mine this morning who insists approximately 89 percent of men cheat on their wives. Having never cheated on the wife, I disagreed. I put the number closer to 40 percent, but even that seems high. I’ll go 20 percent. What do you think?

We debated the parameters. Visiting a strip club (which I’ve done four or five times in my life, though only once since meeting the wife—for a bachelor party) does not, in an of itself, count. Neither does visiting a strip club and getting a lapdance. However, visiting a strip club and getting a lapdance and a hand/blow does equal cheating. We both agreed on that.

Why have I never cheated on my wife? A bunch of reasons. First, I love her. Like, really love her. Cliche be damned, she’s my closest friend, and I’m honored that someone of her character puts up with my crap every single day. My feet smell. I talk during movies and reality TV shows. I’m a raving-mad hypochondriac. I can’t dance or sing, but try and do both. I’ve spent too much time trying to memorize Left Eye’s rap from Waterfalls, and now the wife is forced to hear it a couple of times per week (I’m 95 percent there, but for the life of me I can’t grasp her mumblings toward the end). I’m an insecure writer who wants to hear everything he puts on paper is gold. On and on. Somehow, she sticks with me.

Second, I can’t really imagine being intimate with another woman. I mean, I certainly notice and admire and, occassionally, stare at beauties (it’d be weird not to). But to actually have sex with another person? Just doesn’t interest me. Maybe that’s weird.

Mostly, I wouldn’t want to hurt her. And I couldn’t live with the knowledge. I’d have to tell her, and that’d probably be it. The marriage might not completely die, but the trust would.


7 thoughts on “89%”

  1. As a person who discusses people’s personal business with them for a living, I think the number of marriages that include infidelity is significantly higher than 40%. Way, WAY higher.

    Now, is it 90? I dunno. But it’s a lot closer to 90 than 40, especially when you consider that women aren’t nearly as virtuous as many think, either.

    There’s a difference between ‘cheated’ and ‘cheating,’ though. I’d say 4 out of 5 marriages have gone through some type of affair, but you’d also be surprised just how many people are able to change and repair the damage that they did. Cheating isn’t always a death blow to a marriage; instead, it’s often a vessel for change, since nearly every time a person cheats it’s a symptom of an unhappy/unhealthy marriage. When it comes to light, many times the marriage is actually strengthened, because for the first time, the two parties actually have to make a decision to let the marriage sink or swim.

  2. 89% seems way too high, but 20% seems naively low. I think it would be safe to say that about half of married men will cheat at some point, and a slightly smaller share of married women will too. And I’m not sure that’s an absolutely terrible thing.

  3. 89% is ridiculously high. I’d put the # closer to 25%.

    Like you, I also love my wife and would throw myself in front of a train before I ever did anything to hurt her. And, yes, I still think filthy thoughts about beautiful women. That will probably never stop. But, pursuing women outside of marriage seems like an awful lot of work for an something that very likely would ultimately destroy my family and marriage. No thanks.

  4. I think the big thing is the parameters of what cheating is and isn’t. While there are no-brainers, there is certainly grey area as well. For some women, their husband going to a strip club and just watching, nothing extra, would be extremely hurtful, as would finding out their spouse looks at porn online. For them, that would be close enough to cheating to set off a chain reaction (especially if those turned into addictions/obsessions and started causing problems in the relationship). For some women, just thinking about/coveting another woman is too much.

    I think if you include any behaviors that could be counted as cheating, then yes, 89% is probably right there. But if you only count insertions into orifices or whatever….I say way WAY lower…

    (last note- am very aware that this goes both ways, so please pardon the gender specific language)

  5. I have no idea what the correct percentage is. I’m not even sure how you would measure that.

    I’m with Jeff, though. I’ve only been married three years, so maybe that’s not long enough to become jaded. But I’d be so wracked with guilt about hurting my wife that I wouldn’t be able to get it up for another women, even if I wanted to.

  6. I did a little research and found the % to be 41- I think that we live in a society where people are afraid of being totally vulnerable and honest. So after some time when someone feels they want more, or more of what the couple had when they first met, or their needs arent being met so many people are scared to share this. I know in my relationship no matter how scary any thought or feeling is I take a deep breath, sometimes preface my thought with, this is hard to say but I definitely say or ask whatever I need to- its the only way we are both happy…I tresure both our honesty and love and have vowed to always share, be honest and express our needs.. it can be scary but I anti up every time… I think alot of people cant or dont do that…In my work as a psychologist I continually find myself suggesting to others to just be honest… most people seem to have no clue how to do this…..

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