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  • Writer's pictureKarla Trippe

Will He Think Before He Cheats?

It’s been quite a week for those who pay attention to the Bravosphere. There’s nothing like having a storyline blow up in the middle of the season. It has caused me to have some interesting conversations with the women I interact.

While I may live in a 55+ community outside Tucson, I try to surround myself with women of all ages. It makes life more enjoyable. So, as we discovered that Tom Sandoval had cheated on his girlfriend of nine years, Ariana Maddox, with a younger woman from the same reality TV show, I had to ask, “What defines cheating today, and how do empowered women respond to it?”

Let’s start with some statistics. According to an article by Paul Brian in HackSpirit,

“30 to 60 percent of married couples will cheat at least once in the marriage. 74 percent of men and 68 percent of women admit they’d cheat if guaranteed they wouldn’t get caught. 60 percent of affairs start with close friends or coworkers. An average affair lasts 2 years.”

Those are some big numbers. And it shows how common cheating is. Another interesting statistic from Brian’s article is what women consider cheating. 97% of American women believe vaginal intercourse is cheating, while 84% of European women feel the same. I dropped down to where the numbers started going below 50 percent. Interestingly the dividing line was spooning, where 71% of American women considered cheating while only 44% of European women put that activity in the cheating category.

I looked back at my dating history to ask myself, “Have I ever cheated?” I’m proud to say that we have been true to each other for 33 married years. Have I been propositioned? Several times and by men who know my husband. It’s rather uncomfortable, slightly below being sexually harassed by my employer.

But have I ever cheated on a boyfriend? Yes, I have, and I can say the reason was that the relationship wasn’t fulfilling my needs, and I was looking at the man I was cheating with as a better partner. But the question I kept asking women I spoke with during the past week was how this impacts female empowerment. And the unstatistical differences I found were age-related. Older boomer women felt that while a night in your PJs with girlfriends, alcohol, and ice cream to cry over your cheating man is warranted, you should be ready to kick the guy to the curb and move on. Millennial women tended to react with more outrage and expected universal support from all women and public punishment of the male cheater. I felt this response coincided with the difference between European and American women’s beliefs on cheating.

Another point I want to make on this subject concerns personal and professional differences. While I agree that Tom Sandavol treated his girlfriend terribly, this has nothing to do with his business acumen. I have found the higher a man reaches in his professional career, the more likely he is to cheat (look at Donald Trump). But I have yet to see a man punished for it in any significant way. So, shouldn’t the same hold for a woman? Shouldn’t women be allowed a pass in the company if she’s making the numbers?

Anyone who knows me knows I’m all about equality. But I have learned through experience that if you ask for equality, you must be ready for the results. The world is not innately fair. But that doesn’t mean it’s ok to treat anyone without the respect due to all of God’s creatures.


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