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ming56 posted 10/20/2013 13:10 PM

Read an article this morning that quoted latest numbers regarding infidelity. From 2012, the number of married men claiming infidelity was 19% while 12% of women indicated they had had a sexual relationship outside of their marriage. For committed but unmarried couples it was 14% overall with over 40% breaking up after the infidelity. Showing how prevalent this behavior that has brought us all together on this website is, emotional affairs( which is my story) were not even covered and of course the numbers are likely even higher taking into account those who declined to tell on themselves.

It was mentioned that those with alcohol issues and having had numerous sexual partners in their past were more susceptible to cheating(what a surprise!). But what struck me most was in the obligatory advice section where the author cited "experts" suggesting that the offending party should discuss the problem openly and honestly, but not overwhelm their partner with facts.

So are that many so called experts really that naive or is it really self-indulgent of us who have been betrayed to need information to the degree that satisfies us? Also is it really realistic to expect somebody in a fog deluded by the dishonesty of their recent indiscretion to suddenly be able to be honest and open about what they have done?

My experience and what seems to be the overwhelming case for others is that truth comes slowly as the fog fades if it ever comes, and most of us have a very real need to know the facts in detail to understand and come to grips with this unwanted surreal experience that was suddenly thrust upon our seemingly settled lives.

In summation the article was interesting for the recent numbers that show how common infidelity is, but it makes me feel there is a lot of education still needed before the public really understands the depth of the pain infidelity produces and how complicated the recovery process is from both sides of the issue. Any thoughts?

FightingBack posted 10/20/2013 13:44 PM

Something not mentioned in the part of the article quoted above, is how we underestimate the destruction and suffering of so many more than one couple. There is the family of the OP, all children involved, extended families and friends.

Just goes to show how one person's (or two people's) action(s) can ripple outwards to effect, change and alter so many others.

sisoon posted 10/20/2013 13:47 PM

You can't leave it like this!

Where's the article?

Thanks in advance.

ming56 posted 10/20/2013 18:07 PM

It was written by Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz in the Chicago Tribune and printed in today's Sunday paper. I am sure there must be a link somewhere.

bionicgal posted 10/20/2013 18:13 PM

Why are these numbers so far off others I've seen? Most infidelity books have it more in the 40-60% range.

Deanna posted 10/20/2013 18:20 PM

Sorry I thought I found the article

Here is the article.

[This message edited by Deanna at 6:26 PM, October 20th (Sunday)]

StillGoing posted 10/20/2013 18:29 PM

Why are these numbers so far off others I've seen? Most infidelity books have it more in the 40-60% range.

Because none of them are accurate.

sisoon posted 10/21/2013 15:37 PM

Thanks for the reference, ming.

Most of the stats you find on the web aim at bringing you into the site and maybe even buying something like a 'rebuild your M' package.

Blobette posted 10/21/2013 17:35 PM

Presumably the newspaper article was citing research that was conducted by someone else. Could someone let me know who did it, and where it was published?

StillGoing posted 10/21/2013 17:46 PM


A study published this year by University of Denver researchers in the Journal of Sex Research followed a nationally representative sample of 993 unmarried individuals in committed opposite-sex relationships to explore predictors of first-time infidelity. It found that 14 percent had "sexual relations" outside of the relationship over a 20-month period, and 43 percent of those broke up after the infidelity.

ming56 posted 10/21/2013 18:52 PM

I would think the stats can vary so much because there are so many interpretations of what constitues infidelity. Factor in people being less than honest based on who is asking the questions and how they do it and the differing standards of measurement used by various agencies or individuals doing the research and the true numbers can become pretty fluid and hard to come by.

Here again I think those of us touched by infidelity have a much clearer and inclusive definition of what defines cheating. Sadly, it seems monogamy is really not as natural and instinctive as we have been led to believe. A committed one to one relationship is a very adult concept that requires a lot of work, tending, and wisdom to pull off. For me it is worth all that time and effort even after the pain of the experience of infidelity, but I wonder about our culture and how we emphasize romantic love at first sight love without squaring those early feelings of infatuation with the reality of all the components that make for a successful relationship long term.

I was always amazed at people who are guided by their heart strings and follow the typical scenario of rapidly moving in together, getting married, having kids, and then finding out they really dont neccessarily like each other all that much once the initial whirlwind of emotion settles down. I thought this as a twenty year old, and still see the same patterns repeated over and over all these years later. As long as people rush into commitments they are not equipped to handle it seems the rates of infidelity will always be numbers that are shocking to an unknowing public. And dont even get me started on the media and their love of promoting doomed romance and infidelity...

heartbrokeninaz posted 10/21/2013 21:31 PM

I believe that number is MUCH higher. I don't believe most of those polled are honest about it. Just my take on it. Look around your circle how many people do you know or suspect that have or are? I bet its higher then that!

Blobette posted 10/21/2013 21:55 PM

I had a look at the U of Denver study. It only looks at 18-35 year olds in unmarried couples. A little over a third were male -- about 300ish. Done using a paper and pencil mail survey. I wouldn't say that's generalizable to a broader population.

blueeyesonthebay posted 10/22/2013 11:54 AM

You'll notice it says over a 20 month period. I would see that as meaning this group over that period of time. Not five, ten, fifteen, or twenty years. Seen in that light, it is a very high number indeed.

blakesteele posted 10/22/2013 13:46 PM

You'll notice it says over a 20 month period. I would see that as meaning this group over that period of time. Not five, ten, fifteen, or twenty years. Seen in that light, it is a very high number indeed.

Well stated blueeyesonthebay. As a person who works with statistics regularly...this number has the potential to be huge when expanded over longer periods of is huge given the relatively short time period discussed.

I think it would be a very hard number to discern with any sort of accuracy. Much easier to discern factually recorded data such as divorce because of the openness in which it is documented and not hidden.

I "see" members on this site...many of which their own mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, pastors, etc...are never privy to the "hidden struggles" that is typical of adultery. We have close friends whose husband had sexual correspondence with another woman not his wife....neither of them accepted that it was cheating. I am not convinced it has ended or that their was never any sex involved...

Point is....what would be in it for them to answer honestly on such a survey? How can you fact-check and proof your research results?

At the end of the day, I believe infidelity is quite an acceptable way of living for at least a large minority of society. Ashley Madison would not be in existence if the customer base were small. And those are the "bold" adulterors among us....and I would think those "bold" ones represent a very small number compared to the "shy" ones. My wifes AP is reportedly onto another even full exposure, with all involved knowing, pain absolutely witnessed, is no deterant for some.

God have mercy on us all.

[This message edited by blakesteele at 1:53 PM, October 22nd (Tuesday)]

blueeyesonthebay posted 10/22/2013 14:46 PM

Yes, the problem is always quantitative vs qualitative.

An interesting test was done on a BBC documentary not too long ago. The title was "The Science of Love" or something like that (gotta love the Brits and their docs). In it they addressed the issue of infidelity and truthfulness. They surveyed a group of men and women about how many affairs they had while with a partner or married. They admitted the survey was unscientific, but there were some interesting results nonetheless. When asked by an interviewer, they discovered there was a huge discrepancy between men admitting to an affair and women admitting to an affair (twice as many men as women). However, another group was hooked up to a machine and told that it was a lie detector ( it wasn't, but that wasn't the point). This time the number of men reporting an affair dropped and the number of women reporting an affair rose. It turned out that it was now almost exactly even as common sense and math might dictate. So, we cannot rely on polls. Human beings will skew the results every time. Turns out that men and women are about equally wanton in their behaviour. Don't even get me started on women doing it for validation and men doing it for sexual gratification.

sisoon posted 10/22/2013 15:13 PM In addition to the UD study, the article states:

About 19 percent of men and 12.3 percent of women in 2012 said they'd had sex with someone other than their spouse while married, about the same as it was 20 years ago (though there's been considerable variability year to year), according to the General Social Survey. That's likely an underestimate given the reluctance of people to admit to affairs and the survey's narrow definition of infidelity as sex.

That seems to indicate the stats came from a General Social Survey. IIRC, the GSS of 2006 stated the 28% of men and 15% of women aged 60 admitted to cheating at least once, so the stats in this story probably came from a different year's GSS.

The problem with the GSS is that it's a face-to-face survey. One test of younger women had 1% admitting to cheating in the survey, but 5% of the same sample admitting it on a questionnaire. That supports the proposition that the GSS under-reports infidelity, but who know by how much?

The GSS is done with some rigor. The sample is pretty much random, and the questions aim at not eliciting one answer or another. I think the GSS is the best we've got.

The other stats I've seen published usually say nothing about the way the numbers were derived. Remember, if someone surveyed SIers, I think 100% of the responders would admit to experiencing infidelity - and if the study were published, some idiot would quote the numbers, ignoring the fact that the sample is biased.

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