Psychological Self-Help

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& Janus (1993) also found that more than 1/3 of husbands and more
than 1/4 of wives have had an extramarital experience, but less than
1/4 of divorces are caused by affairs. Of course, as time goes on, more
of the faithful will become unfaithful. It may be hard at first to
separate the chronically unfaithful from those who have only one brief
affair in 50 years, but these are very different people. Pittman (1989)
distinguishes between adulterers and womanizers. Adulterers
(males) usually have one affair, typically during a crisis--when passed
over for a promotion or when his wife is very busy--and then feels
guilty. Womanizers compulsively seduce women as a full-time
avocation and hide this from their wives. They often claim to have a
high sex drive and a lust for sexual variety. Their therapists say such
men often don't like women or even sex. Womanizers have a disease
or an addiction, in which they see women as the enemy. They think of
"being a real man" as escaping a woman's control and as being
someone who can powerfully manipulate and deceive women. Like a
rapist, he seeks power and superiority. Many had fathers who escaped
their mothers via work, divorce, or alcohol. There are some 12-step
programs for womanizers. Advice for therapists of people who have
had affairs is given by Eaker-Weil and Winter (1993) and Brown
On the positive side, Greeley, Michael, & Smith (1990) report that
a high percentage of married people (ranging from 91% and 94% for
men and women under 30 to 95% or more of both sexes over 30)
were monogamous, i.e. had only one sex partner, during the last year.
But, the years roll on and those 5% and 9 percents add up. However,
most marriages today are faithful and the belief in being faithful to
your spouse has steadily increased during recent decades, even during
the time that premarital sex was being approved of more and more. 
Unfaithfulness is always a devastating blow to the partner. We feel
crushed, like a part of us had been ripped out. We may be very angry
or sad or both. It isn't just that our partner wanted and did have sex,
the ultimate expression of love, with someone else, but he/she lied to
us, betrayed us, and had so little concern for our feelings. Yet, two
thirds of marriages survive infidelity. Many people say they would
"immediately throw the b------/b---- out." The situation is more
complex than that. A brief affair doesn't always mean there is a
serious problem with the marriage. Men having an affair are not more
unhappy with their marriage than faithful men; women are more
unhappy. Nevertheless, infidelity is a huge problem even if the
marriage survives. Putting love back together is a long-term, difficult
task in our culture (it's no big deal in some cultures). 
We need to realize how widely the rules about sex differ from culture to culture: we expect
our spouse to be faithful, but 75% of societies are polygamous.
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