A friend of mine asked why it seemed that (married) men take more flak than women for cheating. It was an interesting question, as men are typically less forgiving when their wives step out on them. Nonetheless, society in general seems to take a softer approach when women are guilty of infidelity.
For every solution that relationship experts dole out to combat infidelity, 100 couples divorce because of it. But the dynamics of adultery are a lot different for women than they are for men. It seems that while men are praised for being swinging bachelors, they are exceedingly condemned when they're caught cheating on their wives. Interestingly the reverse is true for women: they're condemned for being too "free-spirited." But when they're guilty of adultery, the backlash is less intense. It makes no sense unless you look closely at how the Double Standard really impacts those who cheat on their spouses.
Women: Better Secret Keepers?
A recent study indicated that women possibly cheat at least as much as men. Assuming this to be true, it seems weird that pop culture focuses all the attention on the "dirty dogs" who betray their lovely wives. If women actually cheat more, then why isn't their behavior criticized as harshly? Maybe it's because women are better at keeping their deeds private. Their motives for engaging in an affair are more than likely much different than a man's. For that reason alone, she may take great pains to guard the affair. As the saying goes, if a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it---you know the rest. In other words, as long as women's dirty deeds are rarely found out, we can only assume that they're not occurring."The Weaker Sex"
As nurturers, women are responsible for soothing our "boo boos" and easing hurt feelings. We benefit from their nurturing on multiple levels. Women make the world go round. How dare a big, strong man disobey his marital vows and deceive his sweet little nurturing wife? This is our collective mindset when one of our favorite female celebrities endures public embarrassment at the hands of her lecherous hubby.
When Women Do It...
Since women are guilty of the same offense, it would behoove us to wonder just why their dalliances are ultimately excused or overlooked. But think about it: women who cheat out of neglect or loneliness are often pitied (of course, not always). How dare her insensitive husband drive her into the arms of another man! We imagine women to be naturally loyal to their spouses---having to be "coaxed" into a rendezvous. You might say that men are criticized more severely because of what people assume they'll do anyway---just because they're men. It is no more a man's fault that his wife cheats, than the other way around. But perspective is a you-know-what.
(It is amazing how that double standard works.)