Why Guys Marry Up And Cheat Down

What is it with these guys? Dominick Strauss-Kahn marries a millionaire TV journalist as famous as Barbara Walters and still chases a maid around the room. Arnold Schwarzenegger is married to the beautiful, accomplished daughter of America's most famous political dynasty and carries on behind her back with the housekeeper.

New York ex-governor Elliot Spitzer seem to have preferred hookers to his elegant, educated wife. Sen. John Edwards had a child with a ditzy party girl while the woman he married bravely battled cancer. And there was Bill Clinton in the East Wing dallying with an intern while Hillary, the most admired woman in America, slept upstairs.

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Let's not forget last year's biggest scandals.Tiger Woods was out with waitresses, hookers and hostesses while his gorgeous young wife was home with the babies. And then there was Jesse James, Sandra Bullock's ex. Being married to America's Oscar-winning sweetheart wasn't enough. He preferred high school dropouts with copious tattoos.

Amazing, isn't it, that so many guys marry up and then cheat down with women not a quarter of the equal of their far more accomplished and sometimes more attractive wives? But why?

Some explain it as a power thing.They do it because they can. And important men do have lots of opportunities.They feel so successful that the rules that apply to others, just don't apply to them. Sometimes these guys may feel they are entitled to some extracurricular fun and games.They work so hard, they have so much responsibility that a little bit of infidelity, especially with a woman who means nothing to them, is a treat they actually deserve. At least that's the way they excuse themselves.

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Others say it is the "madonna -w---- syndrome" that makes a man see one type of woman as the mother of his children, his intellectual equal and an appropriate social partner. As for the other kind of woman, he's sexually attracted to her, but that's about it. He may love his wife and even think he respects her, but when his hormones are surging, still can't resist straying. He may also see this kind of woman as being more sexually adventurous than his wife.

For centuries wives did accept this type of marital double standard, especially when they were married to the powerful. Even Jacqueline Kennedy was known to have looked the other way about John F. Kennedy's constant infidelities. But that was at a time when the news media was far more discreet than JFK.

New York Post columnist Andrea Peyser has a different view. "The truth is that men with major egos and outsize appetites are, at their cores, insecure sloths," she writes. "There exists a need for many a high-flying celebrity to punish a spouse he doesn't, deep down, believe he deserves. The low social caste of their conquests is no accident. The gals picked by guys who should know better are usually adoring, needy and broke...Powerful men tend to be competitive in sports or politics. But in matters of the zipper, they're lazy bums."

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Some even cut the guys a bit of slack by saying the famous are often relentlessly pursued by attractive women who are eager to bed them and not bothered by having relations with a married man. And Ellen Fein and Sherry Schneider, who wrote "The Rules", the how-to book for women who play hard-to-get, think sometimes part of the fault lies with the wives who are so in love with their accomplished spouses. For example, they think the Schwarzenegger marriage was doomed from day one because spotting Arnold at an event, Maria begged Tom Brokaw to introduce them. Then she whisked Arnold via private jet to the family's lavish home on Cape Cod. Her fault, they say. She was far too eager from the beginning. .

But maybe the truth is a lot simpler. Many men stray and though they may be thoughtful and discerning about who they marry, the women they cheat with -- --a housekeeper or a waitress, an intern or a hooker--is whoever happens to be around and available.

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