Married women who cheat are not a new phenomenon: female infidelity has always been rife in a society which offers quick fix solutions to marital problems. However, older married women cheat for a variety of reasons, choosing to philander with younger men who they know, or who they meet on any of the number of online dating web sites which are geared towards older women younger men affairs.
Mature married women now have more opportunity than ever to fool around with hot younger men who can offer them a release from the mundane lifestyle of a 'desperate housewife'. Older married women who cheat often find themselves in this position due to a diminishing spark in a lacklustre relationship; perhaps children and a busy work life have taken prevalence over a passionate, fulfilling partnership with a husband who now feels more like a cosy pair of slippers (safe, reliable, secure) than a feminine pair of kitten heels (daring, sexy, bold).
Many married women who cheat find that the compromise between a clear conscious and the exhilarating thrill of an affair with a fit younger man is worth the pretence; for the first time in a long time, many of these mature women report that they finally feel loved, appreciated and accepted for who they are. And they are not alone; while the statistics surrounding older women who cheat may be patchy at best, it's estimated that 14% to 40% of married women have become sexually involved with a man other than their husband. In one poll, conducted by a popular online dating web site, women were asked if they had ever cheated. Of the 9,400 women who responded, 49% admitted that they had. A further 26% revealed that they would not hesitate to cheat on their partners if they knew they could get away with it.
So why are such high proportions of mature, switched-on women choosing to do the dirty on men who are often loyal, loving partners in favour of flings with younger men who share none of their passionate memories; none of their rich life experiences? Married women who cheat do so for a number of complex reasons, but there is an increasing pattern of behaviour amongst these older women who play away from home which often presents itself in stages:
The first stage towards an older woman contemplating a partnership with a younger man often involves a feeling of dissatisfaction within her marriage. She may have a lovely home, beautiful children and a high-powered job with responsibilities, but cannot shake off the feeling that 'something is missing'. Many married women who cheat report that their emotional needs were not being met, and many older women felt that their lives had become wrapped up in caring for their children, looking after their husband and fulfilling a complex role within the work place. In other words, they felt used.
The second stage of female infidelity largely centres on a loss of sexual desire and lack of frequent romantic encounters with their husband. At this stage, the emphasis on career, children and other interests means that the spark between husband and wife has deteriorated. Gone are the days of romantic poetry, sensual back massages and lingering kisses and in its place are rushed pecks-on-the-cheek before work and awkward hugs. At this point, a number of mature women may feel unloved and under appreciated and may begin to contemplate a fresh start with a younger man who is eager to satisfy in the bedroom, is exciting, adventurous, and most importantly, willing to listen to her thoughts and feelings.
Stage three is often the point when older married women begin to look around at their options: that fit young accountant at work is single; what about internet dating? Many married women who cheat may experience deep feelings of guilt at this stage, but a reawakening of sexual desire and the thrill of the chase are often enough to dispel any fears.
Stage four is the point at which older married women become involved in extra-marital affairs. From the sexual benefits of a younger partner (eager to please, keen to learn from an experienced older woman) to the emotional connection (willing to listen to opinions, keen to offer a fresh outlook), many married women find that the positives involved in embarking on an affair with a hot younger man far outweigh the negatives. Justification plays a large part in the continuation of such affairs; feelings of guilt can be pushed aside due to the justification that the needs of said older married woman were not being met within her marriage, or that her husband's behaviour appeared unreasonable. A relationship involving a married woman cheating with younger men may now have opened up a number of possibilities that never seemed possible before: freedom, an enhanced notion of self-worth, a feeling of youth and attractiveness and ultimately that one thing that a number of married older women appear to crave so much: the sense that they are truly loved.
Whatever the reasons behind relationships involving younger men and married women who cheat, it is not for society to judge. An increasing number of older women are gaining permission from their husbands to engage in flings with younger men who can offer what they view as viable solutions to issues which arise within their marriage. For some relationships, it is a two-way street, with both husband and wife embarking on affairs with younger partners in order to regain some of the spark which they once felt for each other.