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The Way Of The Affair

We’ll look at the science and psychology of infidelity.

Couple on the beach. (devil_smile55/Flickr)

Couple on the beach. (devil_smile55/Flickr)

There is nothing new under the sun, they say.  Marital infidelity included.  And yet, it puts us in a lather.  The same old story, but it still blows up relationships and careers and – who knows? – national security.

David Petraeus is out at the CIA.  But a whole lot of men and women have stepped out and veered out of marriages, lives.  It’s an old story, but a little different every time.  And maybe the gender roles are changing.

This hour, On Point:  the circumstances and psychology of infidelity. It’s as old as the hills, and in the news right now.  We’re looking at the way of the affair.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

David Buss, professor of psychology at University of Texas- Austin, known for his evolutionary psychology research on human sex differences and human relationships. Author of “The Evolution of Desire” and “The Dangerous Passion.” His latest book, co-authored with Cindy Meston, is: “Why Women Have Sex.”

Pepper Schwartz, professor of sociology and sexologist teaching at the University of Washington in Seattle. National Love & Relationship Expert & Ambassador for AARP and writes the column The Naked Truth. Author of “Love Between Equals” and “The Gender of Sexuality.” Co-author, with Philip Blumstein, of “American Couples: Money-Work-Sex”

From Tom’s Reading List

Huffington Post “Beyond the obvious common sense edict that you will wound your spouse and family if you cheat and you will always be found out, it is time to wake up and delete the email. Cheating and technology don’t mix. Whether you are a man or a woman, the cheater, cheatee, or co-cheats, you are all in this together and you need to decide that you will be caught. Yes, you will be caught. Did I mention you will be caught?”

Jezebel “But it’s not that simple. Even the most high-powered women don’t enjoy that same luxury of feeling invulnerable, given the way our society operates and has always operated in the past. Most powerful men are constantly told by their parents, professors, and peers that they’re destined for greatness while growing up; of course they feel invincible. But even privileged women have to jump through a different set of hoops to succeed, because they have to convince employers and constituents that they’re just as qualified for the job as the man that likely held the position before then. They have to prove that having kids won’t change a thing — or, if they’re childless, that there’s not something inherently wrong with their “barrenness.” Their stakes are so much higher. They have no time to be that narcissistic.”

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  • Mike_Card

    Pepper Schwartz?  Pepper Schwartz??  The queen of pseudo science?  Ugh.  Count me gone.

  • Magequeen

    Mike_Card, could you maybe cite anything at all that makes you feel that way? I’m not familiar with Ms. Schwartz and her work, so if she’s truely “the queen of pseudo science”, surely you can come up with some links to sway me in your direction.

    • DrewInGeorgia

      How does the phrase Lesbian Bed Death strike you?

      • 1Brett1

        Isn’t that a death-metal band?

        • Ray in VT

          If it isn’t, then it certainly should be.

  • DrewInGeorgia

    The supplied Jezebel excerpt is great, especially this little number: “They have no time to be that narcissistic.”

    Give me a freaking break.

    The HuffPo piece is dead on the money though.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joshua-Hendrickson/1652586055 Joshua Hendrickson

    “Higamous, hogamous, woman’s monogamous;
    hogamous, higamous, man is polygamous.”

    I always liked that bit of doggerel, though I don’t think it works very well as a rule of thumb.

    Actually, I don’t suppose monogamy is all that common and I have never understood why human beings are supposed to mate for life.  In my relationships I’ve always made it clear that if my partner wants to have sex with someone else, that’s fine–just don’t keep it a secret.  That worked pretty well.  I value integrity much higher than fidelity.  And while I’m sure jealousy is natural, it’s also a cultural construct.  My own tendencies towards jealousy were burned out of my system during my teen years; by adulthood, I’d settled into a more relaxed and mature attitude.

    Also, read Euripides’ “Madea” for a classic illustration of how jealousy and the feeling of being wronged maritally can blow themselves way WAY out of proportion.

  • AC

    how do people even start an affair? i’ve always wondered, and now i’ll never know – can’t make this show either…

    • Expanded_Consciousness

      Hi. I like your photo. We need to have coffee later. Call me when the meeting is over.

      • sickofthechit

         Creepy Troll.

    • 1Brett1

      I’m not sure either; but, if caught, one should stick to, “I wouldn’t even know how start an affair!?” 

    • ttajtt

      dialogue – body language, emotional spoke touching words.  a good question or follow though, opening the conversation, said one is to relax ez up, breathe deep, communication, speak clear, control swag, eye contact, a wooing savvy of confidence with a posture of pose?  but if i had money it would be easier.   
       - peace  

  • Ed75

    I wonder how these very important people have the time for an affair.

    • 1Brett1

      It’s a good bet there’s a little mingle between work and pleasure, and yours and my tax dollars are spent on romantic efforts of others. 

    • skeptic150

      It’s the “lack of time” that probably contributed – neglected/suboptimal marrriage, intimate feelings with a coworker, opportunity, etc.

  • Expanded_Consciousness

    @ Jezebel. Women cannot be narcissistic nor held morally responsible because they are victims of the system? What nonsense. So when women have affairs they aren’t thinking of their own pleasure, they are victims of the system? Morality is only for men. Women have an excuse. Women – the eternal victim.

    • imjust Sayin

       Major Broadwell was not an innocent victim.

      She abused her role as an army officer to threaten a civilian because ms. kelly was desperate to help her mentally ill sister keep her own children.

      Major Broadwell noticed that Ms. Kelly would use her own femininity to influence the generals.  Major Broadwell threatened to kill her if she didn’t stop.

      Major Broadwell could have become a General herself.

      If Major Broadwell would be willing to kill a woman, who only wants to help her sister keep her own children, then what would she be willing to do if she was the general of your child overseas?  What would she be willing to do to perceived enemies of the USA or of enemies of oil companies?  What would she be willing to do if she became an FBI or CIA director as a retired general?

      That is the big question.

       

  • 1Brett1

    They have degrees in “sexology”? ….Looks like On Point is gonna wring as much out of this Petraeus thing as possible…

    • nj_v2

      OnPoint could have looked into the broader implications of Petraeus’ legacy in the Middle East. Or a closer examination of his personal history. 

      But we get “jezebel” (“Celebrity, sex, fashion for women”).

      • Magequeen

        Petraeus is just a trigger for this conversation. I think the idea of discussing affairs is an interesting topic that affects thousands or millions of people in the country at some point in their lives, whether it’s their affair or the affairs of people they know or are related to.

  • donniethebrasco

    If you want to step out on your wife, get elected President and get an intern.  That’s the only way. 

    • 1Brett1

      Oh, yeah, Clinton sure got away with that one…

      • Gregg Smith

        It’s cool to be caught, just don’t be blamed.

    • Shag_Wevera

      Yawn.  (again)

    • Thinkin5

       Or become a senator! Ensign, Sanford, Vitter, Cain, Foley, Gingrich, etc, etc.

  • adks12020

    Oh yeah, Jezebel, women don’t have time to be narcissistic.  Give me a freaking break. Narcissism has nothing to do with gender. 

    • DrewInGeorgia

      Is there an echo in here?

  • Shag_Wevera

    Y’know, you don’t have to get married.  If you do, you owe it to your partner not to cheat on them.  If you have an unstoppable urge or the love in your marriage is dead, you can divorce.  It actually seems pretty clear and fairly easy to me.  In a miserably difficult and unpredictable world, my trust in my wife is a huge comfort.

    • skeptic150

      Divorce may be perceived as a “worse” option depending on the circumstances or it may be understood that divorce will be the outcome after the kids are out of the house, etc.  The real issue, imo, is that history and contemporary society have demonstrated that monogamy is not necessarily the norm.

      • stillin

        Divorce is never easy. It rips people apart and kids may not recover from it…look at the research, years later they still carry the wounds. Neither is it easy to stay together for many. Many, many married couples are lonley and married. “pretty clear” and “fairly easy” DO NOT apply to marriages/divorce…by any stretch. Trust IS a huge comfort…do not think for one moment, that it’s all over after an affair. Trust was there before and trust can be built after, if both people want it. This is not in reply to skeptic by to Shag_Wevera

  • on_2nd_thought

    I never expected, intended, or dreamed of ever being involved with someone who was married, yet last year after months of being courted, keeping him at arm’s length, developing a friendship that became love, I wondered, “why am I the marriage police?” Once I allowed him to cross my boundary line and take my hand, all bets were off. It has been a year-long roller-coaster ride and I discovered aspects of myself of which I am not proud, especially that I am capable of participating in deception. I have also realized that MANY, MANY people are involved in romantic relationships outside of marriage. Many do NOT get caught. I have learned of people who have had 25 year “affairs,” though I think the word “affair” is in many cases a mis-nomer. And I think “traditional marriage” in many cases is a charade that people stay in for many reasons like fear and security. Would I go down this path again? Absolutely not. Do I regret having fallen in love and been loved? Not at all.

    • Thinkin5

       Just rationalizing. There’s a reason people get a divorce. If you don’t want to be in a marriage, be honest, be respectful, get out in an honorable way.

      • on_2nd_thought

        I agree that when one is unhappy in a marriage, ideally, they would leave. I am not the one who is married. My mistake was believing he would leave because he was “drowning” in his marriage and because he said he wanted to grow old with me. But fear of the unknown is a powerful force.

        p.s. It’s easy to judge others. I used to be pretty black & white on these issues, now I realize it’s much more nuanced.

        • Thinkin5

           The unfamiliar is always alluring. Many a woman was told, ‘my wife doesn’t understand me’, ‘I love you’, ‘I never should have married my wife’, etc. etc. It’s all about “now”. Women want so much to believe that they are very different from the woman before them. Remember: It’s the same man.

  • sickofthechit

    Could some of you please start circulating the idea that those whose homes are made useless by Hurricane Sandy should be able to stay in Foreclosed Properties?  I think we could all agree that the Banks owe us this at a minimum. May not solve the problem, but it would for a few families.

    • imjust Sayin

       I agree, but that is a different topic.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/A4AJ576QV77QBCZ75OX7N2OQRI pog

    My sense is that when a couple is married, each spouse signs up to participate in providing for all of the other spouse’s sexual needs.  All of them.  So if a spouse does not live up to that part of the contract due to apathy or inconvenience, then how can they possibly demand a faithful spouse? If someone is not being a helpful partner, then they should expect cheating.  Yes, expect it.

    • Thinkin5

       So, if the general ships out and isn’t available for sex with his wife…..

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1408098372 Mari McAvenia

        Or a woman is post-partum? Too many convenient excuses for fundamental dishonesty.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/A4AJ576QV77QBCZ75OX7N2OQRI pog

          Of course a health issue is a different situation.  I am referring to run of the mill lack of interest.  It appears rather common.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/A4AJ576QV77QBCZ75OX7N2OQRI pog

        That is for each couple to work out, but what is good for the goose is good for the gander…I think a relationship can remain sexually fulfilling, even in long distance situations, but that does become more complicated.  Calling for celibate generals is NOT the solution.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JMBSE52T3FEKMF6VX3NCDTJD3Y Jo

       And what if a partner changes over time & gets into deviant sex? Is other partner required to participate? What about physical barriers? Does this give other partner free reign to cheat? What happened to honoring a marriage? There’s more to marriage than sex. Our culture has become so self-centered, you seem to be giving cheaters a pass for any reason they dream up to cheat.  Maybe they’re just selfish louts who refuse to respect their spouse.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/A4AJ576QV77QBCZ75OX7N2OQRI pog

        If spouses do not remain on the same page sexually, then the relationship will usually break down in one way or another.  Compromise is fine, but if one spouse is often not available for his/her spouse, it is a problem.  Apathy is as bad or worse than cheating.

  • imjust Sayin

    WAIT!!

    Major Broadwell threatened to kill a civilian.

    YOU BURIED THE LEAD!!

    ugh…

  • skeptic150

    Is monogamy “normal” with a human life span of 70+ years?  I think all the evidence is no.

    • Shag_Wevera

      I married at 35.  I expect my wife is the last woman that I’ll “be” with.  Does this make me abnormal?

      • vshawnt

         No, it doesn’t make you abnormal.  But, because that type of relationship works for you doesn’t mean that it works for everyone. 
        The problem is that life-long monogamous marriage is the only valued option that our society gives to us…so many who don’t prefer it (as you do) assume they need to squeeze themselves and their relationships into that model. 
        What other institution in our society fails at well over the 50% rate yet we still presume it’s the gold standard and the ONLY option for everyone?

        • Magequeen

          I agree that everyone should have the type of marriage, relationship, or partnership that suits them. However, if you enter into a marital contract that stipulates you won’t have any other sexual partners, you need to honour it, or don’t enter into it.

          I think the most important thing is for both parties to know what they’re getting into before getting married or otherwise committing to another person. If the agreement is an open relationship, so much the better, if that’s what everyone wants.

          • vshawnt

             Agree.  I’m certainly not suggesting this as a justification for “cheating”.  My larger point is that we have to stop seeing this as the failure of a specific relationship/person ONLY and recognize that in many ways this may be an indication that the institution of marriage isn’t sufficient as the ONLY valued option in our society.  It’s great that you approve/appreciate people choosing to be in open relationships, etc., but the fact is that our society doesn’t value those choices.  In fact, our society looks on alternative choices disparagingly and that will always push people toward the more valued institution that isn’t right for them.  This is a much larger cultural issue that isn’t going to solve itself by pretending that the problem is specific people/relationships failing.

      • skeptic150

        We’ll see- when you are still married at 75 and neither one of you had even a one-night stand.  My guess is, if you are still married at 75, at least one of you had a one-nighter.

    • imjust Sayin

       
      What do you do then, when the person you are cheating with, is so crazy, is so insane, is so driven to kill another person? 

      Well, you call it off, I would.

      Gen. Petraeus continued a relationship with Major Broadwell even though he knew she would use her influence to harm others.

      THAT is the reason Gen. Petaeus resigned.

      • skeptic150

        The character of the people involved is not necessarily the issue. The specific issue, imo, is whether monogamy is a realistic expectation for humans, in general, living 70+ years.

  • Ellen Dibble

    I have to say how can people think otherwise than that high-status men and young attractive women find themselves in affairs, or serial marriages.  I think one can make certain assumptions about what the average young and beautiful female will do, and what the average man of status will do.  

  • vshawnt

    We (U.S.) should consider that the role of marriage and, specifically, life-long monogamy, may not be as valuable and vaunted as our culture presumes it to be.  Our society is very dynamic, yet we want this institution to fill the same role it did over the past 300-400 years.  Life-long monogamy and traditional marriage may still be the right answer for many, but the problem is that our society presumes that it’s the ONLY right answer for everyone.  Many couples don’t have children.  Many couples are both professionals (i.e. no single provider).  Many of us are sexually liberated. Fewer and fewer of us are religious.  Why are we trying to squeeze our modern and constantly evolving society into this archaic institution?  Our divorce rate is 50% and the infidelity rates are even higher.  Maybe it’s time to admit that life-long monogamous marriage doesn’t cut it for a large % of our society. As a society we need to allow additional viable & valued options for adult relationships – serial monogamy, polyamory, open-marriages, et cetera.  Life-long monogamous marriage is failing for the vast majority of people who enter into the institution.  Time to find new/valued alternatives in addition to keeping traditional marriage for those who it is ideal for. 

    • skeptic150

      Well said – and I totally agree.

    • Thinkin5

      I, myself, am not attracted to men who have slept with half the town. Yuck! They remind me of stray dogs in heat.

      • vshawnt

        Okay, so you get to choose not to be in a relationship with those people and can choose the type of relationship and people you are involved with. 
        I hope you’re not suggesting that what is ideal for YOU should be ideal for everyone. 

        • Thinkin5

           I don’t care what others do as long as they are honest and up front about their sexual need to not pass up any available sex. They can just keep going and hook up with people like them.

  • Thinkin5

    It’s all about proximity, opportunity. Wife or husband is out of sight and out of mind.  Narcissism is a key component. It’s why they don’t think that they will get caught. It’s a thrill to do something that you feel you’re getting away with.

    • Ray in VT

      I think that a lot of people who engage in affairs, or other sorts of sketchy activities, don’t think that they’ll get caught.  Most of them think that they’re too smart for that.  I think that there’s also a certain amount of thinking that certain rules don’t apply to them.

      • Thinkin5

         I agree. Good character is what you do when no one is looking. I think it’s about self respect. Personally, I wouldn’t feel good about myself if I were to just give in to a sexual encounter/affair. I have a code of conduct for myself.

        • Ray in VT

          I think that people who are ultimately good would have such actions weigh heavily upon their consciences for a very long time.  I’ve known one or two people, though, who have strayed and have remained defiant, and even belligerent, upon having their infidelities discovered.  There is that group of people who truly do not seem to see that they have done anything wrong or care about who they have hurt.

          • Thinkin5

            Having an affair requires, lots of lying, sneaking, and betrayal on a daily basis. I don’t know how people can live that way.

          • Ray in VT

            It seems like it would be more trouble and worry than it would be worth, yet many people have and continue to do it.

          • on_2nd_thought

            Some people get a thrill from lying. On Point did an interesting program a while ago about Why We Lie. I think for some it is a sort of game.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1408098372 Mari McAvenia

      I have never been “the cheater” so I wouldn’t know what motivates them. I do know what it’s like when the cheater is found out, though. He or she often becomes very angry with the innocent spouse, blaming them for finding out & not taking personal responsibility for their own deception.

      It is ugly, painful & ultimately a no-win situation for the non-cheating partner, whether they forgive the liar or not. Really, calculated deception is the marriage killer, not the extra-marital sex acts.

      • Thinkin5

        “How dare you find out I was lying and cheating on you!” That says it all. Revealing of the poor character of the cheater. Good to be rid of a person like that.

      • skeptic150

        Not all non-cheating partners.  I know one couple where the wife says it’s ok for extramarital activity, for either one of them, if they are isolated events that don’t affect their marriage. Could it be that this is a “healthier” approach, given the biology and sexual behavior of humans? 

  • L armond

    If you think the program MASH was unique with its casual sex to relieve stress from the battlefield operating room, I can say back-in-the-day, it was the same in all available open areas in any hospital in US, whoever you bumped into, on the way to drop the anxiety, was taken care of in the hospital.  It was a way of changing one’s frame of mind, recovering and getting back to the next emergency.  
    Now, with all the new equipment, better outcomes in surgery, etc., maybe this ‘natural stress relief’ is not a problem in trauma hospitals, etc., today.  But, drugs, etc., used to be endemic, and crazy relationships in the 80′s & 90′s.  I understand that has toned down, now.   But these issues play out for both sexes in certain ‘venues’ of action.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    Drive and ambition are going to extend into every area your life. If you are a sexual person, it’s going to drive that as well.

  • skeptic150

    Of those I know who have had an affair, the vast majority (if not all) expressed dissatisfaction in their marriage (especially intimacy and sexuality). I don’t think this should be dismissed as insignificant. Not all are divorced now, not all the partners are aware of the affair, and some are aware and still married.  I think it is important to understand this and stop the blanket, universal judgments for each “offender.” Each circumstance is different and each outcome is potentially different.

  • skeptic150

    And, contrary to the commentary, the people I know who had affairs were well aware of the potential consequences.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Is there history on this?  It seems to me infidelity, especially among women, had to do with illegitimate children, the idea you don’t want your wife bearing children that actually are your rival’s offspring.  Nowadays, with birth control, and also with women outliving their reproductive years by many more years, the issue is not about who raises the children.  So what is it?  Maybe people’s insecurities going back to the mother-child relationship, where all that dependency is shifted wholesale onto the relationship with the spouse.  Not narcissism, but immaturity.  I’m thinking of Medea mentioned way down below, and about certain murders by a boyfriend who thinks it’s just the end of all hope to have a girlfriend start to back up for certain imagined reasons having to do with other men.

  • DrewInGeorgia

    Instant gratification + deferred cost = Willful Ignorance.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/A4AJ576QV77QBCZ75OX7N2OQRI pog

    That is for each couple to work out, but what is good for the goose is good for the gander…I think a relationship can remain sexually fulfilling, even in long distance situations, but that does become more complicated.  Calling for celibate generals is NOT the solution.
     

    • Ellen Dibble

      Do you think people are more effective, more charismatic, when they are swept off their feet, on the hunt sexually, in the throes of an affair?  The romantic is the best general?

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/A4AJ576QV77QBCZ75OX7N2OQRI pog

        No, they will be more distracted.  But why isn’t it a security risk when James Bond works a room?  Aha…I know….you can get away with more when you are attractive.  We are a shallow people.

  • Yar

    I think it is different for the person in power and the person looking for power.  Men and women are different but power makes the dynamic, not gender.  Men are more likely to be in power in our current society, but this is changing.

  • HarleyRon

    Many, especially the most criticical of “flawed”human behavior, do not understand the simplicity of why we (men) cheat. It is a deep part of our prehistoric biology, from which we have never evolved. All men cheat, as was attested to by Jimmy Carter in his 1976 Playboy interview, maybe only in our heart but we all cheat!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    This is sounding more and more like an infomercial for having an affair. They’re making sound much more fun and exciting than plain old marriage.

    • skeptic150

      It probably is for those bored or not satisfied with their marriage. 

  • stillin

    Affairs happen for so many reasons, I think they are better than a divorce , for many, although they may lead to divorce. In my opinion, I see a LOT, a LOT, of lonely people married…I think an affair is not the end of the world…and it could even help bring a crisis that the marriage may need just to address the real issues. I think either way is work, married, divorced, affairs etc…it’s a part of life, if you live love enough, chances are it is something you will deal with.

    • sam

      Spoken like a cheater. :)

      Why should affair bring the issues in the marriage to light?

      Why not address the issues in the marriage, without lying and cheating?

      And if the marriage isn’t working for you, then you should have enough ba lls to talk about it and made changes to make things right.

      • AF_Whigs

        Well, sam, if it was that easy everyone would do it.  I get where stillin is coming from, and I’m not a cheater.  Marriage is difficult.  Relationships are difficult.  I know plenty of people who can’t or won’t address issues in their marriages and so they’re miserable, or at least pretty unhappy.  You can sense it when you’re around the couple.  Some are just incapable of addressing issues and being honest and open – often because of how they were raised.

        An affair is never the answer, but I understand why they happen.  I do think it’s a gutless, incredibly myopic thing to do, but I can see how and why they happen.

  • HarleyRon

    Many, especially the most criticical of “flawed”human behavior, do not understand the simplicity of why we (men) cheat. It is a deep part of our prehistoric biology, from which we have never evolved. All men cheat, as was attested to by Jimmy Carter in his 1976 Playboy interview, maybe only in our heart but we all cheat!

    • msb02139

      I don’t think this is as gendered an issue as you’re making it out to be. Women are just as likely to cheat or desire to cheat as men. Biologically, we crave diversity just as men do; socially, the ability to talk about it openly or act on it has not left us on equal ground. 

    • sam

       @HarleyRon:disqus That’s FINE! If this is how you are, then come out and say that upfront, to the women you are trying to have a rel-p with, and it would be up to those women to make a decision based on that knowledge – whether to get involved or not.

      The problem as I see it – is that men don’t come out and say it upfront, and then women – ASSUME – that they are monogamous. And that’s where the problems start.

      If everyone is upfront and honest about these things, then we won’t have that much pain and suffering.

      Believe me, there are plenty of women, who want to have no attachments and who don’t believe in monogamy either.

      Just be honest.

  • Thinkin5

    One thing for sure, every affair that is revealed has caused major heartache and misery for all involved.

  • tarryfaster

    At the heart of the matter is — trust.  Now, if we were to be more receptive to Open Relationships that encouraged pure honesty then, instead of facing fractures in trust and the guilt and secrecy involved, we would all experience more wholesome, growing and less destructive relationships.

  • sam

    I think any kind of lying – including having an affair/stepping out – is cowardly.

    People do not have the courage to change things that are not working for them, so they close their eyes and choose not to think about the consequences – hurt feelings, hurt lives, etc.

    I believe that it is in woman’s nature to act out of fear, but for men, to be cowardly … ergh! – biggest turn off!

    • on_2nd_thought

      I have to disagree with you. To stereotype women as fearful and cowardly is amazingly archaic. Cowardice is a turn-off period. Plenty of men are both liars and cowards.

  • sam

    That dude that called in, saying that most men will have “eyes for a lot of different women” – don’t get into a relationship with someone who wants something else.

    Being honest upfront, is what is going to work for you and the other person.

    If monogamy isn’t your game – then don’t play it.

    But don’t expect for someone else to change and accept it, if it’s their game. 

    • skeptic150

      “If monogamy isn’t your game – then don’t play it.”
      I agree- let’s get rid of the current marriage “rules”/laws and adopt legal unions for a specified period – any number of years, including life, renewable at expiration if a non-life option was chosen.  If a legal union of 5 years was chosen, for example, would not those involved be more likely to maintain themselves and the relationship?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    A question that does not come up is if his wife knew – and possibly condoned what was going on? And she’s just upset it went public?

  • sam

    That woman who said “i want a man who only has eyes for me” is being honest about what she wants.

    And if that’s not your cup of tea – then don’t contact her!!!

    Plain and simple.
    You cannot contact that person and expect – demand – them to change, to see and accept a different point of view!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1408098372 Mari McAvenia

    I wonder WHY men ask women to marry them when they already know they can’t keep “it” in their pants…Is it about having the cake & eating it, too?

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

      Well, yes – for many career paths a normal, frumpy marriage is almost a requirement. Patraeus likely would not have gotten where he had without one.

  • Ellen Dibble

    It seems to me lots of couples get married because they have fallen in love, which is so different from really being able to balance out the other individual.  If you see a pair that really normalize each other, you start to think yes, they would be able to withstand a certain amount of infidelity, because they need each other the way north needs south, or sky needs sea, something like that.

  • Guest

    a

  • Rex Henry

    Maybe this should be a wake up call to all those boring marriages that they need to spice things up…or just have some regular sex.

  • Roy-in-Boise

    In Europe they are laughing at us here in America. At François Mitterrand’s funeral both his wife and his mistress attended.

  • DrewInGeorgia

    We’re all so worried about the economy right? How much have these gleefully embarked witch hunts cost us in the past decade alone?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    So – who would lie to their wife but never lie to their country? It is an issue of character.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

      The funny thing though, it would likely be more explosive if a couple in high places had consensual open relationships they were honest about than if they had illicit affairs.

  • CriticalFaculty70

    I am disappointed that this media feeding frenzy takes so little cognizance of the pain involved for General Petraeus’s wife and family–even for General Petraeus and his paramour.  How would you feel if you had just found out that your husband was cheating and hear it discussed casually and with relish on every newscast and television talk show?  How would that compound the pain for you?  How would it complicate the possibility of resolving the issues within the marriage and saving it?  I expect more sensitivity and seriousness of public radio.  There is nothing original coming out of this discussion, nothing that would justify the added damage.  This man is a hero.  He and his family deserve some space and privacy to work this out.

    • EricTescher

      While I agree with you about the media and about Petraeus being a hero, I think it is time to look at issues that are not comfortable in order to resolve policy.  What people do with their personal life is their business.  Our obsession and neurosis with SEX should not be anyones business.  Who Petraeus sleeps with and who Weiner shows his junk to is nobody’s business, and privacy laws need to be passed.  A distinction needs to be made between invading personal privacy and freedom of speech.  The prior should be made into a criminal act.  Admittedly, some areas do get ugly. I will question Eliott Spitzer’s morals for prosecuting vice and using prostitution services. Yet, if he provides dedication to his public service, even his privacy should be a right.

    • AF_Whigs

      I think for many his “hero” status has dropped a few notches.  I would also add that Broadwell’s husband should also be figured into the mix, if we’re handing out sympathy.  They have young kids, which to me creates a much more volatile and serious situation.

  • skeptic150

    Narcissism may be a consideration, but there are far more people having affairs than are narcissistic.

  • Talisker23

    Stop justifying this as a “male” problem. Men will be men? My experience is that women are equal to men in more ways than one! I had a tough time finding a women who wanted more than sex and finally found someone to have a child and family with.

    This problem is an internal makeup problem of the individual. It takes someone who cares mainly about today with little thought about tomorrow and little thought about others.

    • AF_Whigs

      Not to mention that for every hetero male who cheats there’s also a woman who’s likely cheating on someone, as well.  At least that’s been my experience. 

  • Michellefromcornwall

    In regards to the previous caller from Newburyport MA, there is a reason he is single.  If he really does want a family as he says he does I would recommend he no longer voice his thoughts and opinions in public.  YUCK!

  • Ellen Dibble

    I am so much more thinking about the domestic violence that erupts when an insecure (or arrogant?) person worries that the affections of the partner are wandering…  In my experience, women form a sort of hand-holding band, and slowly wean the individual who is at risk of perpetrating violence and so on.

  • IsaacWalton

    People that have affairs and are in a monogamous relationship exhibit weakness. It takes a strong person to resist those urges. I’m not saying they aren’t there but you make that SACRIFICE when you get married. I can understand a man’s needs (I am one.) But when my father cheated on my mother 40 years ago the damage is still being worked out today. Guys and girls, think of all of the hell you wreak on others before you think of yourself. It ain’t worth it. I for one, as a man, don’t want to live life needing to RELY on the forgiveness of others for my mistakes. Don’t make em.

    Get married for the right reasons—not looks. If you know you have a high level of sexual/varying partner needs then don’t get married. And for your and our sake wear some protection!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1408098372 Mari McAvenia

      I would advise folks who are considering marriage to somebody who cheated on their prior partner, in the past, to not go there. It seems to be a serial pattern in certain personalities.

      • IsaacWalton

        You are CORRECT. My ex-faince’s father has been married 4 times! Each marriage ended with an affair. His most recent marriage was to a woman that is as old as his 2nd oldest DAUGHTER. And he’s a pediatrician!!!!! The affair was going on for 1 year before he dropped the bombshell he was leaving his then 3rd wife. After it was out he was relieved and didn’t hide any of his meetings and phone calls with the other woman. HOW COLD! HOW CALLOUS! HOW SELFISH! 

        • skeptic150

          How judgmental…

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1408098372 Mari McAvenia

            I’m finding that the pro-cheating defenders of marital deception are actually making a great case for universal lesbianism. OK,I know that women cheat on women, too.

            After enduring a few too many “cuckoldings”, myself, I’m completely off all sexual relationships. They are simply too dangerous for me to indulge in any longer. That ain’t cowardice, it’s self-preservation. 

          • skeptic150

            May you find peace in abstinence, homosexuality, heterosexuality, or bisexuality (I was abstinent for ~2 years when I was younger – sex is better, imo).

          • AF_Whigs

            It doesn’t have to be judgement necessarily to call people on their reprehensible behavior.

          • skeptic150

            The post does not provide insight as to why this man did what he did and inform us of all the circumstances but proposes he is cold, callous, and selfish. I think there is too little information provided to agree with such commentary. As such, I consider it more judgmental than useful.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/E6DCGCN4JAZXD5VKUSMBBLTZTM Markus

            Many times those affected by someone else’s infidelity do not get the luxury of “insight.” Sometimes all the details and answers are not all laid out nice and neat for everyone to understand how it happened. Sometimes, the cheater doesn’t even know, so join the club! We try to figure it out with only the data that exists, and how it affects us. We judge and try to move forward the best we can. And, all your ‘teaching’ moments as comments to everyone else is quite judgmental as well, friend.

          • skeptic150

            I apologize for any personal judgments.  If anything, I challenge the current “acceptable” ideas about marriage and monogamy as being a reasonable expectation- I think we have enough evidence (average number of sexual partners, “infidelity” rates, divorce rates, etc.) to show that the current monogamous, life long marriage structure may be incompatible with what we know about human behavior.

          • mmolloy1

            You are most certain a person who is not in or could be in a committed raltionship

          • blackst3

            Well that’s a ridiculous statement. He/she could very well be in a committed relationship. It’s a matter of having realistic expectations of how long that commitment will last and how honest both partners are going to be about that fact. I urge you to read “Sex at Dawn.” It’s filled with tons of research on this topic.

          • skeptic150

            @mmolly  I am in many successful, “committed” relationships. What I do in my bedroom has little, if any, influence on the vast majority of those relationships. Now, if you mean a committed, monogamous relationship, I have been in one for several years – but I seriously question any expectation that either of us will remain “monogamous” for the next 50 or so years.

      • skeptic150

        At face value, seems reasonable.  But the data seem to indicate “affairs” are not reliably predictable. Just like divorce in general, it’s a coin toss.  50ish years is a long time for people and relationships to grow, change, or fall apart with a spider web of complexities that don’t always make divorce an easy option. If you are going to worry that much about an affair, perhaps marriage isn’t a realistic option. The stats are pretty good, regardless of premarital analysis, that someone in a marriage will stray.  It’s like buying cars, chances are one will get wrecked- does that mean we don’t buy one or knee-jerk trash it once a wreck happens?

  • Frances Killam

    How come when a man has an affair, at the very worst he’s a sex addict or narcissistic (Tiger Woods), but when a woman has an affair she’s a slut (Sandra Fluke)?

    • IsaacWalton

      Both are criticism and insults in my opinion.

    • AF_Whigs

      It’s an obvious double standard.  My wife had a very brief affair with a friend of mine.  We worked through it and we’re still together.  Some of our friends sided with him and decided he was “lured” into the affair.   Many people, often otherwise very reasonable people, stick to our society’s insistance that men who cheat make mistakes but women are whores.

    • on_2nd_thought

      excellent question! (I don’t think Fluke was called that b/c she’d had an affair but b/c she felt her health insurance should cover contraception.)

  • Ellen Dibble

    Just about all the literature I remember from 19th century English literature reflects the danger to children and whole communities when you have “lives of quiet desperation” trying to hold it together for decades.  No escape valve, just greater and greater sense of hell hanging overhead if you move to left or to right.

  • Kathy Smith

    Why is it acceptable for Patraeus to break his commitment to his wife and allow his emotions to control his behavior?  Don’t we expect our leaders to follow through with their commitments in their personal lives as much as we expect them to keep their professional commitments?

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/A4AJ576QV77QBCZ75OX7N2OQRI pog

      We do not know what happened.  We really have no idea.  Maybe his wife neglected him.  We really do not know.  That men so often risk so much for sex should teach us that these biological needs are so very powerful.

      • EricTescher

        I will catch the show once the recording is posted.  Nonetheless, a marriage is an exclusive contract between two people.  Nobody knows the contract… and that might even include the two involved.  It is assumed that in any contract there are terms, often assumed.  If a contract includes attention, intimacy, and sexual fulfillment, than the contract is broken.  If there is no way to officially break the contract, than all that is left is quid pro quo.  Those that think they can be selfish and neglectful because they hold the cards, as far as I am concerned, you are an idiot when you get shocked when you are cheated on.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/4WARN3MMC225SRENE6RCXGKD7M Jaki Reis

    The thing that happens with some men who get into extra marital affairs is that the women they are married to see them as they truly are, warts and all.  And the time they spend with women who they are not married to, is likely full of the men talking about themselves, with the woman being able to listen without the encumbrance of a reality that includes those warts. Certainly, a biographer would have very good listening skills.

  • Thinkin5

    Good insurance is making sure your husband doesn’t spend all day working with women.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/A4AJ576QV77QBCZ75OX7N2OQRI pog

      Other good insurance is to spend all at least part of the day working on your husband.

  • mmolloy1

    You have left out the social media affairs. My husband
    felt if there eas no physical contact it was ok to text and talk on the phone talk on face book. Sex or not if it is behind the wife’s back it is an affair.

    • AF_Whigs

      I’ve been on the wrong side of this sort of thing and it is indeed painful.  Plus I have friends whose spouses started out with “innocent” online affairs which then led to physical encounters. 

    • skeptic150

      I believe the most important question to be explored and answered is why did he do what he did?  Until this is satisfactorily explored and addressed, it is unresolved, imo.  Simply labelling it an “affair” has not helped the situation, imo.
      I truly “love” my dog – is that an “affair?”

      • on_2nd_thought

        .

      • mmolloy1

        This has been done and the answer is – He liked the ego lift that another women was interested and he could string her along with the hope( for her) that this would become more just to maintain the fantasy
        how can you compare this to a dog!

        • skeptic150

          The comparison is based on the separability of physical intimacy and emotions/feelings/etc.  If you remove physical intimacy from the criteria for an “affair,” what, really, are you left with that does not become philosophically problematic and/or inconsistent?  

    • on_2nd_thought

      Yes. Any time there is deception and a need to hide a relationship (whether or not sex is involved) I’d consider it outside the bounds of the primary relationship. An emotional affair or affair of the heart is still an affair.

  • IsaacWalton

    I’ll speak for one man who had an affair (my father). My guess is my mother was busy raising 5 kids. Neither kept themselves up. And both have communication issues. NONE of that is a reason to have an affair. Get a divorce FIRST. Explain your needs. If your partner doesn’t meet you or understand then end it. Keep your hands in your pants until then. You can AT LEAST wait.

    • skeptic150

      “Neither kept themselves up. And both have communication issues. NONE of that is a reason to have an affair.”
      Perhaps, to you.  But perhaps they were significant (and appear to be for many people).  And perhaps the thought of keeping the family unit together trumped the idea of divorce. Not being the affairer or affairee, it’s probably a lot easier to through out your “solutions” than truly understand the issues and empathize.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1408098372 Mari McAvenia

      My father cheated on my mother, too, for almost the entire duration of their 23 year marriage. 6 children kept my mother very busy, true, but the woman my father had “on the side” was his best friend’s wife- also a mother of 4.

      The horrors of living in a domestic war zone for 18 years still haunt me. My mother was beaten & abused constantly & still, she stuck by him. It was only when the illicit relationship could no longer be denied ( physical evidence was involved ) that she finally left him.

      He eventually married the woman. She is now his official “widow” & living -for free- in the home my grandmother intended for her own family to inherit. We all dislike this so-called stepmom who is uneducated & ignorant & we avoid her completely. Not that she ever had any fondness for any of us. I guess we were the “competition” in her immature mind, a delusion that persists to this very day. Such a brutal waste for so many innocent people just so these 2 selfish brats could screw around. Pathetic.

  • sam

    In Europe, at least, men aren’t afraid to come out and admit they are having an affair.
    It is a totally different perspective there.

    I think it’s ridiculous.

    The men in america are SO AFRAID, of themselves, of the truth, of everything.
    It actually make me sick!

    You did something that you’re not proud of – come out and own up! Lying is cowardly.

    • astrom1970

      Interesting point. Compare Russia and the US on this. No one was held personally responsible for the monumental failure such as 9/11, but marital infidelity can send real shock waves through power structures. 

      On the other hand, I have never heard of a Russian official being fired because of infidelity, but dozens were fired when a German guy landed a small plane on the Red Square with no loss of life.

  • skeptic150

    Perhaps the “recovery rate” of infidelity would be higher if people started viewing “monogamy” more realistically (and, in my experience, Americans seem to have more issues with “affairs” than other societies).

    • harverdphd

       Did she get the house or did he get the kids ?

  • AudreyA

    Every young person and most of us older folk should watch “Unfaithful” which is an unflinching examination of the terrible consequences of an affair. It is very explicit (so it’s not for everyone) but it shows, without moralizing or preaching, just how damaging an affair can be. So many movies and programs show an affair as somehow sexy and daring, even romantic, and gloss over the devastating consequences.  I couldn’t watch Unfaithful with my kids (too explicit) but I asked them to watch it as soon as they were old enough, lest they be tempted to break their marriage vows “just once.”

    • skeptic150

      Would the “terrible consequences” occur if we changed our views of what may very well be an unrealistic expectation of monogamy? Not all affairs are “tragic” (especially outside the US), and this one possible outcome is by no means the universal outcome.

      • AudreyA

        Sexual intimacy is such a close bond, I don’t know how women or men in other cultures accept the mistress or second wife. (In fact, I’ve read accounts that say most middle eastern men find the second wife too much bother–the work involved in keeping wife one happy is more trouble than the pleasure of having wife two.) I think the idea that women and men in Europe are blase’ about affairs is exaggerated–it is human nature to be very possesive about one’s spouse.  Explain how anyone can be ok with their spouse spending time, money, and making emotional bonds with another person… 

        • skeptic150

          My great grandfather (Italian) had a known mistress – I have a memory of seeing both of them together (after he died) and they lived near each other and were friends (and I believe they even lived with one another at one point after he died).
          It is clear that the Greeks and Romans had very different ideas about sexuality, and I believe how we deal with these issues today in America reflects an inadequate understanding and/or acceptance of human nature. 

          • harverdphd

             At least he didn’t eat much then….

          • AudreyA

            There is no question but that other cultures have greater acceptance of what we consider infidelity. I wonder if the previous acceptance of prostitution (tolerating red-light districts) reflected a tacit understanding of male nature–that is, as long as he was discrete and used a woman with no social standing or emotional ties, then the wife would turn a blind eye. I think part of the reason for the “outrage” as well is that wives today have a lot more independance and marry more for love, not financial security. So they are less likely to forgive a man’s indescretion even if he is a great father and provider, whereas in previous generations, a woman would have to consider her financial well-being, and marital love was not the only consideration in a marriage.  However, it is quite possible for couples to embrace life-long monogomy, even today, but without a religious influence and with a sex-saturated culture, I expect it’s a lot harder. 

      • harverdphd

         Here we go with the Europe does it better song

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002800927398 Tim Jacobs

    As the husband of a cheating woman, a woman that was both self-described and thought of by everyone that knows her as “a good girl”, or “not the type that would cheat”, I can say with honesty that this has been the most painful and difficult time in my life.  I learned about my wife’s affair in March 2011 and the pain is as fresh as if it was yesterday.  Nothing justifies cheating.  Stop with all of the monogamy in different cultures crap, stop with the sexist remarks…there’s NEVER an excuse.  It’s hurtful, deceitful, and damaging in so many ways.  My kids are caught in the middle, while my life has been “on-hold” for almost 2 years.

    I am a recovering alcoholic, 3rd year sober, and I can be honest in saying that I was no picnic to be around.  But I stopped.  My wife, became involved with a “serial cheater”, a married man that is 10 years younger than me that has been caught dozens of times by HIS wife.  Still…I can’t blame him much, because he didn’t do anything that my wife didn’t allow.It has been impossible for me to either forgive or forget, even with meds, 2 psychiatrists, counseling, and what-not.  We are in  the middle of what I suppose you could call the pre-divorce separation.  She lives at home with the kids, and I have been staying with a close male friend from work.  Someone said it in a comment that they no longer want any relationships.  I agree.  After my 11 year marriage (most likely) ends, I’m done.  I can’t trust…nor should I ever again.  And I just turned 40.In closing, one of the final comments on this show was of one of the gentlemen stating that more empathy should be shown towards the cheater for maybe living in a silent world or an unfulfilled life.  I CAN’T DISAGREE ENOUGH!!!!  My pain and the nightmare will live with me forever.  What about empathy for the  ”cheated-on-spouse”?Tim

    • skeptic150

      I truly am sorry for your pain, and any one else who experiences pain because of relationship difficulties (for whatever reason).
      With that said, I think your experience is not uncommon but is not universal and highlights how there are different potential outcomes.  I have friends who have lived through “affairs” without as much drama or pain as many seem to convey.  I have friends who have said if the other “strays” they are ok with it.  Personally, if I found out my wife had an affair, I seriously believe I would try to uncover why it happened, if it was over, whether she wanted to remain married, and whether we had sufficient reasons to stay married (long term compatibility, assets, kids, etc.).  I would examine all potential roles (as you appear to have done).  But, ultimately, I would have to consider my potential role in a non-fulfilling relationship and whether we, as a couple, could make it fulfilling for each other in the long run.
      Something that is troubling to me is the apparent automatic assumptions and terminology in our society that seem to default to victimization of the “non-cheater.” There are always two spouses involved, and I doubt the underlying assumptions of the non-cheater as a victim are a useful approach to understanding this relatively common issue.

    • 2Gary2

       I fell your pain–You need to go out and get some yourself.  It would be very therapeutic for you to start sleeping around.  Very therapeutic.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002800927398 Tim Jacobs

        I see your point of view…however, two wrongs don’t make a right.  And, in the long run, your method would probably cause more problems than it is worth.  Still…I’m sure that your method is done all the time…lol.  :)

    • Roberto_57

       Dear Tim – I have walked several miles in your mocassins, and I feel your pain.  I found out my wife of 29 years was having an affair two and a half years ago.  It still hurts, it still feels fresh.  Remarkably, we are still together.  You are correct — there never is an excuse for an affair.  Amen to that.  But whether you reconcile with your wife or not, you must still reconcile with yourself.  You must still forgive.  A good friend advised me in some of my darkest moments that “we drink the poison of bitterness, thinking that it will poison someone other than ourselves.”  There are no guarantees in life.  Someone else in a new relationship could also betray you.  But if you can truly love yourself enough, and tell yourself that you are worthy, I think you can recover enough trust and enough self-esteem to go forward.  I will recommend one book that has helped me a lot very recently: “Forgiving the Unforgivable: Overcoming the Bitter Legacy of Intimate Wounds,” by Beverly Flanagan.

      Good luck to you, my friend.

      Rob

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002800927398 Tim Jacobs

        Thank you, Rob.  Your comments are very appreciated and very relevant.  I WILL check out that book…I’ll see if I can buy it on B&N online.

      • godiva16

        Same shoes here, too.  Achieving forgiveness is asking too much of a mere mortal. It worked better for me to forget, rather than forgive.  Zip up your force field and don’t let them hurt you anymore.

    • godiva16

      Same shoes here, too.  Achieving forgiveness is asking too much of a mere mortal. It worked better for me to forget, rather than forgive.  Zip up your force field and don’t let them hurt you anymore.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002800927398 Tim Jacobs

        I agree.  It has been just awful.  Even IF my wife said she was telling me the truth, she really wasn’t.  Whether it’s her sending a text message to the other man last year on my birthday that said “I want you”, or her taking sexting photos of herself that were QUITE graphic, or her going for birth control when we don’t and didn’t have “relations”, I will NEVER be able to forgive her.  I can’t look into her eyes without feeling the pain and anger or even the thought of more lies that she could tell.  

    • NewGirl21

      Hi Tim,

      I have empathy for the spouse that is cheated on. In my case, it was my mother. My father was discovered having a long-term affair two years ago, and then proclaimed he was ending it and re-committing himself to the marriage. That was just another lie, however. The affair continued and, long story short, my parents are now in the midst of a divorce. And they are 66! It does not seem worth it to me. But here I am, a 35-year old woman and my parents’ divorce hurts as much as if I were 5. It has also affected my own ability to trust in my relationship. But I will say, I know you feel deceived and terribly hurt and I have watched my mom go through all the pain that you have also felt, but, I would not give up on love. There are many honest, wonderful people out there… like my fiance for example. Yes, you can’t trust your ex, but you shouldn’t give up on trust in general. At least, I don’t think so. Best of luck in your continued journey to heal.

  • Carrie Zimmers-Naef

    One very brief question to put things in to perspective.  Many of the men who think monogamy is unnatural would change their minds in a blink if they laid eyes on their significant other in the arms of another…. Monogamy is just as instinctive as our lust or desires of the moment.

    • skeptic150

      Sorry- there are couples that gladly take pictures and videos of their spouses engaged in such behavior (and even participate in threesomes or more).

  • 2Gary2

    It seems to me that this is very simple.  People like to F.

    • Sarajan

      see Gary gets it

  • Sarajan

    Dear On Point- I think it’s time we had “the talk”. Your in depth and intellectual coverage of infedelity has shown me that no one ever sat down with you and a copy of “Our Bodies, Our Selves” or Hustler magazine and explained that sex is one of the few biological drives we’ve managed to maintain and that it feels really good. Some one should have had a similar discussion with Aikin a few months back, it could have eliminated so much embarrassment. It’s kinda like what happens when rational and informed people break down every December and line up for greasy McRib sandwiches that they eat in their cars before destroying the evidence to return home to spouses to eat salmon and kale. It just feels so good to give into the sweet wet indulgence of a succulent meat like foods product.

  • Sarajan

    Oh On Point, it’s time we have “the talk”. Your intellectual probing coverage of infedelity has indicated that no one ever sat down with you and a copy of “Our Bodies, Ourselves” or Hustler magazine and explained that sex is one of the few biological drives we’ve maintained and that it feels really good. Nature set t up this way to ensure species survival. Someone should have had a similar talk with Todd Aikin. It’s like what happens when rational people line up every December to stuff McRib sandwiches into their mouths before destroying the evidence and returning home to spouses to eat kale and salmon. Yeah it’s wrong but sometimes it feels so rights to eat wet meat like food products

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=9113649 Matthew Karlsson

      There are lots of things that would feel great.

      Beating up that guy who just cut you off in traffic would feel great. We have no tolerance for that.Why should we have any tolerance what so ever for people who feel they can violate the highest form of trust?Sex justifies nothing.   If sex is a deal-breaker in someone’s relationship then it is not a relationship that ever should have led to marriage.

      If sex is a “must have” rather than just a “nice to have, but my family and my emotional connection to my significant other is more important” then quite frankly, the person in question is a terrible person.

      • blackst3

         Wow Matthew. I bet you have a lot of issues with repressing your sexuality. That’s sad. Stop calling others terrible people.

        • Sarajan

          I like to beat people who cut me off in traffic too. Yeah Matt stop being so negative. a wise man once said “When I get this feeling I need sexual healing” Sounds like someone needs a little visit with Dr. Feelgood, he’s the one who makes us feel all right

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  • wigglebug

    I don’t know why it is not acknowledged that…

    Many marriages end up with a dismal sex life. 

    For one reason or
    another it happens.  Possibly there was a mismatch from the beginning. 
    But more likely it is because of stresses in the building and
    maintaining of a life together.  Many people harbor angers over time that prevent physical intimacy. 

    To say that
    people should then get divorced is too simple an answer.  Because
    marriage is more than a sex life.  Every aspect of the life they have
    built together must be placed on the scale before it is discarded.

    To
    say they should face the problem head on is easier said than done. 
    Many people are not evolved enough emotionally to handle the changes and
    self examination necessary to make things better in this regard.

    So
    some people decide that they can “solve” the lack of intimacy problem
    with an affair.  It is an imperfect solution to an imperfect marriage. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=9113649 Matthew Karlsson

      If they can’t have intimacy with the person they married, they have no business having it with anyone else either.

      It is better to go without sex for a lifetime, than to violate the highest form of trust.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nancythomas0218 Nancy Thomas

    Excellent….thought provoking….my women friends and colleagues are all passing this NPR interview among us….thank you!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=9113649 Matthew Karlsson

    This story disgusted me in the car last night.

    The fact that anyone would make excuses for, or defend someone who cheats is nearly vomit inducing.It’s not natural, its not OK, and there ought to be SERIOUS consequences for those who do.

    I – for one – was GLAD to see that an extramarital affair can still end a career in our depraved modern world.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002800927398 Tim Jacobs

      Matt, I am 200% in agreement with you on this aspect.  I was listening in my truck the other day in utter disgust.  ”Oh, boo hoo…my husband leaves his socks on the floor, and he doesn’t bring me flowers anymore”, or “My wife doesn’t want to have sex anymore”.  NO EXCUSES.

  • Roy_Martin

    There are two reasons I wouldn’t have an affair. First is it would hurt my wife if she ever found out. At some level, I’m not sure one can really hide it anyway. The second reason is I would know. How could I give myself fully to my marriage knowing that I’m hiding an infidelity.

  • alittleselfcontrol

    Yes, people sometimes feel desire for people outside their committed relationships. People also sometimes feel urges toward violence, but we don’t feel nearly as tolerant of people who give in to those urges. Humans have reason, and we need to develop and exercise our reason in order to better control our inappropriate desires. 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/TSXD5CCYE5GHCCON5VQHY7EFG4 amy

    Scanning the posts for mention of polyamory. Doesn’t seem to be any.

  • downthatpath

    You’re married for 20 years or so, you wife shows nothing but contempt for you. The only real thing you share with your wife is that animalistic desire for sex. There is no conversation, she still doesn’t even know what vegetables you like. She spends almost every free moment playing games on Facebook  You have a teenager who is 5 years or so from going to college. Why would I want to put my child through the whole divorce thing with having to split up, sell the house, visitation and on and on. Does divorce seem like a palatable course?  Not really.
    Look at all the things an affair offers, the excitement, the caring, maybe some understanding, an emotional connection may happen. The gender roles may be reversed from this scenario but it seems to me this is what happens

  • mvguyab12

    Isn’t the bigger question around Petraeus’ affair as a news story WHY it became public WHEN it did?  This isn’t your average guy who had an affair, and yet we turn this occasion to talk about the nature of affairs.  What about THIS affair, and who benefits politically and why?

  • skeptic150

    “Although, scientists discuss the evolution of monogamy in humans as if it is the prevailing mating strategy among Homo sapiens, only approximately 17.8% (100) of 563 societies sampled in Murdock’s Atlas of World Cultures has any form of monogamy (although these account for much larger than 17.8% of the World population). Therefore, “genetic monogamy appears to be extremely rare in humans,” and “social monogamy is not common, … often reduc[ing] to serial polygyny in a biological sense”. This means that monogamy is not now and probably never was the predominant mating system among the hominid lineage.”
    Is monogamy natural? http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/10/is-monogamy-natural_n_1087009.html

  • TangledKitten

    I’m disappointed to have heard no mention of polyamory, or consensual honest non-monogamy in this discussion so far.  I’ve lived quite happily for the last five years with my primary partner and his wife. My boyfriend or girlfriend will often join us for dinner, and we all get along quite amicably.
    We talk about every feeling- our needs and desires, jealousies and worries. We set boundaries if we need to, and make sure to schedule dates at least a few times a month. I can’t imagine going back to monogamy– I can’t imagine telling someone to never fall in love again. The rush of being with a new partner re-invigorates my love for my
    primary, and seeing him happy with someone else is a source of joy for
    me.

    It’s not easy, but poly works for a lot of people, and it’s far too often neglected as an alternative to monogamy.

  • Chelsea Sargent

    There was a lot of talk in this about men and their sexual needs. I would love a more indepth conversation about women and their sexual needs. Naomi Wolf has a cool new book out!

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Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a nationally televised question-and-answer session in Moscow on Thursday, April 17, 2014. President Vladimir Putin has urged an end to the blockade of Moldova’s separatist province of Trans-Dniester. Trans-Dniester, located in eastern part of Moldova on border with Ukraine, has run its own affairs without international recognition since a 1992 war. Russian troops are stationed there.  (AP)

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Apr 18, 2014
This undated photo provided by NASA on April 2, 2014 shows Saturn's moon Enceladus. The "tiger stripes" are long fractures from which water vapor jets are emitted. Scientists have uncovered a vast ocean beneath the icy surface of the moon, they announced Thursday, April 3, 2014. Italian and American researchers made the discovery using Cassini, a NASA-European spacecraft still exploring Saturn and its rings 17 years after its launch from Cape Canaveral. (AP)

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Apr 18, 2014
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a nationally televised question-and-answer session in Moscow on Thursday, April 17, 2014. President Vladimir Putin has urged an end to the blockade of Moldova’s separatist province of Trans-Dniester. Trans-Dniester, located in eastern part of Moldova on border with Ukraine, has run its own affairs without international recognition since a 1992 war. Russian troops are stationed there.  (AP)

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