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Marital Infidelity, It’s Women Too

Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. was in private practice for more than thirty years. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the states ...Read More

It seems as though the sordid tales of men who are unfaithful to their wives and who are downright philanderers never ends. The two newest cases flying across the headlines include:

1. The head of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, currently jailed on Rikers Island, is accused of sexually assaulting a chamber maid working at the hotel where he was staying. Now, many more women are coming forward with statements that they too were forced into sexual affairs with this powerful man.

2. Arnold Schwarzenegger, former governor of California, Hollywood movie actor and husband of Maria Shriver,  is accused of siring a child with the maid who lived in their house for twenty years. Here, too, more women are coming forward with stories of affairs with Schwarzenegger.

It is tempting to, once again, bash men for being promiscuous. After all, isn’t Eliot Spitzer, former governor of New York State, yet another example of a man who could not control his sexual impulses? Let’s not forget Bill Clinton cheating on his wife in the White House with Monica Lewinski, while he was president of the United States.

The reader may notice a pattern emerging in the above examples. However, the pattern has less to do with them being men, than it does with the fact that they held positions of great power. In the United States, as in many nations around the world, women have come to hold positions of great power, both in government and industry. Are they going on sexual adventures much like their male counterparts? It might be tempting to say, “No, women do not do those things.” New evidence says that you would be wrong.

A new study conducted by a group of European psychologists is about to be published in the journal, “Psychological Science.” The findings are reported that, while many people admitted to cheating, the likelihood increased with the more powerful positions they held. This means that powerful men and women admitted to cheating.

It may be that it’s not the power itself that corrupts these people. It may be their narcissism and over-self confidence that drives them to seek power. The narcissistic personality does not have empathy for others. Rather, other people are there for their exploitation. At least, that is how they think. Therefore, male or female, these people exploit others for their own sexual pleasure and without concern for the consequences. Those consequences are the results that their damaging behavior have on their families.

By the way, I am not implying that only the powerful engage in extra marital affairs. In my experience as a mental health practitioner, it happens with plenty of men and women regardless of their socio-economic status.

What are your thoughts about this? Your comments and questions are encouraged.

Allan N. Schwartz, PhD

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