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What Pushes a Married Woman to Commit Adultery?

by Shannon Philpott

When they take their wedding vows, couples envision a lifetime of happiness together. But, in good times and bad, marriages can face trials and tribulations that may include adultery. The results of a 2014 survey, as published in the "Journal of Marital and Family Therapy," revealed that in 41 percent of marriages, one or both spouses admitted to infidelity. And, spouses who have been married more than 10 years are most likely to commit adultery, according to, "Age, Gender and Adultery" in the British Journal of Sociology. Couples are often able to overcome acts of adultery, and one of the first steps is discovering what pushes a married woman to infidelity.

Poor Self-Esteem or Self-Image

Sneaking around can be exciting when you feel desired and wanted by another; however, according to Robert Weiss, founding director of the Sexual Recovery Institute, a poor self-image or low self-esteem may push a woman into the arms of another man. When a woman doesn't realize her true value in terms of her appearance or the attentiveness of her spouse, she may commit adultery to feel desirable, writes Weiss in the PsychCentral article, “Why Men and Women Cheat.”

Emotional Validation

When a married woman feels unappreciated, undervalued or unloved, she may seek attention from someone else, says Weiss. She is cheating to obtain emotional validation and to reassure herself that she is of value. According to Weiss, married woman usually seek this attention in social settings or in the workplace, and as a result, their behavior may lead to infidelity.

Unreasonable Expectations

During your courtship or even as newlyweds, it’s likely that you and your spouse promised each other a lifetime of happiness. However, as reality set in and the stress of balancing work, finances and even children, these promises may have been shelved. Unrealistic expectations of what spouses should provide for each other and demands to meet emotional and physical needs can serve as a downfall in a marriage and even push a woman to commit adultery, says Weiss. Instead of establishing solid friendships and a family support system, a married woman with unrealistic expectations may seek companionship and intimacy with another.

Revenge and Retaliation

Whether a woman has experienced emotional neglect from her spouse or has suspicions that he is cheating, revenge and retaliation can be the deciding factor that pushes her to commit adultery, says Weiss. Even though the hurt may be misguided or even a result of misperception, a married woman may feel when she cheats on her spouse as if she has achieved justice and hurt her husband in the same manner as she was hurt. Ultimately, when a spouse has an affair, the long-term consequence could lead to separation or divorce if both parties are unwilling to mend the marriage.

About the Author

Shannon Philpott has been a writer since 1999. She has experience as a newspaper reporter, magazine writer and online copywriter. Philpott has published articles in St. Louis metro newspapers, "Woman's World" magazine, "CollegeBound Teen" magazine and on e-commerce websites, and also teaches college journalism and English. She holds a Master of Arts in English from Southern Illinois University.

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