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Man looking at evidence on board of wife cheating.
Most married couples don’t ever imagine their relationship ending in infidelity. But the truth is that cheating occurs in even the happiest marriages. Why? Loneliness can play a major role in affairs, as does boredom, impulsivity, and alcohol. Sometimes a close relationship with a colleague is taken too far during a long night at the office. Other times a spouse turns to infidelity to fill a physical or emotional void left unfilled. But the root causes differ with every relationship — and rarely does the infidelity follow a recognizable script. For example, married women cheat just as often as married men.

“We have this idea socially that men are cheaters, all men are susceptible to cheating, that men are dogs, right?” says Alicia M. Walker, an associate professor of sociology at Missouri State University. “But the data tells a very different story.”

In the process of writing her book, The Secret Life of the Cheating Wife: Power, Pragmatism, and Pleasure in Women’s Infidelity, Walker learned that women cheat at the same rates as men, if not more. Turns out, the cheating wife is not an anomaly. And depending on the age group and behavior, sometimes women cheat even more often than men. “Way more women are cheating than we think,” she says. “We just don’t like to talk about it and we don’t like to think about it. You don’t want to think that your neighbor, your Sunday school teacher, or your friend is doing this. But the reality is, you know a woman who’s cheating, you just don’t know that she is.”
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