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Regional & National

Why do men - and women - cheat on their spouses?

December 4th, 2009 12:00 am by Staff Report

According to a report by USA Today, those who study marriage and work with couples say men who cheat usually do so because they feel something is missing in their primary relationship. "The underlying piece is the fact they're not getting the kind of attention or intimacy they're looking for within their primary relationship. That's true for women as well," says Israel Helfand, a marriage and family therapist in Cabot, Vt.

He says he doesn't believe adultery is necessarily more prevalent than in the past, but he says it may seem that way because famous people who are unfaithful in their marriages bring attention to the overall issue of why people cheat.

"We're hearing more about it because of the information age," says Helfand, who along with his wife, a psychotherapist, conducts marriage counseling retreats. Helfand says whether or not someone is famous isn't the issue. Rather, he says the "situation is pretty equal across the board these days." In other words, the incidence of affairs is now relatively equal between the affluent and the middle class.

"They have more opportunity. There is more affluence. The middle class is stronger than it used to be. There is a lot more traveling in the corporate world. There is a lot more quick information with the Internet," he says.

Helfand says data from the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy suggests that 15% of wives and 25% of husbands have experienced extramarital intercourse.  

Read the full report at the USA Today's Web site.

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