SAN DIEGO, April 4, 2013 ― Several newly released studies about cheating have provided plenty of material for morning radio DJs and late night TV talk show hosts. Now it’s time for a divorce attorney to have a say.
In a new report jointly released by ChristianMingle.com, a dating website for Christian singles, and JDate.com, a dating website targeting Jewish singles, more than 2,700 American singles between the ages of 18 and 60 were surveyed about their thoughts on cheating. Remember, these answers come from singles who claim in theory to practice certain religious beliefs.
Among the findings in the study:
- Nearly half of singles believe infidelity is the single greatest threat to marriage today
- Women are much more concerned about infidelity than man.
- Financial problems rank second to infidelity as a concern; third is a lack of family values
- It’s just about universal that having sex with another person is considered cheating: 100 percent of women and 95 percent of men surveyed believe this to be true.
- Almost two-thirds of singles would consider marrying someone who was unfaithful in a prior relationship, depending on the circumstances.
- However, that number drops to only about 20 percent if they were unfaithful to them, and only 4 percent would definitely get married to someone who had been unfaithful.
- All women responding believe passionately kissing another is considered unfaithful; 86 percent of men agree.
- 82 percent of women believe texting or online flirting is cheating; just 56 percent of men agree.
- 46 percent of women consider going to a strip club to be cheating; 32 percent of men do (which seems like a high number for the guys).
- 45 percent of women believe viewing pornography is cheating; 29 percent of men consider it cheating.
More women (68 percent) than men (49 percent) believe that “once a cheater, always a cheater.” Almost two-thirds of singles believe it is at least somewhat acceptable to date more than one person at a time, although there are varying degrees of comfort about it.
Women are slightly more likely to believe it is acceptable if you are not having sex with any of them. Non-online daters are more likely to feel it is definitely not acceptable.
Findings from college students surveyed by the University of Michigan were similar. Students were asked to look at 27 different behaviors and rate them on a scale of 0 to 100 based on the extent to which they believed the action would be considered cheating in a long-term relationship – zero meaning not cheating at all and 100 meaning absolutely cheating without a doubt. There was no breakdown by gender. The results:
- Sexual intercourse: 97.7
- Oral sex: 96.8
- Kissing on the lips: 88.7
- E-mailing pictures of themselves naked: 88.2
- Texting erotic messages: 82.6
- Sleeping in the same bed: 68.4
- Holding hands: 63.2
- Forming a deep emotional bond: 52.4
- Sitting in lap: 52.2
- Going out to dinner: 41.4
- Sharing secrets: 36.5
- Hugging for more than 10 seconds: 34.5
Various studies show consistently that about one-quarter of divorcing couples cite infidelity as one of the major reasons for ending the marriage. So it’s important for any couple thinking about getting married or who have already taken their vows to discuss cheating and the ramifications of cheating within their marriage.
Online technology, smartphones, and other tech tools have made it easier to facilitate cheating. But it doesn’t mean the cheater can hide his or her tracks any better.
While the numbers are informative in their own way, they don’t mean a thing in your marriage. The only definition of cheating that counts between a couple is the definition they agree on. It’s hard to imagine when you’re blissfully in love the thought of your beloved even looking at another man or woman. But human behavior is remarkably consistent.
So talk about it. Talk about your beliefs and your expectations. Find out where you have points of agreement and disagreement. Consider pre-marital counseling to keep the conversation from getting heated or accusing. By knowing where you stand in advance, you’ll be far better equipped to prevent cheating by avoiding situations that could create problems in your marriage. If you can’t agree, it’s far better to find out long before you take your vows.
Myra Chack Fleischer serves as Lead Counsel for Fleischer & Ravreby in Carlsbad, California with a focus on divorce, property, custody and support, settlement agreements, mediation, asset division and family law appeals. Read more Legally Speaking in Communities Digital News. Follow Myra on Twitter: @LawyerMyra.
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