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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Married Women Are Cheating More: Ruby Has Taken Her Love to Town

"You've painted up your lips an rolled and curled your tinted hair.
Ruby are you contemplating going out somewhere?
The Shadow on the wall tells me the sun is going down 

Oh Ruby
Don't take your love to town"

"Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town" by Kenny Rogers (Mel Tillis, songwriter)

Mel Tillis wrote this song. He based the song on a couple who lived near his family in Florida. In real life, the man was wounded in Germany in World War II and sent to recuperate in England. There, he married a nurse who took care of him at the hospital. The two of them moved to Florida shortly afterward, but he had periodic return trips to the hospital as problems with his wounds kept flaring up. His wife saw another man as the veteran lay in the hospital.

Tillis changed the war in the song to the Korean War, and he left out the life ending: the man killed her in a murder-suicide. In the song, the man says he would kill her if he could move to get his gun. "Ruby" was originally recorded in 1967 by Johnny Darrell, who scored a number nine country hit with it that year.

However, "Ruby" was released and made most famous by Kenny Rogers and the First Edition in 1969. Many assumed the man in the song was a Vietnam veteran, but, Tillis intended the veteran to be a soldier who had served in Korea.

Cheating Sistas Doing It For Themselves

A cheating woman? In the not-too-distant past, women were assumed to be less likely to cheat than men. And, people thought when married women did cheat, they were somewhat of a disloyal rarity -- females who broke sacred vows of fidelity. There was a double standard as many more men cheated on their wives than vice versa.

Having emotional affairs, cheating wives were said to be likely to "swap up" when they cheated. Cheating wives tended to have affairs with men who had more status and resources than their husbands. They were also known to be more likely to view their infidelity as a symptom of the problems in their relationship.  By comparison, men were assumed to have an easier time separating infidelity from the problems they faced at home.

Now ...

"An astonishing one in six wives admit to cheating on their husbands after a 40% rise in last 20 years."

(Frank Bass. "Cheating Wives Narrowed Infidelity Gap Over Two Decades." 
Bloomberg. July 1, 2013)

While one in four men rationalized their adultery with the excuse "unhappy marriage," there were more women (one in two) who actually used the same justification.

Women now seem to be becoming less discreet about cheating. Sociologists believe the gender gap is closing, and female infidelity is very likely linked to cultural change. Statistics support the fact that men cheat more than women, but according to the research, the increase in unfaithful women reflects many trends. Here are some findings:

* Women have their own jobs and great financial independence, so they feel they have less to lose from a divorce. “Among married couples with children, the proportion in which the wife’s income tops her husband’s has increased from about 4 percent in 1960 to 23 percent in 2011,” according to a Pew Research study.

* Women have greater access to men who might be interested in them and available.

* Women find cheating easier with the internet and social media (including but not limited to dating and extramarital meetup sites).

* Women believe personal fulfillment is more important than ever before.

* Women may be cheating with same-sex partners more. This is an assumption: there's no word on whether or not the NORC survey contains data on same-sex marriages

Relationship experts and authors Patricia Johnson and Mark Michaels say, “To the extent that men play a role, the change reflects a certain inattentiveness. Relationship neglect is often (but not always) a primary cause of infidelity.” And, now women understand that if their marriage isn't making them happy, they can find another partner.

Daniel Bergner, author of the newly published book What Do Women Want?, claims in the past, cultural expectations have prevented women from having more affairs. The assumptions that women are programmed to seek out one good man and that men never have been really well-suited to monogamy are being questioned.

Bergner says an increasing body of science suggests that women’s sex drives are as powerful as men’s libidos though they’ve been repressed by thousands of years of male-dominated culture.

The website Ashley Madison (Incidentally, since its 2002 creation has grown to serve 3.5 million active users speaking nine languages in 26 countries) operates with this slogan: "Life is short. Have an affair."

Noel Biderman, the author of Adultropology: The Cyber-Anthropology Behind Infidelity, is the chief executive officer of Toronto-based Avid Life Media Inc., which operates Ashley Madison. He started the site more than 10 years ago. He said he now makes more than $40 million a month from it. “We’re the second-biggest dating service on the planet,” Biderman said.

Biderman believes the website’s usage patterns by age highlight the cultural shifts. Biderman says the ratio of males to females is greatest among users older than 65, with 14 men for every woman. The ratio is 4-to-1 among users in their 50s, 3-to-1 for spouses in their 40s, and evenly divided among people using Ashley Madison in their 30s.

As the nation’s median age increases, changes in attitudes about women engaging in sex with someone not their spouse may cause the gap to narrow more, Bergner states.

“Once you strip away the stigma from the equation, interest in casual sex is about equal for women and men,” he said. “So we men may have a lot to worry about.”

Yet, the difficulty of dealing with the emotional cost of affairs and cheating is still very questionable. In the 2009 the National Opinion Research Center's (NORC) poll, when asked whether extramarital sexual relations are (1) always wrong, (2) almost always wrong, (3) wrong only sometimes or (4) not wrong at all, public opinion was uniformly adamant.

According to polls, slightly more than 80% of Americans say that extramarital sexual relations are always wrong. The “always wrong” response had actually risen over the past 35 years.

(Karlyn Bowman. "Just How Many Spouses Cheat?" Forbes. June 29, 2009)

My Take

Spouses will always be tempted with the forbidden fruits of cheating. Whether men and women are equally sexually charged, equally unhappy in stale marriages, or equally financially stable, the stimulus for excitement and variety is at hand and fairly easily available. Merle Haggard once sang, "It ain't love, but it ain't bad." Yes, affairs continue within the bonds of marriage -- some exposed and some hidden -- and life goes on. Love suffers, but life goes on.

I believe judgment of those entering the cheating game today is much more slack than ever. What with more and more emphasis on hot body parts and 50 shades of libido satisfaction, sexual candy comes in so many tasty flavors that titillate the imagination. Affection, then love, then sex and more sex or much more varied sex and a little sprinkle of stretching the boundaries and ... soon, the entire concept is on the edge. Who these days can "get enough" of anything or be satisfied with "less"?

If you look at the reasons cited for female cheating, you begin to understand why temptation has turned into much more mutual coitus. More money, more opportunity, and more desire top the list. What besides moral commitment to fidelity will stop females or males, for that matter, from using their resources to taste new dishes of exotic appeal? It's there; it looks good; so, I deserve it resounds in modern day America. "I will have fun" is a credo that dictates social interaction.

To me, you can never take the flirtatious impulse and thrill out of the cheating equation. The positive aspects of women shrinking the gender gap will also cause married ladies to meet a darker, more dangerous threat. How can they not? The real concern is that extramarital sex will eventually become so commonplace that reliability, allegiance, and constant love die within marriage.

How do couples stem this in the face of the "highest happiness matters" marriage? Should married couples cheat if cheating makes both spouses happy? I don't know because I am of the old school that contends cheating breaks bonds, and these bonds cannot be repaired with simple promises or material gifts. I have seen love and marriage survive cheating situations, and I believe this rarity is always due to unbelievable forgiveness and incredible humility and change. Finding those things all coming together after a spouse discovers his or her lover has offered up their most sacred affection is so rare.

If love is happiness, not money or variety or sexual fulfillment, cheating will likely lead to hollow gratification. Let's face it. Jealousy is explosive, especially since a spouse's affair feels like a sickening, crushing blow to the faithful partner's genitals and fragile ego. Perhaps God created this thin line between pleasure and pain to keep human beings from finding sexual satisfaction so commonplace that it would mean nothing to the emotion of true love.

"Oh, Ruby, for God's sake, turn around." 

And now the song rings even louder in my 63 year-old ears. Yes, ladies, I believe cheating is "tit for tat," yet I can assure you when a man finds his "baby" loved by another, he goes insane to some degree. Tell me things have changed, and I will tell you of so many heartbreak stories that happened in the spur of the moment during flaming, all-consuming passion that you will reconsider any advantages of free love. We used to say "If it feels good, do it." No happy person I know practices this ignorant philosophy.

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