Married But Dating: The Latest Research Into Why People Cheat

Married but Dating
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Mar 27, 2019

Internationally acclaimed psychotherapist and sex therapist Dr Tammy Nelson’s new book ‘When You’re the One Who Cheats’ has just come out. Here, she talks to The Carousel about her research findings in the book on why people cheat.

With the help of Ashley Madison, I was able to do some fascinating research for my new book, ‘When You’re the One Who Cheats.’*

With 60 million people worldwide who have logged onto the extra-marital dating website to find an affair. I wanted to know more about their motivation behind their affairs; what made them cheat and if there were differences between male and female affairs.

I created two profiles for myself; one as a man looking to date a married woman and the other as a woman looking for a married man. I didn’t purchase credits to speak with any other members and I didn’t respond to anyone who messaged or winked at me.

The experience was purely for observation, like peering into a fishbowl without being able to swim with the fish. I didn’t want to misrepresent myself to anyone on the site, as I was purely interested in responses to my profiles. I purposely never sent messages or expressed any direct interest.

The men who pursued me and said clearly they didn’t want to break up their marriages, but, interestingly, they wanted a connected relationship. They didn’t just want sex. Most of them were looking for companions, something consistent, and a partnership parallel to their companionship at home.  

In my profile as a male Ashley Madison member, the women sent me lots of sexy photos. While the male photos had been men with boats and motorcycles, or men with their dogs, the women’s photos were blurred headless shots of naked legs and breasts. And the women were much more explicit about what they were looking for. They were clear that they didn’t want a committed partner. They wanted casual sex.   

Relationships and why people cheat
Relationships and why people cheat

What surprised me most was how many women were clearly looking for sex only. They didn’t want a relationship – they wanted something illicit and exciting.

Websites like Ashley Madison that clearly state members are there to meet other married members provide the opportunity for both men and women to seek out exactly what they are looking for – a dalliance, extramarital sex or a long-term emotional affair.

These online cheating websites level the playing field for women. For women, the power of married dating can bring back waning self-esteem and restore a sense of free will.

Online married dating is a way for women to have as much power as men to choose an outside partner. Women don’t have to wait to be asked out on a date. They can choose a partner on the site based solely on a profile and decide if they want to take the relationship off the website and meet in person. If they are attracted, they get to decide if they want to have sex.

Whether you are a man or a woman, gay or straight or bisexual, don’t assume that you or your partner(s) will behave in traditional sex roles when you cheat.  When choosing a partner or in a complex extramarital relationship,  cheating has no boundaries.

When you're the one who cheats

When You’re the One Who Cheats is now available on Amazon from digital download and paperback copies.

Author: Dr. Tammy Nelson is an internationally acclaimed psychotherapist and sex therapist.

Dr. Tammy Nelson
Dr. Tammy Nelson


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