Expert Blog Compelling advice, stories, and thought-provoking perspectives straight from YourTango's lineup of Experts to you

The Surprising Reason Women With "Perfect Lives" Still Cheat

Photo: WeHeartIt
The Surprising Way The American Dream Is Killing Your Marriage

That dream life quickly starts to feel like a nightmare.

Men are catching A TON of flack from the media in lieu of the Ashley Madison hack. 

But, the truth (that no one is talking about much) is that more than 50 percent of married women cheat, too. Not to mention, a poll found that 30 percent of adultery happens between the ages of 35-44.

If you look at the life cycle, adultery often happens right in the middle of a couple's pursuit of the elusive "American Dream."

That begs the question: if the American Dream is so great, why are we on this never ending search for more?  

By the time you're ready to say, "I do,” America's patriotic vision of ideal and ultimate success has constantly hung in front of your nose for decades. 

Before marriage, you craft a fantasy life with your soon-to-be spouse, full of hope and promise. You talk together constantly about common goals, your ideal lifestyle, and even play around with darling ideas about parenthood.

But, what sucks about "make-believe" is that it knows no bounds — it even romanticizes the sh*tty parts! Absolutely failing, in the most horrific way, to help you both comprehend how much time and money it takes to sustain such a well-groomed dream. 

In reality, you have no clue how exhausting those all-night cry fests with your newborn will be or, hell,  whether those nights will even exist. You're blind to the devastating impact a baby has on marriage (pretty much snuffing out your "us" time for years). Yet, everywhere you look, photos of adorable babies and happy new parents abound. Society tells you how glorious parenthood is — how a baby will change your world ... all, for the better. 

How the American Dream Derails Your Marriage 

Once upon a time, the American Dream was about seizing opportunities in order to have a good life and retire financially secure. Now the so-called ideal has us stuck in a gluttonous cycle of buy now, pay later — separating us from our loved ones, while we work endless hours to pay for our purchases.

Inevitably, you get sucked into the idea that, BIGGER is better. (No worries, you're not alone in this.) Nonetheless, you buy a home larger than necessary and vehicles loaded with all the options and gadgets. You get lots of stuff to fill your massive "dream" home, and take luxurious "dream" vacations. But hustling to pay for all of that keeps you and your spouse apart. Quickly your "Connection Tank" drains dangerously close to empty. You start reaching out to your partner, begging for more attention, and they recoil with frustration because in their mind, their dedication to your co-created dream life goals is more than enough.

At this point, your glorious visions dissolve into disillusionment. You crumble in defeat, while your partner works even more, trying to make things "better." As a result, the longer hours leave them far too tired to give you anything, only exacerbating your loneliness. Months roll by and a thick layer of animosity settles into your marriage. You resent your spouse for not listening to your cries and they resent you for expecting too much.

The American Dream Turns Marriage into a Modern Day Nightmare 

We've become too busy, too far in debt to change things, and completely starved for connection in our relationships. 

When you feel isolated and hopeless you tend to look for a quick fix. Perhaps that's a glass of wine (or three), redecorating your house (yet again), or the latest pricey tech gadget that promises to make your life easier. 

But, once the buzz of newness wears off you realize that you have only aggravated the problem. Now your pants fit a little tighter, your credit card bill is higher, and the gadget is of no use in all it's complexity.

Emotionless, you do whatever it takes to make it through the day. You keep busy, focus on the kids, and scroll through your newsfeeds to numb the persistent emotional pain. A life of chaos and multitasking becomes your norm. You feel numb, isolated, and half-dead. 

Until one day … someone (anyone) pays you the slightest bit of attention. And "adultery" suddenly becomes your escape from the "dream life" that's making you miserable. 

Whether you're at your son’s soccer game, in an office meeting, or an old flame wants to reconnect via Facebook. In that moment your world transforms, like when Dorothy reaches the kingdom in The Wizard of Oz.

Colors are brighter, food tastes better, and life's little annoyances don't seem to bother you anymore. You feel young, desirable, and most important ... YOU FEEL ALIVE. 

You see, NOBODY is immune to infidelity.

The REAL Reason Women Cheat?

Well, in order to understand betrayal, you need to look at the original source. Focus on where the nightmare began. 

Yes. Women are starving for emotional connection, but aren't we all? The "American Nightmare" has us working non-stop in order to pay for what we've accumulated, all in the name of feeling accomplished and successful.  

To keep up with the world (and the Joneses) we go into an automation/survival coma. 

The danger with going through life numb, is that it becomes mundane and nothing — absolutely NOTHING — jolts you back to life faster than a little attention.

Jessica Miller is the author of Back 2 Love and How to Start a Mental Health Private Practice. Follow her on Twitter where she tweets Top Relationship Tips: @back_2_love_. 


This article was originally published at JMiller Coaching. Reprinted with permission from the author.


Explore YourTango