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Young married women are now just as likely
to cheat as their spouses. Two Jewish authors
debate the new infidelity.
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n literature, female passion that
strays outside the bounds of mar-
riage tends to meet a spectacular-
ly unhappy end — with Emma
Bovary's poisoned chalice or Anna
Karenina throwing herself under a train.
In real life, the cost-benefit analysis
of female infidelity isn't so clear.
Traditionally, men have been pegged
as the philandering sex — women
being regarded as less promiscuous by
nature or, their lives tethered to hus-
band and family, more vulnerable to
exposure, or both.
But recent research heralds a sexual sea
change: Women under 40 are now just
as likely to cheat as their male counter-
parts. The reason, believes
Shirley Glass, Ph.D., is that
society now encourages
women and men to become
friends, especially at work.
The scenario of the fat-cat
boss leering at his secretary
has been replaced. Now,
male and female colleagues
work as equals — and all
Peorrct )(',:;'ii R
too often fall in love as
, TY AND
An authority in the infi-
delity field since the early
1980s, Glass has just come
out with her first book, Not `just
and emotional — is much more
Friends": Protect Your Relationship From destructive to marriage than the old-
Infidelity and Heal the Trauma of
Betrayal (Free Press; $25).
Hooper: Susan, you interviewed hun-
Whereas danger leaps from every
dreds of cheating women. Is there
page of her book, New York City
something special about the work-
author, professor and lecturer Susan
Shapiro Barash takes a different tack
Barash: No, women will meet some-
in her recent A Passion For More: Wives one at the airport, day care, on a train.
Reveal the Affairs That Make or Break
Women just get around, and they're
Their Marriages (Berkeley Hills Books; clever at arranging an affair, if so
inclined. Good at covering up, keep-
While Barash isn't pro-affair, exactly,
she lauds women for having the
courage, and the economic wherewith- Glass: In therapy, women are exceed-
ingly reluctant to talk about affairs.
al, to search for love — or even just
For them, the affair has such a roman-
great sex — in all the "wrong" places.
tic aura — they put it in a bubble.
Recently, over lunch at a midtown
Barash: When I was researching my
Manhattan restaurant, Glass and
some women protested that
Barash compared notes.
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Hooper: If I'm reading you right, Shirley,
these increasingly common office affairs
have turned the tables on traditional gen-
der stereotypes — that men are more
interested in sex for its own sake and
women are only looking for love.
Glass: Right. In the past, women
would have "emotional affairs" but not
intercourse, because there was too
great a price — the "double standard"
and all that. But now they've had
more premarital sex, so they're less
inhibited, and they've got economic
independence and the autonomy that
goes with it.
And men aren't looking for sex on
the side because they feel entitled;
they're first forming deep emotional
attachments at work that then lead to
sex. And this kind of affair — sexual