Today in DETANGLED
They say people fall in love all over again with their partner when they reach their 50s. They say you’re wiser and more committed than ever. Well, I have a completely different view on that. As far as I know, a midlife crisis doesn’t spare anybody. And like any other crisis, some people don’t know how to handle it, so they cheat. There’s nothing wise about that if you ask me!
Compared to young people, it seems that married people over 55 cheat for completely different reasons. In fact, back in 2016, 20% of those older than 55 had an affair outside their marriage, and only 14% of those under 55 declared the same, as the Institute for Family Studies’ Nicholas Wolfinger reported.
It’s important to note that this difference can’t be explained either by gender, age, race, or education. If you want to know the underlying reasons why so many people over 50 years old cheat, we’ve made a comprehensive list for you.
In fact, this particular study reveals many surprising trends among those who actually cheat. Middle-aged Americans in their 50s, but also in their 60s, are way more likely to cheat on their spouse, and for many reasons!
A consequence of the times we live in
“Maybe the natural tendency towards extramarital affairs is nothing but a product of what people saw in their parents, and it’s not so much about their age.” At least that’s what Wolfinger, the author of this study, believes.
People who were born between 1940 and 1959 registered the highest rates of extramarital affairs. But coincidence or not, these were the very first generations that became adults during the se*ual revolution, so it’s easy to understand why they’re way more likely to have s*x with someone else other than their spouses.
As Baby Boomers had their formative years in the 1970s, when the se*ual revolution was peaking, they might have experienced different types of se*ual connections. Those who were born later in the 1950s might have had swingers for parents. Truth is, back then, people in their fifties and sixties definitely had more partners in their lifetimes than younger fellows.
50 and still hot
Nowadays 50+ women and men still feel pretty much se*ually alive and relevant. They are open to embracing life and feeling confident. They also seek more independence, especially since they have an empty nest, which might push them in making all kinds of decisions for themselves and new, interesting adventures.
In most cases, they really love the thrill and the excitement of a new affair, after many years of being with the same person. In fact, according to a recent survey conducted on 4,000 members by a UK-based extramarital dating site, 57% of female cheaters said they instantly fell in love with the man they had an affair with.
And you wouldn’t believe it, but fully in contrast, only 27% of the men surveyed declared they were in love with their mistresses. As it has been indicated in this informal survey, women might cheat because they crave an intimate bond with someone. In fact, for them, it’s not so much about the affair as it is about the BOND, which is highly different from how men feel.
Long-term problems in marriage
When there are constant unresolved issues at home, a pattern might set in between two spouses who are unhappy for a very long time. When both of them or at least one of them is looking for an affair, they might be wishing to stay away from all the unresolved issues in that marriage.
They feel way more comfortable with a new and exciting person. This way, they get the feeling that the problems won’t negatively impact anybody, and life can carry on just as well with a little “parallel” support.
Boredom makes things worse
People who are alone at night for long periods of time, either because they take care of young children or for other reasons, might feel that their lives aren’t exciting. Many of them, out of boredom, might think that an extramarital affair or a deep romantic affair will successfully fill the void.
In most cases, some people might feel the need to cheat because they can’t even remember what physical intimacy with their own spouse feels like anymore. And for some, a marriage without physical intimacy isn’t acceptable.
As mentioned before, women cheat because they crave romantic intimacy. In fact, many women over 50 still feel extremely confident, financially stable, and independent, with an extremely positive body image, which is much better than their mothers felt, and NO ONE expected this from women at this age. As Tammy Nelson said, around 8)% of affairs usually happen because opportunity comes.
If there’s an opportunity, it might be very difficult to turn down an extramarital affair that promises to bring a lot of pleasure and intrigue into your life. In fact, it’s even harder to say not if a woman is already unhappy, depressed, or even stressed in her own marriage.
Cheating men want to be needed
When men get the impression that they aren’t needed by their wives anymore, they start looking for another woman who seems to understand them and make them feel special. And like any other new relationship, they manage to get that feeling from someone else.
All of a sudden they are showered with a ton of attention, which they haven’t felt for a very long time in their own marriage. That’s why they immediately jump into a new affair, as they get to feel again all the warm and fuzzy feelings that have been gone for so long in their own relationship.
Cheating Baby Boomers usually want to experiment more
Physical intimacy has always been one of the most important parts of a marriage. Even if some people are actually happy to spend the rest of their lives being intimate with the same partner for many years, others would prefer to experiment more. It will make them feel more powerful than others.
They are looking for self-affirmation
Cheating might be seen as a way to get validated from the outside, and even feel more needed. In fact, some women in their 50s will start an affair because it makes them feel alive and truly desired, which only wakens up the dormant flame inside of them. If she’s struggling with low self-esteem, she could look in other places for validation, especially if she and her spouse don’t seem to have any kind of connection anymore.
They subvert to traditional roles
There might be another reason why women decide to have a fling: outsourcing their own se*ual needs in a relationship comes as an effort to keep their marriage. According to Alicia Walker, the whole concept of female infidelity might appear as an internal response to traditional gender roles.
Lots of women who decided to cheat were also in functional marriages. At the same time, they felt incredibly bored with their married life, starting to grow resentment for the fact that as a woman, they were obliged to do a very disproportionate amount of invisible labor in order to maintain their lifestyle.
One woman even explained how inequality of tasks in her marriage is an extremely annoying factor, which put her oftentimes in a bad mood, especially near her husband. Another woman explained that while her husband was a very competent adult in the outside world, at home he felt like a child that you have to clean after.
However, if any of this feels slightly relatable, it’s worth mentioning that cheating is not the only solution. As a general rule, satisfaction in extramarital affairs doesn’t last for long, and it rarely provides long-term fulfillment. If you feel trapped and you don’t know what to do, we’d strongly recommend you talk to a friend or a therapist.
I hope you found this article useful, and if so, you might also want to try: 8 Signs Your Partner Is About To Break Up With You