Saturday, July 5, 2014

Infidelity- The Exception or The Rule? - Guest Post by Author, Patricia Mann

In my book, The Man Test, Dr. Marin Johns tries to prove that all men are liars and cheaters. And nobody likes a cheater, right?

Fellow author, Patricia Mann covers the same topic in her debut novel, Is This All These Is? When I asked her about her thoughts on the topic, this is what she had to say . . .

I remember being at a pool party with a group of moms and kids one summer when my boys were young. Somehow the subject of cheating came up. One woman announced that she would immediately leave her husband if he so much as kissed another woman. I couldn’t believe she would tear her family apart over a kiss. Another woman laughed and confessed that she had kissed a coworker in her office just the week before. She didn’t feel bad about it at all, saying, “the guy’s a hottie and my husband doesn’t pay any attention to me anymore.”

 I listened intently as the debate raged on. You see, I’m a little obsessed with infidelity. My debut novel is about a wife, mother and professor who’s tempted to have an affair with a former student. And I just finished the sequel. Unlike most unfaithful characters we find in literature, I wanted my protagonist to be a likeable and relatable person. The cheater is usually presented to us as a heartless monster, right? But what if that’s not always the case? What if the truth is that most perfectly decent, upstanding citizens actually engage in this behavior at some point in their lives?

The main reason this subject fascinates me is because it’s personal. I can’t say all I’d like to say on that, because there are people I want to protect. A lot of people. What I can say is that in almost every long-term marriage or committed relationship I’ve seen in my life, one or both partners have strayed. These are people I love dearly, people who I adore and look up to, who I think the world of, and who were also unfaithful to a partner at some point. To err is human, is it not?

Because I write novels and blog posts about infidelity, I’m constantly looking up statistics on the subject. I don’t trust some of them because I can’t imagine that many people are honest on the subject. I think the numbers are higher than the studies suggest. Just now, I found an interesting new question that anonymous study participants were asked and the responses surprised even me, jaded as I am! Roughly 75% of men and women admitted that they would cheat if they could get away with it, if they were assured their partner would never find out. Wow, 75%. How much worse is doing it than saying you would do it if you could?

 I want to thank Amanda Aksel for two things.
1. I’m so grateful that you invited me to be a guest blogger on your website!
2. I really appreciate that you shared Dan Savage’s brief video, Why Monogamy is Ridiculous, with me.

I wish everyone would watch it and at least consider his way of looking at the subject. The entire video is less than 3 minutes and is definitely worth checking out.

This paradigm busting statement was my favorite: “If you’re with somebody 40, 50 years and they only cheated on you a few times, they were good at being monogamous, not bad at being monogamous.” And the following point pretty much sums up how I feel on the subject and why I write about infidelity: “I’m conservative. I think that we should do what we can to preserve marriage and long term relationships, and one way to do that is to encourage people to have more realistic attitudes about sexual exclusivity.” Thanks again, Amanda!

Author Bio:
Patricia Mann is a university professor. She teaches communication studies courses. Patricia lives in California with her husband, their two kids, and a sweet, silly old dog.

Author Website:

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  1. My problem with the cheating is that the cheater wants to be forgiven and be allowed back in the trust circle. But there's another side to cheating and that's the devastation that person's choice leaves in his/her wake. Cheating is NOT an "Oops, sorry, I just made a mistake." It's "I made a conscious choice to put someone else above my spouse." I've been on the receiving end of cheating by the man who promised to love me and cherish me.Well, it's hard to feel loved and cherished when he can't keep it in his pants. I grad school, I was surrounded by supremely intelligent, sexy men and there were plenty of opportunities to stray but I made the CHOICE to stay true to my marriage vows. I never saw those other men as reasons to leave, reasons why I wasn't happy. They were eye candy, nothing more. The other thing about cheating that can be devastating is the risk of STDs. So maybe in the past men had harems and screwed anything with a hole. But they also married little girls and kept slaves and no one would argue that that is acceptable behavior. So why do we want to shove off cheating as just "guys being guys?"

  2. Thanks for sharing your experience, Shay. Being on the receiving end of infidelity is absolutely devastating, I agree. I definitely do not advocate or condone cheating. I'm just suggesting that if one partner cheats and is genuinely remorseful and willing to do anything necessary to rebuild trust, maybe the relationship could still have a chance. I'm saddened by the high divorce rate. If both parties aren't willing to put in the hard work of surviving this kind of betrayal, it won't work. I just would hate to think that infidelity automatically has to be the death knell for a marriage.

    1. I just think it's REALLY difficult, if not impossible, to actually believe that the person didn't mean it or truly feels bad. Most of the time, the cheater doesn't come forward and if they do, they shove blame on the spouse. It's impossible to get the visuals out of your head of your spouse with someone else and no matter how much they say they are sorry, there is that voice in your head that says they are only sorry for getting caught and that if they could have continued on with the relationship, they would have :(

  3. Shay, thank you so much for sharing and opening up about a painful topic. You're a brave woman! I'm sure there's a man out there, if you haven't already found him, who will always put you first.

    1. LOL I don't see myself as brave, just forced to live life alone. And it's really okay. I am better off alone with just me and the cats :D

    2. Nothin' wrong with that, girl!

  4. This is a current topic among my friends as well. Sadly, one marriage between two close friends is in the process of being dissolved because of an affair. But I don't think it's so much the physical part that bothers the wife, but the fact that her husband had a strong emotional connection with the woman he cheated with. According to him, he and the woman were "very, very close friends" for quite a long time before anything physical ever happened, and that's what's tearing up his wife. I believe that if it'd been a short tern thing or one-night stand, she would've been able to forgive him and move on, probably with some therapy. I know I'd have a much harder time dealing with the knowledge that my husband had a very close emotional relationship with another woman--behind my back--than if he had a brief physical affair. Not that I'd want that either, BTW! -Mary Rowen

    1. My ex had one of each and the one with his ex (he referred to her as his soul mate before we started dating) was worse than the one with the woman he picked up from the Greeley Stampede (and THAT one had physical contact whereas the relationship with his ex didn't). I guess that just goes to show that we women really value the emotional side of intimacy :)

  5. Yes, Mary. Emotional affairs, in my opinion, can be more damaging than physical ones. Thank you for sharing!

  6. I like this post - because I agree, people who are unfaithful are not necessarily demons in disguise. Sometimes you just fall out of love with one person and in love with another, and the edges blur. Falling out of love with one and in love with another doesn't make you evil. One thing that really annoys me is when people call the 'other woman' a bitch, etc. She isn't, she just fell in love with someone who was taken, and, more importantly, was up for being 'stolen'. I've been the cheater, the cheated upon, and the other woman, so I kind of see it from all viewpoints.

  7. Hi Terry! Thank you for sharing so openly. I guess there are a lot of sides to an affair.