Interesting research to suggest that men are more likely to cheat on their partners as they approach milestone birthdays – at the end of a decade, age 29, 39, 49 and 59, (what about 69?? Ha ha – too old to bother?), researchers in the USA have discovered. The “9-enders”, they note, are the ones who want to make the most significant changes to their lives, searching for new meaning on the cusp of a new decade. Well, I certainly get that, major milestones are significant and of course they make you sit up and take stock of your lot. That doesn’t surely mean that we all have to turn into the biggest cliche ever and have an affair just to prove that we are still alive and have still got it, does it? Surely we should all credit ourselves with a little more intelligence, creativity and compassion than that?
Let me point out however that this research has been carried out in partnership with Ashleymadison.com – a dating website for married people and the CEO, Noel Biderman is quoted as saying “I’m not surprised by the results of the study”.
No. Neither am I. So why bother to carry out the research in the first place then – to attract more clients? Don’t the people who run the websites provided exclusively for married people to have extramarital affairs understand THAT THEY ARE OFTEN THE REASON MARRIED PEOPLE HAVE STRAYED IN THE FIRST PLACE?? And trust me, I say this from experience. Mr Noel Biderman also says “for many turning 29,39 etc is a time to take a step back and reflect on one’s life choices. While some people turn to fitness or travel to find meaning, it’s also a time when many people turn to infidelity to create happiness.”
“Turn to infidelity to create happiness.” Did he actually say that? Seriously, is it really acceptable in this day and age to follow the path of happiness whilst trampling and cutting down swathes of other people’s happiness on your pursuit? What have we all become? What happened to honesty and trust and consideration? I can’t think of one person who is having or had an affair that hasn’t caused untold misery for many in the process.
The report analysed eight million male users on above mentioned website for extramarital dating (HOW is that even allowed – isn’t it illegal when you’ve made vows??) and found that there were nearly 18% more men than chance would dictate of that age who were actively betraying their partners (although they don’t actually use the word “betray” obviously). Apparently there was a similar trend with women, but not as strong and international data apparently reveals that this trend extends globally.
So maybe it’s time to look at more positive ways to start a new decade – ones that don’t cause a massive amount of pain to a huge amount of people. Maybe men and women should go and live in huts for the last year of each decade and reassess what they want. Away from temptation. What about setting up the “9” club? (more like the “999′ club as clearly we have reached desperate measures if we are using extramarital websites). It could involve lots of TRAVEL (note I’ve said that word and highlighted it so now I can put this post in the TRAVEL section and pretend I am a TRAVEL blogger), incorporating activities and challenges for all those reaching the end of a decade who need to stretch themselves and find meaning in some way shape or form. Mindfulness, trekking, Pilates, film & book clubs, dinners out, scuba diving, whale watching, safaris, star gazing….surely that is what we all want rather than an illicit affair? Or do all roads lead to the same place and innocent activities would merely serve to disguise (and delay) the motivation for a little bit longer? My way would still be fun and thought provoking and more than anything else it doesn’t have to hurt a huge number of people if you get the midlife crisis thing right. BECAUSE YOU COULD EVEN THINK ABOUT BRINGING YOUR PARTNER – THEY WOULD BE WELCOME!! (SHOCK HORROR). DOING SOMETHING TOGETHER REALLY DOES HELP. It’s really not rocket science all this stuff.
Another underlying problem here is that we need to sort out the dire state of our nations childcare facilities so that couples can do more together “those who play together, stay together”. We all know that having small children puts a massive amount of pressure on a relationship. You have to try and hang on in there – don’t even think about looking elsewhere until the youngest child is 5 and then if you do – have the decency to be honest and have a conversation rather than slope off to a dodgy website or someone else’s arms. Once you get beyond the kids stage, it has been known for couples to start liking each other again and even actually enjoying their partners company more than before. Of course lots of people would disagree with me – we have such a throw-away lifestyle these days it seems relationships can often fall into the same camp. To be discarded when the going gets tough.
This, to me, is a very sad state of affairs.