Infidelity is a topic that raises eyebrows, strikes fear in our hearts, and can often generate a buzz of moral superiority. One author spent a year investigating women’s experiences with affairs—yes, that’s women cheating. The result is a glimpse into the dynamics of our most intimate relationships, and the ways women negotiate marriages that fall short of their expectations. Which is how we get to our question: For women, is cheating the new black? The answer to that might surprise you, and that’s exactly why we explored this topic in depth in our Midtopia: Real Women, Real Life webcast series.
The Secret Life of the Cheating Wife
Dr. Alicia Walker is an author, a researcher, and an assistant professor of sociology. Her work focuses on intimate sexual relationships and gender generally, and much of her work looks at infidelity specifically. She is the author of The Secret Life of the Cheating Wife: Power, Pragmatism, and Pleasure in Women’s Infidelity. I met Alicia as the result of a chance encounter on Instagram, and my curiosity on this fascinating topic was instantly piqued. I mean how can it not be? Even better? Alicia is an incredibly interesting, smart woman exploring relatively new and unexplored territory. I love it—and her.
Alicia’s interest in infidelity and women’s thinking on and approach to infidelity started innocently enough. Our conversation touches on that, the serendipity involved that helped Alicia actually get the involvement and participation from women to help conduct this research, and some surprising things she learned from the study participants along the way.
Some of the things we touch on in this interview include:
1. How did the fact that these women were finding affair partners online change their experience? In what ways was that different than, say a woman who meets her lover at work?
2. In the book, women talked about how their affairs helped preserve their marriage. How exactly can having an affair keep a marriage together?
3. The surprising and/or unexpected things that Alicia learned about women’s infidelity along the way.
4. While she’s certainly not an “affair counselor” by immersing herself in this topic, Alicia has definitely gained some insight and expertise about extramarital relationships from, well, a cadre of experts who are having them. As a result, she’s got some advice that might be helpful if you see a bit of yourself and your situation as a result of this conversation.
Women Cheating, Life is Tricky, and Reserving Judgment
As you might imagine, my interview with Alicia Walker was fascinating, and one I can’t wait for you to watch or listen to. The topic of women cheating certainly isn’t something that we talk about often, or perhaps even consider. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen, and sometimes with good reason or the best intentions. Regardless of how you might personally feel about women cheating, affairs, and infidelity, in my own life journey, I’ve realized there’s always something to be learned by listening to what others have to share about their thinking, their personal experiences, and their motivation when it comes to extremely personal topics like this. And this conversation here about women cheating definitely opened my eyes in ways that I’d not previously considered.
So watch or listen, and chances are good you’ll hear some things you’ve not yet considered on the topic of women and infidelity, and maybe even learn something along the way. The one thing I know to be true, the paths we choose to walk are all different. I try very hard not to compare another’s path or their life choices to my own because the longer you live, the more you realize that life is complicated, relationships are complicated, and people are complicated. And the only people who know the nuances of what goes on within a relationship are the two people in it. When it comes to infidelity, maybe there’s a way to think about it that’s different than what you might otherwise have imagined. Maybe not. But either way, it’s a fascinating topic and I’m so grateful to Alicia for sharing her research and her experiences with me and with our audience.
Watch our interview on women cheating here:
Or grab the podcast link and listen here (and you should definitely subscribe while you’re there, this is only the beginning of some really amazing topics we’re diving into!
Once you get a chance to hear what Dr. Walker has to say about women cheating, and all the nuances involved, I’d love to hear your thoughts, whether public by way of a comment here, or by way of private message. Also, lest you think her focus is solely on women, Dr. Walter is currently working on a book on men’s experiences with infidelity called Unquenchable Masculinity: Affirmation, Attention, and Pressure to Perform in Men’s Infidelity that’s due out in early 2020. She’s also working on a book on women who self-describe as “highly sexual.” When it comes to humans and sexuality, Alice Walker is doing some very interesting things—and she’s definitely one to watch! You can find and follow Dr. Walker here:
Twitter: Dr. Alicia Walker
Instagram: Dr. Alicia Walker
LinkedIn: Dr. Alicia Walker
If you’d like to buy her book, you can buy it directly from the publisher here, using the code LEX30AUTH1 for a 30 percent discount.
Image credit: Dương Nhân from Pexels, follow him on Instagram at @ChristianDuong (he’s awesome!)