Let the wife make the husband glad to come home, and let him make her sorry to see him leave ~ Martin Luther. Unfortunately, the situation in the Indian household is quite the contrary. The husband dreads coming back home, and the wife is more than glad to see him leave. An article published in the month of August 2017, in the Hindustan Times, carried a survey which stated that “contrary to popular belief, the data shows that women are not averse to making the first move to seek new encounters outside marriage. Among those surveyed people felt that such encounters happened with females taking lead in more than one-third of the cases.” Yet another survey published in the Times of India revealed that 76% of Indian women (from 75,321 respondents) do not think that infidelity is a taboo, 68% said that it had made their marriage better and over 80% of people who were surveyed, revealed that they had arranged marriages. Clearly, extramarital affairs committed by women are no more a secret.
Let us try to comprehend the major reasons why women have extramarital affairs.
6 major reasons why women have extramarital affairs
Gone are the days when women used to hide under a five-inch veil and obediently play the various roles of a chaste wife, a devout daughter-in-law and a libido-less mother. This is the 21st century and women are successfully playing the new role called infidels. But this is not what is infuriating the patriarchy – the audacity of an ‘Indian’ woman to commit an extramarital affair. What is more shocking to the patriarchy is the infiltrated morality of today’s Indian women who no longer consider an extramarital affair as taboo and are openly articulating their sexual and emotional needs.
1. Desire makes a woman look outside a marriage
Desire is the mother of all sins. It is not a new fact that in all marriages, sooner or later, the charm of the youthful days fades. Women desire to rekindle something new and passionate in their relationship. Noel Biderman, founder and CEO of Ashley Madison, has said: “It’s not so much a seven-year itch as a three- to four-year itch — that first bump in monogamy being post first child. At the heart of it all is desire…someone who tells you that you’re the greatest thing and wants to spend his life with you.
Now they don’t even want to look at you, touch you, talk to you. But you have economic stability — a home, kids, family. You don’t want to walk away from it just because you feel less desired… People think, ‘I’ll just put myself out there in an anonymous way.’ They want to rekindle that object of desire.”.
Related reading: Is the 7-year itch in a relationship real?
2. A neglecting, careless husband
Not everyone is blessed with a beautiful, caring and loving partner. Men do not generally invest time in their wives and usually take them for granted. Halfway in their marriage, women realise that they are not being given the love, respect and companionship they deserve in a marriage. So, they simply start looking for it elsewhere. Sometimes, someone places these thoughts in their minds and they start to be overly critical of their husbands. This gives the other person an opportunity to kindle the flame of an extramarital affair.
However, psychiatrist and author Dr Anjali Chhabria has said: “It is not necessary for the relationship to be at fault in order to justify the person’s infidelity. Sometimes, it’s just the person’s personality type.”
What Dr Anjali means is that cheating on the husband varies from woman to woman. While some women give up on their partner and enter into an affair, others try to think about the future consequences. In this manner they choose to remain loyal to their husbands instead.
3. Suppressed sexuality
If a man couldn’t suppress his sexual passions or was dissatisfied with his wife, he could easily spend a night in a brothel. No one asked him any questions because he was the head and the caretaker of the family. After a few years in a marriage, a man’s desire wears off and he starts to take things easy; while the wife may still be very keen on making love.
It’s not a surprise that a woman’s sexual needs have always been suppressed. She was (and still is) taught to preserve her chastity and virginity. And women did so because they were uneducated and were not capable of standing up on their feet. But times have changed. And as counsellor-author P.V. Vaidyanathan has pointed out: “As the woman of today rises, she is willing to take a look at her own needs and, if necessary, honour them, be it inside or outside the house.”
And sexual gratification rules a woman’s needs. Perhaps that is the reason why one of the conclusions in the Gleeden.com survey states that a “majority of the respondents (more than 57%) of the survey, be it male or female, have no qualms in accepting that these encounters are more about satiating the urge for physical intimacy than developing a platonic relationship.” That is why women often initiate extramarital affairs in India and there is no surprise in it anymore.
4. The modern attitude towards marriage
There is a fundamental flaw in the very nature of married Indian couples. Everyone hungers for quick satiation. Everyone wishes to speak but no one is willing to listen. Intolerance is on the rise and hypocrisy is ruling marriages. People are more into flaunting their love lives on social media than having a heart to heart conversation. Moreover, like with objects, couples are getting bored with their partners too.
If one relationship doesn’t work, they plan and plot to develop another. The values of commitment, sacrifice, love, companionship, forgiveness and moreover the attitude of ‘fixing a broken thing’ have been lost. So instead of making a marriage work, women (and men alike) look for a new alliance that offers them love, attention and sex – without the boredom of the bedroom and the responsibilities of a house.
5. The bane called the Internet
The Internet has always been a boon and a bane. While you can see many men glued to their mobile screens and not giving an iota of their attention to their wives, the wives have taken to the internet as well. It does offer a lot, doesn’t it? You can get in touch with your exes, stalk their profiles for hours and approaching someone at the click of a button is so convenient. It has made it easier to flirt over texting or online chatting tools, adding a glint of tech to glamour of seduction. Easy peasy! That’s why women are also getting into affairs very easily.
Dr Vaidyanathan added: “A lot of affairs owe their existence to electronic communications. The sheer ease and secrecy of mobile communication is an enabling factor.”.
To aid women, extramarital-affair websites like Gleeden.com, AshleyMadison.com and Extramaritalaffairs.in are making it easier to have clandestine online affairs. In fact, Ashley Madison was launched in 2014 with its motto: “Life is short, have an affair” and guess what, it had 2.75 lakh Indian users in the same year.
6. The working woman and opportunities
Chances of extramarital affairs increase when both the partners are working. Women don’t find that time to nurture their marital relationship with their husbands at home. It is the same routine day after day, and there is no time (nor intention) to bond between cook, clean, work and eat. Rather, the same bonding happens with their colleague at the workplace. Both men and women work the same number of hours and often travel together for business trips. “As a result, there are more instances of extramarital affairs in the corporate sector,” as noted by marriage counsellor A.R. Tulalwar.
Related reading: 12 ways office affairs can spell trouble for you
How common are extramarital affairs in India?
A survey revealed 7 out 10 women cheat on their husbands in India. Nearly 77 per cent of Indian women who chose to cheat on their husbands reasoned that their marriage had become monotonous and finding a partner outside marriage allowed them to add excitement to their lives.
Whatever might be the reason, extramarital affairs are never healthy for a relationship. At times, they leave irreparable scars on both the offenders and their partners. Therefore, as adults, it is the duty of every married woman to take conscious and informed decisions, especially in the Indian society, where a marriage is not just a union of two individuals, but two families.