Apparently most women tolerate their man straying and making relationship ‘errors’ once or even twice before dumping them, but only 1 in 10 men would stay with a woman who strayed. So just WHY are women so tolerant of cheating? And could it actually be a good thing? Today a report claimed that more than 6 in 10 women would happily forgive their partner for up to three ‘relationship errors’, but a massive 9 out of 10 men would dump their partner if they strayed just once. So what’s up with that? A quick poll around revealed three possible reasons...
We’re more realistic
My first instinct was to point the finger angrily at men and shout, ‘Er, you still think it’s us with the unrealistic expectations guys?!?!” Maybe the time has finally come for us to tell men where to shove it, because actually, it’s us women who are more realistic about life and relationships after all.
Yes, people cheat. And don’t get me wrong, it’s crap, wrong and horribly heart-wrenching when it happens. But maybe it’s us girls who know that it doesn’t always have to be a black and white ‘dumping’ issue and that hey, maybe, we can get over it and it’s not always the end of the world. In fact, social scientist Catherine Hakim appeared on BBC 4’s Woman’s Hour, saying exactly this. Hakim said that as a society we actually need to be more tolerant of affairs and that sometimes, they can even be a good thing. “If you take the view that most of them blow over and a good marriage is still a good marriage we should be a bit more laid back about them like the French, Italians and Spanish,” she said. Controversial? Absolutely. Realistic? Maybe.
Men are territorial
Of course, the other explanation is that men’s egos simply can’t take the battering of being cheated on. As a rule, men tend to be much more territorial about their partners and while most men can’t handle the idea of their partner getting it on with somebody else, women tend to react much more strongly to emotional affairs than just physical affairs. A survey of my male friends revealed that they just can’t handle the idea of another guy getting their mitts on “their goods” (yes, their actual words) and simply can’t get over it. As one male friend put it, “It’s just not very masculine thing to let another guy get it on with your girlfriend and let them get away with it, is it? We’d look like a right walkover.” Could it be that men are prepared to throw away years of investment after one (probably stupid) mistake just for the sake of their pride? And that women are able to see past infidelity and see the bigger picture? Possibly.
It’s our low self-esteem
Of course, the other explanation isn’t quite as empowering. Could our readiness to accept affairs actually be down to a darker reason, like our low self-esteem? A recent survey showed that 3 out of 4 women say they lack confidence, compared with 57% of men. We also know that women in the workplace rate themselves as less competent than their male counterparts (a recent study showed than only half of women managers said they had high levels of confidence, compared to 70% of men). So could it be happening in relationships too? As a colleague reminded me earlier this week, once women hit 35, there’s just one single man to every seven women (seriously) so perhaps it’s this panic making us feel that we should hang on to our guy, no matter how tough it gets – because, hey, it’s better than being single!
Personally, I think all of us deserve to be in a happy, secure relationship and I know I’d much rather be single and happy than clinging on to a cheating guy for the rest of my life. But what do you guys think? Please feel free to share with us your opinion here or on facebook!