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A surprising number of women say cheating has empowered them and made them feel more confident

A new survey from affair matchmaking website Ashley Madison revealed that cheating makes some women feel empowered.


By Julia Naftulin, INSIDER

  • A new survey from affair matchmaking website Ashley Madison revealed that a surprising number of women reported feeling more empowered after cheating on their partner. Since the respondents are Ashley Madison users, they may not be representative of the larger population, or even the larger cheating population.
  • Ashley Madison surveyed 1,047 of its female members, asking them how cheating made them feel. Some 56% said the act made them feel happy and confident.
  • Some women said they cheated because they felt lonely and undesirable in their current relationships.
  • Successful relationships require time, attention, affection, and sex, according to relationship therapist Tammy Nelson, so if a person isn't getting those things they may turn to an affair to feel fulfilled.

Cheating is typically considered a guilt-ridden act, but a new survey from affair matchmaking website Ashley Madison revealed that a surprising number of women say they feel more empowered after cheating on their partner.

Ashley Madison surveyed 1,047 of its female members, asking them how cheating made them feel. Some 56% of the respondents who were married or in long-term relationships said the act made them feel happy, confident, productive, and empowered.

All of the survey respondents used Ashley Madison to either start or consider starting affairs, so the results may not be representative of the larger population, or even of the larger cheating population.


Women said they cheated due to a lack of intimacy or feeling undesirable in their relationships

Some women surveyed said they decided to have an affair because they felt unhappy in their current relationships. According to the survey, 49% of the women said they cheated due to lack of intimacy with their spouse, 37% said they felt lonely, and 25% said they felt undesirable to their spouse. All of these are common reasons for cheating.

Successful relationships require attention, affection, time, and sex, according to certified sex and relationship therapist Tammy Nelson. "If a person isn't getting those things, they will either confront their partner and say 'We need to step it up,' or if they say it enough and the partner isn't hearing them, people turn to outside resources like an affair," Nelson told INSIDER. 


Cheating could ultimately make for better sex in a relationship

Although cheating can lead to the end of a relationship, Nelson said in some cases an affair can make things better.

"If you're in an affair and feel great about yourself and don't want it to end, use that sexual self-esteem at home with your partner too if you don't plan on breaking up on them. Don't be miserable at home and happy in your affair," Nelson said.

She said that affairs lead to the same giddy feeling new relationships do because being intimate with a new person releases the feel-good hormones serotonin and oxytocin. When these hormones are released, a person may feel happier and more empowered. Rather than compartmentalizing those feelings in the affair, Nelson suggested bringing the newfound confidence back to your partner and being more vocal about what you want and how you feel.

"More women than ever are navigating affairs and they feel in charge, being the one seeking sexual satisfaction. That is a former of self empowerment because they are looking for satisfying sex themselves," she said.

At the same time, the giddiness of a new affair can wear off and make a person feel guilty about lying to their partner. "There is a risk of the challenge of personal integrity. You may feel good as a sexual person in the affair, but how you feel about yourself for lying and hiding from your partner could be very different," Nelson said.

It's up to the cheater whether they disclose the affair to their partner, but Nelson said only certain kinds of people, like those who believe their partner deserves to be cheated on or those who are exceptional at compartmentalizing areas of their lives, might be able to go on with their lives feeling minimal guilt. 

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Love Magazine: A surprising number of women say cheating has empowered them and made them feel more confident
A surprising number of women say cheating has empowered them and made them feel more confident
A new survey from affair matchmaking website Ashley Madison revealed that cheating makes some women feel empowered.
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