East Texans explain why they cheat

BEAUMONT, TX (News Release) - By Donna McCollum - email

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Adultery is a dirty little secret fed by passion. Watching celebrity relationships fall apart is one thing, watching your own spin out of control is devastating.

"I've been married 25 years and I've had seven affairs during my marriage," said a confessed cheating male. "Some were just one time and some were a year long."

Marriage counselor Dr. Debra Burton says his needs and her needs are the same. How they are prioritized is the big difference.

"The sexual fulfillment, a recreational companion, and they also want an attractive spouse," Burton said. "Those are the top three needs that are reported in research for men."

The former cheater relates. He reflects on his first discovery as a philanderer.

"I was good in bed. I actually found out that I could please a woman and that's what happened," he said.

A survey by marriage counselor M. Gary Neumann estimated that one in 2.7 men will cheat and most of their wives will never know about it. Hook-ups start with casual friendships. Matches also occur through hundreds of Internet sites.

"Men tend to have sexual relationships based on a need for acceptance," said Burton.

"Men, be careful. There are plenty of ladies out there that will meet your need, wants and desires cause they're searching for some of the same thing you are and when that happens an affair can happen," the former cheater said.

Women cheat too

Just like in the sexy movie, "Fatal Attraction," women, just like men, are drawn in by a look. But more often, women commit adultery for something more than sex.

"The three needs for women are conversation, honesty and openness," Burton said.

"There's fewer erotic desires as opposed to emotional desires," said counselor Renee Bumpas.

Divorce attorney Joe Lee Register has seen a lack of connection break up marriages over and over again.

"Emotional needs can go from the extent of hey dear, how was your day," Register said. "And that doesn't happen anymore. And people start existing instead of living."

One woman found that happening in her marriage.

"I was married for 25 years," she said. "Probably the cheating started prior to the marriage, if the truth be known. Cheated on the full 25 years. The last one was the younger woman syndrome, I guess."

The marriage ended in divorce. The husband married his girlfriend, but cheated on her too. The other woman? His ex-wife.

"I went to bed with him to pay her back for what she did to me," she said. "Wouldn't do it again, wouldn't have done it then, didn't want to do it. It was a revenge thing."

"I guess you can use that excuse," Register said. "I've heard them all."

Counselor Laura Smith is in the business of healing broken hearts. She's seen women justify their infidelity through their anger.

"Because they're not trying to hurt the person, but they've developed anger, a type of anger or hurt in their heart and it's a way to get back," Smith said.

Two wrongs don't make a right, but at the time it made this betrayed woman feel better.

"They had seen each other, slept together for two years and it just made me feel like I wasn't such a victim," the former cheater said.

For whatever the reason, the decision to cheat is entirely in the woman or man's control.

Marriage counselors advise couples to make time for one another. Go on a date, compliment one another, provide a favor, and be sensitive to the other's emotional needs.

"And accept that relationships aren't about orgasm," Smith said. "That's, you know, a microsecond of the day. The rest of the day is what really determines the quality of our life."

Marriage takes work, and it can become complicated, but not anywhere close to the confusion and hurt cheating can create.

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