March 24, 2011 1:46 PM   Subscribe

Please help me find descriptions of the psychology or "standard" process of women who approach and are willing to cheat with married men.

So, I've found plenty of self-help style stuff to explain both the hurt wife and the cheating husband to pieces, but I am coming up with 0 for the following:

Descriptions of the psychology or "standard" process of women who approach and are willing to cheat with married or otherwise taken men.

All I can find are articles and posts from women who started relationships with married men without initially knowing they were married, or where the woman wasn't the initial pursuer.
posted by Acer_saccharum to Society & Culture (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Maybe check out the "mistress" role.

This is a pop site, maybe nsfw, found on first page of google search, and doesn't deal specifically with women who approach men, but it does attempt to explain mistress psychology.
posted by londongeezer at 2:32 PM on March 24, 2011

Any time you're asking to understand the "psychology" of some phenomenon, you're likely to be falling prey to the fundamental attribution error. That is, we tend to attribute the actions of others purely to their psychological characteristics, and ignore the many situational and other factors which may be playing a role.

That is to say, there probably isn't any one psychology of women who are willing to cheat with married men, just like there isn't one psychology/explanation of men who cheat, or women who remain faithful, or anything else. Human behaviour is more complex than that. In reality, there are likely a bunch of personality and situational factors that combine to make that sort of behaviour more likely.

Sorry if this come across as terribly unhelpful, but I suspect your search is going to be fruitless at best, or misleading at worst.
posted by damonism at 4:58 PM on March 24, 2011 [5 favorites]

Yes, there isn't going to be any one reason. But I imagine it can be narrowed down by exclusion: of all the things people want of their sexual partners, what things are different about sexual partners who are married?

Married partners are less available, but less needy. They aren't going to (generally) be the kind of guy who depends on them. (The "can I crash on your couch" after the first date kind of guy.) They are potentially more able to be manipulated, if golddigging is the goal. If it is a mutual cheating situation, both parties have a lot to lose if caught, so there is some kind of mutual respect for keeping it on the down-low. The thrill of doing something "wrong" or "dangerous" might be attractive. For someone with low self-esteem, choosing a married partner perpetuates that myth.
posted by gjc at 5:42 PM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Are you only exploring single women who sleep with married men or married women as well? Because I imagine that a significant number of women who consciously cheat with married men are going to be married women - there is less to fear about homewrecking, STD's, and gold-digging (not to mention a likely similarity of opinions when it comes to emotional issues about adultery, especially when there are children involved) than you would get with a single man.
posted by Mchelly at 7:40 PM on March 24, 2011

The first thing I thought of was this letter to Ann Landers from some years ago.
posted by SisterHavana at 10:28 PM on March 24, 2011

Response by poster: Sorry, I should have been more specific. Thank you everyone for your answers. I'm exploring single women who have relationships with married men, where the woman is hoping the man will end the marriage to be with her. So, not referring to women content to remain mistresses.
posted by Acer_saccharum at 8:30 AM on March 25, 2011

From a MeFite who would prefer to remain anon:
I know one woman who had an affair with a married man. She developed a crush on a co-worker and went after him during a time when he was slightly disaffected with his wife--separation? just an argument? I do not know the details, because I did not want to know.

She did not care in the slightest about his wife, she just wanted him. When he broke it off, she pined after him and tried to instigate things again. If it helps, I found this affair much explained when she later confessed to an impulse control disorder. Trying to crowbar herself into the life of a married *co-worker* sounded like insanity to me.

You already know you're not likely to find a "standard process" of homewreckers, but that's the only one I know.
posted by jessamyn at 6:16 PM on March 25, 2011

Shirley Glass' excellent book "Not Just Friends" considers all three members of the infidelity scenario-- the betrayed spouse, the wandering spouse, and the affair partner. The example she chooses for the affair partner is a single woman, because (one presumes) that's most common. The premise of the book is generally that, because men and women are more in contact with one another socially (in the workplace, etc.) that emotional connections develop that turn into emotional and sometimes physical affairs. I'm sure it's likely that there are other MOs as well, but that may be one good source to consider.

If you'd care to do research directly from the source, there are discussion boards for "other women"-- not difficult to find via Google. Why not ask?
posted by Sublimity at 4:42 PM on February 8, 2012

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