the lifetime rate of infidelity for men over 60 increased to 28 percent in 2006, up from 20 percent in 1991. For women over 60, the increase is more striking: to 15 percent, up from 5 percent in 1991.
The researchers also see big changes in relatively new marriages. About 20 percent of men and 15 percent of women under 35 say they have ever been unfaithful, up from about 15 and 12 percent respectively.
Of course, any sex researcher will tell you that there is a huge difference between what people actually do and what they'll admit to doing, even on an anonymous survey. So 1 in 5 married people looking for romance outside the conjugal bed is a pretty low number. And the number of married people who wish they were having an affair is probably much higher still.
The result of all that beautiful romance before the marriage is a lot of human misery after. And where there is human misery, you can bet some entrepreneur somewhere will find a way to capitalize on it. So it is that we now have dating sites for married people.
Have you ever found yourself on a really bad blind date. Now imagine that date lasting for the rest of your life. Isn't it time for AshleyMadison.com?"
Of course, the response to "married singles" dating sites is moral outrage and public disgust. And yet, if 1 in 5 fairly new married people admit to having an affair...
Perhaps the bad guys aren't the poor, pathetic "married singles" who desperately attempt to escape the drudgery of "working at marriage" even after they work and work and work at work? Perhaps the real villain in all this is romance as an ideology that got perverted by marriage?
As an ideology, romance promises us everyday magic: meeting that special someone, the spark, the flame, the passion. We've all felt it: the sense that you've met your soulmate, the physical longing when they're not near, the endless desire to touch them. Romance is as close as we humans come to the sacred and the divine.
But romance was never, until modernity, tied up with marriage. Marriage was a property relationship that lasted a lifetime; romance was something else all together.
With the modern marriage came the very sensible idea that we ought to fall madly in love with our spouse... and stay that way. And there's the problem. No amount of buying pretty chocolates in red heart-shaped containers and long-stem roses can change the fact that marriage may not ever be- or at least rarely is- a source of lifetime romance. It's a partnership, a property relationship, a heck of a plan for many, not to mention a huge source of civil rights and privileges. But romantic?
Probably not. And since the only ways out of the work that is marriage are divorce, homicide, or adultery, maybe the best way to spend this Valentine's Day is to have an affair?