There seem to be no shortage of sex scandals in the news, specifically involving men in powerful positions. Of course, both men and women cheat for various reasons, but is it true that successful men, who appear to have it all, are more willing to risk everything for an affair?
Relationship therapist and research scientist Dr. Terri Orbuch writes in a recent piece on the matter that many powerful men might perform better under high stress and need excitement or challenges to drive them forward. “An affair gives them the same type of exhilaration in their private life,” she says.
She adds that one of the main reasons successful men have affairs is because they think they won’t get caught. “They also assume that even if they do get caught, they won’t get in trouble because they have the resources to cover it up,” Orbuch says.
Successful men also have ample opportunity for temptation. Many women are attracted to the fame, wealth and power of successful men, suggests psychotherapist Dr. Robi Ludwig. “Successful men are [probably] seduced and targeted more by women than most men, and that can make them vulnerable to cheating more.”
Ludwig adds that high-earners are also likely in the position where they need to travel more, keeping them away from their families for long periods of time; this offers the opportunity to cheat, as loneliness and the desire for companionship can trigger infidelity.
Some professions may even provide women as one of the perks, he says.
Orbuch also notes that powerful men are typically surrounded by “yes” people, who won’t necessarily challenge bad decisions, but may even help or entice them.
“Being in an environment among other ‘alpha’ cheating males can make cheating seem more normal, or even OK to engage in,” adds Ludwig.
This doesn’t mean women should steer clear of successful men. Wealth, power and celebrity may present more challenges and opportunities to commit infidelity, but ultimately it’s the man’s character that will most influence whether or not he will cheat.
“If he is inclined to feel entitled and that the rules of having a monogamous marriage don’t apply to him, then this is a man who might be vulnerable to cheating somewhere along the lines,” says Ludwig.
It’s important to acknowledge that both men AND women cheat, regardless of how successful they are as individials. In fact, the statistics show that infidelity among females in committed relationships has been on the rise, and it isn’t necessarily because they’re successful and high earners. An affair signals an internal need for a change and brings to light issues within the relationship, and that goes for the rich, the poor, and anyone in between.
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