She Said, She Said: Women Weigh In On Why They Cheat
Why do lesbian and bisexual women cheat? Is it for the same reasons straight women and men do? Or is cheating more prevalent in the lesbian, gay and bisexual community? Is it because they move too fast, they are unhappy, they are unable to be monogamous, they like thrill or are just plain selfish? ELIXHER surveyed lesbian and bisexual women from across the country to get their thoughts on dating and infidelity.
Before we jump into what they had to say, let’s get through some basics. What is cheating? According to Random House Dictionary, it is the act of being sexually unfaithful. However, many believe that cheating is just not about the sex. There are several types of cheating such as emotional, cyber and text cheating.
Emotional cheating may begin as an innocent friendship. Emotional cheaters intimately divulge their private thoughts, dreams and an emotional closeness that would normally be reserved for his or her mate to another individual. Emotional cheating can cripple a relationship more so than physical cheating because with physical cheating, it is just about the act of sex while emotional cheating has a deeper connection.
Cyber cheating consists of internet pornography, online dating and philandering with other people via social networking sites and is tougher to catch than other forms of cheating because this requires couples to supply passwords to one another. That, in itself, is a struggle because no one who is knowingly cheating will be willing to oblige with giving their passwords to their significant other.
Text cheating, also called chexting, includes sending sexually explicit messages or pictures and texting to arrange dates with others your significant other is unaware of. Even simple messages that seem innocent, such as asking how someone is doing, can be considered chexting if the objective of the person who sent the text is to hook up with the recipient of the text. Chexting can also be hard to catch since the invention of passwords on mobile devices with the ability to delete the inbox in one keystroke.
The U.S. National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study (NLLFS) conducted the longest-running study ever conducted on American lesbian families and found that of the 73 couples who were co-parenting when the index offspring were born, 56 percent had separated. That’s higher than the national divorce rate. On the other hand, a study that was published by Family Process found that the rate of sex outside of the marriage has dropped for every category of people studied dramatically between 1975 and 2000. Twenty-eight percent of straight men in 1975 had sex with a woman outside of their marriage, but in 2000, it was only 10 percent. For straight, married women, the rate dropped from 23 percent to 14 percent. For gay men, 83 percent to 59 percent, and for lesbians, 28 percent to 8 percent.
“In the [gay male] community, if you have a warm hole, you can get any guy, man, boyfriend, baby daddy,” said Vernon, 24. “I’ve never seen so many men afraid of monogamy in my life! They act like it’s marriage or something.”
Shirley, 34, and Jasmine, 22, both admitted they cheated because of the thrill. Neither could care less about the women they were hurting. As long as they got what they wanted, they were completely fine with it.
“Lesbians get into relationships based on sex only and once the honeymoon phase is over, they start to realize they have nothing in common with the person they decided to get into a relationship with,” Michele, 36, stated. “As a result, they repeat the same pattern expecting different results.”
Michele might be on to something. Some lesbian and bisexual women move so fast that they seem to skip the ‘getting to know’ phase. The running joke in the LGBT community goes something like this: What does a lesbian bring on a second date? A U-Haul. The counter to that stereotypical quip is reflective of Vernon’s earlier point. What does a gay man bring on a second date? What second date? It’s as if lesbian and bisexual women are in a race to get to the finish line first but don’t quite know what it is we are trying to win.
Another young woman, Shaniqua, 27, piggybacked off Michele saying, “The problem isn’t cheating; the problems arise from skipping the ‘dating’ phase. Lesbians don’t date anymore. We find, get introduced or happen to stumble upon someone and in the blink of an eye, we are together as a couple now. We have to start telling people up front, ‘Hey. I will be seeing other people,’ to give them the option or chance to decide if they want to be a part of this thing call ‘dating.’ If they decide to stay, good; if not, even better because at least you gave them the choice and they know what they are getting into.”
It’s as if lesbian and bisexual women operate in dog years. If you are with your partner one month that automatically equates to six months. Many don’t understand the art of dating. Two women will meet on Monday, sleep together on Tuesday, move in together on Wednesday, be engaged by Thursday, married on Friday, and divorced by Saturday then on Facebook talk about each other like dogs by Sunday. Call it the 7-day love/hate relationship.
There are some women who cannot be monogamous. Some like to be with different women and really don’t want to commit to one person. Open or polyamorous relationships might be a better fit for these women. Things get more complicated when a woman hasn’t admitted to herself or to her partner that she doesn’t believe in monogamy. As a consequence, she cheats on her partner repeatedly.
Some women cheat because they are truly unhappy in their current relationship but instead of ending it, they remain because it’s familiar and secure or they are there because of obligation and guilt. Those are the wrong reasons to get and stay in a relationship with anyone. People are afraid of change so they stick to what they know regardless of who it hurts.
There are also women who cheat because they don’t know how to love. They don’t know what love is or are incapable of returning it. Maybe she has gone through something that has skewed her understanding of love but all in all, she doesn’t know how to love anyone, not even herself. Consequently, she will sabotage herself by cheating so that she can push her partner away or hurt her partner before her partner hurts her as a defense mechanism.
“In the Bible it states, ‘Everything done in the dark will come to light,’” explained Labrina, 27. ”If you believe in the Word then you know that this is the Lord’s peaceful version of karma.”
Why do you think women cheat? Have you ever cheated?
- Ebony Dickens
Ebony Dickens is an Atlanta-based lesbian and graduate school student with aspirations of becoming an attorney. She loves staying on top of the latest news and enjoys a challenge.