Consider this: There's a good-looking guy who works in your office. He's friendly but not lecherous; intelligent; funny. Then -- thanks to that always-reliable office gossip, you find out he's cheating on his wife, whom you have never met.
What do you imagine? Well, if you're like a large number of people, you assume she's let her looks go. She's bitchy. Or a pathetic doormat. Or too focused on the kids. And you might be right.
But more likely, you're wrong.
That's the thrust of a Globe & Mail article that ran today, in which columnist Sarah Hampson takes society to task for the persistent assumption that if a man cheats, it's because his wife somehow drove him to it.
Yet there's little scientific evidence to back this up.
And certainly little anecdotal evidence. Yet that conviction can lead even further to the shame and pain that betrayed wives feel.
I picked obsessively over what she had that I didn't. In the end, the only conclusion I could reach was that the "slutty" look appealed to my spouse and I took to dressing like some cross between rehab-era Amy Winehouse and breakdown-era Britney Spears. Not exactly my best look.
In the end, I realized that my husband's cheating has nothing to do with me and everything to do with his own insecurities, anxieties and lack of boundaries. Which is what he had been saying to me all along.
But when the world implies that cheating men are upgrading, it's hard to fight the stereotype.
I took some solace in the fact that Elizabeth Hurley was cheated on. Halle Berry was cheated on. Princess Diana was cheated on. Women, arguably, who are gorgeous, accomplished and smart. They did nothing wrong but love men who betrayed them. Hardly reason to be vilified.