There’s an old, admittedly awful joke that goes “What three words does a woman not want to hear while making love? “Honey, I’m home!'”

I know, that’s a terrible joke, but it does bring up the fact that men are no longer the only gender that goes outside the marital box for a bit of naked booty bumping. Current statistics report that 14% of women surveyed confess to cheating on their husbands. A full 68% said they’d have an affair if there were no chance of hubby ever finding out. Since only 31% of marriages survive infidelity, what would make a woman take that kind of risk?

She feels neglected or ignored. All. The. Time. All of your favorite activities are with the guys. If you’re watching TV while she’s trying to talk to you, you make it obvious that she’s interrupting your “me time.” You come home late from work, claiming hunger and fatigue. You eat, shower, and go to bed with barely a word spoken. And you do this at least three times a week. When she suggests sex, you’re always “too tired,” and your doctor says you do not, in fact, have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. You’re just too tired for her. And yet, you somehow find the strength to crawl to the local Hooters with your man tribe for an afternoon of flirting with girls younger than your daughters.

After several months of this, she starts to feel like a potted plant that you keep forgetting to water. This is one of the most common reasons women go elsewhere. If she’s deprived of attention, appreciation, or intimate touch for months or, God forbid, years, she won’t go live with her mother. She’ll move in with her personal trainer, who thinks she’s totally hot and who will give her what you won’t.

She’s bored and/or lonely. Your marriage has become routine. You don’t pay attention to the little details that make her happy anymore. You don’t talk to her about anything of importance, or even appear to enjoy being with her. When you’re home (which isn’t often), you live in sweatpants and stained t-shirts. Your primary relationship is with your 52″ flat screen in your man cave. You’ve become roommates. Even your sex is boring. A kiss here, a fondle there, a little tweak there, and yep, one over there, and you’re done. It’s all routine. There’s no passion.

Women need connection. We need to be important to you. Otherwise, we start fantasizing about the cute UPS guy that seems more excited to see us than you do. And despite movies that show affairs starting like combustible fires in one glance or a chance meeting, most affairs start with a private fantasy that builds over time before it becomes reality. You have a window of opportunity here to get her back emotionally. Remember how you were when she fell in love with you? Yeah, be that guy.

You cheated on her. Otherwise known as “Revenge Sex.” This usually happens when you’re trying to stay married, but she just can’t get past your infidelity. Depending on how hurt, betrayed, or just plain pissed off she is that you slept with her college roommate last Christmas at the cabin when you all got snowed in, she wants to retaliate in some way. She wants you to have up close and personal knowledge of how she felt when she found out what a douche you are.

And it won’t be with some guy you don’t know that happened to hit on her (yes, other men do make passes at us when you’re not around), or her boss at work. It will be a specific man. Like your best friend from childhood. Or your brother. Whoever she knows will get you to understand that if you ever do it again, she will burn the house down. With you in it.

Your sex life is bad. Men tend to believe that there’s no such thing as bad sex. Sex is inherently great because it’s…well, sex. Women need an emotional connection. If your sex life is virtually nonexistent, lacking real passion, or completely predictable, she may begin to lose interest. But we still have human desires for intimacy, for touching, for being touched. We’ve just lost the desire to have it with you.

Men often say that they cheat because their mistresses are willing to be more adventurous in the Romper Room, while their wives think all sex should be performed in the missionary position, lights out, no talking. I’m not sure where these guys are getting their information, but personally, I’ve never met a woman who wanted bad or boring sex. We all want great sex as much as you do. But it takes two people to make it great. So if you need an extramarital lover to make it great, it’s likely she does too.

She feels taken for granted. I was on a flight one day, seated next to a gentleman who inexplicably felt the need to share his marital woes with me. “I told her I loved her when we got married,” he sighed, “Why do I have to keep repeating myself?” Sorry, dude, but if your marriage was a horse, I wouldn’t bet on it.

We like to hear that you love us. We like you to notice and say “Thank you” when we do something for you. We really like it when you remember our birthdays and our anniversary, without reminders. We like surprise presents on special holidays, that we didn’t pick out and ask you to buy for us.

What we don’t like is feeling like your unpaid help, who’s expected to serve as your cleaning lady, chef, errand runner, and sex toy, and be grateful to do it for you because you’re just so freakin’ wonderful and we’re just so dang lucky to be married to you. Despite what you think, we don’t have to be here, and we may get a sudden urge to find a man who thinks we’re as amazing as you think you are.

She doesn’t need you anymore. There are women who will tolerate disappointments and neglect if they feel they can’t afford to leave or they’re afraid of being alone. Today, however, we often make as much as you do, and that financial independence gives us choices. We can stay, or we can go. Most women claim that they’d rather be single than stay in an unhappy marriage. Emotionally, we’re open to a new relationship because we’re aren’t afraid. We’re not afraid of being alone, and we’re not afraid of living in poverty, so why would we stay faithful and shackled to a man who doesn’t seem to give a rip what we do as long as dinner is on table at 6 and we keep the house clean?

We’re willing to give you everything we have to give, but we need something back. Love us to pieces, tell us at least once a day, and make us a priority. Do that, and the next guy who hits on us will only get a smile, and “No, thank you. I’m happily married.”


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