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INSIDE OUT: What drives a woman to cheat on her man?; Penny Fray speaks to an adulteress about the fling that ended a friendship and nearly cost her marriage.

KIM and Simon had been good mates for nearly a decade. They had lunchtime coffee in a nearby cafe and shared secrets over glasses of wine at their favourite Chester bar.

But their friendship was destroyed in dramatic fashion when they had an affair.

``My relationship with my husband John was going badly,'' explains the 30-year-old professional from Cheshire. ``After five years together, the flowers and romantic dinners had stopped and he took more interest in television, golf or his mates than me. I know that sounds pretty normal but there was no affection and lots of arguments at the time.

``In the meantime, Simon was being extra attentive and because our offices were only a few streets away, we would meet up for lunch and occasional drinks after work.

``I didn't see anything wrong with it until a drunken kiss and one thing led to another in his flat. Simon was single and was always joking how sexy he found me. I suppose it was only a matter of time for something to happen.''

The affair carried on for nearly a month until Simon began to demand more. He started to talk about Kim leaving her husband.

``At first it was exciting but I knew it had to stop,'' she says. ``I still loved John and every time I saw him I felt a mixture of guilt and hate.

``But when things got complicated, I just wanted everything to go back to normal. I had made a terrible mistake and foolishly been carried by the tide of attention. I loved him but not in the same way as I loved my husband.''

While at university, Kim had had plenty of drunken one-night flings with attached men. But when the adrenaline rush of a ``real'' affair faded, it felt sordid and wrong. She had to end things with Simon and hope he'd never tell John, who he had only met three times.

``Simon was devastated and I suppose angry that he'd been used,'' says Kim. ``Luckily, he went freelance and moved down to London a couple of months later. I haven't heard from him since.

`I ACCEPT I was immature in coping with a marital hiccup and an affair wasn't the answer. I lost a friend and nearly broke up my marriage by being tempted to confess all. I was stupid. But I know I'll never do anything like that again.''

While men have long been regarded the most unfaithful sex, a new study on modern relationships convinces us otherwise. These days, women are more likely to have an affair than their red blooded counterparts.

In a survey conducted by the magazine Top Sante, one in six females admitted to having cheated at least once - a figure around 10pc higher than for men.

Single women in Wales were the most likely to have had sex with a married man, while those in the North West were more loyal to their partners.

The survey comes as no surprise to Denise Knowles, a relationship counsellor for the charity Relate, who believes that working practices give women more scope for having affairs.

``Most women have affairs for the same reasons as men,'' she explains. ``They're generally dissatisfied with their relationship at home or need some excitement. Sometimes, they're even a little fearful of commitment. But most importantly, it's because they can get away with it.

``In the last 30 years, women are going to work and are less dependant on men for money. Plus, sex is no longer for procreation, it is a way of having fun.''

While changing socio-economic factors have a lot to do with the rise in female infidelity, scientists believe that women are more likely to sleep around on certain days of the month.

At the University of Sterling, two groups of females were shown a computer image of a man's face that was adjusted to make him appear more masculine.

While the non-ovulating group preferred men with slightly more feminine features, those ovulating liked a more masculine looking bloke.

THIS, say experts is down to instinct, indicating that the square jawed male would provide a better set of genes, thus producing a stronger child.

So, if it's all down to nature and equal opportunities, why are unfaithful women still judged harshly by society?

Ulrika Jonsson was criticised by the media for having an affair with England football coach Sven-Goran Eriksson. And, when Liverpoolborn politician Edwina Currie revealed in her published diary that she had a four-year affair with former Tory prime minister John Major, she was branded a scarlet woman by the masses.

``Females are still stigmatised by society for being sexually liberated,'' explains Denise. ``Even a younger generation will brand a female as `loose' while men are just seen as one of the lads.''

MR MAJOR wasn't the first extra marital affair that she'd had and the public were outraged by her sordid revelations.

``Why did it start? Because I was unhappy with a husband forever slumped in front of the television,'' she reveals. ``He wasn't helpful or interested in what I was trying to do. I needed a friend. The first one turned out to be a right slob, with some kinky preferences and a selfishness of such magnitude as I've never met before.

``I needed help and advice to get up from the back-benches but the slob made it harder. I love you he said. But his real idea of women was to keep them in their place and not upstage him.

``Then John came along and he was so nice and so attractive and so quiet in public that it was a challenge to unearth the real person and seduce him.'' It seems that women are no longer willing to settle for second best and if things aren't good at home, then an affair may take place. But there are serious repercussions to a quick tumble. A cuckolded partner will be taken through a whole gamut of negative emotions including stress and a loss of self confidence.

``When a man has an affair women instinctively know something is wrong and pursue the problem,'' says Denise. ``However, men would rather not know - it could be a blow to their ego and the end of the relationship may be something they don't want to face up to.''But when all is revealed, women tend to become emotional and angry as well as concerned about the secrets that have been spilled.

``A man is equally devastated but more concerned about the sexual side of things,'' explains Denise.

``They don't want another man planting their seed in the women they've chosen to have children with.''

Surviving an affair is difficult and requires both parties to take a long, hard look at their relationship, according to Denise. Counselling is even advisable.

``But if an affair is over consider carefully telling your partner everything,'' she concludes. ``More often than not the only benefit of being honest is to ease your own guilt.''

CAPTION(S):

JUST A BIT OF FUN: It may give you the excitement you crave but what happens afterwards ?; BOOK: All Ulrika's secrets were revealed in her book
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Nov 19, 2002
Words:1190
Previous Article:PROBLEM POST: Resting place of lost soldiers; Penny Fray speaks to an adulteress about the fling that ended a friendship and nearly cost her marriage.
Next Article:INSIDE OUT: Toothache is no reason to call a dentist.


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