Faithful Women Wanted

What an ad calling for “faithful women” says about the dating mentality of men, nowadays…

I was on Facebook. Skimming. Reading. Connecting. I don’t normally pay attention to the ads, but “Faithful Women Wanted”?? How could that not catch my eye?

What made the promotional item even more striking is that it was advertising an online dating site, but best I recall it was a “senior” site at that. Apparently, I’m presumed to be part of that demographic, which now includes those of us at or around the age of 50. Setting aside the senior designation for a moment, may I emphasize my startled reaction to “faithful”: Is it really so difficult to find a faithful partner?

Are men expressing a serious need for faithful women amid some onslaught of bed-hopping middle-age mamas on the make?

Perhaps this is simply niche marketing in extremis. We seem to be operating our online meet-and-greets within increasingly segmented dating targets.

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Online Dating: Something for Everyone

Might I offer examples?

We have the the massive free-for-all (Match), those that are more loosely inclined to religious affiliations (eHarmony), and others that are explicitly Christian (ChristianMingle), Jewish (JDate), and so on.

It’s hard to avoid careening into the occasional Girl-Going-For-Big-Bucks (Do we really think those “wealthy men” sites will deliver Prince Charming with a 7-figure annual income?), and the assortment of mistress sites should you care to carry on with the discreetly delivered Extramarital Babe-’o-Your-Dreams. Let’s not forget the Friend Finders that point us to sexual liaisons à la carte, and yes, we have the seemingly innocent focus on the older crowd versus the younger.

But “faithful women” women?

That one floors me.

Infidelity Statistics (2012)

Infidelity statistics aren’t resoundingly reassuring on the marriage front. Statistic Brain cites the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy (September 2012) as follows:

  • In 41% of marriages one or both spouses admit to infidelity, either physical or emotional.
  • 57 percent of men… admit to committing infidelity in any relationship they’ve had… 54 percent of women… admit to committing infidelity in any relationship they’ve had.

According to that last one, relationship infidelity is a far more significant issue than I ever considered. Moreover, though dipping one’s toes into the land of emotional or physical affairs is widespread, it’s slightly higher among men.

Defining Infidelity

While we’re on the topic, exactly what would these faithful women seekers consider unfaithfulness?

I’ve heard my share of amusing tales (from men) as to what does and doesn’t constitute their dastardly dallying. Doing the deed in actuality is a Thumbs Down, but anything online gets the Green Light. “Jobs” don’t count, business trips are negotiable, and sexting may be a matter of interpretation, particularly given how easy it is to engage in.

Even if we all agree on what infidelity entails, is there really a market for gents seeking faithful women? Is it so challenging to find a good woman—one who believes in exclusivity at the appropriate stage in the relationship? I might also ask  the men, If she’s exclusive with you, does that mean you accord her the same respect?

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What Do You Want in a Relationship?

Honestly, I’m baffled. We’re talking about men and women in their forties, fifties, and sixties. Clearly, with the prevalence of gray divorce, experimentation, and multiple partners in midlife and older is likely and, in my opinion, if approached and engaged safely, healthy as well.

…At least for a time—which is up to each individual to gauge.

But aren’t we all grownups here? Shouldn’t we figure out what we want in a relationship? As for this particular site of seekers, might this be a matter of middle-aged men seeking sexy younger women, and consequently concerned that their dating partners may wander?

Am I making too many assumptions? Am I alone in finding this terribly sad (as in pathetic)—at any age or in any couple configuration?

How about an alternative: instead of “faithful women”, what about “beautiful women you take the time to know“, or “a partner of like mind, shared values, and similar libido with whom you’ll be relaxed, trusting, playful—and able to enjoy a fulfilling relationship in all respects”?

 

This article was previously published on Daily Plate of Crazy.

Read more on Sex & Relationships.

—Photo dustyrhodes2012/Flickr

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About D. A. Wolf

D. A. Wolf is a freelance writer, marketing consultant, and devotee of fine footwear & French lingerie. She admits to two sons in college and eight imaginary friends in Paris. When not saving the world one high heel at a time (or blogging at The Huffington Post), she can be found at Daily Plate of Crazy, reflecting on relationships, parenting, pop culture, and anything else that strikes her fancy. Find her on Facebook at MyDailyPlateOfCrazy or Twitter at Big Little Wolf.

Comments

  1. When I read the headline I thought the ad was for women of faith not women who would be faithful! Maybe the person behind the ad should offer up his desire and ability to be faithful instead of just requesting it of another.

    • Infidelity should be a deal-breaker for any self-respecting individual; otherwise there’s no point to having a monogamous relationship. I’m not really sure how advertising that “cheaters need not apply” is offensive. It’s not like anyone’s proposing that adultery should be a capital crime, here, just a group of men who are probably sick of being on the receiving end of female infidelity.

      It’d be interesting to see infidelity rates broken down further by demographic, too.

      • I’d like to see the demographics broken down as well. Spoos. I’m not offended by “cheaters need not apply,” but I’m deeply saddened by it. With all the years of online dating I’ve spent, it never would have occurred to me to make that a criterion. A sign of my ignorance, my values, or my naiveté?

        • Naïveté? It’s never pretty seeing the abattoir that is the modern sexual marketplace.

          The irony is that, by explicitly stating that they value female fidelity highly, these men out themselves as men on whom women would cheat, that is to say, relatively unattractive men. It would be more effective to simply scrutinize a potential partner for red flags, including past infidelity, than advertise that you are looking for a faithful woman, because mate-guarding, especially preemptive mate guarding is one of the signs of a low-status man worried about sexual interlopers. That, generally, is not attractive to women, especially as it tends to go along, eventually, with a constellation of anxieties about the status of the relationship.

          It’s natural that this would occur, that this sub-community would form, and sure, even a little bit sad. Not because of what it says about women, but because these men are setting themselves up for failure right out of the gate.

  2. Don’t see how this is any different than woman looking for a “good man”, with the laundry list of requirements they must meet and the presumtion that the woman in question doesn’t need to qualify themselves.

    • I think that laundry list concept isn’t a great idea. It rarely captures whether or not a man is a “good man,” in my opinion. But that’s a topic for another day…

    • That’s what I was thinking. Seems to be this double standard where if a woman chimes up about what she wants then it’s perfectly fine but if a man does then there MUST be an ulterior self serving (and not very friendly to women) motive.

      I’m all for clarity in determining and stating what you want and how you persue what you want in a relationship (which is what I think Wolf is trying to get at) but we have to be mindful of not just seeing men saying what they want and being instantly suspicious of them.

  3. Not a week goes by that I don’t get an email from some guy whose wife cheated on him. What is the response to her cheating? All women are cheats. It is a mentality I can’t wrap my brain around…this need to label all women as cheaters just because one woman cheated. There is no focus on shared values or, finding someone who is like minded. Nope, it’s about what a woman can do for them or be to them. They want some female attention but only if that female can be “faithful.” Whatever that means.

    • @Cathy..

      “They want some female attention but only if that female can be “faithful.” Whatever that means.”

      If a man wants exclusivity and loyalty from his wife, just what is wrong with that I might ask?

      No, all women are not cheats just as all men are not cheats.

    • Again, no different than what some woman do.

    • @Cathy, Given your area of expertise, I’m curious if you see much difference in the letters from men with wives who were unfaithful, and the letters from women who had a similar experience with their husbands. Any differences of note? What do you make that this marketing message of fidelity was targeted at the 50+ crowd?

  4. My take was women in their 50′s and up who were faithful in their last relationship, or marriage.

  5. AnthonyZarat says:

    57% male infidelity + 54% female infidelity = “Faithful Women Wanted”

    “Does not compute”, right?

    Why are men more afraid of infidelity, if women are more faithful?

    The questions that is is never asked is: “Did the relationship end, and if yes, did your partner find out after the relationship ended?”

    Men are more afraid than women because too many fathers find out about infidelity when a police officer with a restraining order escorts them out of the family home. The tidal wave of injustice is crippling. A father’s love is dispatched easily, until all that is left is a homeless ATM machine with a crippling child support order and vanishing memories of beloved children. His only remaining options are slavery and suicide. Too many choose the latter.

  6. mary macgowan says:

    I’m 58 and I’ve been in the single scene for 10 years. Here’s what I’ve encountered. Middle-aged men want women to adore them blindly and hang on their every word and cater to their every whim. I suspect that’s what men are saying they want — when they say they’re looking for “faithful” women. WHAT THEY REALLY WANT IS WOMEN WHO WON’T BREAK UP WITH THEM. THEY WANT WOMEN WHO WILL HANG ONTO THEIR EVERY WORD ALL DAY ALL NIGHT ALL THE TIME AND NEVER QUIT.

    My saying: If there’s a middle-aged man out there who’s single, is there a woman out there who was glad to see him go?

    At first I thought my “saying” was funny, but it is proving to be all too true. And sad.

    • My saying: If there’s a middle-aged man out there who’s single, is there a woman out there who was glad to see him go?
      I guess that depends on why said woman was glad to see him go.

      She might have been glad because he was doing her wrong. She might have been glad because it allowed her to go find another guy to take advantage of.

      • Interesting phrase, Danny – “take advantage of.” I think you touch on something key in this comment, which is that without the context of any infidelity, as the world isn’t black and white, statistics are one thing and human actions quite another.

        The man or woman who is unfaithful to his or her partner may remain in the relationship out of friendship, comfort, because there are children, because there is history. The relationship may be sexless or simply unsatisfying for any number of reasons. Or, there may be patterns of disrespect, entitlement, and subsequent infidelity that are long entrenched.

        When it comes to individuals, we don’t know there stories and that’s exactly the problem with generalizing about any demographic. So I’m with you on the point that “it depends on why said woman was glad to see him go.”


        • I think you touch on something key in this comment, which is that without the context of any infidelity, as the world isn’t black and white, statistics are one thing and human actions quite another.

          Exactly. What I was trying to get at is that it looks like in a subconscious rush to take sides we (that’s a generic we) can sometimes see a situation and judge one side good and one side bad without even getting all the data.

          We see a man and a woman break up and people are quick to presume that “he must have cheated on her” or “she wasn’t doing something right” or this reason or that reason.

          Which is what I was going at when I responded to mary’s comment.

          If there’s a middle-aged man out there who’s single, is there a woman out there who was glad to see him go?

          1. Let’s take the first part, “If there’s a middle-aged man out there who’s single, is there a woman out there…”. I commented on this above about how if there is a single man there is a quick presumption that something must be wrong with him (can’t just be that he hasn’t found anyone….).

          2. The second part, “…who was glad to see him go”. Who is to say that even knowing that she was glad to see him go, that he was responsible for why they split in the first place. Is it really that hard to imagine that the person that is glad the relationship is over might have done something bad that caused the relationship to in the first place? Or does this mean that if a woman is glad its over it must really be because he did something wrong?

    • @Mary:
      I don’t know, but I’d take a guess that those “clingy” middle-aged guys have probably lived in long-term relationships where “giving each other freedom” ultimately led to them drifting apart instead of the bond growing stronger, and are not willing to repeat that experience.

  7. mary macgowan says:

    …what I meant to write is “At first I thought my ‘saying’ was funny, but the answer seems to be ‘yes.’ And that is very sad indeed.

  8. Men are faced with the sobering reality that women at many different stages of life enjoy passion, sex and attention equally as much as men. Especially older women who are not dating for marriage, security or children. A sexually active, financially secure, emotionally stable older woman is probably the most liberated woman on the planet. She can choose men based on her true immediate needs, not on social norms.

    Men who cannot please women sexually and emotionally are subject to being left or cheated on. This was taboo for women for hundreds of years, especially those of us who live under a European colonial Christian dating philosophy. As economics level the gender wars, we will see more women wanting more partners for very specific needs. Men will have a very difficult time not being the sole object of women’s blind affection. Women will get a handle on our emotions. No longer making life long mistakes for love. I think this is a brilliant paradigm shift. It doesn’t mean that women will act like men. If anything it will give men more freedom to enjoy women on an honest level. More honesty in relationships, less expectations.

    NN

    • If anything it will give men more freedom to enjoy women on an honest level.
      Agreed. This will help men actually find women they want to be with out of something other than social norms and expectations. Hell I think the fact that they are looking for honest women at such stages in life (usually if a man is single at that age its assumed that he must be defective) is a sign that they are breaking out of their own molds and are speaking up about it.

      They are looking for what they want, not what they are expected to want.

      Good all around I say.

      (I just kind of wish those guys could have had those freedoms at a younger age.)

    • Very interesting viewpoint, NN. It does assume the woman is financially self-sufficient, and likely no longer caring for children. As for more honesty, lesser expectations, how about more honesty and clarity of expectations from both men and women? Personally, I prefer knowing where I stand and dislike the gamesmanship. With clarity of terms, make love, not war – and sometimes, it really is love.

    • @NN: Men who cannot please women sexually and emotionally are subject to being left or cheated on

      You forgot “aesthetically”…

      • One of the reasons for the link to the “seeing the beauty of the person” is to point out that those aesthetic reasons as you say, FyingKal, may be far less important than we make them out to be. I’m not proposing we ignore the genuine connection between the visual (and other sensory) factors and sexual attraction, but as we get to know another person, we often find the chemistry whatever the appearance. Sometimes our deal breakers aren’t deal breakers at all, in the aesthetics department.

        I’m certainly finding that as I get older, and in having let go of certain things I thought were necessary to chemistry, I’m finding a whole new world of extraordinary gems to discover. Truly good men. I mean really – who gives a damn about a receding hairline or a little paunch when the man in question is a remarkable human being? One who makes you laugh, delights you in bed, and communicates on all levels?

        • However unimportant we make out the appearance to be, you still have to look/act interesting enough to get past that initial dealbrbreaker. Otherwise you will never get the chance to get to know if that person can make you laugh or not.

  9. Hey, I was writing a comment here and the page refreshed itself and lost all my comment, what’s up with that? Anyway, what I was saying os that infidelity comes in many ways. My husband of 27 years has been stealing money and abusing drugs for years, yet he never ‘cheated’ on me, is that any better? He destroyed a lifetime together for some stupid pills and stole my inheritance to fuel his addiction. I think I would have preferred he had had an affair or a one night stand instead. Sexual infidelity can be forgiven once (first time shame on you, second time shame on me), but how do you re-establish trust with somebody that has lied to you for so many years? Perhaps, all these men looking for faithful women, should assess their own trustworthiness about a whole lot of issues. Trust is the foundation of any marriage, when it’s gone, there’s nothing left, but trust extend to everything in a marriage, not just who you sleep with, that is too mundane.


    • Anyway, what I was saying os that infidelity comes in many ways. My husband of 27 years has been stealing money and abusing drugs for years, yet he never ‘cheated’ on me, is that any better?

      Trying to determine which is better on a flat objective level is a waste of time I think (different people react to different forms of distrust in different ways).


      Sexual infidelity can be forgiven once (first time shame on you, second time shame on me), but how do you re-establish trust with somebody that has lied to you for so many years?

      I can imagine that’s a hard question to answer (and again I think everyone is going to have their own answer ranging from “It’s gonna take time.” to “I’ll never trust anyone again.”). (For example while you may be willing to forgive sexual cheating I don’t think I could myself.)


      Perhaps, all these men looking for faithful women, should assess their own trustworthiness about a whole lot of issues.

      While this is a valid point I’m not sure how one can leap from simply seeing guys saying they want to find faithful women to they need to asses their own trustworthiness. Are we to believe that a man that is looking for a faithful must be hiding some sort of issue that puts his own trustworthiness in danger?

      • No, what I meant is that while everybody seems to focus on sexual infidelity, there are a miriad of ways one can ‘cheat’ on his/her spouse. Yes, sexual infidelity is a big one, but stealing and lying are just as big, especially when you’re hiding a drug addiction. My point is that these men are worried about finding a mate that will not wander, but what about finding a mate that won’t steal your money and hide secrets from you? Fidelity, in my opinion, covers a much larger area than just sexual or emotional affairs.

        • @Alex, I understand where you’re coming from. Some betrayals are at least as deep as those that are sexual, if not deeper. They undermine your judgment in far more realms than picking a partner.

        • No, what I meant is that while everybody seems to focus on sexual infidelity, there are a miriad of ways one can ‘cheat’ on his/her spouse.
          Of course. And with that I wonder if they are leading off with the cheating because that is how they were hurt in the past. When you’re hurt by something specific there’s a chance you will be suspicious of that in the future. Are these men focusing on the sexual fidelity because they don’t consider other forms of wrong doing or is it because they’ve been hurt over the topic of sexual fidenlity in the past?

          • We do often lead with what we fear most, don’t we. Those of us who have been left will fear “men who leave.” Those who may have been verbally abused may be hypersensitive to the use of certain language or even certain emotions. You may be on to something, @Danny. How vulnerable we all are, when we get down to it.

  10. Meanwhile, I would like to talk to unfaithful woman, for a book project. More information here: http://mollmann.squarespace.com/book-project/ If you are one of those 54% (or if you just thought about it) I’d love to hear from you. Thank you!

  11. mary macgowan says:

    I’ve been considering this some more. Here’s what I think. When I browse profiles on Match (and I am in the over-55 age group) I see so many guys who say “I’m a simple man.” Honestly, being a simple person is a nice thing – but I’m telling you there is an abundance of this phrase, “I’m a simple man” . . . and these “simple men” keep their profiles very brief, which, I suppose, supports their claim.

    So here’s what I’m saying. I suspect everybody here, on this discussion, is over-analyzing the attraction of an ad that promises middled-aged men will find faithful women. I think the phrase “faithful woman” harkens back to some ideal of simpler times, so these “simple” guys are lured in by that ideal concept. A kind of pioneer log cabin Laura Ingalls kind of thing.

    Just sayin’

    • Being a veteran of the “Match” merry-go-round myself, I have to smile at your comment, @Mary. The “simple man” line does get old. Then again, the women (and men) who claim they’re as comfortable in a tux as jeans… well, I’ve personally never met anyone who is as comfy in a tux as jeans, and nor have I met any “simple” men or women.

      It’s an interesting idea, that these so-called simple men are looking for some means to find women of more “old school” values. I’m just not sure it’s that, um, simple.

      • mary macgowan says:

        @D.A.Wolf: Ha! Yes, probably not that simple! Do you get a similar generic statement from women’s profiles? Oh, and similar to your tuxes remark, men want women who are comfy in both jeans and a little black dress.

        How about this? We don’t know what demographics that ad has. For all we know it attracts women to sign up. “Hey, I’m a faithful woman, and I’d like to find a man who appreciates my fidelity.”

  12. mary macgowan says:

    , , , and this is a beautiful way to describe a healthy relationship: How about an alternative: instead of “faithful women”, what about “beautiful women you take the time to know“, or “a partner of like mind, shared values, and similar libido with whom you’ll be relaxed, trusting, playful—and able to enjoy a fulfilling relationship in all respects”?

    Well done!

  13. 57% vs 54% Hmm…Looks like we have equality here…Whats the problem?
    I’ve said it once, gonna say it again. Men need to be more excepting of open relationships.

    Men openly admit they need variety-even on this site. How about an arrangement in which both partners can have variety?

    I’ve known very few men who were faithful in relationships, yet they always want the female spouse to be faithful. I suspect that many men are looking for faithful women who are cool with them having women on the side. A lot of gay men have such an arrangement, whats the matter with straight men?

    What ads should say:
    “Looking for faithful women who doesnt mind *me* being unfaithful.*

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