The rate of infidelity among Cork women is on the rise, according to a local psychologist. LOUISE MCCARTHY talks to professionals in Cork, working with those in broken relationships, about why ladies stray, what’s missing from these relationships and how they can rebuild a broken marriage
AN increasing number of Cork women, who feel ‘desperate and isolated’, are cheating on their other half, according to a well-established psychologist.
Consultant psychologist, Dr Gillian Moore Groarke, based in Wilton, is concerned that lack of communication among couples is reaching a crisis point.
The revelations that more Cork women are now having more affairs than ever before, comes at a time when a survey on Victoria Milan, a website for couples who want to cheat, reveals that Irish women are the quickest to cheat after getting married, compared to females in other European countries.
Meanwhile a similar site, Gleeden, which has 3.4 million members, reported that 71% of unfaithful men will celebrate Valentine’s Day with their lover, with 36% spending more than €200 on a gift.
Dr Moore Groarke said: “Men are still more likely to have an affair than a woman. But when a woman has an affair, she is generally desperate and isolated.”
According to Dr Moore Groarke, generally women in Cork are having affairs in their 30s and 40s.
The affairs usually take place due to lack of communication and intimacy.
She comes across women who have refused to have sex with their husband for several years and only sleep in the same bed for the sake of the children.
Dr Moore Groarke said: “I think that, no matter what, the affair always comes as a complete shock. There is always a presumption of commitment in a long-term relationship.”
Psychologist Mary Moran, based in Cork city, feels that women and men tend to enter an affair when communication has broken down in their relationship.
Dr Moran said: “Couples who have destructive conflict, when people are feeling that they are being blamed, hostility. I think by the time it gets to cheating, red flags have been missed.
“It is not just about sex for men, I have seen men hook up with another woman for something that is missing emotionally.”
Proper communication is vital, talking about each other and the relationship, urges Dr Moran.
She said: “Some couples talk to each other but only on a superficial level.”
According to Dr Colm O’Connor, Clinical Director of Cork Marriage & Guidance, men are more likely to cheat and women are more likely to seek help as a result of being cheated on.
Dr O’ Connor is certain that the internet has changed the nature of relationships. He sees more and more men in Cork being caught having an affair when their wives or partners check their phones.
Dr O’Connor would like to see more men speaking openly with their partners before embarking on an affair.
He said: “Men tend to withdraw and then cheat, women are more likely to talk about what is happening.”
Increasingly Dr O’Connor sees men blaming women for the affair but he stresses that the process of recovery is a long one after an affair. And some are not able to move on.
According to Dr Moran, all couples can recover after an affair but a lot of healing is involved.
She said: “It is a big thing to land in the middle of a relationship. I have seen people who stay together and those who don’t. Couples should be talking to each other.”
Dr Moore Groarke is also concerned about the impact that technology is having on relationships in Cork.
She said: “If we all stood at the window outside homes, we would see people on laptops, phones and i-pads.
“Technology is a huge factor in all of this. Having an affair offers an element of escapism.
“Couples can become strangers, still sharing the marital bed for the sake of the children, but no intimacy.
“After an affair a lot of therapy work needs to be done to find a goal and purpose again in the relationship.”
I met a married man at a bar, we had wonderful sex… I’m planning to leave
MELISSA*, met Mark*, a successful businessman, when she was just 22 years old. They attended the same college and quickly fell into an easy-going relationship.
They shared the same interests in sports. Everything was great, their family backgrounds were similar. Here she speaks about their relationship, how it broke down and why she’s having an affair.
“It was a safe relationship, we were friends, the sex wasn’t always satisfactory, but we loved each-other, deep down I was never happy. I had not had sex with many other men, I was uncomfortable asking Mark to please me sexually, he was uncomfortable when I asked. I felt unattractive, due to his low sex drive. Then the communication started breaking down, I started to resent him.
“We moved in together, five years later, against my better judgement. He divided everything financially down the middle, half and half, there was no excitement.
“For another few years, we trundled on. Every evening, we watched TV, we stopped kissing each other, we sat at opposite ends of the couch, we talked nonsense over dinner in a bid to get through the discomfort. I started to dread coming home, I would be 30 soon, I expected that he was planning a ring, he was happy with sex once a week, and the bills being split and a holiday once a year. I was sad, lonely and unfulfilled.
“He proposed, I accepted, I felt sick, there were no other options, I felt. He offered me security, it was almost a decade now, he was my best friend, I knew no better.
“Then, a year into the marriage, I had concentrated on my career, that was successful. Sex had dwindled to once a month, I started dreading it.
“I started travelling more for work and staying in hotel rooms abroad. I met a married man at a bar, we had wonderful sex. We spent the day sightseeing, we went to see a play and dinner that evening.
“He spoke to me, asked me questions and listened. I am still meeting him abroad on business trips, my husband hardly speaks to me, he is looking at the television or on his computer.
“Communication has broken down, I am planning to leave, when I summon the courage, I am waiting for the married man to leave his wife first, I don’t want to be alone.”
(*not their real names)