Lorton Author: How Do You Successfully Date a Married Man?
(Short answer: You can't.) Author reflects on Gen. David Petraeus scandal.
The D.C. metro area seems to find itself frequently rocked by news of extramarital affairs, often putting high-profile names in the headlines.
This past week saw the end of a star-studded career for former CIA chief and four-star General David Petraeus, who had an affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell.
What was Petraeus thinking?
"Powerful people don't learn from each other, especially people in high profile positions," said Bonds, who lives in Lorton. "Many of them feel that the rules don't apply for them and they live in a different and wrong reality."
Did Petraeus' affair warrant his resignation?
"Yes. For these powerful people, cheating requires deceit, trickery and the keeping of major secrets. And if you lead such an organization as the CIA, you can't live in a practice of deceit and trickery, because the lines of who you need to be — a person of integrity and leadership — become blurred. You need to be held to a higher standard," said Bonds. "And Petraeus thought that because she (Broadwell) had a lot at stake, with her husband and two kids, that their secret would be safe."
Bonds spent three years researching her book, and interviewed 250 men and women - all admitted cheaters. "There had to be something going on in his (Petraeus') marriage that caused him to cheat. I wonder if he ever sat his wife down and talked to her. Maybe he should have said, 'I need you to stay attractive for me. I need you to stay sexy, passionate and we've both got to stay in shape. Why don't you go running with me?'"
About the book
This is the first book for Bonds, a part-time psychology teacher at Northern Virginia Community College and PhD candidate in clinical psychology at Walden University. Her inspiration to write it came after speaking with a female neighbor who was having an affair with a married man.
"I told her that most of these relationships are based on sex," said Bonds. "He's not going to leave his wife, I told her, and said that she needed to be aware of that and needed to be careful. She didn't listen to me and she felt that he was really in love with her, that they were going to be together. They were compatible sexually, and she believed that he didn't love his wife. Well, his wife found out about the affair, and she had a serious meltdown."
Bonds found three main reasons that women enter into affairs with married men:
- They are looking for love
- They are looking for money
- Some just want to "be bad"
"Women enter into affairs because they're lonely. And women tend to fantasize, tend to get carried away, and they they look at a man who's a good provider, look for a fantasy of what they want," said Bonds.
Approximately 45-55 percent of married women and 50-60 percent of married men have affairs, according to the Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy.
Bonds found three types of men who cheat:
- The Crusher: "He wants to have sex with as many women as possible. He won't stay around for long and may tell you his boundaries."
- The Committer: "He's Brad Pitt - a diamond in the rough. In this case, the man makes the decision to be true to himself and marries the other woman."
- The Classic: "He's not trying to have sex with random women. He's going after a particular person, a person he will lie to, a person he will make believe that a future is possible with - even if it isn't."
Can affairs with married people work?
"Yes, but only if they're married to you," said Bonds. "If you date a married man you must expect absolutely nothing. You can do it, but expect no promise of exclusivity, no expectation of future commitment or having any kind of a real relationship. But why would you want to do that? Those are all the things that women want."
What about emotional cheating?
"Sometimes we get caught into that. If someone shows you their heart, their hopes, their dreams and their pain and shares that with you and not their spouse, that's emotional cheating," said Bonds. "We all want to be attractive and be with someone, but if that's what you want, you have to do something honest about it."