This article is reprinted by permission from NextAvenue.org.
Are extramarital affairs confined to those in the first half of life? Does a woman’s interest in having a romantic relationship outside of the marriage vows wane after menopause? Apparently not, says Susan Shapiro Barash, author of “A Passion for More: Affairs that Make or Break Us,” who released a revised and updated version of her 2001 book in October, 2022.
For the past 30 years, Barash has been studying female infidelity and her most recent finding is that “gray affairs,” while unusual when she first started interviewing her volunteer subjects, are now quite common.
In her three decades of anecdotal, qualitative research she has focused exclusively on heterosexual women, and the subjects she has interviewed represent a wide spectrum of ethnicity, race, religion, financial status, educational level and childbearing status. However, her most recent appeal for interview candidates yielded more women over 55 than any other age group.
In the past three years, Barash has interviewed women in their 60s, 70s, and 80s, with the oldest being 83. Her book covers all age groups, but, in her words, “what women over 50 reported in this round of interviews was a notable finding for me and a departure from the earlier years of tracking female infidelity.”
One of the more interesting discoveries from her research is that 90% of the women surveyed (of all ages) had no guilt or remorse about their actions. Women reported actively pursuing their affairs with a sense of entitlement.