A therapist might beg to differ. He might tell the cuckolded husband that he did do something to cause it. That Superdad/Superexecutive/Superhomemaker role you’re cultivating? That takes time. “I think for many families there’s still the expectation that women who are pursuing careers are also going to be attending to the traditional roles of being the nurturer and the mother and the attentive wife,” says Dr. Brian S. Canfield, president of the American Counseling Association. “Contrast that with [what] women [encounter] in the workplace—male colleagues who are dealing with them on a very adult leveland it’s only natural that she’s going to be attracted to them.” In other words, the pinot she shares with Peter from consulting over lunch is getting her hotter than the coffee you hand her before she drops the kids off at preschool is.
For the jittery, overworked husband whose blood chills at that image, there is some comfort: His wife’s would-be paramours might be worn out by the time she gets tempted. “Let me tell you something,” says Steve (not his real name), a 23-year-old personal trainer in New York City whose sessions with a married female client last fall blossomed into one-on-ones at the Midtown Hyatt. It was henot the womanwho broke it off. The clothes, the cologne, the constant phone calls“it just got to be too much,” he says.