The Arnold Schwarzeneggers affair and child with the maid is all over the headlines as the cause of his separation and soon to be divorce from Maria Shriver. This long standing couple maintained a 25 year marriage and had four children. Many experts are talking about the role power plays in men who have affairs. Having social and financial power can encourage feelings of invincibility, heightened ego, and a sense of entitlement; therefore believing in the illusion of – no consequences. This theory can ring true in many situations, yet it in no ways explains the rate of extra marital affairs for the rest of us: plumbers, stay at home moms, accountants, nurses and the like. [photo: guerillawomentn.blogspot.com]
Research supports that 20-40% of men and 20-25% of females engage in sexual affairs during their lifetime. I do not believe the jilted spouse will feel too pleased or comforted with any answer they receive as to why the affair took place, yet there are a myriad of reasons, such as: getting caught in order to depart or even ‘patch’ up the marriage ; to gain more attention and independence; to supplement their marriage; to feel special, wanted, desired, and attractive; some want revenge; to feel youthful; more manly or feminine; some crave drama or adventure and lets not forget just plain bored. These are social and psychological influences behind why people have affairs. This does not include our biological influences. Helen Fischer states in her article Cheating Science, ” sexual betrayal is so widespread in nature that scientists now refer to monogamous species as practicing “social monogamy,” in which partners “play house” with one individual…and cheat with others.”
Are we even meant to be monogamous? We know of the commonality of low libido in long term monogamous relationships, the high rate of divorce and the percentage of those having affairs nearing one half, many of us are effected. According to Christopher Ryan, Ph.D., a psychologist, teacher, and author of Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality (HarperCollins),”…human beings are clearly evolved for sex lives featuring multiple simultaneous sexual relationships. Men, especially, are designed by evolution to be attracted to sexual novelty and to gradually lose sexual attraction to the same partner in the absence of such novelty. ” This biological explanation does not excuse infidelity, yet it does allow us to consider innate temptation, hormonal influences, and the active control/restraint to stay faithful. Biological influences may be more in play than one would guess, Glass and Wright (1985) report that some 56% of men and 34% of females described their marriage as “happy” or “very happy” even when engaging in extra marital affairs. Monogamy is a choice, and sometimes that choice is very difficult.
Now in Schwarzenegger’s case, no one will truly know with 100% certainty why he chose to have an affair with the maid Patty, yet along with the above possibilities we must include: opportunity and proximity.
It is a rare day when one finds some validity albeit humorously on a comedy sitcom. While watching an episode of How I Met Your Mother, the character Barney Stinton explains how a woman one finds very unattractive one day, can appear beautiful on another day and he goes on to describe the humorous- “Mermaid Theory”. See the below skit to learn more and hopefully laugh.
Schwarzenegger had social and financial power, a long term marriage, male biology, and a female maid who worked for their family for 20 years. In my opinion, it is likely that the most influential component in his decision to ‘step out’ was availability and opportunity. After 10 years, this maid (manatee) turned into a mermaid.
Now- you have your answer as to why Arnold had the affair…..’The Mermaid Theory’.