For years, she argued, family therapists and counsellors had encouraged the wronged wife to blame herself (and, by default, the “other woman” to console herself), with the belief that men stray only when they are trapped in unhappy marriages. This, Shirley Eskapa maintained, was nonsense. Men have a built-in predisposition to wander, and a happy marriage is no guarantee that they will not succumb to erotic stimuli from outside. Whether this ends in the breakdown of a marriage, she believed, depends to a great extent on the cheated wife....This is an interesting illustration of one of Roissy's more controversial assertions, which is that the effects of male infidelity are different than the effects of female infidelity. The subsequent relationship effects, mind you, not the level of moral offense. The point is not that men get some sort of free pass for cheating, only that a woman stands a pretty good chance of keeping her husband if she wants to and is willing to play her cards correctly. Obviously, not every woman would want to do so, but the option does appear to exist in at least some cases.
Some wives, she found, became so stricken by anger, jealousy or guilt that they unwittingly helped their rivals. Many women, however, managed to manipulate the situation to win back the errant spouse, either by pretending not to notice and waiting for the “crisis of ecstasy” to burn itself out, or by mounting a subtle campaign of calculated revenge, with the aim of “diminishing the Other Woman without diminishing the man”.
In one case a wife arrived at her husband’s love-nest, where she left their four young children and badly-behaved cross-bred Alsatian, along with a note containing elaborate instructions for their care and the declaration: “I’m going to Los Angeles. Like you, I am following a thing bigger than me.” After three weeks, the other woman was screaming like a harridan at the children, the dog and the husband. “She surrendered unconditionally,” Shirley Eskapa recalled. The husband duly returned to the marital home, not merely repentant, but supremely grateful.
Men, on the other hand, are pretty much toast if things reach that point because the female inclination to wander is usually predicated on the death of her attraction to her husband.