NEW YORK (MainStreet) Hold on to your wallets, husbands, because the odds say if you cheat, it will be expensive.
A recent survey by the coupon website Vouchercloud.net reports that the average affair begins just two years into marriage and ends up costing a lot of money.
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"In addition to potentially costing a person their happy home and marriage," the report said, "the average affair costs the cheating party over $2,600, including dollars spent on expensive dinners, hotel checks and gifts while sneaking around behind their spouse's back."
Vouchercloud then asked survey participants to break down their spending, to see where the money really goes in an affair. They found that per month, a cheating spouse spends :
- $123 on hotel rooms
- $162 on dinner and drinks
- $54 on gifts
- $69 on dates (such as tickets to a show)
- $36 on "other"
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At $444 per month for the average six month affair, this tallies up to $2,664 in entertainment fees before you pay for the divorce lawyer. Even more surprising, only a third of Vouchercloud's survey respondents said that their spouse noticed the extra spending.
"So it seems that not only can an affair ruin your relationship with your husband or wife," wrote Matthew Wood of Vouchercloud.net in the survey, "but it can also pack a punch for your wallet. Of course, there are a million reasons not to stray from your spouse and the cost is only a very minor one, but perhaps thinking about money is a good place to start."
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True enough, and this survey opens up even more unanswered questions.
First, it would have been nice to get the numbers broken down by men and women's habits. A middling majority, 57% of the respondents who confessed to an affair were male, compared to 43% who were female, and we still live in a world where "split the check?" is a pretty good prophylactic. While things have grown more egalitarian, in most relationships it's the guy who picks up the tab for dinner, gifts and date night. It would be interesting to see how that $2,600 breaks down along gender lines.
Second, $123 on hotel rooms per month? $162 on dinner? That's... well, perfectly reasonable if you live out in the Midwest. Out in New York City. though, you'll spend that much on tips alone. Cheaters of urban America, demand more from your partner than the Broadway Hostel dorm and elegance at Arby's!
Third, the survey reports that nearly a quarter of all respondents had cheated on their spouse. If this number seems high, then I have some bad news for you. It's probably quite low. According to Eric Anderson, a sociologist with the University of Winchester "[e]stimates today find married men cheating at rates between 25% and 72%." Sorry ladies, no chance to gloat here. A New York Timesreport on the subject has the distaff side closing that gender gap, as "younger women appear to be cheating on their spouses nearly as often as men." We are, it appears, an increasingly equal opportunity society when it comes to infidelity.
All in all, it turns out cheating is an expensive way to spend those "late nights at the office," and the expense adds insult to injury. Not only do you fool around with your intern, but you blow the vacation fund in the process. Maybe it would just be better to ask your spouse to wear a wig from time to time.
--Written for MainStreet by Eric Reed, a freelance journalist who writes frequently on the subjects of career and travel. You can read more of his work at his website www.wanderinglawyer.com.