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CNN Presents: Infidelity

Aired December 21, 2003 - 20:00   ET


BRAD DALHOOVER, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: They're kissing. And the client's husband was not acting like a married man what so ever.

DR. SHIRLEY GLASS, EXPERT: Fifty percent of all marriages have been touched by some type of infidelity.

DALHOOVER: Are they going to do it again?

JOHN MAYHUE, DIVORCE ATTORNEY: It's the usual part of marriage for a lot of Americans. It's the question of when you are going to cheat.

HEATHER LOVE, ADULTOROUS WIFE: I have been working on projects with this guy. And you know, I was attracted to him. And the next thing I know, he was coming home with me.

CHRISTINE, DIVORCEE: "What do you look like? I'd really like to know."

KATHY SLOBOGIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): The cheating, the interest in pornography, how much do you attribute that to the computer?

CHRISTINE: All of it. It totally changes his personality.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How did she react?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No one is immune. Everyone is vulnerable.


AARON BROWN, HOST: To love and to honor, sacred vows of marriage. Vows often taken, and it seems often broken.

Welcome to CNN Presents. I'm Aaron Brown.

Cheating is wrong; that's the general consensus. And yet, nearly half of all men in this country, and a growing number of women admit to fooling around. Between the Internet and changes in the workplace, temptation is everywhere. And so, it seems, is infidelity. Even as we continue to condemn cheating publicly, it does seem people are committing adultery more than ever before.

So, what's happening? Why the hypocrisy? Could fidelity, monogamy, be more of a myth than reality?

CNN's Kathy Slobogin explores our cheating hearts, as CNN PRESENTS: "Infidelity."



CHRIS JESS, GROOM: I'm ready man. Are you ready?


JESS: Good. We better get going.


JESS: I figure, I better get dressed here in a second.

Let's see. Dave, which one is mine? You want to help me with this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: See there wait. Our shirts had to have gotten mixed up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If I get flowers.


JESS: Can you tell?

BROOKE PITTMAN, BRIDE: I love him. He's my best friend.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Diamonds are a girl's best friend.


PITTMAN: He loves me. He loves me. He loves me. We get to spend the rest of our lives together.

KATHY SLOBOGIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Brooke Pittman is minutes away from marrying her college sweetheart, Chris Jess. They've known each other for 10 years, but they're still nervous.

JESS: We know there are going to be a lot of ups and downs, a lot of trials. Marriage is something you really have to work at.

SLOBOGIN: This is supposed to be for keeps, to honor and cherish, till death do you part.

PITTMAN: I think fidelity is at the core of a marriage. I have no doubt that Chris will be faithful to me for the rest of his life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You may now kiss the bride. SLOBOGIN: But in fact, the odds are stacked against Chris and Brooke. Half of all marriages that start like this, end up like this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Got a visual. Got a visual.

DALHOOVER: That was my client's husband with that girl. This looks like a long night together, to me.

SLOBOGIN: Private investigator, Brad Dalhoover is on the trail of a cheating husband.

DALHOOVER: Our client doesn't have any actual proof. They were kissing. She has suspicions. He's become distant, as she put it.

Are they going to do it again for me?

He's been staying at work late, going out with friends.

SLOBOGIN: She has proof now.

DALHOOVER: We documented blatant cheating activity tonight. We could take the video, and put the video into a dictionary as cheating. If that was me personally, I would be at my attorney's office Monday morning.

SLOBOGIN: And that's exactly were many scorned spouses go. Fifty percent of marriages end in divorce. And adultery is one of the top reasons.

MAYHUE: It's something that we no longer look at as the unusual part of a marriage. It's the usual part of a marriage for a lot of Americans. It's the question of when you're going to cheat.

SLOBOGIN: Divorce attorney John Mayhue (ph) has seen enough adultery in his 25-year career to convince him that monogamy and marriage is a myth.

MAYHUE: I just don't think it exists anymore. Or if it does, it's the exception, not the rule. In the old days, we could go to court, and we could say, you're honor, this person has committed the offense of adultery. And we'd get most of the money, most of the property, and probably the kids. Today, when you go to court and you say, judge, this person has committed adultery. The judge says, and? What else happened?

SLOBOGIN: Fidelity. There's probably nothing we preach more and practice less.

GLASS: All the national survey's report that 90 percent of the people that they polled say that it is absolutely wrong to have extramarital intercourse. We know that probably 50 percent of all marriages have been touched by some type of infidelity.

SLOBOGIN: Dr. Shirley Glass says about a quarter of all married women, and 45 percent of married men cheat at some time during their marriage. GLASS: So many people act like they're shocked by it or they are so disapproving of it. And then they engage in the behavior themselves. As a society, we are very hypocritical about it. We say it's wrong. And then we're fascinated by it.

SLOBOGIN: We condemn adultery.

BILL CLINTON, FRM. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I did not have sexual relations with that woman.

SLOBOGIN: But we want all the details.

CLINT EASTWOOD, ACTOR: You want me to stop, tell me now.

SLOBOGIN: We see it in movies and on TV; sometimes rooting for the cheaters. The largest national survey on infidelity found that middle-aged couples today cheated twice the rate of the generation before it.

(on camera): It may be our culture, which seems to condone cheating, at the same time it condemns it, or the increase of men and women mixing in the workplace. Or maybe, as some argue, were simply hard-wired to cheat. Whatever the reason, it's prevalence has some asking whether fidelity is even a realistic expectation for a marriage today.

JUDITH BRANT, ADULTERER AND AUTHOR: I would say that the vast majority of people cheat.

SLOBOGIN: Judith Brant is having affairs with several married men, and considers herself an expert.

BRANT: Don't get caught is rule No. 1, 2, 3, and 4, I think...

SLOBOGIN: Brant has written a book on the art of affair management. It's called, "The 50-Mile Rule."

BRANT: The 50-Mile Rule states that spouse and lovers should live, at least, 50 miles apart. And that their paths should never cross for any reason, at any time.

SLOBOGIN: They're other rules. If you get caught...

BRANT: The magic words, of course, deny, deny, deny...

SLOBOGIN: Brant, now single, was married herself for 10 years before she became the other woman. She makes no apologizes. Here's a quote from her book.

BRANT: "Let's face it, unless you have zero self-esteem, or just plain odd, you don't want to have sex with the same person forever and ever. You just don't."

And I stand by that statement. I just cannot imagine anyone truly having that desire. SLOBOGIN: Brant admits adultery is wrong. But she says it is better to stay in a marriage and cheat on the side if you have to, rather than walk out on your spouse and children.

BRANT: They're just smarter ways of going about this.

SLOBOGIN: Do you ever think about the wife?

BRANT: No, because there is another old adage that goes, nobody misses a slice from a cut loaf. What she doesn't know won't hurt her.

SLOBOGIN: But what if she does know, or finds out? Dr. Glass, who's counseled couples for 28 years, has seen the damage first hand.

GLASS: The kind of trauma that I see that takes people months and years to get over, that betrayal certainly doesn't convince me that infidelity is an acceptable thing in our society.

SLOBOGIN: Whether you think cheating is unacceptable or inevitable, there's no denying one new trend: women are catching up with men.

GLASS: The trend with married women is that more married women are having extramarital intercourse. And so it looks like that gap is closing.

SLOBOGIN: When we come back, the new hot-zone for infidelity, the workplace.

GLASS: At one point, I felt like I just wanted to go downtown into an office park, and put up a sign on every building that said, "Danger Zone: Men And Women At Work."


SLOBOGIN: They met at work. She wasn't like anyone he'd ever met before.

JEFF LOVE, HUSBAND: It was a love-at-first-sight type thing.

SLOBOGIN: And he was a lot of fun.

H. LOVE: He actually played the guitar. That was a big turn-on. I thought that was really cool.

SLOBOGIN: Jeff and Heather Love both knew they were meant to marry. But the night he planned to pop the question at a fancy restaurant...

H. LOVE: He was so nervous to ask me that he waited until we got into the parking lot. And we're getting in the car, and he knelt down and asked me...

SLOBOGIN: He knelt down?

H. LOVE: In the parking lot, in the dark. SLOBOGIN: But after the wedding, the fun and the romance started to fade.

H. LOVE: He started getting into this, OK, I'm the responsible man. And you know, our conversation just shifted more from fun things to work. And he was not quite as romantic. And I had a hard time with that.

J. LOVE: Work was driving my life at that point in time.

This is Jeff. We're going to catch up on the e-mail and voice- mail.

I'll admit freely to anyone that I'm a complete work-alcoholic.

SLOBOGIN: Jeff was traveling 20 days a month, pushing Heather and their marriage to the back burner.

J. LOVE: I'm pretty much looking to cram as many meetings as I can into one or two day time frame. Literally gone all week long, every week.

This is Jeff.

So, work, work, work, work, work; make as much money as you can. Put back as much money as you can. And some day, we'll have a happy life together.

SLOBOGIN (on camera): Did it ever occur to you that you're wife might meet somebody else.

J. LOVE: Never even thought about it. I mean really I assumed that at that point we were both working for the same goal.

SLOBOGIN (voice-over): But while Jeff was working for the future, Heather was drifting. After only eight months of marriage, she met someone else at work.

H. LOVE: I had been working on projects with this guy. And you know, I was attracted to him.

SLOBOGIN (on camera): What were you getting out of it?

H. LOVE: It felt very romantic. He was very affectionate, very complimentary. He just made me feel very beautiful and very sexy, very smart. And he was telling me all the things I wanted to hear from Jeff.

SLOBOGIN: One night after they successfully landed a client together, Heather and the other man went out for a drink. Jeff was traveling.

H. LOVE: I remember thinking, you know, I'm not going to go past this line. And the line just kept getting, you know --he -- I remember him looking at me and saying, kiss me. And at first, I said no. And then he said it again. And I thought, OK. I could just kiss him. And then it just kind of snowballed from there. And the next thing I know, he was coming home with me.

SLOBOGIN: Heather never meant for it to go that far, what the experts are calling, "the unintentional affair."

GLASS: They begin as friendships, rather than as somebody eying somebody attractive, and thinking, boy, I'd like to have sex with that person.

SLOBOGIN: Dr. Shirley Glass calls the workplace the new danger zone for affairs. In her clinical practice, nearly half the women and 62 percent of the men who are unfaithful met their lover at work.

GLASS: And so what happens is they form this very deep emotional tie to somebody else with whom they share intellectual interest, with whom they have exciting deadlines, or they're working under the same kind of pressure. And somebody they feel they have so much in common with.

SLOBOGIN: What makes these affairs so dangerous is that you don't realize what's happening. Dr. Glass calls it "the coffee cup syndrome."

GLASS: You know, everyday they take their coffee break together. And at first, they talk about the boss, and then about the other employees. And then once they've crossed that line, and start talking about, oh, I had a problem at home last night with my spouse, then they are creating this secret liaison.

SLOBOGIN: Heather felt guilty about her affair. But that didn't stop her. A few nights later, her husband called from the road.

J. LOVE: Well, I'm calling her in. Where are you? What's going on? Not getting any calls back at all.

H. LOVE: I wasn't home. I wasn't returning his calls because I didn't want to give up the other relationship. And I just didn't want to go back to the way that things were.

SLOBOGIN: Finally, when Jeff got home, Heather met him at a nearby lake.

H. LOVE: I remember walking along the lake. And I just said, I'm not happy. I just don't want to do this anymore.

J. LOVE: So, now it starts to come out. I met someone. I'm in love with him. I'm leaving, right? You're just -- you're devastated. I believed in this vow I took. And I believe that it was going to be forever. I believed in my dream, right? So, here I am thinking, you know, did this person not -- you know, did she have her fingers crossed behind her back when she said I do, right? What's going on here?

SLOBOGIN: Heather left Jeff. They didn't speak for three months. E-mail, their only communication.

(on camera): How did you get her back? J. LOVE: Counseling. She finally started to talk to the counselor that I was working with.

SLOBOGIN (voice-over): On her wedding anniversary, Heather ended the affair. Jeff welcomed her home, but only under one condition.

J. LOVE: If we're going to work on this marriage, then you're going commit to work on this marriage, and that guy is gone. Period.

SLOBOGIN: Heather said she never talked to, or saw the other man again.

H. LOVE: Don't you ruin all of mommy's flowers. Those are from daddy.

SLOBOGIN: It's been two years since the affair. Jeff and Heather now have a baby. Jeff spends more time with his family, less time on the road.

(on camera): So, is the romance back in your marriage?

H. LOVE: Mm-hmm. We go on dates. He'll do little things. Like, he'll go and get the car washed before we go out. Or when he travels, sometimes he'll send me flowers. Or you know, he sent me a package from Victoria's Secret.

SLOBOGIN (voice-over): The affair is over. But for both of them, it's still there.

H. LOVE: And I still feel remorse about them today. I mean I hurt myself. I hurt my husband. I hurt his family.

J. LOVE: It's always in the back of my mind. This person could leave me at any point in time, right? I mean I love her. I love her more now than I did then. But it's still back there. I think I'll always have that fear.

SLOBOGIN: When CNN PRESENTS returns, adultery without ever leaving the house.

DAVID GREENFIELD, ADDITION SPECIALIST: The Internet is a sexual smorgasbord. I call it an electronic bedroom.


SLOBOGIN: It's late. Your spouse is sleeping and you want to play. You can meet anyone, be anyone and go anywhere. All without ever leaving home.

GREENFIELD: I call it an "electronic bedroom." The Internet is a sexual smorgasbord. I mean you can find anything. And if you have a particular fantasy or desire, or fetish, something that you've never even considered talking about with your spouse, you can find somebody that's into it online.

SLOBOGIN: Dr. David Greenfield specializes in addiction. And lately, he's spending a lot of time treating a new and addictive brand of adultery. What he calls, "crossing the line online."

GREENFIELD: This is the perfect affair for a married person. Think about it. You know, they don't have to go anywhere. They don't have to try to find a hotel room. They can suck you in. And you can end up in places, doing things and saying things you might not ordinarily do. And you're playing with fire.

SLOBOGIN (on camera): Cyber cheating is the latest threat to marriage. In a survey, two-thirds of divorce attorneys said the Internet played a significant role in the divorces they handled. Take a lot at any online dating service. They're supposed to be for singles. But the people who tracked these sites say half the visitors are actually married.

CHRISTINE: He was opening a Pandora's box. And by opening it, he got the taste and he got a flavor. And he like that taste.

SLOBOGIN (voice-over): Christine, who asked that we not to use her last name, says her marriage was destroyed by a computer. A marriage to a man she thought was perfect.

(on camera): What did you see in him?

CHRISTINE: Blue eyes. He had the prettiest blue eyes. He was six foot. He was thin. And he could dance. I was forty-three years old. I'd never been married. I waited because I wanted the perfect man. And I thought I had him.

There, we're smearing cake all over each other.

SLOBOGIN (voice-over): He husband sold real estate and installed a computer at home. At first, the online hours were reasonable. Then she says it changed.

CHRISTINE: It was getting worse and worse. He'd just spend longer times there. His personality would change. And I kept asking him, because I'd see the e-mail addresses, and I said, you know, what's in here? And he'd change the subject. He didn't want me to even think about it because it was no big deal.

SLOBOGIN: She believed him, until the day she said she stumbled onto his other life.

CHRISTINE: My sister had sent me a picture of her on vacation. And so, I downloaded the picture. And then I couldn't find it. And I said OK. I've downloaded somewhere? Where is it? So, I started looking in the history. And I found pictures. And it wasn't of my sister.

There were pictures that he had downloaded of women, housewives. And they were so lewd and disgusting. They would make "Hustler" magazine look like Disney.

SLOBOGIN: She says her husband played down the pornography, denied he was cheating. But her suspicions grew. Finally, she decided to beat him at his own game, in cyberspace. (on camera): The Internet is not only inspiring adulterers, it's providing a way to catch them. Software, like Spector Pro, is a kind of electronic detective. You can actually spy on your spouse's e- mails; capture their conversations keystroke by keystroke. And that's exactly what Christine did.

CHRISTINE: I started tracking and opening up his e-mails, and seeing what was in there. And that's what I discovered he was doing. He was going into adult personal ads. He was asking for local, loose women.

SLOBOGIN (on camera): When you saw what he was doing, what did you feel?

CHRISTINE: Anger, hurt, betrayal; I felt dirty. I was with a husband who was cheating on me. These were disgusting women that were out showing themselves to strangers.

CHRISTINE: "What do you look like? I'd really like to know."

SLOBOGIN (voice-over): Christine kept copies of the conversations with other women. Then she went further. She became one of them.

CHRISTINE: I set up a new e-mail address. I put in everything phony. And I contacted him. I pretended I was pretty loose and that I was looking for more fun. The boyfriend I was with was satisfying me. And his comment, basically, was that he wasn't being satisfied. He wanted to play.

SLOBOGIN: Armed with her e-mails, Christine filed for divorce two years ago. Her husband wouldn't talk to us.

(on camera): The cheating, the interest in pornography; how much of that do you attribute to the computer?

CHRISTINE: All of it. All of it. It totally changed his personality. It allowed him to do things that he wouldn't have to have anybody see him do. He could go into sites quietly, secretly. He could look at things. And he'd never have to tell anybody he did it.

SLOBOGIN (voice-over): Although she doesn't have any proof, Christine suspects her husband actually met the other women in the flesh. But Dr. Greenfield says even if he didn't, a cyber relationship may be more of a threat to a marriage than the old fashioned off-line reality.

GREENFIELD: Yes. Having sex outside your primary relationship can be damaging. But most relationships, I find, can survive the situation where that occurs.

CHRISTINE: "Hi. It's Katie. You answered my personal ad a while ago..."

GREENFIELD: What creates a lot of problems is when intimacy starts to build. And now, you've got a person developing an intimate relationship with someone online.

CHRISTINE: "... here's how to get a hold of me."

SLOBOGIN: For Christine, there's a final chapter, and one with a happy ending. She met someone new. Where did she meet him? You guessed it: an online dating site.

When CNN PRESENTS returns, is cheating in our genes?

At this point, I'd have to say a species that doesn't cheat is exceedingly rare.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At this point, I'd have to say a species that doesn't cheat is exceedingly rare.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're going to be taking a train ride through the zoo. Animals practice exactly what we do. They just do it with a twist. I would say penguins are probably the most romantic animal in the zoo.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE CORRESPONDENT: Penguins in love. They look innocent enough.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They have a month of foreplay.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE CORRESPONDENT: But looks are deceiving according to zookeeper James Halini (ph).

JAMES HALINI (ph), ZOOKEEPER: There's a penguin we named Joan Collins, who would literally sachet in front of the burrows (ph), where parents are sitting on their eggs. And the males, you would watch them come out and they'd go out, shtook (ph) Joan (ph) in the hall, and then pick up a palm frond and carry it back to the nest acting like that's where I've been.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE CORRESPONDENT: And penguins aren't the only ones. It turns out most animals are cheating on the side. DAVID BARISH (ph), ZOOLOGIST: I'd have to say a species that doesn't cheat, is exceedingly rare.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE CORRESPONDENT: Zoologist David Barish (ph), and his wife, psychiatrist Judith Lipton (ph), have studies monogamy in the animal kingdom. You may be surprised by how little of it they found.

BARISH: I know of one species of animal that I can be fairly confident -- in fact quite confident is monogamous. And that is a flat worm that serves as a -- lives as a parasite in the intestines of fish.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE CORRESPONDENT: A flat worm? The symbol of monogamy? The amount of fooling around in the animal kingdom took biologists by surprise. It was DNA that gave the beasts away.

JUDITH LIPTON, PHYCHIATRIST: It first came out when the scientists did DNA testing. Particularly in birds it was found that instead of (UNINTELLIBLE) mating for life, something like between 10 and 70 percent of the babies were fathered by somebody else. So it turns out that those lady ducks and geese were going out into the bushes, and doing it with somebody else.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE CORRESPONDENT: You know those cute little mother birds sitting demurely on their nests? Scientists put radio transmitters on them, and found out they were routinely sneaking of for a one-night-stand. Or actually, more like a five-second stand.

BARISH (ph): Lot's of females were having lots of sexual partners. This was -- it really blew us away.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE CORRESPONDENT: (on-camera) So these goats are not a particularly good advertisement for monogamy?

BARISH (ph): No.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE CORRESPONDENT: (voice-over) Barish (ph) and Lipton (ph) published their findings in a book called "The Myth of Monogamy". Myth, because they say monogamy is neither common, nor particularly natural.

BARISH (ph): What we're finding again, over and over again, is first of all that monogamy is exceedingly rare. That it's not easy. And in that sense it doesn't come naturally.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE CORRESPONDENT: In fact, the desire to stray in both animals and humans may be deeply imprinted on our physychies (ph). Part of the instinct to survive. Anthropologist, Helen Fisher (ph).

HELEN FISHER, ANTHROPOLOGIST: And what Darlin (ph) said was if you have four children, and I have no children, you live on and I die out. So who breeds, who reproduces, who passes their genes to the next generation survive. Men seem to have a tendency to sleep around with a lot of different women, so that they can pass more of their genes into the next generation.


FISHER (ph): When a woman sleeps around, she can collect extra resources for the children that she has. So through millions of years of having genetic payoffs, to both men and women, we evolved whatever it is in the male and female brain to be somewhat adulterous.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE CORRESPONDENT: But id adultery is a genetic booster, what about fidelity, loyalty? What about marriage?

FISHER (ph): We're in a pickle. We have a tremendous drive to form a pair (ph) bond (ph). And deeply attach to another human being. And we have the ability to fall in love with others. And a restless heart. And each one of us in the middle of the night lies in bed and decides how we're going to cope with this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE CORRESPONDENT: So is cheating in our genes? Can adulterers claim the sexual equivalent of the Twinkie defense? Their genes made them do it? That's not the conclusion Barish (ph) and Lipton (ph) have come to.

BARISH (ph): I think the inclination for adultery is inevitable. But that's not the same thing as saying that the actual acting upon it is inevitable.

LIPTON (ph): Obviously we have animal natures, but we can do lots of things that animals can't. And among those are the capacity for monogamy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE CORRESPONDENT: The better lesson to be drawn from our four-footed friends they say is that a restless heart is perfectly normal.

BARISH (ph): We should not be blind-sided by our own behavior, our own inclinations. And also maybe to be a little less quick to say oh my gosh, if I'm looking twice at someone else who I find attractive, that must mean I don't really love my partner.

LIPTON (ph): So what we're advocating is that we listen to the neocortex (ph). The wonderful part of the brain that says no and it puts the brakes on the animal part of the brain.

BARISH (ph): At the same time as we should listen to out neocortex (ph), we should be aware that the animal part is there. You know, and don't be surprised if you hear it growling in the background every once in a while.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE CORRESPONDENT: When CNN PRESENTS returns, is a happy marriage safe from infidelity?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No one is immune. Everyone is vulnerable.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE CORRESPONDENT: Janet and Tim had it all. Love, sex, even rock and roll. They met 22 years ago playing in a rock band.

JANET: Our song was a song called magic land. So we have a little inside joke. I call him my magic man. He still is. What can I say you know? He still is.

TIM: So I get to hang around another day or two?

JANET: I think I'll keep you.

TIM: A year or two?

JANET: Or three or four or five or six?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE CORRESPONDENT: Married for 19 years, they seem like the ideal couple.

TIM: Everything was perfect in our marriage. We weren't fighting. Sex was great. You know, I was happy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE CORRESPONDENT: Until the unthinkable happened. Until Tim had an affair.

JANET: Your whole life turns upside down. And you do literally feel like you're dying.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE CORRESPONDENT: This wasn't supposed to happen. They were happy, in love, and a fair-proof (ph) marriage right?

PEGGY VAUGHN (ph): No one is immune. Everyone is vulnerable. I probably hear from over 100 people every week.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE CORRESPONDENT: Peggy Vaughn (ph) runs a support network for couples who have been hit by an affair. Couples like Janet and Tim.

VAUGHN (ph): Unfortunately, it's extremely typical. They were a good couple. They never thought anything like this could happen to them. And it was a total surprise to both of them that it happened.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE CORRESPONDENT: For Tim, it started at work. With a subtle come-on from a coworker.

TIM: You know, it was like I need you to do something for me. OK, well I'll do anything for you. Oh really? So that's what led to it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE CORRESPONDENT: And so it began. The secret rendezvous. The stolen lunch hours. What was the positive side? What were you getting out of it?

TIM: My ego stroked. Attention, just feeling like you're it, you know? And it's exciting.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE CORRESPONDENT: Tim is not unusual. Infidelity expert Shirley Glass (ph) found in her survey that more than half the men who cheated were happily married. And the other woman is not usually the real attraction.

SHIRLEY GLASS, INFIDELITY EXPERT: What the attraction is, is how I see myself in that other relationship. So when I look in your eyes, and I see what's reflected back, this is a very attractive picture of me. This image of me is this wonderful person who's up on a pedestal.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE CORRESPONDENT: When the affair was going on, did you ever let yourself stop and think about how it would affect Janet if she found out if she found out?

TIM: I really never did. So you tell yourself, well I can get away with it. It's exciting you know. I can do it and then tend to think that it's OK.


JANET: You notice behavior changes. He became more interested in how he looked, his appearance, his clothing. He also became more distant to me, short tempered.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE CORRESPONDENT: After three months of suspicions, Janet confronted Tim, on their anniversary.

JANET: I was very calm. I said you know Tim, I really notice that you've -- you seem so distant from me. It's not like you to be that way toward me. I said whatever is going on, you know talk to me. And he looked at me, and he said you know -- you're right. You don't deserve this. And I said, it's another woman isn't it?

TIM: So I confessed after that. I told Janet you know, what had happened.


TIM: She was hurt.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE CORRESPONDENT: Did you ever have any idea it would be like that?

TIM: No.

JANET: You begin to wonder, well what's wrong with me? I must not look good enough. And then the humiliation of it in public you know. I would avoid people. I would literally avoid someone that I knew knew it. And it was horrible.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE CORRESPONDENT: By now you are probably thinking if a marriage like Tim and Janet's is vulnerable, what hope is there for monogamy? Which 90 percent of couples say they want. Peggy Vaughn (ph) says there is hope. And she should know. Thirty years ago she discovered her husband had had more than a dozen affairs. She's still married to him. And she says what saves the couple is confronting the attraction to adultery head on.

VAUGHN (ph): And that's where it becomes a little counter- intuitive. I couple needs to talk about their attractions, and their temptations. Now people say oh, that's to scary, that's to risky. But the real risk is in not doing it. It's not unless you are talking about it, and thinking about it with your partner that you also focus on the negative, on the consequences.

JANET: Let's see, 1979 is when we started the group.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE CORRESPONDENT: Janet and Tim are talking now. Taking nothing for granted. It took several years, but their marriage is on the mend. But Tim has a message for would-be adulterers. Try telling your teenage son why his mom is so unhappy.

TIM: What do you do? You lie? No. You tell him. It's devastating for them, because they lose faith in you. They -- you broke that trust you know? That's Dad. Dad's not going to do anything that's going to -- but Dad did. And that's hard.

JANET: You think you have a great marriage. You think to yourself, no not me. No, my life would never do that to me. My husband wouldn't do that to me. We love each other. It's a promise, but promises are broken. They get broken. Mine did, but it's OK now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE CORRESPONDENT: When we return, surviving infidelity.

VAUGHN (ph): Not only can a couple survive it, but they can actually build a stronger marriage than they had before.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE CORRESPONDENT: To many young couples, infidelity is the unthinkable. So is surviving it.

JANET: I did think about leaving. In fact, we'd even talked about this. If you ever did this to me, that's it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE CORRESPONDENT: But Janet didn't leave her husband after his affair. It took several years of painful honesty and of rebuilding trust. But the connection was still there.

JANET: That deep love. We had a history together. Years of being with someone. I wasn't willing to let go of that. And even though he made a mistake, he was still Tim.

VAUGHN (ph): Not only can a couple survive it, but they can actually build a stronger marriage than they had before. Now that sounds like blasphemy, and I want to quickly categorize what I mean.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE CORRESPONDENT: You're not recommending affairs.

VAUGHN (ph): I'm not recommending -- nobody in their right mind would choose to go through this in order to make their marriage better. But I think it's important to know that it's possible.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE CORRESPONDENT: Heather and Jeff Love also came back from the brink of divorce with the help of an expert therapist, Dr. Bonnie Edgar While (ph).

BONNIE EDGAR WHILE, EXPERT THERAPIST: She began not to take Jeff for granted. She began to see the warts on her lover's face. Which is what always happens.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE CORRESPONDENT: Dr. While (ph) and other experts say the trick is getting people like Heather to see that infatuation with a lover is bound to fade.

WHILE (ph): The reason adultery is so high, is we love to be in love. And we want to stay there forever. But you do have to come down. So I'm asking people to have an affair with their own partner, instead of having an affair with someone new. Because getting rid of a person doesn't get rid of your problem.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The counselors that say that the anecdote in fidelity is communication, honesty, you know --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good luck baby. Because once the stuff is gone, it's gone.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE CORRESPONDENT: With affairs taking place in half of all marriages, Brant (ph) says we should simply except the inevitable, but manage it well.

BRANT (ph): It's like keep your mouth shut. Nobody wants to know. And most of these things are lips (ph) in the road. They are kind of detours on the matrimonial highway that in the end are probably going to mean nothing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE CORRESPONDENT: But for all those restless souls who think there's something better out there, here's a sobering thought. Seventy-five percent of those who marry their affair partner, end up divorced. So when the grass looks greener, maybe we should look, but not touch.

LIPTON (ph): If we're alive and breathing, we will find other people attractive. And we need to find ways to protect our committed relationships. So we need more education to let young couples have committed to a marriage just know that just because they've taken these vows, and they think they're going to live together for the next 50 years, that it isn't just going to happen.

AARON BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: In a time and an age when there seems to be a drug for everything, could there someday be one that prevents cheating? Some researchers and therapists are studying the chemistry of infidelity, experimenting with hormone and dopamine levels to see if such a manipulation might lesson the desire to stray.

That's it for this addition of CNN PRESENTS. I'm Aaron Brown. Thanks for joining us, and we'll see you next week.



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