Over-50s less likely to worry about infidelity
Rosemary Bennett, Social Affairs Correspondent
November 3, 2008
Baby-boomers who came of age in the Swinging Sixties have hung on to
their liberal sexual attitudes and are far more relaxed about
infidelity than younger people, research has found.
A poll comparing the views of overand underfifties found the same
proportion of older and younger people admit to cheating on their
partner, at about a quarter. But the overfifties are far less likely
to worry about it or see it as a reason to split up.
Only 36 per cent of over-50s who were unfaithful said that they
regretted it, compared with 52 per cent of the younger group doing
so. A quarter of over-50s said that they would break up with their
partners for cheating compared with half of the under50s.
Twice as many over-50s as under-50s said that they would forgive
their partners if they found out that they had been unfaithful.
However, total forgiveness was rare among all ages. Only 8 per cent
of the older group and 4 per cent of the younger people said that
they would be able to follow the example of Pauline Prescott, wife of
the former Deputy Prime Minister, and pardon an unfaithful partner.
Mrs Prescott forgave her husband, John, for his affair with his
secretary, Tracey Temple.
The poll, of 2,000 adults, was conducted by Opinium Research for Saga.
Older people are more likely to cheat than younger men and women...
and not regret it either, says study
By Rebecca Camber
03rd November 2008
They were the generation that embraced free love.
Now as the children of the Swinging Sixties approach retirement, it
seems they still have the same liberal attitude when it comes to infidelity.
Compared with their counterparts from the younger generation, older
couples are far more likely to cheat and harbour no regrets,
according to a poll.
A survey of over-55s found 28 per cent had been unfaithful, compared
with 24 per cent of those aged 18 to 34.
But while half of the younger generation surveyed said they were
ashamed of their infidelity, only a third of the over-55s felt any
regret about straying.
The poll also found older men and women were more liable to shrug off
minor indiscretions and forgive their partners.
Researchers found just half of the over-55s considered kissing
someone else cheating, compared with 83 per cent of those under 34.
Younger people were also more likely to consider that suggestive text
messaging, flirting or having dinner with someone without their
partner's knowledge, was infidelity.
The 1,600 adults surveyed by the over-50s social networking website
Saga Zone were asked about their general views on adultery.
Only 30 per cent of the over-55s said they considered it 'totally
immoral with no excuses', compared with 42 per cent of the younger generation.
And the report indicated younger couples in the first flush of love
were far more likely to judge other people's indiscretions than the
more sage over-55s, who generally subscribed to the view it is wrong
to judge the affairs of others.
Emma Soames, editor-at-large of Saga Zone, said the poll revealed a
startling generational divide.
She said: 'These older people were the children of the Sixties when
free love was the order of the day.
'In their formative years, they were exploring alternative lifestyles
and living together without marriage, so it's quite possible that
this generation has a specific attitude of its own. When you've got
to the age of 50 or so, you've been through the rough and tumble of life.
'You know these things happen, whether it is a kiss or an affair, and
you know that you can't both maintain a state of humming sexual
attraction and never look at anyone else.
'More important than that, you develop an intimacy and long-lasting
relationship which would not be thrown away for a minor indiscretion.'
But the results have surprised church leaders who said that those
celebrating long marriages often cited fidelity and trust as the
bedrock of their relationship.
The Rt Rev Kieran Conry, Roman Catholic Bishop of Arundel and
Brighton, said: 'I don't think this latitude about fidelity is shared
by those who are rejoicing in long and stable marriages.'
But the bishop said he was ' reassured' by the more traditional
attitudes among the young.