women cheatersJohn Edwards, Tiger Woods, Jesse James ... now, Arnold Schwarzenegger is the latest powerful man to be under the microscope for his straying ways. But just because we don't hear about women cheating as often as these guys doesn't mean it's not happening.

In fact, a new study from the journal Psychological Science found that although men in positions of power were more likely to be unfaithful in a relationship, they found that women were just as guilty. Supposedly, the amount of confidence a person has is the strongest connection between power and cheating.

But power or no power, confidence or no confidence, it seems to me that infidelity is often the result of one thing ... cowardice.

I always find it terribly disheartening when I hear that anyone -- male or female -- has been unfaithful to their partner. It's the hopeless romantic in me. I want to believe that when you make a promise to be exclusive, you're headed for happily ever after. Obviously this is the real world, and things don't always rarely play out that way. And I'm sure there are some almost legit reasons people choose to have affairs. But that doesn't change the fact that cheating -- especially because a position of power has inflated your sense of confidence to the point where you think you can get away with it or you "deserve" to, etc. -- is a cop-out.

Make no bones about it -- Schwarzenegger copped out big-time by having a love child behind his wife Maria's back and keeping it a secret for a decade. You don't have to be procreating behind your partner's back to be a coward. Just shtup-ing someone else is enough.

Because choosing to have an affair is basically actively acknowledging that there's something missing from your own relationship you need to find elsewhere ... but you won't or can't address it.

I understand that there are some instances where cheating can be rationalized. When people have tried, and the missing pieces or cracks in the relationship are impossible to fix, and/or there's no way out. But while tough, these instances are probably also pretty rare. More often, I think people want an easy solution to tough relationship issues, but just like weight-loss or rebuilding financial ruin, the fix will never be 1-2-3. It takes hard, proactive work. But what's the point of getting married or committing to someone in the first place if you can't deal with that? And what's the point of staying in a relationship if you aren't willing to work to maintain it?

The bottom line: We can't look at someone like the Governator and say powerful men are the only ones who act like dogs. Many everyday men and women are just as guilty. Many of us could stand to consider what's best for our relationships -- and consciences -- in the long-run: Putting in the time and effort to create a happy partnership or believing we should have our cake and eat it too by taking the easy, sleazy cop-out.

Do you feel that cheaters are usually cowards who won't address their relationship issues?


Image via kimarketing/Flickr