Indian divorce in South Africa rates rise

Experts say it’s women who want out of marriage

24 July 2011 – Sunday Tribune – Devaksha Moodley

DIVORCES among Indians are on the rise, with more women filing suits and being caught cheating on their husbands.

The popularity of social networking sites and online pornography are also said to be leading more Indian couples to the divorce court.

In the past five years, the percentage of Indian divorces in the country has increased from five percent to 6.2 percent, according to Statistics SA – which correlates with the increase of users on Facebook. Of the 1 610 Indian divorces in 2009, 851 were filed by women.

Bertus Preller, a divorce and family law attorney, attributed this to Indian women now being more independent and secure – financially and socially.

Moreover, Rakhi Beekrum, a counselling psychologist at eThekwini Hospital and Heart Centre, said that “contrary to popular belief, it is not always the male partner who is unfaithful”.

Women are using modern technology to hook up, including Facebook, Twitter and internet sites. Rather than taking place behind closed doors, like they used to, affairs are flourishing in cyberspace.

Psychologists and lawyers are convinced this is one reason for the rise in divorces among Indian couples.

Beekrum, who mainly works in marital therapy, said: “A growing number of Indian couples, married and single, are seeking therapy because of infidelity linked to social networking sites and internet pornography.”

There are about 4 million active users on Facebook in South Africa, with the number having increased by 40 percent a year in recent years.

During this period, the divorce rate for Indian couples has also gone up.

Preller said he considered Facebook the unrivalled leader in “turning virtual reality into real-life divorce drama”.

Attorney Fawzia Khan said a client of hers had been horrified to discover her husband’s relationship status on Facebook was single and “looking for a relationship”.

Khan added that more Indian women were complaining about their husbands’ use of pornographic websites.

Beekrum said that when a partner felt his or her needs were not being met, they looked for satisfaction elsewhere.

“Internet pornography and social networking sites are easily accessible, so many people turn to them when unhappy in their marriages.”

However, psychologists say that internet pornography and cyberspace affairs are merely symptomatic of a problem that already exists in a relationship.

Sarojini Naidoo, a counselling psychologist, said that couples needed to look at what was causing them to spend less time with each other and more time on the internet.

On whether couples could overcome such betrayal, Naidoo said “communication is key”.

Beekrum said counselling could work if both spouses were willing to put in the effort.

Khan said: “One of the spinoffs for lawyers is the availability of evidence, which can be obtained through the social networking sites and used against a spouse in the divorce process.”

Such evidence can also be used in custody battles.

Preller cited the example of a father forcing his son to “defriend” his mother on Facebook “to establish some sort of parental alienation”.

Most of the Indian couples getting divorced are in their Thirties and have children.

Beekrum said: “While divorce used to be the last recourse, many Indian couples nowsee it as a primary option.”

Regarding cyber-adultery, Preller said that the degree of betrayal would vary from one individual to the next, but it had to be borne in mind that physical contact was not the only thing that defined an affair in the world of new media.

Khan said: “Some clients have complained that even where no intimacy is involved it creates an environment of distrust that ultimately leads to the marriage failing.”

The increase in divorces among Indian South Africans indicates that women are no longer standing idly by in unhappy marriages.

The higher divorce rate also suggests that the consequences of seeking instant gratification on the internet are dire.

Interview with Bertus Preller, a celebrity divorce attorney based in Cape Town

Business Times Interview – by Adele Shevel

Maria Shriver’s doing it; Tiger Wood’s wife did it. Making the decision to terminate a marriage is a tough one, and the chances are it’s followed by an even more traumatic lead-up to the divorce.

Shriver and Woods are very wealthy, their husbands hugely successful, and high profile infidelity was peppered into the mix. But it’s not only the rich who need to ascertain the financial situation of their husbands.

Women are encouraged to gather as much financial information about their husband’s financial affairs before the divorce proceedings commence, to establish the magnitude of the estate.

Bertus Preller, a celebrity divorce attorney at Abrahams and Gross in Cape Town provides guidance as to how to get your affairs in order before making that final call.

“It’s extremely important for any woman to know what’s going on in her husband’s financial affairs. It’s difficult when you don’t have access to his share portfolio or balance sheet, but one must reasonably expect to get an idea of financial affairs.”

An attorney cannot negotiate on behalf of a client without knowing in advance what the estate is worth.

In many divorce settlements, the wife ends up seeing what the estate is worth after it takes place.

  • Make copies of your husband’s bank statements, credit card statements and get hold of the short-term insurance policies as well as copies of pension funds and retirement funds. This will provide input on the extent of assets available and the value of the estate.
  • Build a clause into the settlement agreement to say if any assets that come to light after the divorce settlement, the wife is entitled to 50% of those assets and the husband will have to pay the legal fees involved in this process.
  • A more accurate sense of assets will come to light if the divorce is contested as parties are required to disclose any information to do with financial affairs. The husband can be required under oath to make full disclosure of his assets, and it is perjury if he doesn’t.
  • Women are advised not to leave the matrimonial home if children are involved, because it provides a sense of stability for the kids. It’s better for the husband to leave. If he makes himself guilty of abuse, the wife can get a restraining order to evict him from the property. In some instances, the husband can be restricted from accessing certain parts of the home.
  • Where the parties are married in community of property the wife is entitled to half the pension or retirement annuity fund. In a marriage out of community with the accrual, the pension fund will be regarded as part of the husband’s assets for purposes of calculating the accrual.
  • In terms of the Divorce Act, the wife (if married in community of property) can choose to ask for the pension fund money to be paid in cash, or transferred to a pension fund of her choice.  Normally pension funds pay out the wife’s portion in 3 to 6 months after the divorce. Wives of employees for the SA government have had to wait for her husband to resign or die before she could access her portion of his pension. But this might change — a judgement issued this month said it was unconstitutional for the wife of a government employee not to be allowed to access his pension following a divorce.
  • Make a list of your monthly income and expenses, as if you’re going to live on your own with your children. It’s important because you get situations where the wife is not working or earns much less than the husband and doesn’t have the money to fight a divorce battle.  She can bring an application pending a divorce, for interim maintenance, which means contributing maintenance before the divorce is finalised. She can also apply for contribution to her legal expenses. If interim-maintenance is granted and the husband does not comply with the court order, he is in contempt of court.
  • In some instances the wife can apply for emergency monetary relief in the magistrate’s court pending the institution of an application for interim maintenance by utilizing the provisions of the domestic violence act because the husband has blocked the use of credit.
  • Interim maintenance falls away once the divorce order is granted. There have been situations where the wife has been granted very favourable interim maintenance terms, so she stalls the divorce in order to continue getting a hearty amount of money each month.
  • The granting of interim maintenance divorce cannot be appealed. The only way the husband can minimize this is if he goes back to court and explains and proves that his financial situation has changed so much that he’s entitled to a reduction. But this does not happen easily.
  • Many battles in a divorce surround the children. Normally the wife is the parent of primary residence and the husband the parent of alternate residence. Increasingly, there’s a shared parenting approach with children staying with the mother for a week and then the father for a week and each party takes care of the children during that period.  “We see a lot of children used as a weapon. I tend to immediately get a parenting plan in place, and register that with the family advocate and stipulate that if issues arise with parenting and the children they need to go to a psychologist or a social worker”.
  • In matters where money is not fought over, it may make financial sense to go to one lawyer who can work for both parties. But a divorce that is acrimonious requires that each party needs a lawyer to assist.
  • A few mediation organizations exist where people can see a mediator to resolve disputes, to settle with both parties. The mediator doesn’t have the authority to issue and award damages but he can facilitate the process. If an abusive husband is involved, mediation is unlikely to work.  But it can work if the divorce is not acrimonious. Parties have to pay. “Sometimes this route can be more expensive than an uncontested divorce, depending on the amount of sessions that the parties have to attend” says Preller.
  • Where a couple owns a property together, they need to decide whether both parties want to keep the interest in the property, sell the property and split the proceeds, or whether one wants to buy out the other. The decision has financial implications because of transfer duties and tax.
  • It’s important to consider instances where the husband has no assets. A policy should be taken out in the event that the husband passes away and there is no money to help cover maintenance, in case of his death.

“The decision to divorce is a business decision. You need to look at what happens until the children turn 21, that there’s maintenance, medical cover for them, a school education and whether it’s government or private school and tertiary education,” says Preller.

About Bertus Preller

Bertus Preller is a Family Law and Divorce Attorney based in Cape Town and has more than 20 years experience in most sectors of the law and 13 years as a practicing attorney. He specializes in Family law and Divorce Law at Abrahams and Gross Attorneys Inc. and deals with Family and Divorce matters across the country.Bertus is also the Family Law expert on Health24.com and on the expert panel of Law24.com and is frequently quoted on Family Law issues in newspapers such as the Sunday Times and Business Times. His clients include celebrities, actors and actresses, sportsmen and sportswomen, television presenters and various high net worth individuals.

His areas of expertise are Divorce Law, Family Law, International Divorce Law, Divorce Mediation, Parenting Plans, Parental Responsibilities and Rights, Custody (care and contact) of children, same sex marriages, unmarried fathers rights, domestic violence matters, digital rights, media law and criminal law.

Bertus also has a passion for gadgets and technology and he co-pioneered the development of technology in which the first book in the world was delivered to a mobile phone utilizing sms and java technology and also advised a number of South African book publishers on the Google Book settlement class action and negotiated contracts with the likes of Google and Amazon.com.

He specializes in Divorce Law, Family Law, Divorce Mediation, Parenting Plans, Parental Responsibilities and Rights, Custody (care and contact) of children, same sex marriages, unmarried fathers rights, domestic violence matters, international divorce law, digital rights, media law and criminal law.

Spying spouses and Fake identities, divorce and the Facebook battleground

A woman posed as a teenage girl on Facebook to dig for dirt on her husband ahead of their divorce – and ended up getting him arrested by the FBI.

Everyone is entitled to be stupid, but some abuse the privilege. (author unknown)

What would angry, bitter divorcing couples do without Facebook for a battleground?

In the latest example of two people losing all sense of reason while they part ways, Angela Voelkert, of Indiana, decided to go digital dirt-digging on her ex-husband, David. She created a fake profile on Facebook of a teenager named Jessica Studebaker (complete with a cute picture) and became friends with him.

“Jessica” quickly became a confidante, as The New York Post reports, and everything was going to plan. But then Mr. Voelkert began to spill details of a plot to bump off Angela. In e-mail messages, he apparently explained how he had attached a GPS to his ex’s car so he could find her when the time came, and even allegedly asked “Jessica” whether she knew someone who might do the job for him.

Ms. Voelkert went to the authorities, who promptly charged Mr. Voelkert last week with illegally installing a GPS, with warnings of more charges to come. In court, the Post story says, his e-mails were widely quoted, including his asking Jessica to run away with him when the deed was done. “Let me know, Baby!” (Signed with a smiley face.)

Except, on Tuesday, all charges were dropped suddenly. It appears Mr. Voelkert had been running a scam of his own. According to The Smoking Gun, he produced a notarized affidavit – signed six days before he first mentioned any sinister plans – that made clear he’d suspected all along that Jessica was really Angela. His affidavit stated that he had “no plans” to harm anyone. “I am lying to this person,” the affidavit states, “to gain positive proof that it is indeed my ex-wife trying to again tamper in my life.”

For all their mutual scheming, Mr. Voelkert paid the bigger price: He spent four days in custody until federal investigators confirmed his affidavit was real. (In the end, though, it’s the kids trapped in the middle of this mess that deserve our sympathy.)

If you had to take sides, who was the most wrong? The wife for spying? Or did the husband’s fake murder plot go too far?

Seven Big Post-Divorce Money Mistakes Women Make

The Seven Big Post-Divorce Money Mistakes Women Make

Breaking up is not only hard to do, it can be brutal on your finances.

Legal fees and creating and running two households from one are just the initial costs of separation process. And while some expenditure is necessary, others can be emotionally charged and careless and can lead to serious debt.

Here are seven common ways divorced couples can get into big financial trouble after a split:

1.            Ignorance

While a divorce Settlement Agreement may specify who is to pay what account, it carries little weight with creditors.

The most frequent mistake of all after divorce is assuming that because the ex spouse has been the one ordered to pay back the debt in the divorce, they are off the hook for it.  Most people do not realise that courts do not have the authority to make creditors abide by a judge’s orders in divorce. A spouse may have recourse to re-claim a debt from the other spouse who assumed the debt, but it does not nullify liability towards the creditor where the debt was a joint debt of the parties.

2.         Delusion

If you relied on the other person’s income during the marriage, your cash flow may take a serious dip. As it constricts, so must your budget. Unfortunately, many who are accustomed to abundance deny reality and continue to shop till they drop. The bills, however, wind up on the cards.

The most important thing most parents want is for their child’s lifestyle to continue, be conscious of your current circumstances and spend accordingly.

3.         Neglect

Own a home together? Make sure that your share in the property is transferred, especially if you are married in community of property. There are many cases where one party was awarded the other spouse’s share in the home, but neglected to transfer it. If your ex lands in financial trouble after divorce, creditors may still attach his/her share in the property, so make sure it is transferred.

4.         Revenge.

Wanting to ruin your ex by charging up the cards is a frequent response to betrayal; it is what one call ‘the saboteur spouse’. Squelch this desire, though. While big balances may result in the hoped-for fury, you too could be held responsible for the balance.

5.         Beauty

If you’ve been dumped for a younger model and want to make yourself feel better by looking better with the hope of attracting a new mate, you may be considering splurging on a beautification procedure.

Be careful, though it usually translates into little more than added liabilities. Some people spend thousands on plastic surgery after discovering the husband’s affair. It may be money that one could not afford to spend, it was more important to paying off credit cards. Worse, those nips and tucks normally has no positive impact on the soon-to-be ex. Delay any major decisions — financial and cosmetic — for at least six months to a year after a divorce is finalized.

6.         Competition

What happens when one parent can afford more and better things for the children post-separation? The less wealthy partner sometimes attempts to keep up with or even outdo the other.

Oftentimes, there is a pre-divorce battle for the children’s love and affection by purchasing gifts for kids or taking them to concerts or cruises in order to gain their affection over the other spouse. Question your motivation for purchasing certain items for the kids. If it’s to prove your love, stash the cards.

7.         New love

Getting sucked into a fresh romance when a marriage falls apart can be seductive. It can also be pricey. One of the most common post-divorce credit issues are loans people make for new partners. In some cases, it may be thousands to fix a broken car, but in others, it is tens of thousands to help a new lover with a business, or hundreds of thousands to put towards an ‘investment’ that was really a scam. Avoid lending or giving money to anyone for at least a year after divorce.

Almost everyone has regrets about a broken relationship. Don’t make needless, emotion-based liabilities one of them. Divorce your mate, not common sense.

About the author:

Bertus Preller is a Divorce and Family Law Attorney based in Cape Town and has more than 20 years experience in most sectors of the law and 13 years as a practicing attorney. He specializes in Family law and Divorce Law at Abrahams and Gross Attorneys Inc. and litigates in divorce matters across the country. He is also the Family Law expert on Health24.com and on the expert panel of Law24.com and is frequently quoted on Family Law issues in newspapers such as the Sunday Times and Business Times. His clients include celebrities, actors and actresses, sportsmen and sportswomen, television presenters and various high net worth individuals.  His areas of expertise are Divorce Law, Family Law, International Divorce Law, Divorce Mediation, Parenting Plans, Parental Responsibilities and Rights, Custody (care and contact) of children, same sex marriages, unmarried fathers rights, domestic violence matters, digital rights, media law and criminal law.

Bertus other passion is technology and he also co-pioneered the development of technology in which the first book in the world was delivered to a mobile phone utilizing sms and java technology and also advised a number of South African book publishers on the Google Book settlement class action and negotiated contracts with the likes of Google and Amazon.com.

Grounds for Divorce in South Africa

GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE IN SOUTH AFRICA

Dissolution of marriage and grounds of divorce

A marriage may be dissolved by a court by a decree of divorce and the only grounds on which such a decree may be granted are the irretrievable break-down of the marriage as contemplated in section 4; the mental illness or the continuous unconsciousness, as contemplated in section 5, of a party to the marriage.

Irretrievable break-down of marriage as ground of divorce

A court may grant a decree of divorce on the ground of the irretrievable break-down of a marriage if it is satisfied that the marriage relationship between the parties to the marriage has reached such a state of disintegration that there is no reasonable prospect of the restoration of a normal marriage relationship between them.

Section 4 (2) of the Divorce Act lays down three circumstances which a Court may accept as evidence of irretrievable breakdown of a marriage and these are that:- the parties have not lived together as husband and wife for a continuous period of at least one year immediately prior to the date of the institution of the divorce action. The Defendant has committed adultery and that the Plaintiff finds it irreconcilable with a continued marriage relationship the Defendant has in terms of a sentence of a Court been declared a habitual criminal and is undergoing imprisonment as a result of such sentence.

This does not mean however that:- the man and wife have to live in separate buildings but the Courts are in general not willing to (even on a undisputed basis), hear the case if the parties are still living in the same house on the date of the application. There must be a reasonable explanation, but even then some judges have refused to grant a decree of divorce. if the Plaintiff is a party to an adulterous relationship it is not fatal for a final divorce order and it may be proof of a real break-down of the marriage. It is correct to disclose the adulterous relationship to the Court. if irretrievable breakdown has been proved, that the court still has discretion to refuse the divorce. See Levy v Levy 1991 (1) SA 614 A where the Appeal Court had decided that a court had no discretion to deny a divorce where the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage has been proved.

Court’s discretion

In terms of section 4(3) of the Divorce Act the Court still has discretion not to grant a divorce order but postpone the proceedings sine die or even dismiss the claim if it appears to the Court that there is a reasonable possibility that the parties may become reconciled through marriage counselling, treatment or reflection. The Summons also usually contains the averment that further marriage counselling and/or treatment will not lead to any reconciliation. This evidence must also be tendered to the Court even on an unopposed basis.

The Court must therefore be satisfied that the marriage has really irretrievably broken down and that there is no possibility of the continuation of a normal marriage, before a final divorce order will be granted.

The court may postpone the proceedings in order that the parties may attempt reconciliation if it appears to the court that there is a reasonable possibility that the parties may become reconciled through marriage counselling, treatment or reflection.

Where the parties live together again after the issue of Summons, it does not necessarily end the underlying cause of the action. If the reconciliation after a few months is seemingly unsuccessful, they can proceed on the same Summons. It is now confirmed that the marriage has really broken-down irretrievably even after the parties have tried a final time to become reconciled. Where a divorce action which is not defended is postponed in order to afford the parties an opportunity to attempt reconciliation, the court may direct that the action be tried de novo, on the date of resumption thereof, by any other magistrate/ judge of the court concerned in terms of section 4(4) of the Divorce Act. The notice of set down should be served on the defendant.

A customary marriage may be dissolved only on account of an irretrievable breakdown in the marriage and only if the High, Family or Divorce Court is satisfied that the marriage relationship between the parties has reached such a state of disintegration that there is no reasonable prospect of the restoration of a normal marriage relationship between them.

Mental illness or continuous unconsciousness as grounds of divorce:

A court may grant a decree of divorce on the ground of the mental illness of the defendant if it is satisfied that the defendant, in terms of the Mental

Health Act 18 of 1973; has been admitted as a patient to an institution in terms of a reception order; is being detained as a State patient at an institution or other place specified by the Minister of Correctional Services; or is being detained as a mentally ill convicted prisoner at an institution.

A divorce order may also be granted if such defendant has also for a continuous period of at least two years immediately prior to the institution of the divorce action, not been discharged unconditionally as such a patient,

State patient or mentally ill prisoner; and the court has heard evidence of at least two psychiatrists, of whom one shall have been appointed by the court, that the defendant is mentally ill and that there is no reasonable prospect that he will be cured of his mental illness.

A court may grant a decree of divorce on the ground that the defendant is by reason of a physical disorder in a state of continuous unconsciousness, if it is satisfied that the defendant’s unconsciousness has lasted for a continuous period of at least six months immediately prior to the institution of the divorce action; and after having heard the evidence of at least two medical practitioners, of whom one shall be a neurologist or a neurosurgeon appointed by the court, that there is no reasonable prospect that the defendant will regain consciousness.

The court may appoint a legal practitioner to represent the defendant at proceedings under this section and order the plaintiff to pay the costs of such representation.

The court may make any order it may deem fit with regard to the furnishing of security by the plaintiff in respect of any patrimonial benefits to which the defendant may be entitled by reason of the dissolution of the marriage.

For the purposes of this section the expressions ‘institution’, ‘mental illness’, ‘patient’, ‘State patient’ and ‘reception order’ shall bear the meaning assigned to them in the Mental Health Act, 1973.

The circumstances under which a court may grant a divorce order on the basis of mental illness or continuous unconsciousness is as follows:-

  •  In the case of mental illness the Defendant must have been admitted, in terms of the Mental Health Act, 1973 (Act No 18 of 1973), as a patient to an institution in terms of a reception order, for a period of at least two years and in any case two psychiatrists (one appointed by the Court) must satisfy the Court that there is no reasonable prospect that he will be cured of his mental illness.
  • In the case of unconsciousness the Court will only grant the order if the Defendant was unconscious for a continuous period of at least six months immediately prior to the institution of the action and also after hearing the evidence of two medical practitioners of whom one shall be a neurologist or a neuro-surgeon appointed by the Court who must declare that there is no reasonable prospect that the Defendant will regain consciousness.

In such cases a curator ad litem must be appointed to protect the interests of the Defendant (patient) and to assist the Court.

Bertus Preller is a Divorce and Family Law Attorney in Cape Town and has more than 20 years experience in most sectors of the law and 13 years as a practicing attorney. He specializes in Family law and Divorce Law at Abrahams and Gross Attorneys Inc. in Cape Town. Bertus is also the Family Law expert on Health24.com and on the expert panel of Law24.com and is frequently quoted on Family Law issues in newspapers such as the Sunday Times and Business Times. His areas of expertise are Divorce Law, Family Law, Divorce Mediation, Parenting Plans, Parental Responsibilities and Rights, Custody (care and contact) of children, same sex marriages, unmarried fathers rights, domestic violence matters, international divorce law, digital rights, media law and criminal law.

Adultery and the emergence of the Alpha Woman…

Adultery and the emergence of the Alpha Woman

New research reveals that it’s not just powerful men who become sexual predators, but women too…

Sipping her glass of chilled Chablis, Erica Waddington’s eyes wandered slowly around the bar. It didn’t take her long to find what she was looking for. In the opposite corner, blond hair falling foppishly onto the collar of his Paul Smith shirt as he idly scrolled through his BlackBerry, was a stranger. And he was alone, like her.

As Erica’s eyes locked with his just an instant too long, she felt a surge of excitement. Crossing her legs suggestively, she knew all she had to do was wait. Sure enough, two minutes later, the stranger was standing casually at the bar beside her. For Erica, the thrill of the chase had begun.

‘Two hours later we were making passionate love in my hotel bedroom,’ Erica, 50, recalls with a smile. ‘After a long day at work, the release was exactly what I needed — my little treat to myself.’

Whether her husband and three children would agree with her is doubtful. But then, Erica’s not alone. In fact, she’s just one among a growing band of women who’ve been dubbed the Alpha Adulteresses.

These high-earning, successful women are every bit as willing as men to use their power to attract younger lovers for quick flings.

Newspapers are crammed with sex scandals involving powerful men. This past week alone, Dominique Strauss-Kahn — of late the world’s most powerful banker — has been accused of rape, megastar Arnold Schwarzenegger has admitted having a love-child with his housekeeper and the scandal surrounding MP Chris Huhne’s past indiscretions continues to rumble on.

However, a new academic study suggests women are inherently no more virtuous than men. It’s just that, in the past, they have lacked the confidence or opportunity to stray.

Like men, women are finding that power is a potent aphrodisiac. And just like men, they are giving in to the thrill of illicit lunchtime assignations and the sheer excitement that accompanies their transgression.

Nor do they feel any more guilty or ashamed about it than a man would — if anything, less so.

Professor Joris Lammers, of Tilburg University in the Netherlands, who conducted an anonymous survey of more than 1,500 readers of a business magazine, has found being powerful makes women more prone to be unfaithful.

He questioned people, from top executives to ordinary employees, about whether they’d had affairs. They were asked how powerful they thought they were and quizzed on other factors including their feelings of confidence, and what they thought their risk of being caught was.
The results revealed a strong link between power and infidelity, regardless of gender.
‘The strongest predictors are not religion or moral belief, but power and opportunity,’ says Professor Lammers. ‘Power can undermine your morality and increase your risk-taking, and the effect of power on women is just as strong as on men.’

Certainly, women like Erica are happy to admit they feel no shame in going all out to get what they want — not just in the boardroom but in the bedroom.

For Erica — for obvious reasons names in this article have been changed — treating herself to a night of illicit sex is on a moral par with her regular shopping trips to Paris, her facials and her gym membership. For her, and many other alpha females, sex is simply another trapping of success, a reward for hard work.

A millionaire businesswoman who runs her own chain of travel agencies, she lives in Cheshire with her husband, Thomas, 52, who works for her, and their three children aged from 11 to 17.

She says, ‘I love walking into a boardroom, wearing a beautiful tailored suit, knowing that every man’s eyes are on me. The success of my business — we had a turnover of £2million last year — gives me such a feeling of power and confidence, and that has translated into my attitude towards relationships.

‘I don’t feel guilty: my family have a lovely life, in a five-bedroom detached house with a swimming pool, thanks to my hard work, and my children are privately educated.

‘I suspect there are a lot more alpha women like me who but who simply aren’t prepared to admit they are using their power and money to have affairs.

‘I have had the best sex of my life in the past decade. None of these affairs, or flings, have meant anything to me, they are simply exciting and flattering.

‘My “shenanigans”, as I call them, are my way of de-stressing after my long working day. Inevitably they take place in hotels when I am away from home, and I have discovered that I can completely divorce my emotions from my sex life. I can be on the phone to my daughter talking about her homework one minute, and then gazing into the eyes of a handsome young man in a dimly-lit bar half an hour later.

‘I know men approach me because I am rich and successful, and I often end up paying the bar bill and for the meal. But that doesn’t bother me. In fact, it gives me a sense of achievement that I am totally in control of the situation.’

Lucy Kellaway, a columnist on the Financial Times, wrote her novel In Office Hours after observing the increasingly similar traits of male and female executives. Her main character, Stella, is a highly successful economist in her mid-40s who has an affair with her twentysomething trainee.

Kellaway says her character is typical of a new breed. ‘Climbing the career ladder can do weird things to people and it can corrupt both men and women,’ she says. ‘I think it’s very plausible that it makes women more sexually promiscuous.’

This is borne out by the volume of traffic on Illicit Encounters. The internet site which caters for married professionals looking for adulterous affairs has nearly 600,000 members, and women looking for extra-marital sex outnumber men by 3½ to 1. Most are married with children, aged between their early 30s and mid-40s, and pursuing a well-paid career.

‘Alpha women look for a partner and conduct their encounters in a very business-like fashion. They will often grill prospective partners as though they were conducting a job interview,’ says the website’s Rosie Freeman-Jones.

‘I was naïve when I joined this business. I thought women would be looking for a Brief Encounter-style romantic love affair. But it really is all about sex.’

Wealthy businesswoman Sarah Pattinson holds her hands up to that. She’s embroiled in an affair with a man eight years her junior. He give her the high-octane, high-risk sex she craves; she gives him expensive gifts and treats him to lovely holidays.

‘We met through friends and I fancied him instantly,’ admits Sarah, 49. ‘I think he was very impressed by my status and success.

‘He likes all my “toys” — the Range Rover Sport and my disposable income. I love to buy him clothes, and I recently paid for him to fly to India with a friend. In a way, he is my kept man. I have a phone that I use only to communicate with him which I keep hidden from my husband.

‘At work, I am the boss. I make tough decisions, I hire and fire, and I have to maintain this air of control. I get a buzz from the power and the adrenaline, and that has translated into my sex life.’

Sarah, a mother of two teenagers, runs her own head-hunting business in London and lives in Islington with her husband Robert, 52.

Like most Alpha Males, she regards her affair as a healthy distraction. And, like most Alpha Males, her success has given her an intoxicating sense of invincibility; she simply can’t imagine being caught out.

‘Before I ran this company, I don’t think I would have contemplated being unfaithful. But you do start to think no one can touch you and you are invincible,’ she admits.
‘On the surface, Robert and I have the perfect marriage — he works in the City in insurance, we have a beautiful five-bedroom home in Islington, our children are at a high-achieving private day school and our social life revolves around like-minded wealthy couples.

‘But sex is unfulfilling. If we didn’t have the children, I might have considered leaving Robert for my lover, but our lives are just too complicated to  un-pick. Besides, we do get on reasonably well and we have a fabulous lifestyle, including a villa with a swimming pool in Portugal.

‘We have a live-in nanny who also acts as our housekeeper so my domestic duties are quite light. I work thirteen or fourteen hour days, and I have evening meetings too. This gives me the freedom to meet my lover, who also works in the City.

‘Sometimes I take risks. Once my lover Nick rang me at home and Robert could have picked up. I’ll make excuses to walk down the garden and phone Nick at the weekends, and often I ring his phone just to hear his voice.

‘The sex is incredible, and I think the “edge” of ours being an illicit affair makes it even more enticing.

‘Nick makes me feel beautiful and alive, and he keeps me young. I need to feel vibrant to stay on top of the game, especially during this recession, and that adulterous sex gives me that kick, that energy, to keep me motivated at work. Sex with Nick is my reward for my success and exhausting hard work. I would die, though, if Robert or the children ever found out.’

So why do women, who have worked so hard to achieve professional success, risk losing everything for the sake of adulterous sex, however electric?

According to Rosie Freeman-Jones, risk is a key element. ‘Both men and women at the top are addicted to risk. It is part of the DNA of successful people that they are more prone to take risks and more prone to cheat,’ she says.

But you have only to look at golfer Tiger Woods to see how quickly an affair can destroy not just a marriage but a career and reputation.

Even if he is found not guilty of rape, will former International Monetary fund head Dominique Strauss-Kahn ever be able to rebuild his reputation? Meanwhile, Schwarzenegger has shelved plans for a career comeback in order to deal with the fallout from his affair.

And Lucy Kellaway warns that Alpha Adultresses are risking even more than their male counterparts.

‘There is a double standard,’ she says. ‘A man having an affair might be seen as a bit of a lad, whereas a woman like Stella in my book is likely to be seen as pathetic, or a bitch and a slapper.

‘Because there are so few women executives, the ones that do succeed are put on a pedestal — and they have a lot farther to fall. The message of my book is that affairs end badly for everyone.’

And, while the figures demonstrate very clearly that increasing numbers of successful women are being tempted to stray, can women really divorce sex from commitment in the same way as a man?
Article Source:  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1389812/Adultery-Alpha-Woman-Its-just-powerful-men-sexual-predators.html#ixzz1NMzBRiE9

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