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Apparently the recession makes it harder to cheat on your spouse

Austerity may be a boon for marital fidelity


Katie McDonough
August 27, 2013 12:30AM (UTC)

The global recession has made it more challenging for people in Italy to cheat on their spouses, according to the Daily Beast. This is a big deal because, as noted by the World Atlas of Sex, Italy is the most cheat-happy country in the world.

Jobless rates in the country have reached near-record highs, with youth unemployment hovering around 38 percent, but more important than any of that is the fact that men and women can no longer subsidize their infidelities the way they used to, apparently:

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The government’s austerity measures and tougher tax regulations have also put a damper on things. Hiding a hotel bill from a romantic getaway by claiming it as a business expense is no longer tacitly accepted. Even the reintroduction of Italy’s property tax on second homes (abolished by Silvio Berlusconi but reinstated by Mario Monti) affects the love life of the Italians by making it tricky to keep that crucial pied-a-terre for midday trysts.

“Giancarlo” who doesn’t want to use his real name for obvious reasons, is a 48-year-old married tax lawyer who recently was forced to rent out his bachelor pad in Rome because of the new tax burden. “It really messed up my romantic life,” he told The Daily Beast. For more than six years, he had met his lover, a 46-year-old woman who is also married, at the apartment for long romantic “lunches.” Without the apartment, he said, “we couldn’t find a way to hide a hotel bill, and it gets very old to try to keep up an amorous relationship in a parked car—especially at our age.”

The two eventually split up.

While the Daily Beast's methodology to size up this phenomenon is little more than anecdotal, a more conclusive study on Italian philandering, published by the Italian association of divorce lawyers, reveals that approximately 55 percent of Italian men and 42 percent of Italian women have cheated, or are currently cheating, on their spouses. (The United States has similar rates of cheating spouses, according to recent data.)

The study also revealed that people are most likely to be unfaithful to their spouses between the ages of 40 and 50, and that more than 60 percent of all extramarital affairs take place between colleagues.

The more you know!


Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at kmcdonough@salon.com.

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