The revelation that Huma Abedin, wife of scandalized New York Congressman Anthony Weiner, is in the early stages of pregnancy somehow makes Weiner’s Twitter dalliances even more egregious. As Weiner was busily pursuing virtual “friendships,” Abedin may have been browsing “What To Expect…” books.
If so, she’ll have discovered she’s not alone. Men who cheat on pregnant partners is a common-enough problem that even the pregnancy handbooks reference it as something that could, conceivably (pun intended), come up.
“The Expectant Father” notes that a small number of dads-to-be have “late pregnancy affairs.” Those straying partners share the following characteristics, the book states: “They felt extremely attracted to their partners and were very interested in ‘affectionate sexual contact’ with them; they felt particularly excluded from the pregnancy and birth process; the affair was with a close friend or relative of the woman.”
Upon reading this during my current pregnancy, I did what any rational woman would do: slammed the book shut and threw it across the bedroom.
The classic “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” covers this ground in oddly dated language: “What’s putting your man off his favorite feed now that there’s a bun in the oven?” The book says that some expectant and new fathers “experience a drop in testosterone and a surge in female hormones that can give their libidos a cold shower.” Others, apparently, not so much. The book suggests “turning up the heat” with “naughty lingerie that accentuates all your new (and dangerous) curves.” It does not mention what an expectant father can do to turn on his pregnant spouse. Perhaps that is not what one should expect when one is expecting?
FitPregnancy.com notes that affairs during pregnancy are not uncommon. “You’re not likely to hear about it, especially during the pregnancy, but it’s probably more common than people suspect,” says Dr. Scott Haltzman, author of “The Secrets of Happily Married Women.” Why? Apparently, the guys just want to feel special: “For many men, engaging in sex is a form of emotional closeness. When their partners push them away, they feel rejected not just sexually, but also emotionally,” Haltzman said – and many are apprehensive that their partner will “choose the child” over them after it is born.
It’s true that sex can be tough during pregnancy for many couples, even if one partner isn’t in Congress and the other isn’t off monitoring the progress of the Arab Spring. In the first trimester, many women feel nauseated, tired, heavy and cranky – all doubtless turn-ons to a romantic partner. And in the last trimester, sex becomes more of what the old show “Double Dare” would refer to as a “physical challenge.” I mean, that’s why my husband and I have installed a forklift in our bedroom. But I digress.
A public service announcement: Cheating on a pregnant woman is playing with fire. “Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, nor hell a fury like a woman scorned." Add pregnancy hormones to the mix, and I can personally guarantee that hell’s fury would seem like a calm spring day in comparison.
Do you think women should expect infidelity when they’re expecting? If your partner cheated on you while you were pregnant, what would you do? Would it matter if it was an internet fling versus an actual physical relationship?
Jordana Horn is a TODAY Moms contributor, lawyer, journalist, writer, mother and expectant mother. Sometimes, she even sleeps.