Whether you just got married, or you’re on your way to your twentieth wedding anniversary, you don’t want to think about the possibility that one of you could cheat, right? You’re probably thinking: affairs happen to other couples, it won’t happen to us. You and your partner have probably even talked about it. Your conversation probably went something like this:
"Oh honey, infidelity only happens to unhappy couples who don’t talk, never have sex and aren’t as perfect as the two of us, right?"
Affairs happen because of opportunity. Some studies show that almost 45% of all spouses will cheat at some point in their marriage. Peggy Vaughan, author of “The Monogamy Myth,” agrees. She says that “conservative estimates are that 60 percent of men and 40 percent of women will have an extramarital affair” at some point in their marriage. The numbers today are assumed to be much higher. In fact, there is more opportunity for affairs than ever before due to the accessibility of social networking and the internet. Janis Abrahms Spring, author of “After the Affair”, says that infidelity now affects one out of every 2.7 couples.
Couples who manage to stay true to each other for the long run have a lot of things going for them. Here are my top three:
1. They have a commitment to the integrity of their monogamy agreement. They have discussed it, agreed on what it means and they revisit it every couple of years to make sure it still means the same thing. Does going to a friend’s bachelor party count? How about having lunch with friends of the opposite sex?
To prevent an affair, talk about your monogamy and what it means to each of you. You might be surprised at some of the ways you disagree.
2. Couples who manage to avoid cheating are also having lots of great sex. Not just lots of sex, but lots of really good, rewarding, connecting and fun sex. This means that you have to find new and innovative ways to stay erotic throughout your marriage. Sure, it’s fun now. But when you’re tired, cranky or frustrated with each other, you still have to get creative and find ways to please each other in bed.
One way to keep it fresh is to have one new fantasy with each other every couple of months. It’s less important that you act out the fantasy and more important that you learn the language of sexual empathy and sharing.
3. Couples who do things together and have an active investment in their busy lives together usually don’t have time to cheat. Find hobbies you can share, or places you enjoy going together. You don’t have to be attached at the hip to keep each other faithful. But you do have to work to find things that have meaning for the two of you, and build memories for a lifetime.
These memories and habits can shelter you in moments of doubt, and when those opportunities to cheat come up throughout your lifetime (and they will) you will have those thoughts of your spouse so close to you that there will be no room to let someone else in.
A relationship free of spats, scrapes, and squabbles? That’s a thing of fairy tales (though we’re willing to bet that even Cinderella and Prince Charming had their problems).
Real-life matrimony — that has its ups and down. And while it’s certainly not fun to clash with your sweetheart, disagreements don’t signal the demise of your relationship. “There are always ways to resolve issues, overcome obstacles, and build a stronger bond because of it,” says Lori Bizzoco, a relationship expert.
What’s more? Each relationship (even the best of the best) has room to grow. But not everyone can afford to see a professional marriage counselor — and some marriages simply need a quick tune-up. That’s why we went to top relationship experts to find out the best ways to resolve disagreements, keep things fun, and ensure an emotionally health partnership for the both of you.
Here’s your at-home guide to boosting your marriage or long-term partnership (you may be surprised how well these work!).
1. Fight. It may sound contradictory, but arguements between couples can actually be a sign that the relationship still has a good foundation. “Indifference to each other tells me a marriage is in big trouble,” says Susan Fletcher, PhD, a psychologist in the Dallas area. “Couples who care enough to fight still care about each other.” Next time you find yourself in a war of words with your partner, don’t give up and walk away: Use the disagreement as a jumping-off point for coming to a resolution — and then kiss and make up!
2. If you love her, let her grow. Most people develop and change as they get older — but according to Bizzoco, this often comes as a surprise to a spouse. “Often we get so wrapped up in the relationship and think we know someone so well that we don’t allow them the freedom to be anything more than the person they were when we met them,” Bizzoco says. But embracing these changes can be extremely beneficial to a relationship. So if your husband wants to take up golf or your wife wants to return to school for another degree, encourage them to follow these interests (your spouse will appreciate the support).
3. Be the A-Team. It may sound cheesy, but the phrase is an apt term for the “us first” attitude that couples should have when it comes to their relationship. “This means that they consult, discuss, and make decisions as a couple and do not put other relationships, children, or extended family before this primary relationship,” says Karol Ward, LCSW, a psychotherapist in New York. If you put your partner first, he will feel cherished and valued — an important emotion for your marriage.
4. Add some oomph to your “Hello!” When you’ve been separated from your spouse for some time (even if it was just for the work day), greeting him enthusiastically, rather than just glancing up, can be a great way to show you care. “It sounds silly, but think about the feeling that it creates when you give them just a few moments of attention,” Bizzoco says. Your special greeting can be anything from a simple hug to a sexy dance move. Coming home will be even sweeter than before.
5. Don’t forget your manners: Say “Thanks.” It’s easy to get wrapped up in what your partner does wrong — and too often, we lose sight of what they’re doing right. Every night, get in the habit of writing down three good things about your spouse — something nice he did (it really was sweet how he DVR’d The Notebook for you), a fond memory you have of her (remember that trip to the Caribbean?), or one of his many good qualities (that cute butt, of course). “This keeps you feeling more positive toward him, which will benefit your relationship,” says Elizabeth Lombardo, PhD, a psychologist and therapist in Wexford, Pa. And it can benefit you, too: When you’re in the middle of a knock-down fight, think back to your list to remember the reasons you’re in the relationship.
6. Get good feedback. Even if your relationship is as old as the hills, it’s never too late to ask your partner this one simple question: “How do you know that I love you?” Listen carefully to the response. If nothing else, Ward says, you’ll discover which of your actions are the most appreciated and which behaviors to maintain moving forward.
Follow these relationship “musts” — and you may never need to call up a marriage counselor.
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One little mentioned reason for a dying marriage is boredom. It’s usually unlikely that one partner is wholly responsible. But it is easier to blame someone else and find excitement on the other side of the fence.
It used to be that boredom was expected, although no one said so — at least not openly. But it was generally conceded that married life was inevitably routine. Going to work everyday and coming home happily to the same woman was what a man was expected to do, while his memories of nights out with the boys grew brighter, more passionate and more unreal.
Having a baby was thrilling, but after the first few months it was a lot of work, less sleep and no play. Her majesty the baby took over the household. Moms were too tired for sex, and fathers had a diminishing role. Jokes about the sexual frustration of post-baby husbands are common. “Men get frisky while women have babies” was the folk saying in New England, along with the belief that sex after the honeymoon is on a downward path. In many divorces in my study there had been no sex for more than 5 years, or at least not in the marriage. And how many times can you go happily to the same neighborhood restaurants or how many fancy new dishes can the exemplary wife concoct? Plus do you really have to visit grandma every Friday night or play bridge or bowl every Tuesday with the same couples?
Of course what some folks consider boring, others crave. One happy husband, a bored stockbroker, could not wait to get home nightly. Sitting quietly in the kitchen at the end of each day, watching his wife cook or joining her by tasting some new dish and listening to her light, witty chatter about their friends and neighbors made his day worthwhile. He adored her for the pleasure she provided, and for the oasis she had created to protect him from the grim marketplace.
There are many ways to lighten the routines of family life. But they take imagination — try some. Some successful couples had dinner out weekly with no talk of the children allowed. Their children soon got the hang of it, and joined in dressing Mom for her heavy date — laughingly promising to “wait up.” Other couples took long weekends away. The rich rented a fancy hotel suite. Those on strapped budgets went camping. Some couples always took three short vacations a year: one with the kids, one together, and one separately. Others took up new interests ranging from yoga to art to a new language to kayaking.
A good marriage is not a hothouse. It has windows open for new vistas, for continued renewal, including meeting new people, visiting exotic places, and finding new interests. Keep your eyes open, hold on to your sense of humor, and avoid the terrible drag that you’ve “been there and done that”. You may soon be astonished at how good your marriage feels.
There were more than a few raised eyebrows when former astronaut Buzz Aldrin started dating a woman just months after his divorce from his wife of 23 years, Lois Driggs Cannon — his third wife.
For some, the question was, what is he doing with someone 30 years his junior? New girlfriend Michelle Sucillon, a former Borders event-marketing exec, is 51 and Aldrin is 81. As a society we tend to be skeptical whenever a couple’s ages are so far apart but I’m not sure why; there are certainly enough relationships in which the couples are about the same age that don’t last, either. If you’re wondering what they could possibly have in common, you might also want to question if that’s the only “proper” reason for a couple to be together.
The bigger question, however, is why do people rush into a relationship so soon after leaving one? And while both men and women are guilty of that, more men say “I do” again after divorce. and they’re quicker to say it, too, according to the recent Census report “Marital Events of Americans: 2009.” Perhaps not as quickly as actor Mark-Paul Gosselaar — he proposed to ad executive Catriona McGinn in August, just three months after his divorce from Lisa Ann Russell was finalized — but certainly fast enough for people to wonder, why in the world do you want to get into something you just got out of?
For Emily V. Gordon, a therapist and Huffington Post blogger, it may because men don’t have the sort of support women do post-divorce:
"In my experience as a therapist and as a friend, it seems that the majority of the breakup resources available are for women and not men. Women, who tend to be more vocal about their emotional struggles, are the squeaky wheel that gets the grease from friends, from online communities, from books, and from therapeutic approaches. Women are encouraged to go on an emotional journey of self-care after a divorce, while men are expected to need help learning how to cook and parent on their own. When you Google "how men handle divorce," many of the links advise women on what to do if their husbands become violent during the divorce process. Why is there so little focus on how men can heal after a divorce?"
It’s a valid question, considering that divorced men have twice the risk of suicide than married men.
Hugo Schwyzer, a professor of history and gender studies at Pasadena City College, has a different take on it. A working woman doesn’t necessarily want to “walk right back into the same sort of situation from which she just extricated herself,” he said, and the unequal distribution of household chores may have something to do with it. He also wonders about the marriageability of men:
"I’m convinced that one reason that so many divorced women are so reluctant to remarry (and so many women unwilling to marry in the first place) is that frankly, marriage doesn’t seem to be a very appealing deal for most women. And one of the reasons why marriage seems unappealing is that the sacrifices of marriage are many, and the benefits increasingly few — especially considering that an extraordinary number of men may not be worth marrying!"
I won’t speculate on how many men “may not be worth marrying” — I’d guess about as many women who aren’t. But, concerning marriage’s appeal — or lack thereof — studies indicate that women are often a lot happier after divorce, and since more middle-aged women seek divorce then men, Schwyzer may have a point — why walk back into the same situation indeed?
That may explain why of those age 45 or older, a third of men remarry and just a quarter of women do.
But even the women who would happily walk back into the same situation have a harder time; while having kids makes remarriage challenging for men and women, it’s worse for women. More men aren’t too keen on marrying a woman with kids and creating an instant family. Since more divorced moms have custody of their children, it can put them out of the dating loop — but not divorced dads.
But some men, obviously, are OK with blending families or even starting new families, which is surprising considering how many men complain — rightfully so — about paying alimony (often for life) and child support, often for children they can barely see. So then why are so many men eager to get hitched again — especially when second marriages have a 67 percent chance of divorce?
Lucy Cavendish, an author and columnist for the U.K.’s Telegraph wonders if men aren’t incurable romantics. Otherwise, she says, how can you explain why a man who has been badly burned in a divorce — think Paul McCartney, who is about to marry wife No. 3, Nancy Shevell, any day — would want to risk it all again?
Or maybe some men just don’t want to be alone while many midlife divorced women want to have an “Eat, Pray, Love” experience and rediscover and reinvent themselves, without having to take care of anyone other than themselves. And let’s face it; men typically find it a lot easier to attract a wider age range of women — just like Buzz Aldrin did.
But maybe, as Cavendish notes, men just like to be married
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You may just have cold feet. But you have to ask yourself before your big day.. “Do I really want this?” “Can I really spend the rest of my life with him and be happy?” If you’re second guessing yourself.. you should figure out why.. Don’t let yourself talk yourself into getting married.. you don’t want to be part of the 30% of divorced women who knew they were marrying the wrong guy on their wedding day. You may be thinking in the moment.. which is not always a bad thing.. but it’s definitely a good thing to think about your future as well. You always want to keep your happiness! :] And keep the love alive! But you said you’re completely in love.. so It may just be as simple as cold feet! :]
Sorry I read this wrong. If you’re thinking about someone else you do not need to be getting married right now. That is the last thing you want to do. IF you’re in love with someone else go with the second person. But either way you need to figure it out.. and talk to your boyfriend about it, as well as the person at your work.. Basically If you’re thinking about another person.. You’re not truly in love with the first person.