Is Your Marriage Ripe for an Affair?
Why Spouses Stray
Quick, answer this question with the first thing that comes to mind: If you were worried that your spouse might stray, what would you do to prevent it? Maybe your knee-jerk response is: "I'd lose 20 pounds and upgrade my wardrobe." Or, "I would shower my spouse with expensive gifts." Or, "I would be extra attentive to my spouse so she would realize how good she has it." If your answer resembled any of those above, bad news: you're on the wrong track. According to Los Angeles-based psychotherapist Morrie Shechtman, you've bought into a common misconception about what causes affairs in the first place.
"Most people assume that people have affairs with someone more attractive, sexier, or richer than their spouse," says Shechtman, coauthor along with his wife and business partner, Arleah, of Love in the Present Tense: How to Have a High Intimacy, Low Maintenance Marriage (Bull Publishing Company, 2004). "Despite the cliches -- the midlife crisis situation where the husband runs off with his much younger secretary, for instance -- that's not what infidelity is about. People who cheat generally choose someone busier and more goal-oriented than their current partner. Someone more interesting, in other words."
"You have to keep reminding him how lucky he is to have you," says Sherry Argov, author of Why Men Love Bitches: From Doormat to Dreamgirl: A Woman's Guide to Holding Her Own in a Relationship (Adams Media Corporation, 2002). "All the propaganda in the world tells us 'keep your man,' 'hold on to your man,' 'jump through hoops for your man,' but your attitude should be 'If you want to go, I'll help you pack'...Healthy mutual respect is the best immune system in a relationship."
"That's right," adds Shechtman. He says that the harsh truth is that when one spouse strays, it's probably because the other spouse has become, well...boring. So, focusing on your appearance or attempting to please your partner completely misses the point.