Compared with dating and an engagement, marriage is serious business. It can seem like a drag, especially to men. "They feel this sudden responsibility to be a good provider and a good husband," says Terri Orbuch, Ph.D., a marriage therapist and research professor at the University of Michigan. "These expectations can make young men feel old and boring."
Ruth Houston, author of "Is He Cheating on You? 829 Telltale Signs" and founder of infidelityadvice.com, has conducted more than 10,000 interviews with cheaters and says: "Men want to recapture how they felt when they were dating, and if they can't do it with their wives, they'll look elsewhere."
How to cheat-proof your love: Since the early stages of marriage can be a vulnerable time for him, get vocal about how much you appreciate him -- both as a husband and as the smokin'-hot guy you fell in love with. Thank him when he cleans the bathroom and remind him that he's sexy, smart, and cracks you up. "Re-creating the excitement you once had can actually boost dopamine and oxytocin, two brain chemicals responsible for that love rush," Weil says. So indulge in the occasional spontaneous road trip or lunchtime quickie so that your passion can thrive within the marriage, not outside it.
The sex has gotten stale.
"It's not necessarily that the frequency of sex declines in that first year, but some of the passion dies down," Orbuch says.
That was the case for Doug, a 33-year-old teacher in Texas who dated his wife for two years before marrying her. When their sex life ran dry a little over a year into the marriage, he started sleeping with an ex-girlfriend. "I felt like I needed it," he says.
Part of the problem in cases like Doug's: "While all the companionship and familiarity of marriage makes a couple closer, it can kill the fire in the bedroom," says Patti Britton, Ph.D., author of "The Art of Sex Coaching." A few years ago a German study found that women's libidos steadily decreased while they were in a secure relationship, while men's drives stayed the same.
How to cheat-proof your love: Talk it out, Weil advises. "Make sex a priority and resolve to have it at least a few times a week." Consider coming up with your own personal "sex vows": I promise not to have a headache for more than three consecutive nights. I promise I'll be open to trying new things in bed, and so on.
That doesn't mean you have to tackle the Kama Sutra every time you knock boots. In studying men who cheat, Neuman found that those who were dissatisfied with their marital sex lives preferred quantity over quality. "A man would rather have basic sex a few times a week than swinging-from-the-chandeliers sex every once in a while," he says. That's not to say you should shelve the acrobatics and lingerie -- just agree to get it on more often, with or without props.
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