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Fully 98 percent of the men and 80 percent of the women reported having imagined a sexual encounter with someone other than their partner at least once in the previous two months. The longer couples were together, the more likely both partners were to report such fantasies. But there is a big difference between fantasizing about infidelity and actually following through.
Love and Romance
The strongest risk factor for infidelity, researchers have found, exists not inside the marriage but outside: opportunity. For years, men have typically had the most opportunities to cheat thanks to long hours at the office, business travel and control over family finances.
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But today, both men and women spend late hours at the office and travel on business. And even for women who stay home, cellphones, e-mail and instant messaging appear to be allowing them to form more intimate relationships outside of their marriages. As a result, your best chance at fidelity is to limit opportunities that might allow you to stray. Committed men and women avoid situations that could lead to bad decisions -- like hotel bars and late nights with colleagues. Plan Ahead for Temptation. Men and women can develop coping strategies to stay faithful to a partner.
A series of unusual studies led by John Lydon, a psychologist at McGill University in Montreal, looked at how people in a committed relationship react in the face of temptation. In one study, highly committed married men and women were asked to rate the attractiveness of people of the opposite sex in a series of photos.
Not surprisingly, they gave the highest ratings to people who would typically be viewed as attractive. Later, they were shown similar pictures and told that the person was interested in meeting them. In that situation, participants consistently gave those pictures lower scores than they had the first time around. Other McGill studies confirmed differences in how men and women react to such threats. In one, attractive actors or actresses were brought in to flirt with study participants in a waiting room.
Men who had just been flirting were less forgiving of the hypothetical bad behavior, suggesting that the attractive actress had momentarily chipped away at their commitment. But women who had been flirting were more likely to be forgiving and to make excuses for the man, suggesting that their earlier flirting had triggered a protective response when discussing their relationship.
Lydon said. The study also looked at whether a person can be trained to resist temptation. The team prompted male students who were in committed dating relationships to imagine running into an attractive woman on a weekend when their girlfriends were away. Because the researchers ethically could not bring in a real woman to act as a temptation, they created a virtual-reality game in which two out of four rooms included subliminal images of an attractive woman.
Most of the men who had practiced resisting temptation stayed away from the rooms with attractive women; but among men who had not practiced resistance, two out of three gravitated toward the temptation room.
But if you worry you might be vulnerable to temptation on a business trip, practice resistance by reminding yourself the steps you will take to avoid temptation and protect your relationship. Picture Your Beloved. We all know that sometimes the more you try to resist something -- like ice cream or a cigarette -- the more you crave it.
Relationship researchers say the same principle can influence a person who sees a man or woman who is interested in them. The more you think about resisting the person, the more tempting he or she becomes. Focus on loving thoughts and the joy of your family, not sexual desire for your spouse -- the goal here is to damp down the sex drive, not wake it up.
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Keep Your Relationship Interesting. Scientists speculate that your level of commitment may depend on how much a partner enhances your life and broadens your horizons — a concept that Dr. To measure this quality, couples are asked a series of questions: How much does your partner provide a source of exciting experiences? How much has knowing your partner made you a better person? How much do you see your partner as a way to expand your own capabilities?source link
Why Men Need To Cheat
The Stony Brook researchers conducted experiments using activities that stimulated self-expansion. Some couples were given mundane tasks, while others took part in a silly exercise in which they were tied together and asked to crawl on mats, pushing a foam cylinder with their heads. The study was rigged so the couples failed the time limit on the first two tries, but just barely made it on the third, resulting in much celebration.
Couples were given relationship tests before and after the experiment. Those who had taken part in the challenging activity posted greater increases in love and relationship satisfaction than those who had not experienced victory together. The researchers theorize that couples who explore new places and try new things will tap into feelings of self-expansion, lifting their level of commitment.
Every couple has disagreements, but science shows that how two people argue has a big effect on both their relationships and their health. Many people try their best to avoid conflict, but relationship researchers say every conflict presents an opportunity to improve a relationship. The key is to learn to fight constructively in a way that leaves you feeling better about your partner. Marriage researcher John Gottman has built an entire career out of studying how couples interact. He learned that even in a laboratory setting, couples are willing to air their disagreements even when scientists are watching and the cameras are rolling.
In one important study, Dr.
Gottman and his colleagues observed newly married couples in the midst of an argument. In many ways, this is great news for couples because it gives you a place to focus. The most important moments between you and your partner during a conflict are those first few minutes when the fight is just getting started. Focus on your behavior during that time, and it likely will change the dynamics of your relationship for the better. Identify the complaint, not the criticism. Do you think you could find a way to help more on those nights?
Think about pronouns. Be aware of body language. No eye-rolling, which is a sign of contempt. Look at your partner when you speak. No folded arms or crossed legs to show you are open to their feelings and input. Sit or stand at the same level as your partner -- one person should not be looking down or looking up during an argument. Learn to De-escalate: When the argument starts getting heated, take it upon yourself to calm things down. Here are some phrases that are always useful in de-escalation:. Gottman reminds us that fighting with your partner is not a bad thing.
After all his years of studying conflict, Dr. You just need to make sure you get the beginning right so the discussion can be constructive instead of damaging. A famous study of cardiovascular health conducted in Framingham, Mass. Women said issues involving children, housework and money created the most problems in their relationships. Men said their arguments with their spouse usually focused on sex, money and leisure time.
Even though the lists were slightly different, the reality is that men and women really care about the same issues: money, how they spend their time away from work housework or leisure and balancing the demands of family life children and sex. Studies show that money is consistently the most common reason for conflict in a relationship. Couples with financial problems and debt create have higher levels of stress and are less happy in their relationship. Why does money cause conflict? Fights about money ultimately are not really about finances. A person who overspends on restaurants, travel and fun stuff often wants to live in the moment and seek new adventures and change; a saver hoping to buy a house some day may most value stability, family and community.
Money conflict can be a barometer for the health of your relationship and an indicator that the two of you are out of sync on some of your most fundamental values. David Olson, professor emeritus at the University of Minnesota, studied 21, couples and identified five questions you can ask to find out if you are financially compatible with your partner. Olson found that the happiest couples were those who both agreed with at least four of the statements. He also found that couples who did not see eye to eye on three or more of the statements were more likely to score low on overall marital happiness.
Debt tends to be the biggest culprit in marital conflict. It can be an overwhelming source of worry and stress. As a result, couples who can focus on money problems and reduce their debt may discover that they have also solved most of their marital problems. Surveys suggest secret spending occurs in one out of three committed relationships. Shopping for clothes, spending money on a hobby and gambling are the three most-cited types of secret spending that causes conflict in a relationship. The key is to agree on the amount of discretionary money you each have and then stay quiet when your partner buys the newest iPhone just because.
Invest in the relationship. When you do have money to spend, spend it on the relationship. Take a trip, go to dinner, see a show. Spending money on new and shared experiences is a good investment in your partnership. One of the more uncomfortable findings of relationship science is the negative effect children can have on previously happy couples. Despite the popular notion that children bring couples closer, several studies have shown that relationship satisfaction and happiness typically plummet with the arrival of the first baby.
One study from the University of Nebraska College of Nursing looked at marital happiness in men and women. Scores declined starting in pregnancy , and remained lower as the children reached 5 months and 24 months. One of the reasons I wrote the book is that I've seen so many long-term relationships broken up simply because one had sex outside the relationship. But feeling victimized isn't a natural outcome of casual sex outside a relationship; it is a socialized victimhood.
I'm not advocating cheating; I'm advocating open and equitable sexual relationships. When both in the couple desire this, when both realize that extradyadic sex makes their partner happy, and they therefore want their partner to have that sex, a couple will have moved a long ways toward facilitating emotional honesty, while simultaneously withering at jealousy scripts, which can be very damaging to a relationship. But if one can't achieve this with a partner that's hostile to the idea, cheating is the reasonable action. Most of the men in your study were OK with sex on the side for them, but not their girlfriends.
That seems unfair and incredibly selfish. Monogamy is culturally compelled, so the decision has been made for us. How much of a chance would a man stand to have a second date if on the first date he said that he was interested in an open relationship? At the point men enter into relationships they, too, think they want monogamy.
It's only after being in a relationship for months or years that they badly want sex with others. But by this point, they don't want to break up with their partners because they have long-standing love. Instead of chancing that love by asking for extradyadic sex, they cheat. If they don't get caught and most don't it's a rational choice. But it is indeed selfish for men to want sex with others but not to want their partners to do the same. This however is not just a "man" thing. Women also cheat; they also lie about it; and they also want to be able to cheat without their partners doing the same.
Monogamy is a problem for all sexes; it builds in an ownership script regardless of gender. You say love is a "long-standing sense of security and comfort. People in open relationships structure their engagements as to reduce emotional intimacy. But, yes, of course it can happen. What I find from those in open relationships, however, is that once they have had sex with that person they fancied, they tend to get over them.
Let Him Chase You Quotes
If we really want to prevent our lovers from developing the lust of others, or worse, emotional intimacy with others; if we really want to prevent men and women from cheating, we would be best to sex-segregate our jobs, our classrooms and social arenas, too. Emotional intimacy is the real threat to a relationship, not a one-off hour with a stranger from Craigslist.
Ultimately, there are no guarantees that one's partner won't find love elsewhere. But controlling one's partner to prevent it only makes matters worse -- it makes them want to leave you. Researchers had this to say on the ramifications of the results: "We suggest that attending to the health of one's friends' marriages might serve to support and enhance the durability of one's own relationship. Psychologists like Dr. Herb Goldberg suggest that our model for relationship is backwards--we tend to expect things to go smoothly at the beginning, and for problems and conflicts to arise later.
In fact, Dr. Goldberg argues that couples should have "rough and ragged" beginnings where they work things out, and then look forward to a long and happy incline in the state of the relationship. Research agrees: a Florida State study found that couples who are able to be openly angry in the beginning are happier long-term.
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There's an entire body of research on how your birth order impacts your life, including your relationships as well as professional success. One of the happiest pairings for couples? Researchers hypothesize this may be because the relationship has one person who enjoys being taken care of, and one who's used to taking care of others. According to a UCLA study , couples who agree to share chores at home are more likely to be happier in their relationships. An important caveat: couples who have clearly defined responsibilities are far more likely to be satisfied.
In other words, when you know what to do and what's expected with you, you tend to be happier both yourself and with your spouse. This might be a good thing to sit down and discuss in the new year, especially if you're newly cohabitating.