According to a new study, 20 percent of newlywed husbands and 15 percent of newlywed wives admit to having an affair in the first year of marriage.
The numbers, which come out of the University of Washington and are reported in Women's Health magazine, are actually on the increase. Discussing the topic on the CBS Morning Show, relationship therapist Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil, had some really insightful comments on why this happens and how to avoid it.
"Everyone that cheats has an intimacy problem. Actually, if you think about it, infidelity is not about a decision-making process. But monogamy is a decision to stay faithful, and if you're having an intimacy problem, you're not thinking clearly."
"There are more newlyweds cheating because they're having intimacy problems, they just didn't realize it. And the Internet doesn't help us." [She implies elsewhere that access to pornography and social networking sites can create the atmosphere that makes cheating more likely to happen.]
"[Adultery] is a cry for help; it's a wake-up call. It's a dysfunctional attempt to try to stabilize the relationship."
How to tell if your spouse may be prone to adultery?
Too many friends of the opposite sex
Friends' attitudes about cheating
Family history of adultery
If you think about it, it makes sense that infidelity would be common in the first year of marriage. It's a real shock going from a romantic dating relationship to a marriage relationship that has its roots in mundane home management issues like paying bills, cleaning, cooking and taking out the trash. Romantic excitement often falls quickly after the wedding. And for most young people, their pool of friends will never be as dominated by singles of the opposite sex as it is in those newlywed years. So, the newlywed years not only give a reason to look elsewhere for romantic excitement, but the opportunity to do so as well.
Unfortunately, the culture has seduced most young people into thinking that love is finding someone they are compatible with—someone who can make them truly happy—and the rest just kind of takes care of itself. Truthfully though, love is sustained through hard work, and compatibility comes with time. The only way to keep a marriage from dissolving into adultery is to pledge total commitment to the one you marry, and to make your focus on serving them rather than expecting them to serve you.
Adultery embodies the exact opposite ideal. It scoffs at commitment and is centered on a self-serving goal. Still, cheating on a spouse is a temptation most couples will face at some point in their marriage. Some will resist, while others give in and are left to face the consequences.
Here are a few articles that can help you avoid the temptation to commit adultery, but also to pick up the pieces if your marriage ever faces one.