Marriage Advice from Cheaters and Mistresses
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Avant Garde Advice1 of 17
By Woman's Day
Imagine your husband cheated. Now imagine that you could sit down with the other woman and find out, from her perspective, why he strayed. Before you recoil in horror, consider this: This woman’s advice may actually be helpful. Read on for lessons from marriage experts, the other woman and a couple of cheating husbands.
Have Confidence2 of 17
Patricia,* who is currently having an affair with a married man, cites her aura of self-confidence and self-reliance as one of the most alluring things about her. "Insecurity is a very unattractive trait," she says. "It's exhausting to be around." Men more often report having affairs to meet their emotional needs, irrespective of their wife's physical appearance. [*Name has been changed.]
How To Do It3 of 17
Develop and maintain your own interests—from girls’ nights out to reading the books you like—instead of expecting your husband to be everything for you, says Noelle Nelson, Ph.D., a relationship expert and author of Your Man Is Wonderful. And take care of yourself for the sake of your health and self-esteem as much as a way to "keep" your man interested in you, she says.
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Pay Attention to Him4 of 17
Yes, it's that simple—and that complex, says Patricia. "If you try to justify your lack of attention and interest in your husband by saying ‘You know how much I love you, I don't have to do more,' think again." Marriage and family therapist Karen Ruskin, Psy.D., agrees: "The main thing men report when they cheat is a lack of attention from their wives."
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How To Do It5 of 17
“When he talks, stop what you're doing and make eye contact. Don’t let your to-do list be running through the back of your mind. Be fully present. Care about him and then take your turn,” says Patricia.
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Talk Out Issues6 of 17
"I cheated because when my wife and I were going through a hard time, she refused to see my side of issues regarding our children and remained angry with me. She wouldn't talk. Meanwhile, the woman I cheated with looked at me like I was a Greek god!" says John,* who is now divorced from his wife.
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How To Do It7 of 17
Discuss issues respectfully, without lashing out in anger.
Be Appreciative8 of 17
In a long-term relationship, even when things are good, couples often let appreciation slide — you assume he knows you’re grateful for the things he does. But men, in particular, like to know, explicitly, that the roles they play in your life and your home are not going unnoticed, says Ruskin.
How To Do It9 of 17
“Communicate what you appreciate about your spouse,” says Ruskin. Be specific: “I’m so glad you can deal with the politics at your office so you can support the family” lets him know that you’re grateful for the way he works. Something like, “Thanks for taking Jason to soccer every Saturday. I’m so pleased I married the kind of man who’s really involved in the kids’ activities” tells him you notice his fatherhood chops.
Date Each Other10 of 17
Oh, who has time to date, much less to write romantic notes or buy sexy lingerie? You know who has time? The other woman! But what you have to remember is that “the other woman can do these things in short bursts, without the other commitments, namely your house, your kids and your finances,” says Ruskin.
How To Do It11 of 17
Try to remember that when you add those little courtship-like touches to a long-term marriage (a squeeze on the arm and kiss on the cheek when he’s reading the paper, a short love note in his coat pocket, a special dinner plan), you’re showing him that with you he’s got the total package: the long-term history and commitment, and the sweet and sexy fun.
Have Sex!12 of 17
“When my first wife and I were married, she used to tell me that I liked sex ‘too much.’ I felt bad, both physically and emotionally, for having a strong, healthy sex drive! I began to rationalize having one-night stands,” says Bob Quinlan, who remained married (they separated and went through counseling) for 20 years before finally divorcing. (He’s now happily remarried and the author of Earn It: Empower Yourself for Love.)
How To Do It13 of 17
It’s true that sexual desire waxes and wanes and that there are often mismatches between partners, but try to find common ground, says Ruskin. “You should have some physical closeness and contact at least once a week. Twice would be great. At least it should be consistent.” Another point, adds Quinlan: “Keep sex as a joyful part of your relationship, and don’t withhold it as punishment,” which only casts it in a negative light.
Put Marriage First14 of 17
It can be hard for some women to remember that their marriage should be the first priority on their list, says Ruskin. The other woman has the advantage of being able to put her lover first — because she doesn’t have the other distractions.
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How To Do It15 of 17
Continually remind yourself that the husband-wife relationship is primary. Get a baby-sitter and go out without parent guilt. Put the kids to bed early so you can snuggle on the couch together.
Stay Interested16 of 17
You don’t have to join him at the model train show, but asking him about it afterward is a smart idea. Same goes for his work. “One reason men often have affairs with women they work with is that there may be a woman at work who takes notice of his accomplishments and struggles,” says Nelson. Imagine how it feels to him when he comes home to tell you how he saved the meeting from disaster and you all but ignore him.
How To Do It17 of 17
Take interest in what he’s interested in, such as asking him to explain why that particular soccer game is important to the league, or flip through his car magazine.
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