While statistics indicate that almost half of Canadian marriages will end in divorce (most at the five-year mark), there are ways to keep yours strong. You can affair-proof your marriage. First line of defense: making sure you don't cheat.
How can you differentiate between harmless fantasizing you indulge in (paging Dr. McDreamy!) versus veering dangerously off course from your relationship? Take our handy quiz. Then, read our relationship tips on cheat-proofing your relationship.
1. You've been with your spouse for
a) Two years or less
b) Three to five years
c) Five to seven years
d) Eight or more years
2. What do you think of your partner's job?
a) It's good.
b) He finds it satisfying.
c) I wish he were more successful.
d) I'm happy he's doing something he wants to be doing.
3. What do you think other women think when they see your man?
a) They probably think he's gorgeous.
b) I'll bet he seems like a good catch.
c) I doubt they'd look twice.
d) They probably think he's attractive.
4. Do you think you're attractive?
b) Objectively speaking, yes, reasonably attractive.
c) Not really.
d) I guess so.
5. When you were pregnant, your husband made you feel…
a) Like the hottest soon-to-be-mom on the block.
b) Like a radiant new-mom-to-be.
c) Like you two should live it up until parenthood.
d) On the edge of an exciting new adventure.
6. Cleaning the attic, you come across a box of old CDs. You feel
a) Nostalgic for the good old days -- but in a good way.
b) Slightly embarrassed.
c) A pang for your "lost youth" with all its romantic possibilities.
d) As if you've got to work your way through the whole pile.
7. Okay, now you're covered in dust and you're spinning tracks like you're the DJ at your kids' school's charity dancethon. Next, you
a) Call for your hubby and get him to dance along with you.
b) Phone up your oldest girlfriends for some laughs about your younger days.
c) Google your high school and college exes (and hit Friendster and My Space while you're at it) in search of bios, pics and contact info, not that you'd use them or anything!
d) Take a shower; you need to get that dust off. And you've got other stuff to do today.
8. You're on vacation at a resort. The babysitting service has your kids for the day. You and your mate…
a) Hit the sheets for an "afternoon delight."
b) Chill on the beach or by the pool.
c) Can't decide what to do together. You decide by figuring out who got to choose the last time you went out together.
d) Split up. You hit the spa and he hits the golf course. You'll meet up for lunch.
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If you answered:
Whether you're newlyweds or not, you've still got that glow. Keep it going strong by -- and this may sound crazy to you -- spending some time apart. For instance, have a girls' night out, or join a book club. And give him a chance to keep wooing you.
• Don't say, "You shouldn't have!" when he brings you an expensive bouquet or gift. He wants to do it, so be delighted. Many men like to "treat" their women (call it the positive side of the He-man mentality), and most women love the attention.
• If your heart's fluttering, you're unlikely to cheat. Why should you -- you're getting all the attention you need at home!
CHEATING ALERT LEVEL: VIRTUALLY NONEXISTENT
Your relationship is on a steady keel, but that doesn't mean you can take it for granted. It sounds like your husband is still working to keep you interested, so make sure you do the same.
• Keep scheduling those date nights so you can spend time together without the kids.
• Don't let work stress and financial concerns follow you to the bedroom. Nothing puts a damper on romance like a pile of paperwork sitting on your bedside table/mini home office.
• Sometimes an affair is a psychological escape from the mundane elements of married life: bills, home maintenance, arguing over how much to budget for the kitchen reno. Minimize these stresses (that's why a bedroom home office is a no-no) and you'll maximize the excitement in your relationship.
CHEATING ALERT LEVEL: LOW
You're heading into choppy waters. Even if your partner is "good enough," it sounds like you're finding yourself wanting more, or thinking maybe it's time to "trade up." Perhaps your partner doesn't make you feel as pretty as he used to, or he can barely be roused to talk in complete sentences when he's vegged out on the couch. Keep the following in mind:
• Women often cheat because their emotional needs aren't being met. A new man is fascinated by what you say -- he seems to devour you in his gaze. In some cases, this could be enough to lead you down the path to adultery (regardless of whether he's a hunk or not).
• If your man isn't paying you enough attention, he's never around, or he approaches sex with a wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am approach, speak up. Couples' counselling may be what you need to keep yourself from straying.
CHEATING ALERT LEVEL: MODERATE TO HIGH
It sounds like you've got a comfortable relationship. The honeymoon stage may have come and gone a long time ago, but you two still have your moments. Be sure to keep these strong. Here's how:
• Maintain those date nights, keep stress out of the bedroom and let him be your knight in shining armour once in a while.
• Make sure you two have some separate as well as joint interests, and spend some time with your girlfriends. You need to maintain some frisson-fanning mystery. (Also, hearing stories of some of the duds your single friends are dating will help you appreciate who's waiting for you at home!)
CHEATING ALERT LEVEL: LOW
Are you worried about him cheating on you? Read Suspicious minds for more insight into jealousy.
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