With Guests Julie Spira and Dr. Deborah Taj Anapol
A married man on the dating scene seldom raises eyebrows but the same can’t be said for wives searching for a little something extra. In this week’s Wellness for the Real World, Dr. Veronica talks to cyber-dating expert Julie Spira about red flags that signal if your date is really available then to psychologist Deborah Taj Anapol about whether monogamy is even natural.
Twenty-five percent of husbands and 15% of wives have experienced extramarital intercourse, according to a national survey. Add another 20% when emotional affairs and sexual relationships without intercourse are included. Those numbers are low if you ask Peggy Vaughan, who writes in The Monogamy Myth that 60% of husbands and 40% of wives will have an affair at some time during their marriage.
Spira, bestselling author of The Perils of Cyber-Dating: Confessions of a Hopeful Romantic Looking for Love Online, tells Dr. Veronica that one third of men using online dating websites are married. She speaks from experience having received a marriage proposal in 1995 from a man who, unbeknownst to her, was already married. She found out the truth when the man’s mother delivered the shocking news. Having ignored the red flags, she says look for these signs that may indicate someone is married:
- They log on to website at the exact same time every day
- They call you at the exact same time every day
- You always receive their voicemail when you call them
- If you can’t ever reach them over the weekend
Her married man lived on the opposite coast and she notes that adulterers are less likely to get caught when communicating with someone in another part of the country. When she confronted him about his marital status, he removed his profile – yet reposted it the next day claiming he lived in another location. She cautions that people end up with a false sense of illusion that they are in a relationship because they spend hours a day corresponding with the person via instant messaging, email, telephone, and text messages with the person when in fact they have never met offline, although she had met her guy in person.
For people who hope to keep their spouse from straying, she says to remember, “People like new beginnings and they love the thrill of a chase. What a woman needs to understand, as well as man, is they need to date their spouse. They need to create rituals together.”
She suggests couples have a weekly date night – although we saw how that could go horribly wrong in the Steve Carell-Tina Fey comedic film with the similar title. Ideally, with date night, a husband and wife alternate selecting an activity and make it fun. The wife could wear lingerie and give her husband a backrub. Knowing a date night is on the day’s agenda, send a cute a text message or leave a note on the pillow.
“Do things that really can bring out the excitement of the build-up of somebody coming home,” Spira suggests, “not coming home to a nagging wife who is complaining about the bills but coming home to a sexy wife who can’t wait to be with her man.”
Not that there is any foolproof way to determine what kind of man will be monogamous, Spira offers things women can look for:
- A man who was married for a long period of time. Perhaps the relationship ran its course. The man knows what it takes to be married, wants to work at it and wants to remarry
- A widower because chances are he enjoyed being married. “They’ve done their mourning if she was ill and they’re ready to move on. And they will get married again. Statistically, they will marry very quickly.”
- Someone whose parents have a good marriage
- Overall family values
“Chances are if he cheated on someone before and he’s admitted it to you, it could repeat again,” Spira says.
Yet a married man or woman having a relationship outside the marriage doesn’t have to be cheating when it’s agreed upon. That was the case with billionaire Warren Buffett, who had a live-in mistress for nearly 30 years before the two wed in 2006, two years after his first wife died. The trio used to send greeting cards with their three signatures.
Dr. Veronica confesses that “I have dated married men. I’m not trying to steal somebody’s husband, but I listen to the story and decide is this just a jerk or he is a nice guy and life is complicated. I believe in openness and honesty…I have found that the married men are nicer and treat me better than the single men.”
Spira’s theory on this is: The married men can do it because they can afford to do it. Quite often they are the men who have very good careers and are very high profile. It’s very easy for them to take good care of a woman when they know they don’t have to worry. These single men are going, ‘She’s going to put the pressure on me. I’m going to get the big ultimatum. She’s going to want to get married before I’m ready to.’ When these men know they can’t do that, it gives them a better sense of freedom to be able to be much more generous.”
Monogamy could be an unreal expectation, says Dr. Anapol, author ofPolyamory in the 21st Century: Love and Intimacy with Multiple Partners. Polyamory, taken from poly, meaning many or several, and amor, Latin for love, is the practice, desire, or acceptance of having more than one intimate relationship at a time with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved.
Dr. Anapol says having multiple partners “is about sex but it’s not just about sex. If we look at the animal kingdom, what has been discovered since the advent of DNA tests, while a lot of species are socially monogamous — when they have one partner that they pair with and raise babies with — they’re sexually non-monogamous. We’re part of the animal kingdom so why wouldn’t this apply to humans?
“Historically in both the animal kingdom and human societies, powerful, wealthy men have always had the privilege of having multiple partners, and still do in much of the world…What may be new is now women have equal opportunity.”
Yet Dr. Anapol’s experience has been that husbands don’t always handle this well. “Men have been the ones to suggest it but what often happens is if the woman agrees to try it out, it turns out she actually likes it better, is better equipped for it and has better experiences than the man does. The man often says, let’s go back and she says, ‘Unh uh.’ ”
Polyamory cuts across economic, age and racial lines but Dr. Anapol notes, “ There does seem to be a tendency for people to be better educated, maybe because it takes a higher level of intelligence, and not just intellectually, to handle the complexity because it is more complex.”
If you’re considering polyamory, here’s how to approach it:
- Have a conversation with your existing partner about your desire. Secret affairs are often discovered by a sensitive partner and can be more destructive than some form of consensual non-monogamy
- Seek the professional advice of a neutral counselor who can facilitate the communication and make sure you are considering the many dimensions necessary and not someone who is going to say you’re bad or wrong to even be considering this or someone who just says go for it without looking at the issues
- When telling children, focus on the relationship and explain that it’s not just about sex
“There’s a rumor out there that open marriage doesn’t work,” Dr. Anapol says. “I say it’s a rumor because we don’t really have any open data but as far as I can tell open marriages works about as well as monogamous marriage.”
Though cheating still takes place in polyamory, even though conversations and agreements have been made.
“Some people get off on the thrill of what’s forbidden,” Dr. Anapol says. “They’re kind of having a fetish about cheating. It’s not the other partner but the secret that is the lure for them.”
Dr. Veronica Anderson is an MD, Functional Medicine practitioner, Homeopath. and Medical Intuitive. As a national speaker and designer of the Functional Fix and Rejuvenation Journey programs, she helps people who feel like their doctors have failed them. She advocates science-based natural, holistic, and complementary treatments to address the root cause of disease. Dr. Veronica is a highly-sought guest on national television and syndicated radio and hosts her own radio show, Wellness for the REAL World, on FOX Sports 920 AM “the Jersey” on Mondays at 7:00 pm ET.
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