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Our Cheatin’ Hearts

Men and monogamy: Understanding the urge to have an extramarital affair

Marriage after adultery continued...

“I think one of the things that happens in marriages, and with boredom in general, is that people lose sight of the benefits they are deriving from their marriage,” says Nock. “Ask an unhappy man what his life will be like after his marriage is over and he can’t answer. Men vastly overestimate their ability to do well outside of marriage. Women seem to do much better outside of marriage than men do,” he says, citing both the health and wealth advantages married men have over bachelors.

Noting that the average age of marriage in the United States has moved to the upper 20s, Nock figures that people 28 years old “have experienced an awful lot of life” and probably aren’t in search of more sex when they’re unfaithful. “The sexual component of marriage may not have that much to do with fidelity,” Nock says. “Remaining faithful to my wife has very little to do with sexuality. I think it has more to do with honoring her, or fulfilling her expectations about me. What else is it that marriage demands of us?”

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Reviewed on June 01, 2007

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