Want to keep her from straying? Use these five secrets from the guys trying to seduce your wife.
Karl olivier* has slept with six married women. The first was Bianca, a 25-yearold rugby fanatic. The affair began innocently enough – they met at work, where he was in ad sales, and connected over a shared sense of humour. Then came Tammy, a department head at his office. She was a petite woman with a giant libido. There was also Linda, a fiery 50ish woman with fake-red hair. That on again, off-again fling lasted for nearly a year. You may call Andrews a sleazy opportunist. Nevertheless, we can potentially learn something from guys like him.
So what did he have that the husbands of half a dozen women didn’t? “I cared enough to listen,” he says. “These women were alone. They may have been married, but if a woman is alone emotionally, she’s alone.” He’s right. Research shows that the average woman’s cheating is sparked by marital unhappiness, not lust. In a 2011 Indiana University study, women who reported low relationship happiness were nearly three times as likely to cheat as contented women were. “Guys are more apt to seek purely physical, one-nightstand gratification,” says Dr Kristina Gordon, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Tennessee. “But women are more likely to cheat if they’re not satisfied with their marriage.” The differences don’t end there; the outcome of a woman’s straying can be more dramatic as well. “Often, the affair partner treats her well, and she may realise what she’s missing in her marriage,” Gordon says. “In those cases, she might not regret it.” With these revelations in mind, we checked in with Andrews and other lotharios so we could gauge our own marital blind spots. Then we filtered their insights, however tawdry, through our experts to find out how you can keep your gal out of their hands – and in your bed.
She wants a confidant
With intimacy comes comfort; knowing the intricacies of her personality bonds you. But there’s a bad kind of comfort too. “One of the biggest complaints I hear is, ‘He comes home from work and plops down in front of the TV’,” says Alex Louw, 46, who says he’s slept with more than a dozen married women. When their husbands did talk, he adds, they shifted into fixit mode. “I just listen, without trying to solve anything,” he says. This seems counter-intuitive: playing Dr Phil shows you’re interested, right? Not to her. “It shuts down the conversation. You’re fixing rather than engaging,” says Gordon. “She wants you to show interest, explore, let her talk.”
Your Move: Add “Us Time” To “You Time” – It’s okay if you need to decompress after work with exercise or video games. Just explain that to her and suggest another time to connect. “I know a couple who have a bowl of cereal every night and just chat,” says Gordon. This should be a reconnecting time, so don’t talk about playdates or the electricity bill. As Jared Smith, 35, who’s been involved with three married women, notes, “I reached into the areas their husbands reached into during courtship. Dig deeper, instead of the old nod and ‘Ja, that’s great’.” Your ultimate goal is to figure out why she’s talking. “People tell stories to convey an emotion,” says Dr Gary Lewandowski, a psychology professor and co-creator of scienceofrelationships. com. When she finishes a story, say, “It sounds like you’re [insert emotion here].” You give her permission to open up, and score points for being perceptive.
Excitement Is Key
It’s easy to assume that an active sex life equals a happy mate. But that’s not always the case: Andrews reports that many of his married bedmates complained of “vanilla sex”– plain and monotonous. In a recent University of Nevada at Las Vegas study, women partly blamed predictable sex on their husbands’ familiarity with their bodies – which, ironically, was once a turn-on. But the scientists discovered that familiarity wasn’t as much of a problem as lack of emotion was. “I call it his checklist. I can tell you the moves he’s going to make. He can get me off, but it’s sex. It’s not making love,” said one study participant.
Your Move: Go Dirty – Married women are less responsive to the more familiar emotional qualities of sex – security, feeling loved, sensing support – than single women are, a study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found. What they do respond to: explicit cues, such as sensing her wetness, sharing sexual fantasies and talking dirty. Surprisingly, fulfilling sexual fantasies rates as one of the most emotional sexual acts, according to a 2008 California State University study. “It takes vulnerability to share fantasies,” says Gordon. “If your partner is receptive, you feel closer.” For women, it’s often easier to share with someone new: she’s not a wife or mother but a sex goddess. So be her porn star. Jack up the role-playing or bondage dabbling, try new positions, whatever. “When she’s sharing – her fantasies, what feels good– take time to ‘reflect’ what she’s saying,” says Gordon. “Communicate her disclosures in your own words. That’s incredibly validating.”
She Craves Collaboration
When you pursue interests together, your partner gains a sense of “self-expansion”– a feeling that you’re helping her grow, says Lewandowski. If your relationship doesn’t broaden her horizons, she may “self-expand” with the office sales rep. So when was the last time you cooked together, or collaborated on a home project? If the answer is “back in ’99,” you two are in trouble. “Attraction is attraction, but once the hormones subside, you want camaraderie,” says Andrews.
Your Move: Give Her A Future – Come up with shared projects for the here and now, of course, but also make sure you both have something to look forward to. In Lewandowski’s research, the potential for self-expansion further shielded against infidelity. “Even when the relationship is in a lull, if she’s optimistic that she’ll grow with you in the future, it can satisfy her,” he says. Book a holiday now for this summer. She’ll have months to anticipate it – and to focus on you, not that sales rep.
Investment Pays Off
Bonds build over time. “Emotional involvement is about conveying a sense of investment – that she’s a big part of your future,” says Lewandowski. And if you invest in her, you become more important to her, says Dr Helen Fisher, a relationships researcher at Rutgers University. “Mate poachers can promise anything to a married woman,” she says. “He can tell her he loves her, and he isn’t threatened by the fact that she’ll suddenly want to marry him.” As Lombardi puts it, “With a single woman, he’s competing against a bunch of men. With a married woman, he’s competing against just one.” That’s you.
Your Move: Tell, Don’t Show – You wash her car, take out the rubbish, fold the laundry. But your work isn’t done. “Women are often more verbal in what they need,” says Dr Rebecca Brand, a Villanova University psychology professor. “Simply say, ‘I noticed you were out of cereal, so I got you some.’” She’ll overlook or underestimate the ways she depends on you – unless you remind her. But too much of that can backfire. So jot down your respective roles: food shopper, gutter cleaner, and so on. Then trade a few tasks – she takes over something you’re tired of doing, and vice versa. The list reminds her why she needs you, and swopping chores creates a sense of mutual dependence.
She Builds Off You
Your wife may see you as one of two things: her biggest advocate or her biggest critic. When she cooks for you, she wants your approval. When she has a bad day at work, she wants your support. Here’s what often happens instead: “One woman I saw felt she extended herself emotionally only to be rebuffed,” Andrews says. “He would just go about his day.” Your affection deflects stress and insecurity, so if she feels rebuffed, her self-esteem takes a hit – and that, according to research from the University of Colorado at Boulder, can lead her to cheat.
Your Move: Take The Long View – People with low self-esteem benefit less from partner praise than confident folks do, a University of Waterloo study found. Reason: insecure lovers hesitate to generalise – he thinks I’m adorable – is a specific compliment. Saying, “Damn, your butt looks sexy,” tells her she looks hot now. But saying, “Wearing that reminds me just how sexy you are” makes her feel perpetually admired, which can boost relationship security. When she feels good, you feel good.