Myths of Marital Infidelity *

David A. Gershaw, Ph.D.

Many of us have heard that "50% of marriages will end in divorce," but do you believe it? I wouldn't. This conclusion was obtained by going over the marriage and divorce records for one year. They found that for every 100 marriages recorded that year there were about 50 divorces. It is logical to say that in this year, there was one divorce for every two marriages. However, this does not mean that half of the marriages will end in divorce. The divorces were from a much larger group of marriages that were performed over many previous years. To accurately test our beginning statement, researchers would have to follow marriages from a specific year over a long span of time. So far, nobody has done this. There are also myths about marital infidelity. Here are seven of these myths.

"Extramarital affairs thrive on secrecy."

Unlike fairy tales, married couples do not walk off into the sunset and "live happily ever after." As in any interpersonal relationship, there will be conflicts. If the partners can communicate openly to deal constructively with these conflicts while they are still small, they are easier to handle. If you avoid them they can grow into ugly monsters that are almost impossible to manage. Although coping with any conflict is uncomfortable, wouldn't you rather have the smaller discomfort?

* Adapted from Jeffrey Turner and Laurna Rubinson's Contemporary Human Sexuality, Prentice Hall, 1993. Pages 457-458.

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