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Infidelity myths debunked by relationship researchers
By Dana Hudepohl for Redbook Updated: Dec 19, 2008

“Once a cheater, always a cheater.” “People cheat when they’re unhappy at home.” “If your mate cheats, you’ll know.” We’ve all heard these bits of conventional wisdom; they’re comforting, in a strange way. But they’re all wrong, say the experts who study infidelity. What’s worse, believing these myths can do a lot of harm, because it gets in the way of your preventing, spotting, and recovering from infidelity. (Yes, recovering — contrary to popular belief, an affair doesn’t have to destroy a relationship.) We’ve unraveled the latest research so you can protect your relationship with the facts.

Myth #1: There’s a “cheater” profile.

The reality: With the right trigger circumstances, anyone is susceptible to cheating. “There are as many different profiles as there are people who have affairs,” says Douglas Snyder, Ph.D., a couples therapist and a professor of psychology at Texas A and M University. Yet the myth persists that there’s a recognizable “type” of person who’s unfaithful. That’s why it took Linda Mitchell, 43, a personal trainer in Monroe, OH, by such surprise when she found out her first mate was having an affair. “He never did anything to lead me to think he would cheat,” she says. “He’d bring me flowers, tell me how beautiful I was and what a great partner I was.”

While some people are chronic philanderers, it’s more common to unintentionally wind up in an affair. “People who have accidental affairs have no thoughts of being unfaithful,” says Snyder. “It’s not even consistent with their values system, but the opportunity presents itself.” Maybe a coworker hits on you during a business trip when you’re stressed, or your cute handyman compliments you when you’re getting over a fight with your mate.

“Here’s the best way to prevent affairs: Rather than saying, ‘We will never have one,’ instead think of the kind of person, situation and mood that would make you vulnerable,” says Barry McCarthy, Ph.D., a marital therapist and author of “Getting It Right This Time: How to Create a Loving and Lasting Marriage.” Maybe you’re so nurturing that you’d be vulnerable helping a neighbor whose wife just died, while your fun-loving sister would be susceptible during a trip to Las Vegas. It may feel contrived or scary, but having this tough conversation with your partner can help you both recognize chancy situations and be on guard.

You can also stay in safe territory with friends of the opposite sex by not confiding personal things, like airing complaints about your mate, and not keeping anything about those friendships secret. “You know you’ve crossed a line if you don’t want your mate to know about whatever you’re talking about with this person,” says Tina Pittman Wagers, Psy.D., a clinical psychologist and instructor at the University of Colorado at Boulder. “If it starts feeling like that, then you need to pull back and reestablish closeness with your mate.”

Myth #2: It’s men who cheat.

The reality: While baby-boomer men do cheat more, women in their 20s and 30s have affairs just as frequently as men their age, according to new research. One reason: More women are working. When you have a job, you’ve got more financial freedom, which could make you more comfortable taking a gamble with your relationship. You also have opportunity; around 46 percent of women and 62 percent of men who have affairs cheat with someone from work.

Myth #3: Long-term boredom leads to an affair.

The reality: Michael, 34, a lawyer in Tampa, says his wife started having an affair before the couple’s two-year anniversary. “I never, ever thought that would happen,” says Michael. Yet the so-called honeymoon period is actually a high-risk time for infidelity. “More people have affairs the first two years of marriage than any other time,” says McCarthy. Women may experiment with a comparison affair: Would I be better off with this guy? Did I make a mistake in marrying my spouse? Men, on the other hand, are likely to cheat for reasons that have nothing to do with their relationship. Thanks to their upbringing or their circle of friends, they may believe that’s just what guys do.

An early affair may be just a last fling that a couple can work through, but it’s more likely a wake-up call to a person that his or her partner has a fundamentally different model of monogamy, says Wagers. Still, newlywed affairs don’t have to spell doom. If both partners decide that they want to give their union another shot, it’s important to figure out what factors contributed to the affair and whether there’s any hope for changing them.

Myth #4: A man is driven to infidelity when he’s not happy in his relationship.

The reality: It’s true that the majority of women who’ve had an affair reported being physically and emotionally disengaged from their partners for at least a year before the affair. But more than half of men involved in affairs reported being happy or very happy in their marriages prior to cheating, according to a survey by the late Shirley Glass, Ph.D., noted infidelity researcher and author of NOT “Just Friends.” Lots of other factors weigh into a guy’s decision to start an affair, including chemistry, opportunity and poor impulse control. “I counseled a couple where the husband’s younger coworker made a pass at him when they were at a conference and he accepted,” says Wagers. “Even though he felt close to his wife and he felt like he had a good marriage, he was excited and flattered that this woman who was 15 years younger found him attractive.”

Many cheaters do blame their actions on a less-than-perfect home life, but researchers say they’re just rewriting history. “Often times these are retrospective reports that are now having to justify how it is that the partner violated vows,” says Snyder. Granted, lots of cheaters are unhappy on some level in their marriages. But so are many men and women who don’t have affairs. “Infidelity isn’t the only road,” says Wagers. “If you’re not satisfied in your marriage, you might also be driven to talk to your partner.” That’s why therapists say it’s so important to stay in touch with each other. For you, that might mean setting aside 20 minutes every night to talk about your day, your differences and your dreams. “It’s the whole idea of staying close to your spouse,” says Wagers. “The more disconnected you get from the relationship, the easier it is to slide down the slippery slope of infidelity.”

Myth #5: Adulterers find lasting happiness with their affair partners.

The reality: No matter how blissful they feel, affair pairings rarely get to happily ever after. A whopping 75 percent of affair partners who marry end up divorced. For one thing, the qualities that attract you to an affair partner — like impulsiveness or extravagance — might be the polar opposite of what makes you happy long-term. And during affairs, lovers are under the spell of chemical changes in their bodies that make them feel euphoric — feelings that are exaggerated even more by the secrets they’re keeping. They’re in a type of fantasy world, focusing only on each other and not getting bogged down in day-to-day stuff like bills and child rearing. “Somebody may seem like a soul mate when it’s all fresh and shiny,” says Wagers. “But you can’t assume the new-car smell is going to last 15 years.”

Myth #6: Betrayed partners know on some level when their partners are fooling around.

The reality: In many cases, the betrayed mate is totally in the dark. “A lot of cheating partners are really invested in keeping this secret and are very good at lying,” says Wagers. So true, says Dayle DeCillo, 39, a mother of five in Mission Viejo, CA, who had zero suspicion that her husband of 11 years was unfaithful — until she discovered him with another woman. “I was blindsided,” she says. “He was a paramedic and firefighter, and was gone a lot, either ‘working’ or ‘working out.’ I was never concerned he wasn’t where he said he was.”

DeCillo simply made the same assumptions most people do: You assume you’re trustworthy and your mate is, too. The possibility that he could stray isn’t even on your mind, so you don’t get suspicious if he says he has to work late or go on a golf trip with his buddies. Usually it’s not until the affair is out in the open that the betrayed mate can go back and give new meaning to history.

It’s also common after an affair is exposed for the betrayed mate to feel like he or she is facing a new truth: You never can be sure whether your partner will cheat. In reality, it’s a truth that was there all along.

Five essential tips to prevent infidelity:

1. Be each other’s number one confidant. You shouldn’t be sharing private thoughts with others that you’re not sharing with your mate.

2. Make time to connect on a regular basis. Daily moments of connection help you build a sense of togetherness and shared purpose.

3. Don’t let family time squeeze out just-the-two-of-you time. Relationships that are too child-centered are at high risk for an affair.

4. Recognize when you’re temporarily attracted to someone else. It doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with your relationship — or that you have to act on it.

5. Surround yourself with people who believe in you and your relationship. If you’re ever tempted and don’t feel like you can tell your mate, you’ll have someone else to confide in who will steer you straight. And if one of you does stray, you’ll have a strong support network to help you put your relationship back together.

Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.

by Jeffrey R. Kosnett
Friday, March 13, 2009
provided by

Before the economic rout, you could rely on certain iron laws of personal finance. For example, it was a given that house values didn’t fall. Money-market funds never lost a dime. And no matter how ugly the market, expert mutual fund managers could protect you from drastic losses.

Alas, in this Hydra-headed global financial crisis, another generally accepted principle of financial strategy or economic logic finds its way into the shredder almost every day. We gathered ten truisms that no longer pass the test.

MYTH 1: There’s always a hot market somewhere. When U.S. markets began to blow up, you heard about “decoupling” and “the Chinese century.” The idea is that Asia — or Russia or Latin America — can grow vigorously independent of the U.S. and Europe. Invest there and you’ll offset losses at home. Instead, Chinese, Indian and Russian shares have crumbled. Net investment money flowing into emerging-market economies fell 50% in 2008, to $466 billion, and is forecast to sink to $165 billion in 2009.

Truth: In this age of globalization, economic downturns and bear markets observe no borders.

MYTH 2: Real estate behaves differently from other investments. Call it a bubble instead of a boom if you like, but it was supposed to be “proof” that real estate returns don’t strongly correlate with the returns of stocks and other financial investments. The message: Rental properties or real estate investment trusts can make money despite drops in Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index or the Nasdaq. Wrong. REITs lost 38% in 2008 because the credit crunch and overly aggressive expansion plans hammered profits and dividends. REIT returns used to have little correlation with the stock market. Now they closely track it.

Truth: Real estate won’t overcome other risks when credit problems are harming all investments.

MYTH 3. Reliable dividend payers are safer than other stocks. Companies recognized as dividend “achievers” or “aristocrats” — because they could be counted on to increase their payouts regularly — used to perform more steadily than most stocks. That’s because shareholders seeking income tended not to sell. But now shares of dividend achievers can be as volatile as the overall market. One reason: more mass trading of blue-chip stocks in baskets, a la exchange-traded and index funds. Another factor: Banks, insurance firms and real estate companies can no longer afford to pay high dividends.

Truth: Companies aren’t too proud to stop increasing dividends. If you want stable dividends, ignore the past and look for companies with lots of cash flow.

MYTH 4. Foreign creditors can drain the U.S. Treasury overnight. Puny Treasury yields suggest that it’s bad business for the rest of the world to lend so much money to the U.S. But think: What else would these investors do? And who has the power to impose this dramatic sell order? Nobody. Foreigners own $3.1 trillion of Treasury debt. Of that, $1.1 trillion is with private investors — mainly pension funds, which cannot safely ignore a class of investment that is absolutely liquid and has never defaulted. Governments and institutional investors hold the rest. On occasion they have sold more U.S. debt than they have bought. But massive private buying has overwhelmed the modest pullbacks.

Truth: If what you want is super-safe bonds, the U.S. Treasury is the go-to place.

MYTH 5. Gold is the best place to hide in a lousy economy. In early February, an ounce of gold traded for $910. That’s just where it sat a year ago, when world economies weren’t so bad off. But foreign and domestic stocks, real estate, oil and riskier classes of bonds have all tanked since, and now gold looks — ahem — as good as gold. However, gold does not typically benefit from a recession. As inflation slows, people buy less jewelry, industry uses less gold, and strapped governments sell reserves to raise cash.

Truth: Gold tends to rally in prosperous times, when you have inflation, easy credit and flush buyers (kind of reminds you of real estate. . . ).

MYTH 6. Life insurance is not a good investment. This canard spread as 401(k)s and IRAs supplanted cash-value life insurance as Americans’ most popular ways to build savings while deferring taxes. True, the investment side of an insurance policy has higher built-in expenses than mutual funds do. But two factors point to a revival of insurance as an investment. One is guaranteed-interest credits on cash values, which means that if you pay the premiums, you cannot lose money unless the insurance company fails (see “Savings Guarantees You Can Trust,” on page 55). The other is the boom in life settlements. If you’re older than 65, you can often sell the insurance contract to a third party for several times its cash value — and pay taxes on the difference at low capital-gains rates.

Truth: A good investment is one in which you put money away now and have more later. Checked your 401(k) lately?

MYTH 7. The economic downturn dooms the dollar to irrelevance. No question, the U.S. is deep in debt and going deeper while the economy contracts. History teaches that when a country can’t pay its bills, lags economically and cannot control inflation, its currency loses value. That’s why currencies in Argentina, Iceland, Mexico and Russia have all crashed within recent memory. The dollar does swoon, and it’s lost punch in places as unexpected as Brazil and India. But — and here’s the surprise — as recession gripped the U.S., the dol-lar got stronger. For one thing, there aren’t many alternatives. For another, some other currencies were temporarily inflated by oil and commodities speculation.

Truth: The dollar has survived a tough test and remains the world’s “reserve” currency.

MYTH 8. Mass layoffs reward investors. In the 1990s, news of layoffs would boost a company’s stock for several weeks. Stock traders lauded bosses for tightening their belts, so it was smart to buy or hold the shares. But mass firings no longer impress investors. Lately, firms as varied as Allstate, Boeing, Caterpillar, Dell, Macy’s, Mattel and Starbucks have all announced enormous layoffs — only to learn that, if anything, doing so spooks the market even more. For example, on the day in January when Allstate axed 1,000 of its 70,000 employees, its shares fell 21%.

Truth: Don’t buy a stock thinking that a layoff will help profits. More likely, trouble’s brewing.

MYTH 9. It’s crucial to diversify a stock portfolio by investing style. Experts say a sound fund portfolio fills all “style boxes,” starting with growth and value. Growth refers to companies with expanding sales and profits. Value describes stocks selling for less than the business is worth. In 1998 and 1999, growth stocks soared and value stocks stalled. Then, for a few years, value rose while growth got crushed. But since 2005, the differences have been melting away. In the current bear market, both styles have been disastrous, and it’s hard even to classify stocks as growth or value anymore. Many former growth stocks, such as technology companies, are so cheap that they act like value shares. Banks and real estate, once lumped into value, are a mess.

Truth: Pick mutual funds that are free to search for good prices on stocks, whatever their labels.

MYTH 10. A near-perfect credit score will get you the best loan rate. Before the credit bust, if you could fog a mirror, you could get a mortgage. You know what happened next. But bankers still need to make a buck, so it sounds logical that if you can show a strong credit score, you’ll win the best of deals on any kind of loan. Not so. Mortgage lenders prefer large down payments. Credit-card issuers are just as apt to reduce your credit line or raise your interest rate. And those 0% car loans? Often they last for only three years, which puts the payments so high you’ll need to come up with more upfront cash anyway.

Truth: Credit is going to be tough to get for a while no matter what. So don’t obsess over every few points of your FICO score.

Copyrighted, Kiplinger Washington Editors, Inc.

If Friday the 13th is unlucky, then 2009 is an unusually unlucky year. This week’s Friday the 13th is one of three to endure this year.

The first came last month. The next is in November. Such a rare triple-threat occurs only once every 11 years.

The origin of the link between bad luck and Friday the 13th is murky. The whole thing might date to Biblical times (the 13th guest at the Last Supper betrayed Jesus). By the Middle Ages, both Friday and 13 were considered bearers of bad fortune. In modern times, the superstition permeates society.

Here are five of our favorite Friday-the-13th facts:

1. Fear of Friday the 13th – one of the most popular myths in science – is called paraskavedekatriaphobia as well as friggatriskaidekaphobia. Triskaidekaphobia is fear of the number 13.

2. Many hospitals have no room 13, while some tall buildings skip the 13th floor and some airline terminals omit Gate 13.

3. President Franklin D. Roosevelt would not travel on the 13th day of any month and would never host 13 guests at a meal. Napoleon and President Herbert Hoover were also triskaidekaphobic, with an abnormal fear of the number 13.

4. Mark Twain once was the 13th guest at a dinner party. A friend warned him not to go. “It was bad luck,” Twain later told the friend. “They only had food for 12.” Superstitious diners in Paris can hire a quatorzieme, or professional 14th guest.

5. The number 13 suffers from its position after 12, according to numerologists who consider the latter to be a complete number – 12 months in a year, 12 signs of the zodiac, 12 gods of Olympus, 12 labors of Hercules, 12 tribes of Israel, 12 apostles of Jesus, 12 days of Christmas and 12 eggs in a dozen.

Pythagorean legacy

Meanwhile the belief that numbers are connected to life and physical things – called numerology – has a long history.

“You can trace it all the way from the followers of Pythagoras, whose maxim to describe the universe was ‘all is number,'” says Mario Livio, an astrophysicist and author of “The Equation That Couldn’t Be Solved” (Simon & Schuster, 2005). Thinkers who studied under the famous Greek mathematician combined numbers in different ways to explain everything around them, Livio said.

In modern times, numerology has become a type of para-science, much like the meaningless predictions of astrology, scientists say.

“People are subconsciously drawn towards specific numbers because they know that they need the experiences, attributes or lessons associated with them, that are contained within their potential,” says professional numerologist Sonia Ducie. “Numerology can ‘make sense’ of an individual’s life (health, career, relationships, situations and issues) by recognizing which number cycle they are in, and by giving them clarity.”

However, mathematicians dismiss numerology, saying it lacks any scientific merit.

“I don’t endorse this at all,” Livio said, when asked to comment on the popularity of commercial numerology. Seemingly coincidental connections between numbers will always appear if you look hard enough, he said.

Too Tired, Sick Are the Most Common Reasons, Poll Shows
By Miranda Hitti
WebMD Health News

Feb. 10, 2009 — Being tired or needing sleep are the top reasons for skipping sex, a new poll shows.

The national poll, conducted by phone in January by the Consumer Reports National Research Center, included 1,000 adults 18-75. Women made up 52% of the group. Most participants, 57%, were married or living with a partner, and 48% have kids younger than 18 living at home.

Most participants, 81%, said they sometimes avoided sex last year. Here are their top five reasons for not having sex, along with the percentage of participants who chose that reason (they could choose more than one reason for not having sex):

  1. Too tired or need sleep: 53%
  2. Not feeling well or health reasons: 49%
  3. Not in the mood: 40%
  4. Taking care of children and/or pets: 30%
  5. Work: 29%

The flagging economy wasn’t one of their reasons. Of the 595 participants who reported being sexually active in 2008, 78% said that the economy hadn’t affected how often they have sex.

Other findings from the survey include:

  • 45% of sexually active participants say they’ve ever planned a time to have sex with their partners, but only 7% schedule sex on their calendar or PDA.
  • 56% of men said they think about sex daily, compared to 19% of women
  • People who rate their health as “poor” are less likely to have sex, but they’re not less likely to think about sex.
  • Parents of kids younger than 18 were more likely to report having sex in 2008 than people not living with children.


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