This past weekend I stumbled across a new study conducted by culture and trend expert Melissa Lavigne-Delville in which 1,000 people age 18 to 49 were asked about patterns of infidelity. Lavigne-Delville found that 18 percent of parents said they’ve been unfaithful in their marriages, compared to 11 percent of childfree married people.
According to Lavigne-Delville, many parents found emotional fulfillment through social network connections such as Facebook. So, let’s consider some possible explanations for why childfree couples are less likely to be unfaithful.
1) The way childfree partners relate to one another does not change as much over time. Couples start out feeling like romantic and sexual partners, but once the first child comes along they frequently begin to see each other as Mom and Dad. I often hear spouses refer to one another by these titles, which further establishes these new roles as primary after children are born. Becoming a parent doesn’t neuter your need for romance, and taking a few minutes to go on line to meet this need is doable, even while raising a family.
2) There’s more time for sex. Couples report a decline in sex after having children. Once again, childfree couples don’t go through this dramatic shift in their lives. They may, as most couples do, experience a gradual decline in sexual activity over time, but this cannot compare with the sudden halt that typically comes after the birth of the first child. In fact, it’s not safe to have sex soon after childbirth and couples are advised to wait from two to six weeks to reengage.
3) Childfree couples have more time to spend together. If you’ve spent time around small children, you know that they tend to command the attention of the adults in the room. An infant does so because most everyone thinks he or she is so darned cute, and toddlers and pre-schoolers do because they seem to require constant interaction. When a couple is childfree, they can continue to engage in the same adult activities they’ve always enjoyed together. The childfree couples I interviewed for my book, Complete without Kids, tended to be best friends who shared leisure time together every day.
What are your thoughts on the study? Do you agree or disagree with the findings? Please share a few examples from your own personal experiences.