The Secret Lives of Wives

Posted on October 7, 2011


Iris Krasnow’s new book, “The Secret Lives of Wives: Women Share What It Really Takes To Stay Married,” has hit the stands.  And, unlike this writer, the stands are sitting down to read it.  
Krasnow estimates that about 70% of married women have considered leaving their spouses once a month, if not every six months.”  These episodes have usually coincided with trash night, any sports playoffs, visits from a husband’s unemployed college buddy, and finding pubic hair in the bathroom sink.

According to Macleans, “Krasnow spoke with more than 200 women, married between 15 and 70 years, who report taking separate holidays, embarking on new careers, establishing a tight circle of female friends, dabbling in Same Time, Next Year-style liaisons and adulterous affairs, and having “boyfriends with boundaries.” Yoga and white wine also feature predominately.”

Krasnow dishes her secrets to staying happily married:
1. Make out with old boyfriends  Krasnow insists she isn’t condoning adultery, unless it just sort of happens and turns out to be a whole lot of fun

2. Go on separate vacations  Krasnow hasn’t vacationed with her husband in eight years.  They are usually several states (geographically) apart.

3. Get yourself a platonic boyfriend  (When asked if they would consider a platonic relationship with a married woman, 80% of all men asked said they would, as long as they could f—k her also.)

4. Lower those expectations Krasnow tells The NY Post about a particularly fraught time in her own marriage when she was homebound with four young children. She was ready to walk out herself when a friend advised her, “Oh, Iris, just lower your expectations.” That advice, she said, saved her marriage.  (Stating it in print, not so much.)

5. Choose Mr Predictable (One wonders if Angelina feels that way about Brad)

6. Keep secrets from your spouse  According to Krasnow, a secret is different from a lie.  (Yes, it is.  The lie is a secret that someone has asked you about.)

An example in the book is Cynthia, a 68-year-old woman in a 45-year “committed marriage,” who goes out to lunch every other month with her college boyfriend, who is also married and has no intention of leaving his wife. Usually their outings end in a hot and heavy “petting session” in his Mercedes. Sometimes, he rubs Jean Naté lotion, the scent Cynthia wore in college, onto her legs and compliments her beautiful feet. Cynthia says they’ve never consummated their relationship, nor do they intend to.  She describes her time with her non-consummated lover as a “balloon lift off.” 
The 58-year-old Krasnow, an author and journalism professor at American University, writes she was “stunned by the secrets and shenanigans” in her journey through American marriages. She, herself, admits to occasionally “loathing” her husband of 23 years. She credits her marital stability with summers spent apart, separate hobbies and her “close relationships” with male buddies. 

Krasnow’s husband, when asked how  his wife has changed since becaming a bestselling author, replied, “Well, I’ve never really seen that much of her anyway, during our marriage.  In fact, I have only seen her once since around July 15 of last year.  I’m thinking she really hasn’t changed at all, except I swear the last time I saw her, she was smelling a lot like Jean Nate.”