Andrea Syrtash Author of the new book, Cheat on Your Husband (With Your Husband), Andrea Syrtash, discusses her new book and the process of writing it. BY STEVE COOPER
headshot: Bryan Thatcher; book: Rodale
Andrea Syrtash is the author of the book "Cheat On Your Husband (With Your Husband)"
“ Tailor a date to your interests, but decide to have that perspective that we're going to be on vacation together for the next few hours.”
MARRIAGE STATS Married: 5 years Kids: 0 Notable: Author, show host, advice columnist, life coach and wife, Andrea Syrtash, has just released her second book, Cheat on Your Husband (With Your Husband) published by Rodale. Syrtash took a few minutes to speak with us about the process of writing, dating your spouse and crushing on someone who isn't your husband or wife. During her research Syrtash picked up a lot of knowledge and tips, which she is excited to share.
 You're the author of He's Just Not Your Type (And That's a Good Thing) and your latest book is Cheat on Your Husband (With Your Husband). Why did you want to write this book?
When I got married five years ago I went to the bookstore to get some resources on marriage and I wasn't in a place where my marriage was in trouble, or where I needed a big relationship rescue. I was getting married and I was in a great place with my partner, but I always think why wait until something is broken to fix it. This is relationship renewal not relationship rescue and I felt like the marriage advice aisle in the bookstore needed a little more renewal and not just heavy self-help books.
 You have a chapter "This is Not Your Mother's Marriage" where you talk about the different demographics of marriage, the different life stages and the role reversal of men and women. Was there anything that surprised you when researching that chapter?
Yes, a lot of things surprised me. I came across research that women in Japan, for instance, stay single longer than women in the United States. I was surprised by that because they don't want to give up their independence and enter a traditional role (gender role) in marriage. I also found it surprising that divorce rates have dropped. We always quote 50 percent of all marriages fail. That's actually not accurate. It's still a staggeringly high number, but in recent years the divorce rates are dropping.
 Your book doesn't only talk about "cheating on your husband" but also on your kids. Part of this requires going on date nights—something we preach all the time. Your book offers several examples of good and bad date ideas, do you have a favorite date idea?
I think you should tailor your date to your interest. I'm not a huge hiker, but if I were I would say that's a fantastic date. So, tailor it to what you're interested in.
The key to a date night is you want to have a really memorable one that carries. The great thing about traveling on vacation is you don't just travel that one week, it carries over into the next week and the next week. You have a great experience and it's the gift that keeps on giving. So I think my favorite date ideas have novelty. It's not the same place you end up at around the corner from home. Its not the place you take your kids to dinner, it's actually something new that you and your partner can explore together.
I often say to be a tourist in your own city. I live in New York and I've never been to the Statue of Liberty, for instance, or the Empire State Building. Tailor a date to your interests, but decide to have that perspective that we're going to be on vacation together for the next few hours.
 Throughout your book you ask the reader to think back to when they were dating or the goals and dreams they had on their wedding day. Do you think we lose our sense of direction after marriage or is it motivation?
I think we all get bogged down by so many practical to do's and I dedicated the first chapter in the book to the brain and love. Falling in love and being in love are two different experiences chemically in our brain. I think part of it is we're not as inspired because our brains aren't pumping out all these crazy love chemicals telling us to be romantic all the time.
We know that part of the work of marriage is paying the bills, parenting and navigating in-law issues. We value and recognize that work, but we don't think of fun and romance as part of the work in marriage, and it really is. We don't see that as important, it's not something that needs to be done—you have to pay your bills. Romance feels like that thing you can get to later and it's not going to effect you. Part of my book is to show the reader that the more you work on connecting and talking the way you did when you were dating, the more you'll be able to navigate the hard things that come up.
 In your book you talk about modern cheating and how technology plays a role. Do you have any rules you and your husband follow?
I'm much worse than he is, in terms of abusing technology. It's crazy. I tweet way too much, I'm on every social network, and I'm on the internet all the time. Our rule is during a meal we power off. That's one of the things we've had to train ourselves to do. Also, a lot of people say they have no time for intimacy. A lot people I interviewed said, "There's no time for sex and intimacy," but then admit to being on Facebook for an hour before bed. Before bed I don't bring the computer into the bedroom. That's the other thing, we don't have any screens in our bedroom. I don't have a TV, I don't have a computer or phone. I don't think it's a good place for a screen.
 You also mention how having a crush might not necessarily be a bad thing for your marriage. Can you explain?
My premise is this: The questions to ask yourself when you're married is not, "How can I avoid being attracted to others (other than my spouse)?" The question to ask is, "What choices will I make when I'm attracted to others?" So I simply wanted to bring up a real issue that pops up in marriage that I don't think is written about enough.
Another reality in a long-term relationship is boredom. I just want to take the issues like crushing on people or feeling bored and offer some solutions or strategies on how to navigate it. I'm not saying to go out and get a crush today if you don't have one. That's fine, but should you find the guy at the deli cute and you kind of get excited when you see him in the morning, I don't think you should at all feel guilty about that and there's a way to be inspired by that feeling you have and channel that back into your relationship.
 Your book is filled with great anecdotes. While collecting these anecdotes, did anyone ever tell you something that shocked you?
Oh yeah, a lot of things. A few people confessed to me that they were cheating, but they didn't want it on record. I didn't generally use those interviews because those were more complicated, that would be more in the relationship rescue aisle. I interviewed a call girl for my book, which you probably saw, I was very surprised in that interview that one of the most requested services married men asked for was the girlfriend experience. When I asked her to describe it she said it's kissing, it's cuddling, it's oral sex, it's talking without judgment, it's having sex without being on the clock, all these things that I couldn't believe married people were paying prostitutes for. I pictured it would be swinging from the chandelier sex, but it was not what she was generally asked to do.
It was interesting for me to get off the phone with an 80-year-old woman and then speak to a 34-year-old woman and they were saying almost the same things about what they wanted out of their marriage. So that was great. But the 80-year-old woman said (I asked her for her biggest piece of marriage advice) the most important thing you can offer in a relationship is your presence. Plain and simple and that really stuck with me because I think it's very true; especially with technology and everything taking us away from our partners and our primary relationships—that was really poignant.