At the beginning of the 2004 film Along Came Polly, Ben Stiller’s character Reuben catches his new wife cheating on him with a French scuba instructor—while they’re on their honeymoon. Not only has he just lost what he thought was the love of his life, but now he has to go back home to New York alone to pick up the pieces of his life. And, well, along comes Polly (Jennifer Aniston’s character) to do just that.
While the general message of that less than memorable romantic comedy is about the wonderful things that can happen if you learn to take risks, I could never quite get past that honeymoon scene. Imagine going away with the person you just vowed to be with forever, and then discovering the two of you have vastly different standards of what commitment looks like—while you’re standing in a tropical paradise. Talk about the ultimate mind-f**k.
Arguably, your honeymoon is probably one of the most important trips you’ll take with your spouse. Maybe one of the more expensive as well: The average couple spends upwards of $4,000 for this getaway. Not only is it the light at the end of a very long tunnel of wedding planning, but it’s your first adventure together as partners for life. Regardless of how long you’ve been dating, this trip could potentially set the tone for your entire marriage. No pressure, right?
But according to a recent survey from hookup website Ashley Madison, a happy honeymoon does not necessarily mean you’ll end up with a happily-ever-after. In a (totally non-scientific) survey of 1,890 members on Ashley Madison, which caters to married people looking for some action on the side, 95 percent said they enjoyed their honeymoon—and yet they still found themselves looking for something more.
In an effort to find out if there was any correlation between a bad honeymoon and a person’s decision to cheat on their spouse, Ashley Madison asked survey takers who didn’t enjoy their honeymoon to share what went wrong. Among the group, 58 percent said they had little or no sex during their trip, while 37 percent said the trip was not what they expected. Almost a quarter of respondents said they argued a lot with their spouse.
But the good news is, according to the survey, most people (61 percent) who experienced a crappy honeymoon said that event wasn’t necessarily the reason why they ended up cheating.
“A bad honeymoon experience may not be enough to warrant a divorce,” Isabella Mise, director of communications at Ashley Madison, said in a statement. “However, a happy honeymoon, on the other hand, isn't a predictor of a happy marriage either.”
That’s not to say there may not be repercussions from a less-than-stellar getaway. According to the survey, 59 percent said they felt the romance had dwindled afterward—literally, the honeymoon stage was over. A much smaller percentage (20 percent) said they and their partner stopped having sex, while 15 percent said the bad trip fostered resentment.
But, again, the survey queried active members on Ashley Madison who were looking for something outside of their marriage. Because there’s no data analyzing the responses of people who’d experienced a bad honeymoon but wasn’t actively pursuing an extramarital relationship, we suggest taking these results with a (very course) grain of salt.
Besides, only one in four couples go on their dream honeymoon anyway.