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Are you stuck in a 'semi-happy marriage'? Sure about that?

Sixty-five per cent of wives and more than 85 per cent of husbands would have affairs if they knew they wouldn?t be caught, one author found.

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Just in time for wedding season, a brash new book argues that modern marriages are duds.

Or, more specifically, lukewarm "low-stress and low-conflict" unions, writes Pamela Haag in Marriage Confidential: The Post-Romantic Age of Workhorse Wives, Royal Children, Undersexed Spouses and Rebel Couples Who Are Rewriting The Rules.

Anyone would give "wedded bliss" a miss after reading her taxonomy of mediocre marriages. They include:

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The Semi-happy Marriage: Too safe to leave, too boring to stay. A business partnership at best.

The Parenting Marriage: You stay together for your pampered offspring but yearn for a divorce.

The Workhorse Wife: Dating an artist was cool. Paying for his art supplies is not.

Ed McMahon Syndrome: Reluctant to rock the boat, a wife behaves like Johnny Carson's sidekick with lines like, "You are correct, sir!"

The Semi-married: You're divorced but co-habitate (usually for the kids). Or you act separated while still married (cheaper than divorce). You tolerate each other (barely).

With relationships this lame, something's got to give. Namely, fidelity.

Ms. Haag surveyed 2,000 people and found that 65 per cent of wives and more than 85 per cent of husbands would have affairs if they knew they wouldn't be caught, she told the Daily Mail.

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In an excerpt published on, Ms. Haag describes "melancholy spouses" who "may not remember the dream they once had for marriage, but the dream remembers them. It tugs at them hauntingly. They know it's not their spouse's fault, per se, or even their own."

Ms Haag offers tips for the so-so marriage blahs. But lowering expectations isn't among of them.

Instead, she advises brides and grooms to consider the "new monogamy" - a rebranding of the 1970s open marriage.

"Many marriages are practising 'Free Love Version 2.0,' in which spouses are actually trying to be honest and have decided that their marriage can tolerate some other attachments," Ms. Haag told the Huffington Post.

The alternative is what she calls an "Avatar affair," in which virtual lovers woo online but never hook up in person.

Democrat congressman Anthony Weiner can tell us how that works out.

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Does the "semi-happy marriage" strike home for you?

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About the Author

Adriana Barton is based in The Globe and Mail’s Vancouver bureau. Her article on growing up with counterculture parents is published in a McGraw-Hill anthology, right after an essay by Margaret Atwood. She wishes her last name didn’t start with B. More

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