London - Women who had many lovers before they wed are more likely to go on to have unhappy marriages, a study claims.

But, the research suggests, this does not appear to apply to men – who apparently can play the field before tying the knot without fear of any detrimental effect on their future marital bliss.

More than half of women (53 percent) who had only ever slept with their future husband felt highly satisfied in their marriage, falling to 42 percent for those who have had two partners, the study found.

Yet barely a fifth (22 percent) of women who had ten or more partners went on to feel highly satisfied in marriage, according to the National Marriage Project at Virginia University, in the US.

“This association was not statistically significant for men,” it said. But while the husbands may appear to do very well out of the findings, there is a downside – and one that is not too flattering for men.

For, in attempting to explain the reason for the trend, the study’s authors said the more experience a woman has had of other partners, may increase her awareness of alternatives – quite possibly better ones.

“A strong sense of alternatives is believed to make it harder to maintain commitment to, and satisfaction with, what one already has,” says co-author Professor Galena Rhoades of the Denver University’s psychology department.

“Marriage involves leaving behind other options, which may be harder to do with a lot of experience.” The report adds: “Having had more relationship experiences prior to marriage also means more experience of breaking up. A history of multiple break-ups may make people take a more jaundiced view of love and relationships.”

The study tracked the relationships of 1 294 men and women aged 18-34 for five years, during which 418 got married.

Professor Rhoades said many young people in “Generation YOLO (you only live once)” believe what happens while you’re young won’t affect your future.

“But our research paints a different picture. How they conduct their romantic lives before they tie the knot is linked to their odds of having happy marriages,” she said. - Daily Mail