There are many schools of thought regarding extramarital affairs. In some circles, affairs are not talked about but are generally accepted as a part of real-life situations, without a lot of moral judgment or disdain. In some circles, an affair is an ultimate betrayal, as warrants a swift and emphatic removal from someone's life. In others, affairs are painful but accepted, and couples try to move forward in health and forgiveness. No matter the cultural paradigm in real life or personal belief system, certain themes tend to emerge when someone has an affair, many of them transcending age, years of marriage, background, gender, and race.
The Affair Recovery Process Can Be Difficult
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What Is An Affair?
The actual definition of an affair can vary. An affair is commonly referred to as an intense emotional and romantic relationship with someone other than your partner or spouse. On a general note, most affairs do not last for a long period (though there are exceptions to this) and usually happen between two people who are not maritally committed to each other. Affairs may range along a continuum, from emotional affairs to serial affairs, or romantic love affairs, and even long-term affairs which may span for years or even an entire lifetime. The emotional investment of the affair partners depends on what type of affair it is, and the duration of the affair may also depend on several factors. Things aren’t always fixed and a seemingly meaningless affair may transform into a romantic love affair, or an emotional affair may grow to become a long-term affair.
Another point worthy of note is that there are different types of affairs, some of which may or may not involve sex between the affair partners, and can even happen between two people who may never meet one another physically- like in the case of cyber affair. The most commonly recognized type of affair is a sexual one. In a sexual affair, someone in a relationship deviates from their spouse, to engage in a sexual relationship with someone else. An affair can be a one-time dalliance, or it can be a continual, real relationship. Both long-term affairs and short-term affairs are considered affairs and both cause tremendous pain and upheaval in most relationships in the long run.
There are also emotional affairs. These are less frequently recognized as being a form of betrayal as compared to a real relationship. Many people, however, believe that emotional affairs are just as problematic as physical ones, if not more so because they involve a strong emotional connection to someone else, rather than just a simple transaction of a one-night stand or physical relationship.
All the types of affairs are very personal for everyone, and usually bring with them many kinds of emotions- both the good and the bad. The length of extramarital affairs varies- about 50% may last between the period of one month to a year affair, long term affairs may last for about 15months or more, and about 30% of affairs last about two years and beyond. It could be that at some point, one (or both) of the affair partners may find that the affair has become more trouble than it is really worth it, and then break it up. In some instances, the affair is somehow discovered by the betrayed spouse, and this may bring a halt to the affair .
Why Does The Distinction Matter?
An affair is different from cheating. An affair relationship happens when a married woman or man has a relationship or sex while they are legally married. Cheating happens when one or both parties involved are in a relationship, but not yet married at the time.
The distinction between cheating and an affair is usually a matter of the brevity with which it is treated. Some believe that the bonds of marriage are more sacred than a committed partnership, and that stepping outside of marriage is far more egregious than cheating on someone you are dating because it can come along with a tremendous amount of shame and guilt.
This is not always the case, however, particularly among couples that do not prioritize the contract of marriage. If marriage is not seen as a normal progression of a relationship, there is no real distinction between cheating in a relationship and cheating in a marriage. In these cases, the term "affair" can apply to a dating relationship, and the aftermath can be as overwhelming, painful, and devastating as it would be in a traditional marriage.
It all depends on how serious the relationship is. If someone is married for 21 years or married with two kids, then an affair could be devastating to an entire family or community. You also may have to deal with legal issues such as child support and alimony. At that point, some couples stay together and treat the cheating as a wake-up call to deeper problems in the marriage rather than a deal-breaker. But if two people have been together for a couple of years then it might be even to move on from the cheating and find someone with who each person is more compatible.
How Do Affairs End?
Affairs usually end in one of three ways: divorce and remarriage, divorce and relationship loss, or the recommitment to the relationship that was betrayed. Each of these resolutions of an affair has its own pros and cons, and each of them has a unique set of circumstances surrounding why they occurred, and how the involved parties reacted and responded.
1) Divorce And Remarriage
For some, an affair indicates the start of a new relationship and a new life. In these instances, an emotional connection is usually a factor, and the spouse who cheated leaves their spouse for their new affair partner. Affairs that end in this way might set a cycle in motion that involves more affairs, subsequent divorce, and subsequent remarriage, but the resulting relationship might also prove to last; no two situations are the same.
This is the most common trope seen when infidelity is involved in a marriage. Countless media examples demonstrate the popularity of a man or woman who cheats on their spouse, leaves their spouse for their new affair partner and enjoys a newly free, younger way of living. In real life, though, the outcome is rarely as simplistic or deliberately cruel. Unfortunately, some people step outside of their marriages or relationships, fall in love with the people they cheated with, and choose this new relationship over the old one. While it may hurt, it is usually not malicious in nature, but comes as a result of relationship neglect, self-focus, and an unwillingness to work on the existing marriage.
2) Divorce And Relationship Loss
Some affairs end in both the loss of one's spouse and the loss of whatever relationship prompted infidelity. In some cases, this comes as a result of all parties being made aware of one another: some people who step outside of their commitments do so without informing their new partner of their marriage or long-term relationship status and suffer the consequences when their new flame discovers the lie.
Divorce and relationship loss contains within it a lot of pain: not only is the spouse who has been cheated on in pain, but also the new person with whom the spouse was having an affair, and the cheating partner. In this scenario, everyone's hearts are dragged through the mud, and recovery often requires a lot of time, therapy, and distance from one another.
3) Marital Recommitment
In some cases, an affair prompts a revival of marriage and encourages each partner to invest more time, effort, and energy in their relationship. Couples in crisis can absolutely overcome the pain and betrayal that follows an affair. The road to recovery can take literal years and is very often not linear in its resolution. This means that recovering marriages might experience periods of separation, followed by reunions, with additional separations and reunions in between.
The Affair Recovery Process Can Be Difficult
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Although there are certainly cases where both partners work hard to resolve their issues on their own, getting back together and working on your relationship in the wake of an affair usually involves the help of a therapist or marriage counselor . There are many painful, frustrating, and difficult interactions on the healing journey and many of these are best completed with the help of a mediating third party.
Why Do People Have Affairs?
Because affairs never occur without plenty of pain, heartache, and betrayal, it begs the question: why do people cheat? Why bring so much pain to yourself, your former partner, and your current partner? The exact reasons for engaging in affairs are varied and diverse, but there are often a few common reasons given. These include:
1) Relationship Dissatisfaction
The most common reason given for having an affair is experiencing dissatisfaction in your current relationship. People who are unhappy in their current love lives often believe they will find happiness elsewhere. They chase that rabbit hole to the inevitable conclusion of an affair. The result is rarely (if ever) effective in improving satisfaction, but is frequently used as a temporary solution to what they are feeling.
2) Perpetuating Unhealthy Habits
For some, an affair is a simple (if unfortunate) manifestation of long-standing issues with intimacy, communication, and commitment. For these people, monogamous relationships might feel as though they are steel traps-traps that must be shaken off in any way possible. This could be due to unhealthy relationship examples in youth (a parent who constantly dates, but never seems willing or able to commit, for instance), a traumatic dating history that was never addressed, or a simple fear of rejection. When infidelity occurs in these relationships, it is often wholly unrelated to the relationship itself, or the partner involved, but is based almost entirely on unresolved trauma, pain, and maladaptive coping.
Whether it is an addiction to sex, alcohol, or drugs, infidelity can be a common companion to addictive behaviors and disorders. Just as someone who is suffering from substance abuse must engage novelty to achieve the same high they experienced the first time they indulged in drug use, someone who struggles with addiction might use the rush of endorphins and other hormones that comes with a new relationship as a means of achieving natural highs, and staving off predictability and letdown.
4) Poor Communication Skills
While it might seem silly to suggest that poor communication skills can cause an affair, it bears weight. Communication lays the foundation for a healthy relationship, and the lack of communication can lead to a decreased social function, increased relationship dissatisfaction, and a decreased ability to express your wants and needs. If you are unable to communicate that you are upset, feeling dissatisfied, or feeling as though you want to step outside of your relationship, you may be more likely to indulge these impulses.
How Affairs End
The exact trajectory of an affair differs from couple to couple, and situation to situation. What does not change, however, is the damage that affairs do. Any betrayal by an intimate partner comes with immense pain and trauma and can cause the development of mood disorders and a host of other issues, ranging from difficulty trusting others, to actual medical conditions. Whether an affair ends in divorce and remarriage, divorce and a breakup, or reconciliation, all of the parties involved will experience loss and pain, and most will experience the regret of some form.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Affairs
Do relationships from affairs last?
If your relationship started as an affair, then you may have engaged in something called “mate poaching,” which is the technical term for taking the partner of another. While these often affairs of the heart, most people feel that “deep down I knew it was wrong.”
According to a 2017 study , relationships that started due to mate poaching are generally less satisfied, less committed, and less invested in their relationships when compared to people whose relationships started when they were both single. People in relationships that started with mate poaching also tend to be more interested in pursuing other relationship options, in other words, they’re likely to cheat again.
Other studies have confirmed that if someone has cheated in their last relationship, they are about three times more likely to do it again in their next relationship. An unfaithful spouse may find it difficult to break away totally from the act. Even if they are in a committed relationship and are married for 20 years, it does not mean that they will not have an affair of the heart.
This is not to say that it is impossible to find real love with someone married, and of course, there are “success” stories. But when someone has had “affairs affairs” they are likely to take place again regardless of marriage and family status.
But if you are looking for a long-lasting bond with someone, research shows a cheating husband with a wife and family, or a married woman with problems in the marriage, are not good places to start.
You also do not want to with the guilt that could come after you break up a marriage and other legal problems like alimony and child support.
Or maybe you are the married one, and you are interested in finding someone outside of your marriage family. Maybe your needs for sex and marriage aren’t being met, or maybe you have a great marriage but you just weren’t ready to give up the single life. If you are the person having an affair, your affairs pose a significant impact on your marriage and family. Even if you have marital problems, having a relationship with your affair is not a good way to solve the issues. Seeking out the help of mental health professionals or family therapists is a good solution. In couples therapy , you can do good work to get the relationship moving back in a good direction and save your marriage and family. Otherwise, you may be at risk of losing everything.
Firstly, lots of people are unhappy in their marriages, so there is help available, whether it be couples counseling , religious figures, or your family. Before you do irreparable damage to someone you love, reach out for help, because you could end up regretting your decisions, paying child support, and feeling alone for the rest of your life.
Long-term marriages take work and attention. If you want to reap the benefits, you have to put the time in as well.
How long do extramarital affairs usually last?
The longevity of an affair can depend on varying factors. A short-term affair could be anything from a one-night stand to an occasional hookup. A long affair or long-term affair where there’s a serious relationship with a married woman or man could last anywhere from six months to two years, at which point the couple will probably be discovered.
Although the timeframe may vary, a lot of researchers and authors opine that a good number of marital affairs usually die a natural death . There are various reasons why this is so. Sometimes, it could be that the excitement and infatuation and seemingly ‘strong feelings’ the affair partners felt for one another at the beginning begins to wear out at some point, and they discover they are no longer in love or crazy about this person like they thought they were. In some instances, some people who are involved in an emotional affair or any other type of affair tend to find out that it is disappointing and not worth the emotional and psychological toll it takes on their feelings and their marriage. Or the affair may come to the open and then the affair partners are compelled to choose as to whether they should stay in their marriage or start a new life with their affair partner.
Another reason why an affair may end is that an affair partner may begin to expect or demand more than the other person is willing to give. Most times, people go into affairs with the mind of having their cake and eating it. They however find out things do not happen that way. Their affair partner may begin to demand more time and commitment which they may not be able to give, thereby causing an imbalance in the relationship, because, truth is, you can’t be committed to two partners on the same level or degree.
How do affairs usually end?
Almost all affairs are discovered at one point or another. At that point, the married couple will face a choice together. They will either decide to end the marriage and deal with subsequent issues of alimony, divorce, and child support, or they will decide to stay together. Contrary to popular belief, most married couples stay together after one has an affair. Some couples even use it as a wake-up call to deal with greater problems in the relationship and use it as an opportunity to bring passion back to their union. Other people choose to divorce and perhaps the affair becomes a relationship. However, relationships that started with cheating are statistically less likely to be successful than relationships that started in other circumstances, and one of the reasons for this is that these affairs are built on infatuation, secrecy, and deception, and so do not have what it takes to stand when it comes to face to face with real-life challenges. In fact, only 3-5% of relationships that started as affairs lead to marriage.
Whether or not couples decide together will depend on a lot of factors. For example, if someone cheats in a 20-year marriage, it is more likely because they are happy in their relationship, but sought out something more. But if someone cheats in a young marriage, it is likely because they were not satisfied in their marriage. The couple’s satisfaction in their relationship will have a lot to do with whether or not they decided to stay together, and whether the affair started because the marriage was unhappy, or if it happened for different reasons.
What percentage of affairs end in divorce?
It’s possible to save your marriage after an affair. In fact, the majority of married couples will stay together after an affair. Fewer than 25% of married men and women will leave their marriage for a partner they met while having an affair. So, a married woman or man is not likely to leave their marriage for a lover. This could be due to people not wanting to deal with legal issues like alimony, child support, and the justice system, or it could be because the affair was a wake-up call, which they used to bring more togetherness and intimacy into their own relationship. Couples can recover after infidelity affairs or marital affairs, so if you’re wondering if that’s possible for a personal romantic relationship of yours where marital affairs have been present, know that it is possible if both you and your spouse are dedicated and invested in healing your trust and the relationship overall.
Are affairs real love?
This is a complex question that will significantly depend on your personal situation. Can people find love outside of marriage? Yes. But, in terms of statistics, do affairs usually lead to happy and satisfying relationships? No, not usually. Couples who started as cheating then later came together, whether they were couple friends, best friends, coworkers, or in-laws, tend to be more unhappy in their relationships as opposed to people who both started single. It may feel good at the beginning; you both love to spend time together in each other’s company. However, these affairs rarely last, especially when tested with real-life challenges. Also, someone who cheated in their marriage or relationship is about three times more likely to cheat again in later relationships. For that reason, it is best to seek out available partners, because if they are cheating in their relationship, then they might be using you for reasons other than genuine love.
What percentage of marriages survive affairs?
More than half of marriages survive affairs. Many couples even report feeling stronger and more in love after surviving an affair, but it takes a lot of work and some deep forgiveness. There are a lot of things that could complicate the way that a relationship recovers from an affair; for example, if the affair partner is many years younger, there could be a particular sense of betrayal, hurt, confusion, and even a sense of inadequacy for the betrayed spouse. The same can be true for those who find out about long-term affairs.
The pain of being betrayed is valid. It’s normal to experience strong feelings about your spouse and the affair any time an affair is exposed. Additionally, every relationship is different. Just as people may decide to stay together and work it out, you don’t need to feel pressured to survive the affair if your marriage is volatile, unsatisfying, a poor fit, or not what you want in any other regard. Sometimes, you can’t live out a happy relationship after infidelity, and other times, the relationship gets better after healing from infidelity.
Remember that your relationship is your relationship and that what’s best for one person or couple may not work for the next. Whether that means staying together or separating, it is okay. Many factors could go into this choice, including religion, emotion(s), and so on. The choice to rekindle or divorce is personal, and one isn’t superior to the other across the board. Healing from an affair and a divorce at the same time is tough, and a mental health professional can help support you through the transition if you’re interested in counseling or therapy. As time goes on, it’ll get easier, especially if you put in the healing work. Infidelity isn’t the fault of the betrayed spouse, and the betrayed spouse deserves empowerment and healing. Each year is a new year, and while nothing’s linear when it comes to healing, it does get better.
Why are affairs so hard to end?
Ending an extra-marital affair can be difficult for the same reasons that ending a relationship is difficult. In fact, when a spouse is cheating, they often cheat with someone very similar to the spouse. This means that the extra-marital affair partner will eventually exhibit the same flaws that the spouse could be dealing with in their marriage. Especially if it was long-term, ending the affair could be similar to a divorce, and the spouse may need to deal with heartbreak without being able to speak about it with anyone. Try speaking to a counselor or therapist about the event, and see if you can find someone in whom you may seek solace.
Do emotional affairs turn into love?
Emotional affairs can turn into love, but statistically, relationships that started as affairs do not work out long term. Also, the divorce rate after marrying one’s lover is between 85 and 90%.
Of course, these dismal statistics do not mean that you cannot love someone outside your marriage. It is not likely to work out long term, but the love you feel can be a very powerful force. It might be a good idea to talk to a professional about what you are feeling and explore your options.
How do affairs start?
Most affairs start at work. Another common occurrence is through friends, such as a friendly couple, or the friends of your partner. Marital affairs could even be with an old romantic flame who gets back in touch via social media. People who meet on social media but have no prior knowledge of or involvement with each other may also start an affair.
Really, marital affairs start a long time before the cheating spouse even meets the lover, as they may start with an unsatisfying marriage, unrequited love, or even abuse. This could later lead one spouse to seek out an extramarital affair. However, in many cases, people cheat although they are involved in a happy marriage, and humans are not naturally monogamous, so it could just be a natural and common occurrence. It all depends on your situation. It’s important to note that the difference between non-monogamy and infidelity affairs or cheating, however, is that non-monogamy is consensual and ethical. It requires communication and trust in a relationship. Infidelity is a choice, and if someone is non-monogamous, they should be upfront about that.
Additionally, although affairs can occur in an otherwise happy marriage, if you have an unhappy marriage or an unmet emotional need, and someone suddenly offers to fulfill your needs, then you will naturally be drawn to the one who fulfills your emotional needs or the connection you’ve been lacking. It might start with innocent chit-chat. Then, it moves on to flirting, and things usually progress from there.
Do affairs start up again?
Between 20 and 50% of people will “repeat cheat” with the same person, even after discovered or after ending things. It is also worth noting that someone who has cheated before is three times more likely to cheat in their next relationship.
It is certainly possible that affairs start and end multiple times. For that reason, it is a good idea to talk to a professional about your situation and seek out advice.
Do affairs last after discovery?
According to statistics, relationship experts, and counselors, it is rare for someone to actually end up in a lasting marriage with the person they had an affair with, although it isn’t totally impossible. Usually, affairs are more like a taboo, so both partners - or at least one of them - do not want the affair to be known. Most times, when an affair is discovered , troubles begin to plague it and the affair eventually dies. Just some time ago, you thought you were so in love with this person and you always cannot wait to have some time alone with them again. However, now that the affair is in the open and everyone knows about it, guilt sets in and you begin to feel like a terrible person, and your affair partner is a painful reminder of that. At some point, the affair takes a new turn- looking at them no longer gives you the butterfly feeling anymore; you begin to feel the need for a change and want to feel ‘in love again. You may even begin to wonder if it is possible to end the affair for good, go back to your spouse, work things out and recommit to your marriage.
Why affairs rarely last after discovery:
In most cases, an affair is always a wake-up call to the fact that a marriage is in trouble. There are a lot of factors that can make a marriage vulnerable to an affair. As soon as the affair is discovered, the couple in the original marriage may choose to seek help through affair recovery therapy, the cheating partner ends the affair for good and goes back to commit to their marriage (even though the affair partner may still want the affair to continue), and the couple then tries to rebuild a marriage that works.
The cheating partner often comes to terms with the harsh reality of what they stand to lose when they are face to face with the consequences of their actions . Apart from, of course, losing their current husband/wife, they tend to lose the respect and love of their children, family, and friends - that’s besides the financial and emotional losses as well. Thus, the cheating spouse may then regret their actions, retrace their steps and try to make their marriage work again. They seek forgiveness from their partner and if their spouse is willing, go for affair recovery therapy and commit to restoring the love and unity that once reigned in their home.
Affair couples are mostly never accepted as a ‘real couple’ after discovery. They are usually shunned by people who know them.
If the children get to know of the affair, they often grow hatred for the other person and sees them as a home-breaker who hurt their other parent, and this causes friction and makes the new relationship a lot more complicated.
Do affairs that break up a marriage last?
Whether online or in the real world, the topic of marital affairs is always a hot one. It is not surprising that many people today have been affected by marriage affairs, either as the cheater or the one who was cheated on. The constant question after an affair has broken up a marriage is- “what happens to the affair? Do the involved persons stay together or do they drift apart? According to statistics by WebMD , on average, the timeline of the ‘’in love’’ stage of an affair is between 6-18 months. More so, only 5-7% of affair relationships lead to marriage and about 75% of these marriages eventually end up in divorce. For some people who engage in extramarital affairs, they couldn’t care less about how long the affair lasts; they are just out to catch fun and get from somewhere else what their marriage doesn’t give them while trying their best to cover it so no one finds out. In most cases, however, there are chances that you may get caught. It’s only a matter of time before your partner gets curious, or you get sloppy.
Although a source points to show that fewer than 25% of people who cheat leave their marriage for their affair partner, statistically, a lot of these relationships are highly unlikely to last the test of time. This happens because:
The relationship started with deceit and lies. At first, you may feel flattered that someone would lie and break their vows of commitment to their significant other just to be with you. As time goes on, however, the cheating parties begin to wonder from time to time if they are also being deceived, lied to, or betrayed. They wonder somewhere in their minds that if it happened once, there is a tendency for a reoccurrence. Feelings of insecurities and jealousy occasionally set in and affect the relationship. When a relationship begins with deceit and lies, it will most likely continue that way, and eventually, end that way.
The emotional intelligence of the affair partners is questionable. Usually, a relationship that started as an affair will be greatly overshadowed by shame and guilt, and these are usually great threats to a relationship. One of the determinants of the longevity of a relationship is the emotional intelligence of both parties. Is there a true connection or they are just using each other to fill a void?
The cheater(s) who wrecked a family (or two) and brought pain upon innocent people may not feel any or much guilt when the affair is ongoing but may get overwhelmed with guilt and shame after they get married, or they may mourn any rash decisions made in the past.
The thrill doesn’t last. One of the reasons you got into the affair is because of the excitement of that secret passion or sudden connection you developed towards the other person, and it makes you feel alive and happy again, even though you know what you are doing isn’t right. However, the truth is that thrills don’t last. At some point, reality sets in. You then realize this person isn’t so special and out of this world like you once thought after all and you become disillusioned with the arrangement.
Affairs are like delicate flowers; they can only grow in a climate-controlled environment. Once you take a delicate flower away from its natural environment and into the real world, it dies. An affair, whether an emotional affair or a sexual one takes a lot of work and consumes energy because they are taboo and are meant to be kept a secret, to be enjoyed only behind closed doors. Because an affair was never meant to withstand the climate of a relationship, the euphoria and excitement soon die off. Consequently, one of the affair partners realizes that what he or she has lost is way better than what he or she now has.
An affair isn’t real life, a ‘Marriage material’ type of relationship. In most cases, what brings at least one of the affair partners into the relationship is not usually a need for mature love, romance, or search for a love partner, but to serve as a means of escape from their current troubled marriage. Thus, relationship experts consider an affair more like a need-filler, but not usually having the potential to build or maintain a solid, lasting relationship. It is mostly believed that people engage in marriage affairs because they are having problems in their marriage which they do not know how to solve; i.e., when marital needs or expectations are not being met, an affair is used to fill the void temporarily as a ‘good time’ which is actually not ‘real-time.’ The affair only provides a sort of temporary solution and only lasts for as long as you need it. As soon as it has served its purpose- either to fill your need for companionship or sexual desires or to help you get out of your ‘troubled’ marriage, your need or desire for the affair partner may also die down as soon as the marriage ends. When you realize you no longer need to escape from your troubled marriage, you do not see the need to hang on to the other person anymore, this then leads to eventually breaking off the affair.
Divorce is both emotionally and financially draining. Although affair partners get married with the mindset that life after marriage will be as good and sizzling as life during the affair, the greater the sacrifices, the greater the expectations for the new marriage. After affair partners get married, they may begin to feel some level of disparity as regards what had to be sacrificed for them to be together. The more they enjoy the battles that are involved in escaping a troubled marriage, the fewer affair partners are likely to enjoy the business as usual in the new relationship/marriage.
The unfaithful affair partners develop a distrust for their cheat partner who is now their spouse. A relationship that works must be built on trust and marriage founded on lies and deceit cannot have a trusting foundation.
Do long-term affairs mean to love?
There are a lot of reasons why an affair may last for a long period of time, and while there is a possibility of people finding love outside of their original marriage, this is not always the situation. This is to say that not all those who stray are unhappy in their marriages; as a matter of fact, about 56% of husbands who are living a double life and have cheated on their partners claim to be happily married! And the same thing applies to 34% of wives that cheat. People engage in marriage infidelity for different reasons, but sometimes, it is not always due to lack of love or because the cheating partner suddenly fell out of love with their marriage partner. There are instances where some people’s situation may allow an external love affair to linger – i.e., in a case where the marital affair involved two committed (married) people, thereby essentially allowing them to have their cake and eat it too.
In some cases, long-term affairs are usually signs of problems in the existing marriage. This does not mean that the betrayed partner is responsible for their cheating partner’s action or that they are the problem because a lot of things can fuel the fire of infidelity, depending on the type of affair. However, it could be a pointer that the cheating spouse is using the sexual or emotional affair as a distraction from having to deal with the unhappiness or unfulfillment they are experiencing in their marriage. Some married people engage in emotional affairs or sexual affairs when they feel some sort of emotional or sexual detachment from their partner. The thoughts and actions of a cheating spouse may originate primarily from their need to attach emotionally to another person. Any act, action, or concept that serves the purpose of maintaining attachment may be held in high value and others discarded.
Actually, the simple fact that an affair doesn’t fizzle out within the first year may mean it has had some time to establish itself as a relationship , and this blurs a lot of lines, especially for the cheating spouse. Usually, the cheating spouse doesn’t necessarily intend to leave his/her spouse. Marriage represents stability, security, real-life memories, extended family, home, children, etc., which are usually big price tags to toss away for an affair. However, this sexual or emotional affair partner represents excitement, sexual intimacy, emotional escape, or even a sense of rekindled possibilities.
The different types of affairs, whether long term or short term aren’t usually planned out beforehand. Most times, these affairs just happen. In few cases, it could be a matter of love at first sight, although this is scarcely the case. In most cases, affairs usually happen with someone nearby- a neighbor, a friend (sometimes even a best friend or one you frequently socialize with), a co-worker, or someone they have shared history with. That said, someone may also meet a sexual partner outside of the marriage through other means. Sometimes, the cheating spouse may try on a few occasions to detach themselves from this cheating partner and stick to their husband/wife, but find that they keep gravitating back to the other person. They may not deliberately intend to fool around or play their spouse, but they find themselves powerfully attached to this other person because they see the cheating partner as the savior- the one who helps them to get over (howbeit temporarily) the problems and unhappiness they are having in their marriage. Unfortunately, they can’t have their cake and eat it, too.
Some long-term affairs may last for years and sometimes the whole course of the cheating partners’ marriages or other relationships, especially if they manage to somehow stay undiscovered. The partners in these affairs are sometimes emotionally invested in the relationship and sometimes, may feel even ‘more married’ to their lovers than their marriage partners. In some cases, the reason an affair lasts is that it is not yet exposed to daily life stressors. Usually, because people go into affairs to get away from problems in their marriage, the level of expectations is limited. The other person isn’t requiring much- they just want you. No ‘unreasonable’ demands or expectations- you don’t have to be successful, hardworking, be a great spouse or a great dad- all you have to do is tend to their emotional or sexual needs as the case may be, and all will keep going smoothly. You probably knew deep emotional satisfaction while with this person and you believe you have fallen in love and that things will keep going on smoothly. However, there is more to having a long-term relationship than that. One of the things that helps a relationship to last is when it goes through day-to-day demands and can stand strong through challenges. However, an affair will run its course and likely disintegrate if the two cheating partners are ever faced with day-to-day life.
How often do affairs start up again?
Although statistics vary a little bit on the question of how often affairs start up again, currently recognized information on the topic indicates that somewhere between 20 percent to 50 percent of people repeat cheat. However, something to keep in mind is that these statistics do not outright tell if they cheat with the same affair partner or another. If you’re worried about marital affairs or infidelity affairs restarting, or if you’re concerned that new marital affairs might take place in the future, it’s something to acknowledge.
Does infidelity pain ever go away?
Dealing with Infidelity in marriage is one of the most difficult experiences one can ever have, no matter the type of affair. Being let down by the person who promised to love and stay committed to you forever can be a very terrible thing to go through. Different emotions reels inside of you- anger, pain, shame, sadness, embarrassment, disappointment, and self-doubt. The pain that this betrayal creates inside of you as the betrayed spouse is nearly unbearable and it takes time and a process to heal. Whether you choose to stay in the relationship afterward and work things out with your partner or move on and heal on your own, healing needs to take place.
The affair recovery process is never going to be an easy one for everyone involved, especially the betrayed spouse. You were (or still are) madly in love with this person and you have invested a lot of time, emotions, and commitment into the marriage. According to researchers, it takes between eighteen months to two years to heal from the pain of a partner’s betrayal, and sometimes, for some people, the scar may remain for a while longer, especially whenever your wedding anniversary is approaching. Accepting that the pain isn’t going to go away overnight will be very helpful, but knowing that it can and will eventually end will be very valuable in your healing process.
As the betrayed spouse, you need to give yourself time, grieve but don’t allow yourself to dwell in there for too long. Be sincere about how you feel, open up about how you feel to your friends and family, and seek the right help. Understanding the how and the why of the affair will also go a long way to help you in your healing process. Whether you decide to continue with the marriage or get separated, you need to forgive yourself and also forgive your partner- this is an integral part of your healing process. For the unfaithful spouse, you need to seek help and work towards fixing your marriage. If you think your marriage is worth fighting for and your partner decides to move past what has happened and rebuild your marriage, then you need to seek marriage counseling; talk to a marriage and family therapist like those at ReGain to help you through the healing process and work with you on building a strong and lasting marriage.