Why Do Affairs Happen?

May 23, 2023 6:09 PM
· Updated
May 23, 2023 6:11 PM

Affairs can happen for a variety of reasons, and it's important to note that each situation is unique. Here are some common factors that may contribute to why affairs occur:

1. Relationship dissatisfaction: When individuals feel unhappy or unsatisfied in their current relationship, they may seek validation, emotional connection, or excitement elsewhere. Unresolved conflicts, lack of intimacy, communication issues, or feeling neglected or unappreciated can contribute to relationship dissatisfaction.

2. Emotional needs: People may engage in affairs to fulfill unmet emotional needs. They may seek companionship, emotional support, understanding, or admiration from someone outside their primary relationship. Emotional connections can develop gradually and may eventually lead to physical infidelity.

3. Sexual dissatisfaction: Sexual dissatisfaction or a mismatch in sexual desires within a relationship can sometimes drive individuals to seek sexual fulfillment outside their partnership. They may crave novelty, variety, or different experiences that they feel are lacking in their current relationship.

4. Self-esteem and validation: Some individuals may seek validation, affirmation, or a boost to their self-esteem through an affair. Attention, admiration, or flattery from someone new can provide a temporary sense of excitement, desirability, or importance.

5. Opportunity and temptation: The availability of opportunities and temptations can play a role in affairs. Circumstances such as frequent travel, social or work environments that facilitate connections with potential partners, or interactions on social media or dating platforms can increase the likelihood of affairs occurring.

6. Unresolved personal issues: Sometimes, personal factors such as unresolved emotional wounds, past traumas, or unresolved conflicts within oneself can contribute to engaging in an affair. These personal issues may lead individuals to seek external validation, escape, or distraction from their own inner struggles.

It's important to note that while these factors can contribute to affairs, they do not justify or excuse the behavior. Affairs typically involve a breach of trust, betrayal, and emotional pain for all parties involved. Building and maintaining healthy, open, and honest communication within a relationship, addressing underlying issues, and seeking professional help when needed can help mitigate the risk of affairs and strengthen the foundation of a committed partnership.

Who Is More Likely To Have An Affair?

Historically, men have reported significantly higher incidences of having extra-marital relationships. While the current data continues to show that men do "cheat" more often than women, the gap between men and women is decreasing. (https://ifstudies.org/blog/who-cheats-more-the-demographics-of-cheating-in-america)

  • 10-15% of women cheat on their spouses
  • 20-25% of men cheat on their spouses
  • However, with millennials, 12.9% of women have cheated
  • 15.9% of millennial men reported cheating
  • 42% of divorced people cheated on their former spouse multiple times
  • Only 31% of those polled in a recent Gallup poll said they would try and save their marriage after their spouse cheated
  • But actually, between 60-75% of couples stay together after an affair is discovered
  • Between 20-40% of divorces cite infidelity as the primary reason for divorce

Can Our Marriage Survive An Affair?

Overcoming an affair is a challenging and complex process that requires commitment, effort, and open communication from both partners involved. Here are some steps that can help in the healing and rebuilding process:

1. Acknowledge and take responsibility: The person who had the affair needs to take responsibility for their actions, show remorse, and be willing to make amends. This includes being honest about the affair, answering questions, and being transparent moving forward.

2. Open and honest communication: Both partners should commit to open and honest communication. This involves discussing the affair, expressing emotions, and addressing any underlying issues or concerns within the relationship. It may be helpful to seek the guidance of a couples therapist who specializes in infidelity to facilitate these discussions.

3. Rebuilding trust: Rebuilding trust is a crucial aspect of recovering from an affair. The person who had the affair should be transparent, consistent, and reliable in their actions and words. They need to demonstrate trustworthiness over time, follow through on commitments, and be patient as the betrayed partner works through their feelings.

4. Seek professional help: Working with a qualified couples therapist or counselor who specializes in infidelity can provide a safe space for both partners to express their emotions, explore the underlying issues, and learn effective strategies for rebuilding the relationship. A therapist can guide the healing process and help establish new patterns of communication and trust.

5. Establish boundaries and agreements: It's important to establish clear boundaries and agreements moving forward to rebuild the relationship. This may involve setting guidelines for communication, rebuilding intimacy, addressing personal needs, and preventing future infidelity. Both partners should actively participate in creating these boundaries and be committed to respecting them.

6. Allow time for healing: Healing from an affair takes time, and it's essential to be patient and understanding with each other throughout the process. Both partners should be willing to invest in self-care, seek individual therapy if needed, and engage in activities that promote healing and emotional well-being.

7. Focus on the future: While it's important to address the affair and its impact, it's also essential to focus on building a positive future together. This includes fostering a renewed sense of intimacy, re-establishing shared goals and values, and creating a vision for the relationship moving forward.

Remember, rebuilding a relationship after an affair is a complex journey that requires effort and commitment from both partners. It's crucial to seek professional guidance, communicate openly and honestly, and be patient and compassionate with each other as you work towards healing and rebuilding trust.