What are the actual reasons why people have affairs? A frightening statistic: It’s estimated that about 70% of all marriages will experience an affair during their relationship.
Infidelity can have a nasty ripple effect on the lives of both partners, and their families. In many cases, affairs lead to divorce or separation, as one person feels violated by the other actions. Some couples, however, are able to work through this complicated situation with ongoing therapy and understanding from each other.
So, what are the reasons why people have affairs?
Psychological issues and childhood difficulties, as well as possibilities like social media and a lack of maturity, can all enhance the likelihood that one of these causes will lead to an affair.
Distress in the marriage is a typical cause; the cheater may attempt to fix problems numerous times without success. Perhaps they had second thoughts about getting married or were envious of the attention lavished on a new kid, but neither lacked the language skills to express their sentiments.
Perhaps the wandering spouse has childhood baggage — deprivation, violence, or a cheating parent — that makes it difficult for him or her to stay devoted to a relationship. The cheater is less likely to respect monogamy, lack empathy, or just be unconcerned about the repercussions.
To answer the question, no, they’re not good reasons why people have affairs and it will never be.
So, What Are The Reasons Why People Have Affairs?
We’ll go through some of the risk factors and reasons for infidelity, but it’s essential to note that a partner does not drive their spouse to cheat. The cheater alone is accountable for cheating, whether it was a desperate cry for attention, an exit plan, or a method of getting vengeance after being cheated on.
Psychologists say the reasons why people have affairs differ between men and women. Men more often than not cheat for sexual reasons and women cheat for more emotional ones. But that isn’t always strictly true.
By and large, regardless of gender, these are some of the top reasons why people will stray from their partners:
1. People Have Affairs to Fulfill Sexual Needs Not Being Met
Both men and women can cheat for this reason – if sex isn’t happening as often as one spouse may want, this can lead them to seek it outside of the relationship. There are lots of reasons sex might dwindle over the years – work and kids can place demands on couples and they start to find they don’t have as much time for each other as they used to have.
And it may not just be the sex, but the quality of sex. When couples have been together a long time, it’s easy to fall into a sexual rut.
Women in particular crave variety in the bedroom. We want excitement and foreplay. And the lack of excitement in the bedroom is a reason some women can stray.
In other cases, one partner’s sex drive might be much lower than the other partner’s and they might be happy having sex rarely, while the other one wants it much more frequently. Other times, one spouse might have a medical issue such as erectile dysfunction, and the other half isn’t willing to go without. And sometimes, one partner might be into different sorts of sexual activities than the other one, and the only way they can get this is outside of their relationship.
More Reading: 10 Men Talk About Their Sexless Marriages
2. Reasons Why People Have Affairs To fulfill Emotional Needs
The truth is that many people cheat because they want more intimacy than what their current relationship provides. For these cheaters, it’s not really about the sex but rather a way to feel close and emotionally connected with someone else who can be there for them in ways that are difficult or impossible with an existing partner.
Many times these encounters become ‘Emotional Affairs’.
Warning signs of an emotional affair include:
- Your spouse suddenly spends less time with you
- Your spouse starts criticizing you and creating fights out of nothing.
- Your partner is protective of their phone and has changed their passcode
- They develop new interests that don’t include you.
- Your spouse spends more time at work than they previously did.
- Lack of sex or intimacy
- Your spouse fails to notice things like changed hair or clothing
3. They’ve Fallen in Love with Someone Else
Sometimes the reason why people have affairs is that one-half of the couple might fall for someone else – even if they weren’t planning on it. The office fling, for example, is one of these situations – two people working closely together suddenly develop feelings for one another, even if one or both of them are in a relationship already.
The adulterous spouse feels a strong attraction to the other individual in this sort of affair. The cheating spouse assumes they’ve fallen in love and feels helpless in the face of such strong feelings – Limerence is a term used to describe these overpowering feelings.
Existing friendships may evolve into obsessions as emotional closeness increases. They might also be the result of a spontaneous attraction known as love at first sight.
The strong feeling created by infatuation is the driving factor behind this sort of relationship. The unfaithful spouse is infatuated with the other person and will have mixed feelings about the marriage at best. They feel that they will never be satisfied unless they are able to spend time with the person they adore. They are wretched while they are with their partner, and they are alive yet guilty when they are with the other one.
4. They Have an Affair to Escape from Their Daily Reality
For some, an affair offers an escape from the everyday grind of life. They can forget about all the normal, routine things that consume their lives while they are with their partner – bills, chores, kids, and only focus on more exciting things like wining and dining and sex while they are with their affair partners.
An affair satisfies a person’s unmet needs, which their present relationship is unable to provide. Those demands might be emotional, sexual, or simply a desire to have a good time. Whatever those unmet needs are, having an affair provides an escape from the everyday grind and obligations.
This type of cheating is based on deception, imagination, and a desire to get away.
It is the excitement of the affair that they are seeking, not necessarily the other person.
5. Affairs Can Be An Ego Boost
If someone is feeling under-appreciated by their spouse and doesn’t feel attractive, having an affair with someone who makes them feel sexually desired can boost their ego and make them feel worthwhile and desirable.
Men frequently engage in extramarital affairs in order to bolster their ego. They may begin to doubt their abilities to attract individuals of the other sex after being in a long marriage. Others are just motivated by the excitement of the hunt.
Low self-esteem appears to be a key factor in male infidelity and affairs, as they need reassurance that they are still part of the competition. Someone’s attention and acknowledgment help them feel unique and confident, and they get the impression that they’ve still got it.
6. Affairs – To Escape Their Current Relationship
More Reading: How Much Sex Should I Be Having?
This is probably not what you want to read, but some people cheat on their spouses because they don’t know how to inform the other person that they already want to end the relationship. Everyone would be a bit less wounded if they could use their lips instead of their genitalia to end the relationship.
Some people know they want out of their current relationship but don’t have the courage to actually press the escape Sometimes the fact is that someone is simply trying to find a way out, instead of having an honest, if unpleasant, dialogue, they turn to cheat — careless cheating.
Instead of admitting that they are no longer in love with their spouse, they move on to the next, and they don’t do a good job of covering their traces; they want to be exposed – they want out, but without the courage and emotional maturity to say it.
7. They Have a Sex Addiction
One of the most significant distinctions between sex addiction and infidelity is that a person with an addiction can still cheat even if they are content in their relationship. Their actions have no bearing on how they perceive their spouse or the marriage.
The following are the most common factors used by Certified Sex Addiction Therapists (CSATs) to identify sexual addiction:
- A fixation with sexual imagination and/or behavior due to a fascination with sex.
- Powerlessness over sexual fantasies and/or behavior. This is generally the result of failed attempts to quit or reduce one’s consumption.
- Suffering a gradual increase in behavior in order to get the intended result.
- Inability to quit sexual behaviors and activities despite unpleasant and harmful outcomes.
It might seem like a major cop-out, but sex addiction is a real thing and people who are afflicted with it are like people addicted to alcohol and drugs – meaning, they will seek it out and worry about the consequences later, if at all. The end result is that this addiction, like other addictions, can be damaging and often fatal to a relationship.
8. To Get Revenge On Their Spouse
When there’s bad blood in a relationship, sometimes, one spouse will cheat on the other one to get revenge. This can be revenge for their partner’s own infidelity, or just as “payback” for any other mistreatment or bad behaviour. They see cheating with someone else as punishment for their other half.
Many deceived spouses consider having their own affair to retaliate or to make themselves feel better. Being insulted and desiring retaliation is a natural reaction to the betrayal.
We often want our partners to understand how we feel, especially after they have deeply harmed us. It only seems “appropriate” that they feel the full degree of the suffering they’ve inflicted. So we believe that having your own affairs after their betrayal is one way to accomplish this.
Regrettably, retaliatory affairs can harm your marriage’s prospects of healing, in addition to your mental and physical well-being.
9. Your Partner Wants to ‘Trade Up’
If one-half of a couple suddenly are killing it at work or have found success or fame, they see their old dutiful partner that has stuck by them as no longer good enough. The spouse usually then gets a younger, faster, more ‘socially acceptable’ version.
Because some guys won’t leave a marriage without a place to go, we’re probably talking about infidelity and deception as bookends when we talk about older men with younger women.
The reasons why older men are attracted to younger ladies have little to do with sex and more to do with a deep need to persuade themselves that they still have ‘it’ — and it’s not simply physical attractiveness.
“It” encapsulates the entire manly package of youth, vigour, and, most importantly, possibilities. It’s not that older women aren’t gorgeous; it’s just that they lack the cultural power to persuade their frail, aging egos that they’re still hot, trendy, and full of possibility.
10. They Weren’t Ready for Commitment
This is a common reason for infidelity among couples who didn’t have a lot of prior relationships before meeting their significant other. For example, the couples who were high school sweethearts and together for 20 years and have never had sex with anyone else, sometimes, one of the partners will start to wonder what they may have missed out on.
When a person is with someone who understands their vision and what they want out of life and attempts to connect with these areas, they feel strong and inspired, and that person won’t want to put the relationship in jeopardy. Sadly, otherwise happens when that individual is not seeing their future with you.
Regardless of the reasons for the affair, the result is usually the same – broken trust, broken heart and recovery can be very difficult and may ultimately lead to the end of the relationship.
Can a Relationship Overcome An Affair?
Some couples can work past an affair and have a better marriage than they did before. But that takes a lot of work and usually a lot of therapy. For others, once that trust has been broken, there is no going back.
If couples can focus on the reasons for the affair, and overcome that, they have a good chance of moving on.
Cheating can occur for a variety of reasons, and marriage is really quite challenging. However, the greatest insurance plans for protecting your marriage include communicating honestly, addressing your needs, embracing forgiveness, and making a consistent commitment to work on your marriage.