According to You May Call it Cheating But We Don’t (link is external), it’s fine to veer once in a while from the relationship straight and narrow. This first-person true story raises a whole set of related questions: Is kissing enough to change a friendship into an affair? Should the partner be told about this? If the kissing progresses farther, at what point is the affair likely to threaten each person’s marriage or primary relationship. According to author Amy Calhoun, it’s fine to kiss a friend without putting the marriage in jeopardy. It’s fine to kiss a few people. In fact, attraction to other people seemed to her to be a normal aspect of marriage, even happy marriages.
On the article published by Psychology Today, rates of reported infidelity hover around 13 to 10% across adulthood, with the peak of 20% occurring for couples in their 40s (far lower than the 40-76% cited by Calhoun). Those who discover their partner’s unfaithfulness regard the experience as “shattering,” and believe that it signals the end of the marriage. If the relationship is going to recover, the cheating partner must admit to feeling guilty and remorseful. People who have affairs but don’t get divorced are happiest in their marriage if they remain together because they love each other, not because there are barriers to the divorce (such as children or finances). Strongly held religious beliefs might prevent partners from seeking a divorce and may, therefore, be a barrier. However, couples may also use their religion to help get through the difficulties of dealing with the infidelity. Recognizing that infidelity is a symptom of an unhappy marriage can lead a couple to patch things up and grow closer.
In a survey conducted by Loras College psychologist Julia Omarzu and colleagues, people currently or recently engaged in an extra-marital affair were asked to report on their emotional experiences during the affair. The participants were obtained from a non-random source, namely a website directed toward adults who engage in marital infidelity. Thus, the results don’t generalize to the cheating world in general. However, the findings were nevertheless informative. Of the 77 participants who responded (22 men and 55 women, ages 23-63), 73% were currently married. The number of extramarital affairs they reported ranged from 1 to 22, with an average of about 4, and most of these were ongoing relationships rather than one-night stands, lasting more than 1 year and, in some cases, as long as 5. They were most likely to contact each other by cell phone, meeting mainly at hotels, one partner’s home, work, or in cars. Nearly two-thirds of all affairs had ended on friendly terms, with as many as one-half of them staying in touch on friendly terms.
Some findings also show that a substantial group of people who engage in extramarital affairs are pretty good at shifting the responsibility away from themselves. Many claimed that the decision to enter into the affair was a mutual one, that their affairs were justified, and that they felt no guilt.
However, the extramarital relationships tended to be relatively long-term, and the participants treated them as important. Though a substantial number felt no guilt at all, the majority did experience guilt and anxiety, even those who engaged in multiple affairs.
Here Are Three Main Factors Why Your Partner Engaged In Extramarital Affair:
1. Lack of emotional satisfaction in your primary relationship.
Seeking emotional intimacy can be nearly as compelling a reason to have an affair as can seeking physical intimacy. Participants who stated the need for emotional closeness in an affair felt they were lacking a connection to their primary partners.
Wanting emotional validation from someone else is a factor that linked to this. Being appreciated is a key factor in the emotional connection that partners feel toward each other. Partners may grow apart and, as they do, fail to acknowledge the needs that both have in their relationship.
2. A desire for additional sexual encounters.
This was a relatively infrequent reason cited by the individuals in this study. It’s possible that more people had this as a reason but didn’t want to admit to it as it is not a very socially desirable wish to articulate. For example, one man in the study stated that he felt he needed more sex in his life to reward him for performing well at his job.
Moreover, lack of sexual satisfaction in your primary relationship also contributes to this. This was the most common reason cited by individuals in the Omarzu study. Recall that the large majority of the sample were women. Both women and men who enter into affairs are hoping to improve their sex lives. They may enjoy many other mutual activities but, for whatever reason, the sex is not working out for them.
3. You’re curious and want new experiences.
People who cited this reason felt that they wanted something new, this motivation went beyond curiosity and into some type of contest to measure their sexual prowess. It might have been less complicated for them to compete on the tennis court or golf course, but the allure of someone and something new led them to choose this particular form of challenge.
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