The main reason affairs happen. | Michele Willmott

The main reason affairs happen.

Why do affairs happen?

The main reason why so many extra-marital affairs happen is due to a lack of emotional connection.

When a couple are struggling to connect on a regular basis, all sorts of issues start showing up in a relationship:

  • Physical touch and intimacy generally starts to decline 
  • Men and women feel loneliness and despair
  • Resentment builds up under the surface
  • Avoidance starts to become the norm especially in regards to difficult topics
  • There is a lack of verbal appreciation
  • It becomes easier to bury your head in work
  • The option of spending time at work or with friends becomes more appealing
  • There is a lack of compassion and mutual support
  • Feelings of being misunderstood or not being heard and seen start increasing
  • Arguments are left unresolved

If someone else shows up at a time when you feel at most alone and they seem to understand you in a way that your partner doesn't, it can feel like you have a connection with this person. Couple this with a mutual attraction and sometimes it's not long before the line gets crossed.

Please know that I am not condoning having an affair. Affairs cause much distress, hurt and pain. Affairs can break-up families and cause financial disaster.

Infidelity is a sign of self-sabotage.
It demonstrates a lack of personal integrity.
The reason I say this is; if you asked most people, 'do you want to be someone who has an affair behind your partner's back?'
The majority of those people would say "no of course I don't/wouldn't".

An affair therefore means we are not being who we really want to be.
Ideally, we would want to be someone who is able to communicate what is really going on. 
We would want to try to solve the problem, way before things get out of hand.

Why can it be so easy to get pulled in to an affair?

  1. Affairs feel exciting, they are like a drug in many ways. It can be easy to get pulled in when you have already crossed the in emotionally. If the other person is very attractive to you it becomes like an addiction. The dopamine hit is very real.
  2. Affairs fulfil a desire for escapism. They can give people a feeling they are being rescued or saved by a knight in shining armour or a beautiful goddess. This 'dream-like' situation can feel much better than the reality of struggling or failing relationship. It becomes a way of denying your reality and despite feelings of guilt that may come up, an affair can give you something to look forward to. 
  3. Affairs give people a sense of being powerful when in reality they feel powerless to change their current situation with their partner.
  4. Affairs can give a sense of justice when people feel they have been mistreated. 
  5. Affairs make you feel like you are wanted and desired as opposed to the recurring rejection experienced in an unhappy relationship.
  6. Affairs can be a cry for help. A way of trying to get out of a relationship that feels misaligned or a way of living that is misaligned for you. 

All of these above reasons are simply evidence that our conditioned or shadow selves (the limited parts of you) are running the show. 

When your conditioned selves are leading, all is not going to end well because shadow attracts and creates more shadow.
When we behave from the energy of shadow we are going to create hurt and upset for ourselves and others.

This is not meant to give the person who has had the affair an excuse or a 'get out of jail' card.
However, it is always good to know that there are reasons for our dysfunctional behaviour.
If we are willing to take a closer look we can heal and move past the times when we have let ourselves and our partner down.

This is why a relationship can still be turned around if one person has had an affair.
If there is still love between you and your partner and you both want to explore staying together, anything is possible.
It does mean it is going to take some work however.
It might also mean that this work ends up with you deciding that separation is the best step forward.
Without a doubt you will come out of the process knowing that you did everything you could and that you have a far stronger sense of self.

What needs to be done following an affair if a relationship is to survive? 

- The person who had the affair needs to demonstrate some remorse and be able to see where he/she went wrong.
- The pain and hurt that the infidelity has caused will need to be worked through in a way that ensures validation of feelings.
- A new healthy framework of relating to each other needs to replace the old dysfunctional ways of thinking and behaving.
- A new way of relating to oneself and one's own feelings needs to be put in place moving forwards.
- The fear and feelings of a lack of safety that come up must be worked with, rather than just left to simmer under the surface.
- A couple must start communicating in a more transparent and honest way.
- Tension and conflict must be repaired in a way that creates growth for each person and the relationship.
- No longer is it acceptable to complain about your partner to friends or family.
- The partner on the receiving end also needs to be able to take responsibility for the part they played in the break-down of connection in the relationship.

Relationships where there is a consistently high level of emotional connection are far less likely to experience infidelity.

Couples who have created 'successful' relationships know how to create emotional connection regardless of what is going on in their lives. They know that all cards must be placed on the table.
They are willing to have the conversations that feel difficult and are able to do so in a way that opens up the relationship.
They also understand that by prioritising their emotional connection, it is then far easier to keep creating moments of passion and intimacy.

Unfortunately we have all been conditioned to think that once we get into a relationship we don't need to do the work.
This is why we live in a society that values holidays, cars and entertainment more than it does our relationships.

My mission is to help men and women prioritise their relationship so they can live more harmoniously and without so much hurt and pain.

If you have experienced an infidelity in your relationship recently and would like to get support to put things right; even if it is to help you get clarity about your situation you can book a complimentary call here.

About the Author

Michele Willmott, Relationship Coach and Mentor. I help successful men, women and couples renew and transform their relationship for the long-term.