One of the most common reasons for having an affair is simply “because I could,” where the individual is ambivalent about their actions. Sometimes a part of the individual wants to end the marriage while also feeling terrible about it, causing unhappiness in the marriage.
Another cause for having an affair may be the feeling of being stuck, unloved, and ignored by your spouse. It may feel that things in the relationship will never change, and you are doomed to have your needs ignored permanently. The attention of someone else is naturally flattering, drawing you in to enjoy the affection and focus.
13 Reasons Why Having an Affair is Not Okay
The reality of an affair is that it hurts everyone involved – you, your lover, your spouse, their spouse, the children as well as friends and family. It is a terrible ripple effect of loss and confusion.
Any time a relationship must be hidden from your spouse, whether or not sex is included – it is an affair. There are personal motivators that can help stop hormones and emotions from overriding reason and logic.
1. Change is scary and it is easier to live in chaos and misery with the fear of being caught.
If your relationship with your partner was fulfilling, you would not be tempted to explore a relationship with this new person. It can be helpful to explore the possibilities of working towards reconnecting and finding the happiness you once had.
2. Affairs are about betrayal, not love.
By engaging in a marriage, you agreed to have a monogamous relationship with that one person.
So, they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate. – Matthew 19:6
3. The grass is never greener on the other side.
No matter how far you may go your baggage always goes with you. A change in geographics does not cure the emotional distance – it only moves the spotlight off your shortcomings for a little while. Once a brief relationship becomes a long-term relationship the old issues will return, and the spotlight will again be focused on your emotional (commitment) struggles.
4. Making decisions from a place of emotion does not end well.
When we let our emotions dictate our reactions we usually are not satisfied with the outcomes. When we have friends, who say they are “in love” with the person they are having an affair with, we call these actions “romantic” when in reality they are sinful.
They are sacrificing their family, home, and stability for a false perception of “true love.” We pity those who are swindled out of large sums of money by obvious scams, yet it is the same emotional force that allows vulnerable individuals to be entangled in those love affairs.
5. An affair is always a downgrade from what you have.
There is a concept in the study of individuals dealing with an affair that it always is an “affair down.” You were attracted to your spouse for a reason – humor, intelligence, spirituality, character, loyalty, or maturity. It is impossible to “affair up” to where we are having an affair with a better person.
One of the hardest things to do is look at your spouse through the eyes that initially fell in love with them. Your spouse knows you, knows your quirks, your strengths, and your weakness, and still loves you – can you say that about your affair interest?
6. You will impede your growth.
God designed marriage to grow people. Marriage was God’s idea to aid our ability to love and be loved. The affair may feed your ego and provide you with accommodation, adoration, affection, and affirmation but it does not offer the true intimacy of marriage.
The “love” generated in an affair is an illusion that is founded on how that person makes you feel – like a drug. We become addicted. Personal and relational growth only comes from embracing life’s tricky situations having the determination and courage to face them – not by avoiding those challenges that life places in front of us.
7. God did not design man to be alone.
God did not design people to be alone. Men and women complement each other with the goal of completing each other. God created Eve from Adam’s rib showing the intended closeness and intimacy of a married couple.
Affairs affect your partner’s ability to trust, and it destroys the dreams of the shared life – a life shared with you. Your partner’s growth is equally affected as it makes the future scary and unknown and thus difficult to navigate. Affairs are a selfish engagement to get your needs met on a superficial level, without consideration for the needs of your family.
And you shall not commit adultery. – Deuteronomy 5:18
8. We are only as sick as our secrets.
Infidelity requires lying, secrecy, and the need to cover your tracks. Lying is not becoming – it looks ugly on you. Regardless of the thrill of the first dalliance, the guilt, shame, and worry will start to eat away you.
As you fall deeper into the thoughts and feelings of guilt, shame, and worry you will incessantly feel poorly about yourself. The weight of the deceptions and living a double life becomes more increasingly heavy.
9. STIs are more possible.
The fact is that the more sexual partners you have the greater the chances of contracting an STI and passing that to your spouse. Other physical and emotional health issues can develop for you and your spouse because of affairs.
10. The fire never lasts.
That burning passion you feel for the other person tends to burn out quickly. Romanticizing what you believe is love increases your unrealistic expectations of eternal passion. Dampening fire for your spouse does not mean your marriage has failed, it is the beautiful start of the next stage of your marital relationship. This next phase is where you can develop true unselfish love and find real passion with your spouse.
11. Despite the changing laws – your affair could be illegal.
There are still states where cheating is still illegal; some countries even have laws against cheating. Even the act of helping someone cheat can be grounds for a lawsuit or worse. States such as South Dakota, New Mexico, and Mississippi have laws about affairs. In Illinois, it can cost you a $2,500.00 fine and up to a year in jail.
However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. – Ephesians 5:33
12. The children will be hurt.
When they find out (and they will) you will look like dirt in their eyes. Having an affair sets a bad example for the children and can cause them confusion, insecurity, anger, sadness, and for older kids, humiliation. You will lose all moral authority with them.
13. The affair could affect future relationships.
If the affair leads to divorce, this will remain a part of your life history. Dating becomes a different experience as a potential romantic interest will ask “Why did you get divorced?” If you answer honestly, the concern of you cheating again becomes relevant to your current relationship.
A survey was conducted of 5,000 people in the UK to identify the reasons men and women have affairs and the similarities and differences of those reasons.
The top five reasons for women related to lack of emotional intimacy (84%), lack of communication between partners (75%), tiredness (32%), bad history with sex or abuse (26%), and a lack of interest in sex with the current partner (23%).
For men, the reasons were a lack of communication between partners (68%), stress (63%), sexual dysfunction with one’s current partner (44%), lack of emotional intimacy (38%), and fatigue or being chronically tired (31%). (Majoribanks, 2017)
If our communication with our partner is difficult or we do not feel valued, we are potentially more likely to have an affair. Investing time and energy into our relationships is crucial and learning the tools to develop better communication can be a great place to start.
And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation. – Luke 11:4
Majoribanks, D. a. (2017). The Way We Are – Let’s Talk About Sex. Scotland: Relate.
“In the Shadows”, Courtesy of Thanos Pal, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Woman in the Mirror”, Courtesy of Milada Vigerova, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Pink Blossoms”, Courtesy of Sajad Nori, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Her Hand In Marriage”, Courtesy of Penguinuhh, Unsplash.com, CC0 License