Have you ever asked yourself “Why do people have affairs?” There is no simple answer or common thread.

Affairs are complicated. Very few people actually set out to cheat on their spouse. – Scott Haltzman, M.D.

An affair can be motivated by any one of countless reasons such as sexual dissatisfaction, lack of validation, a need for variety, feeling neglected, boredom, a lack of commitment, or even a desire for revenge. More often though it is due to a mix of contributing factors brewing beneath the surface that cause cracks in the relationship.

This then opens a door for the unfaithful spouse to be sucked into an unintended affair through an opportunity or circumstance in which a person appears who makes him or her feel valued and appreciated.

No matter the reason for the affair, rarely if ever does the unfaithful spouse have a desire to purposely hurt his or her partner or destroy their family, even though those may be the unfortunate consequences.

Why Do People Have Affairs? Factors that Can Contribute

Letting your guard down.

Happy marriages are not immune to affairs. Opportunities can appear out of the blue that provide a strong temptation to be unfaithful. Your best defense is to maintain open, honest, respectful channels of communication between you and your spouse, and never take each other for granted.

Allowing your marriage to slip out of focus.

Even when life happens, it is important to make time for your spouse and stay physically and emotionally connected to him or her. Becoming hyper-focused on work, a busy schedule, or the kids can open the door to infidelity.

Lack of emotional connection.

Don’t assume there is an emotional connection between you and your spouse just because you are physically present. People crave validation and attention. Without it, your spouse may feel unloved, unappreciated, and neglected, and may look for validation somewhere else.

Lack of communication.

Being open and honest about your needs without blaming or shaming one another can enable you and your spouse to better understand and support one another so you do not feel the need to go outside your relationship to seek validation.

Not communicating your needs or addressing problems directly, however, opens the door to infidelity. Unresolved issues tend to create an emotional disconnect and a space between spouses which becomes an invitation for someone else to fill the void.

Unmet Needs.

The more you and your spouse seek to meet each other’s needs, the more it minimizes the likelihood of infidelity in your marriage. Spouses with unmet needs are easily tempted to stray when someone of the opposite sex at their office or gym provides a sympathetic ear and the validation and support they do not get at home.


Some people have an affair out of a desire to experience something fresh and new when the spark is gone out of their marriage and the relationship feels stuck in a rut.


Some people have an affair to get back at their partner for something he or she did to hurt them or make them angry. This can be avoided by keeping the lines of communication open between you and being open and honest with one another so ill feelings don’t have a chance to fester and build up.

If you have questions about this article on why people have affairs or would like to set up an appointment to meet with one of the faith-based counselors at our location, please do not hesitate to give us a call.

References:Chris Ownby. “Why People Really Have Affairs (It’s Not Always Just About Sex).” First Things First. December 15, 2020. firstthings.org/why-people-really-have-affairs-its-not-always-just-about-sex/

“Fork in the Path”, Courtesy of Burst, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Tracks in the Field”, Courtesy of Lidia Nikole, Unsplash.com, CC0 License


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