Guest Author - Tracy Hamilton
What is it about ‘cheating’ on your partner or having an affair with a married man that makes it so appealing to some? Affairs are usually the result of unspoken feelings, and unresolved issues within the relationship.
When you are happy in a strong relationship, and you are free to express who you are, the chances of infidelity are greatly reduced. For one, you would be able to tell your partner that you feel attracted to someone else, and talk through what it means for you both. It would also allow them to feel safe enough to share any similar feelings they were having should it arise. This creates honesty and trust between you.
Honesty can be double-edged as it comes with the risk of losing everything, but so does deception. The only difference is that the deception hurts more. The deception is potentially a weakness due to the person being afraid to hurt the other so they go after what they want anyway, and don’t share how they are feeling. It can also throw into question what was real in my relationship and raise some serious trust issues. Is it really worth it? Does it actually make them happy long-term, or just change their mood for now?
If someone is truly happy, would they need to go elsewhere, especially secretly? If the relationship is defined around being polyamorous or 'swinging,' then it is acceptable for both partners to experience other people while still in a relationship; with both being happy to be with each other day to day.
Mostly though, the need to ‘cheat’ arises from a deep unhappiness, or from feelings of being unfulfilled and unloved. This is probably truer of women than men, as some men can ‘sleep’ with other people without any emotional attachment or feeling of guilt; just because they want to.
Having an affair, and getting the person you have fallen for, isn’t always the happy outcome you expected. If the affair has happened within a marriage, then their wife or husband could potentially always be a part of your life in some way; especially if there are children involved. Plus, if you start a relationship out of deception, there is a chance it could happen again.
There are always going to be other people involved due to the nature of the ‘coming together’, and the deceived partner can be affected really deeply with low self esteem, and other self worth issues through affairs. This can make them withdrawn, feel victimized, vengeful, mistrusting, and angry. If you have ever been on the receiving end of infidelity, I'm sure that on some level, you will no doubt be experiencing these negative effects to this day; no matter how long ago it happened.
Perhaps if you are considering an affair, ask yourself a few questions first:
What would seeing this through fulfill in me?
Do I have any guarantees that this will not end up the way my previous relationship did?
Can I trust this person?
What impact will this have on both our lives and the other people involved?
Do I really want to be with him/her while they go through a divorce/breakup from their ex?
Will they be emotionally available to me?
Are we strong enough to weather this or am I just a catalyst that helps he/she leave and we won’t actually end up together?
Will you feel fulfilled and loved with them or just perpetuate old patterns and behaviors, and end up back where you started?
Do I need to address things in myself and with my current partner about where we are and try to resolve the issues that are making me look elsewhere?
These are pretty deep and intense questions. When you think you’re ‘in love’ with someone, in the beginning everything seems rosy, and we tend to project our beliefs of this 'amazing person' on to them without them being founded; seeing them as the answer to our prayers. Having an affair is not an easy way out, however, neither is having the deeper conversation with yourself and your partner. However the latter may be more productive in your life, as it will help you to look more consciously at your reasons for your choices; and help you to create lasting changes.
We are all individuals and have different reasons for our choices. We can't always justify our actions at the time; however, when we stop and look at our motives, we may be able to make more informed decisions, rather than being blindly led by the sometimes over projected feelings of being 'in love'.