How to react to your partner’s extramarital affair

Infidelity | |
Updated On: February 22, 2023

“Being faithful and monogamous is not natural for human beings. It takes work. Deep down we all know that.”
~ Oliver Markus, Why Men And Women Can’t Be Friends

What is an extramarital affair?

When you decided to take the marriage vows, you were very sure what they were going to be – loyalty, understanding and being there for each other till the end of your life, until all your teeth fell out. But soon the spark in your relationship faded and marriage became a legal burden tying two loveless and lifeless spouses.

And then, you met this person outside your marriage that suddenly seemed to be what you were looking for. They made you feel loved and wanted again. They combined great sex with passion and connection with your inner soul. And life became perfect once again.

That is called an extramarital affair – a sexual relationship, passionate attachment or even a romantic friendship shared between two individuals outside the confines of their respective marriages.

Extramarital affairs usually require a set of deceptive skills in lying, safeguarding secrets, manipulation and negotiation.

An extramarital affair can be an emotional rendezvous or a physical affair. While emotional affairs are characterised by the bonding between the man and the woman, the physical affairs are more or less for sexual gratification. It is not rare for an emotional affair to end in bed, and if it does, it disrupts the equation of the marriage irrepairably.

While sexual affairs are primarily for satiation of physical desires, emtional affairs often threaten the marriage more than physical affairs. No matter what type of an extramarital affair takes place, the sanctity of a marriage, faith and the whole relation gets threatened and challenged. And more challenging is the part when one discovers the affair but does not know how to react. Some partner’s are driven to suicide, and some feel trapped when they are dependent on their spouses.

Extramarital affairs usually require a set of deceptive skills in lying, safeguarding secrets, manipulation and negotiation.

Why do married couples indulge in extramarital affairs?

Oliver Markus, the author of Why Men and Women Can’t Be Friends, describes extramarital affairs as a ‘moment of weakness’ in couples. There is a constant battle between what the body wants and what the civilised part of the mind warns not to do, in order to avoid the negative consequences of cheating on one’s partner. Sometimes couples lose this battle and have an extramarital affair.

Related Reading: 10 Signs your husband is having an emotional affair

Top 8 reasons for extramarital affairs

Let us take a look at the top 8 reasons why married couples enter into an extramarital affair.

  1. Married by compulsion: Sometimes it so happens that people are forced into a marriage. They marry not out of their personal choice but out of parental or social pressure. So there comes a point in life when they feel that they have hurried into marriage or are simply stuck with a wrong life partner. Therefore, spouses are attracted to someone else outside their marriage whom they find better than their married partner
  2. Failure to deal with changes in life: Life is unpredictable, full of ups and downs. Some of us cannot deal with the obstacles in the marriage and family. In such cases, the spouses look for a new shoulder to lean on. Someone who is not connected to their tragic life. And what starts as a mere companionship ends up being an affair
  3. Sexual tension: Research has proved that couples who are happy in bed tend to have a healthier relationship than couples who do not share sexual chemistry. Sex is one of the most common reasons why couples indulge in an extramarital affair
  4. Emotional disconnection: Emotional connection requires finding time for each other to talk and share feelings and emotions, to listen to each other and laugh together, even after a terrible day at work. Often couples become emotionally distanced from their spouses. And instead of working on rebuilding a connection, they start looking for emotional bonding with another person
  5. Thrill of excitement: Whether married early or late, the spark in some relationships dies out. Couples indulge in extramarital affairs simply to feel that rush, thrill and excitement of young and passionate romance
  6. Differing life priorities: Marriage is all about acceptance and understanding. But sometimes two individuals develop different outlooks and priorities. Things turn so bad that they refuse to give up on their own priorities, and life under one roof becomes impossible. They usually start looking for someone who would share their priorities
  7. Parenthood: As ironic as it may sound, most men enter into an extramarital affair because they start feeling unimportant at home. The sexual and emotional dynamics change because a child becomes the centre of the mother’s care and attention
  8. Karmic reasons: As incredible as it may sound, some people believe that a karmic reason makes them attracted to someone. They feel as if their souls are connected and will not rest until they indulge with this person in some way

How do I know that my partner is having an extramarital affair?

If you have been observing your partner closely there might be some visible warning signs that your partner is having an extramarital affair. Some of the signs of a cheating spouse are:

When your partner is having extramarital affair
When your partner is having extramarital affair
  1. Emotionally disconnected: Your partner becomes self-absorbed and ignores you, your family and friends, almost as if they are living on their own. You become invisible to them
  2. Aggressive behaviour: Your partner starts showing low tolerance levels. They get edgy and start picking fights on trivial matters. Their behaviour starts to change from being disrespectful to downright abusive and cruel
  3. Prolonged absence from home: Is your spouse working long hours or frequently out for business trips? You have something to worry about
  4. Getting extra defensive: You start noticing that even a casual question flung at your partner annoys them. They refuse to be controlled and demand space while all you asked was – ‘Where are you going?’
  5. Demand for privateness: Is your partner staying holed up and having all his personal and bank accounts under a tight protection? Is he spending too much time alone and refusing to share bank details, access into his study room or other private information? It is a warning sign

6 tips to effectively deal with your partner’s extramarital affair

Dealing with your partner’s extramarital affair is like sailing through an emotional storm. You live your life half-heartedly and start doubting your partner’s every motive and word. One moment you feel pure rage and the next moment you simply wish to forgive and move on in your relationship. Here are 6 effective tips to keep in mind while dealing with your partner’s extramarital affair.

1. It is not your fault

When confronted, your partner will blame you, your nagging nature or your loss in interest in yourself and the relationship to drive him or her go out and seek love. Do not let these accusations affect you. Do not, at any cost, let these negative opinions ruin your self-respect or confidence. Everyone has a few negative qualities, and your partner would have them too. But did that make you have an affair? No.

Your partner is inherently weak and will always keep looking for happiness somewhere outside the marriage. You, on the other hand, are stronger and complete in yourself. You don’t have to carry the blame or guilt.

2. Let go of that anger

It is natural to feel angry and upset to know of your partner’s extramarital affairs. Much as you want, and your partner expects, try not to create scenes and dramatise the whole situation. Such reactions only push people away and manifests bitterness and chaos.

Anger in the end will only destroy you. You know that you deserve better. So let it all go.

3. Take time to assess the damage

Do not react impulsively when you have so many factors to consider, for example, your children and your career and home. Some people feel so hurt that they attempt suicide or take to drugs. Your life is precious, and you need to understand the implications on yourself and your family. Plan out what you will do, how will you settle with your life again and be independent.

Maybe you are dependent on your spouse for money. Maybe he is very good with the kids. Maybe it was just for fun and just a one time incident. Do not believe what others say but try to get into the details by confronting your partner. Assess what you have in hand and take steps accordingly.

Take time to assess the damage
Take time to assess the damage

4. Go deeper into your relationship

Instead of burying yourself in rage and blame, calm down and ask some important questions that may help you to understand your relationship and your partner’s extramarital affair. ‘What went wrong?’ ‘What was lacking in the relationship? ‘Are we putting the right effort in the right place?’ If you have been together for long, you would know your partner inside out. And it will be easier to pinpoint what could have prompted him or her to have an extramarital affair.

5. Jot down the lessons

Every bitter experience teaches us some lesson. If possible, jot down yours and make up your mind to never allow yourself to go through such bitterness again.

6. Don’t stop living your life

It is true that life comes to a standstill after learning about your partner’s extramarital affair, but don’t stop loving or living your own life. Grieve, cry, scream, but then bring it all together and get the grip back on your life. Spend time with your friends and family and share your feelings. Do what you love. Pay attention to your health and seek solace in doing things you have always wanted to do.

Don't stop living your life
Don’t stop living your life

do not beg your spouse for love or attention – don’t cling on to him and neither force him. Don’t expect remorse to take over him, it won’t happen. Be calm, focus on yourself, and let the storm pass by.

How to recover from a partner’s extramarital affair?

Recovery from your partner’s extramarital affair is possible only if you allow yourself and work towards healing.

  1. Find the real cause of the affair: And make peace with it. Try to understand why they indulged in an extramarital affair. What was lacking in your relationship. It will be hard but it will grant you peace
  2. Give your partner the chance to apologise: Forgiveness and letting go of anger might be difficult, but it is essential if you wish to heal. Show that you’re the better person
  3. Remember the good times: Do not come to any harsh conclusions. Take time to heal and empathise with your partner
  4. Do not pursue your partner’s lover: The idea is always to keep the third person out. Do not let them into your relationship. Cut off all contacts from the lover and deal with the issue on your own without dragging the lover in between
  5. Keep the communication door open: Allow people to reach you while you are struggling. Having friends and people to talk to always speeds up the recovery

Extramarital affairs have broken as well as mended relationships. Dealing with and recovering from a partner’s extramarital affair is much more difficult in real life than reading in articles. Always remember, relationships are vital and one must always treat them with caution and love.

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