Jennifer Campos (name changed) speaks rather hesitantly of her marriage and divorce. She was, by all accounts, in a happy but boring marriage until she fell madly in love with another man who worked in her office. What happened next was predictable – clandestine meetings with her lover, confusion, stress, guilt and hidden pleasure and the like. It was all sailing smoothly initially until her cover was blown. Things reached a head until she had to make a choice – stay married or take the decision of leaving marriage for her affair partner.
“I decided to follow my heart and left my marriage,” says a wiser and older Jennifer. “But now I wonder if it was all worth it.” Unfortunately, her second marriage to her lover didn’t last long either as the residual complications of her decision cast a looming shadow on her new relationship.
Tania Kawood, Dubai-based holistic healer, counselor and founder of TK Holistic Clinic notes that this pattern is seen in most relationships that begin from infidelity. “There is always a guilt factor at play when it comes to affairs. Especially if a man walks out on his wife or a woman leaves her marriage for an affair partner, there is always a niggling doubt if they will be able to sustain the relationship,” says Tania.
In Jennifer’s case, the distance between her and her new husband increased with the societal gossip and scandal adding to the stress. The regret of marrying her affair partner still ranks high for Jennifer but she admits she is better off now without a relationship than getting into messy ones.
Matters of the heart are always unpredictable. Infidelity is looked down upon by every culture but it can’t be denied that cheating in a relationship is becoming increasingly common. Men and women leaving marriage for affair partner is one of the most common grounds for divorce, a fact that research supports as well. According to a study published in the Institute of Family Studies, 20% of men and 13% of women in America reported that they had sex with someone other than their spouse while they were married.
But do these affairs (of the heart or body) actually lead to marriage or happiness? Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem so, at least in a majority of the cases. Beyond Betrayal: Life After Infidelity, a famous book by Dr Frank Pittman, states that divorce rates among those who marry their affair partners is as high as 75%.
Needless to say, an affair after marriage can never be smooth or easy. The guilty pleasure may prompt many people to venture into this dangerous territory but once the rose-tinted glasses come off, the road ahead is full of heartbreak and stress. Even if we keep aside the morality issue for a moment, leaving marriage for affair partner results in complications galore.
9 Complications That Arise While Leaving Marriage For Affair Partner
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A successful marriage or any kind of relationship requires tremendous patience, love, understanding and a bit of compromise. It is hard to pinpoint when a man or woman seeks pleasure or love outside of their relationship but if he or she embarks on an extramarital affair, the chances of the second relationship fulfilling their unmet needs are highly unlikely.
Of course, this cannot be generalized as there have been several instances where a person’s second marriage to affair partner has proven to be more successful and happier than the first but to reach that position is an arduous task. Here are nine complications that a person can face if they take the decision of leaving marriage for affair partner:
Related Reading: What Are The Consequences Of Affairs Between Married Couples?
1. The challenge of getting over self-doubt
The first big challenge is that of providing an adequate justification – no, not to society and friends (that’s another demon altogether) but to yourself. Is your new relationship strong enough to withstand the inevitable judgments that come your way?
Is your new partner willing to risk his or her reputation and image at work and in society? Are you 100% sure that leaving the structure and security of marriage and jumping straight into a relationship that is beginning on a shaky note is worth it? These and several other questions will continue to haunt your decision, at least in the initial stages.
2. Who will walk out first?
For a man, getting involved with a married woman is like walking on eggshells. The question of ‘will she or won’t she leave her husband’ ranks high, possibly because the risks are higher for women in most societies. Mohit Marawala (name changed on request), a marketing manager once had an affair with a married woman who he was crazy about. “I was ready to fight the world for her but I was constantly worried if my affair partner will leave her husband too?
“She was in love with me but I knew she was hesitant to walk out of her marriage. Needless to say, our relationship failed and she is still unhappily married,” says Mohit. It takes an immense amount of courage to go the whole nine yards when it comes to an extramarital affair as people. Women, especially, tend to get cold feet when it comes to actually leaving marriage for affair partner.
3. The ‘what next’ dilemma
Tania talks about her experience while dealing with her clients’ infidelity. “The most common question I get asked is – ‘I am having an affair, should I leave my wife?’ A lot of men get into a relationship without thinking of the repercussions. It’s only when things get serious that they think about their own marriage,” she says.
One of the biggest complications you face while leaving your marriage for an affair partner is deciding the path ahead. Should you actually rush into marriage with your new partner or wait it out before committing? Or should you get into a live-in before tying the knot? Ideally, both you and your affair partner should be very clear on the immediate next steps.
Related Reading: How Can I Fall In Love With Someone Else When I Am Happily Married?
4. The longevity of the affair
Do affairs that break up a marriage last? It’s a question that rings on the minds of most people who have to choose between their spouse or affair partner. Jennifer admits that one of the reasons why her second marriage failed was that there was a niggling doubt in her second husband’s mind about her loyalty to him.
“Whenever we would argue, he would bring up the fact that I left my husband to be with him. So would I leave him if I wasn’t satisfied with him too? I took affront to the fact that he didn’t trust me enough. Gradually, this mistrust increased the chasm between us,” says Jennifer.
5. Children get greatly impacted
“Infidelity affects a spouse but it affects the children a lot more,” says Tania. “I have seen cases where the resultant fights, marital discord, legal issues and emotional problems of the parents deeply impact their children.”
If parents sufficiently coach their children and protect them from the nastiness of their separation, the impact can be minimized but don’t bet on it. “The worst part is when children are forced to take sides,” she adds. If a man or woman thinks of leaving marriage for affair partner, he or she has to take into account the emotional fallout of the decision on the children.
6. Handling the immediate and extended family
We live in a day and age when individual happiness is given priority over societal rules and norms. Fair enough, every person has the right to live life the way he or she wants. However, society or family is something one can’t wish away. Even if you choose to disregard them, the uncomfortable questions and the gossip are hard to escape.
Of course, it need not deter you if you think you are on the right path but bear in mind that cheating in a marriage is frowned upon the most, even in non-conservative families. If your extended family is too traditional, then be ready to be put through the wringer if you think of leaving your marriage for affair partner.
7. The memories will be painful
Whether you like it or not, there is always a guilt associated with an affair. As Tania says, “You may justify it in whatever way you wish but fact remains that a couple who has gotten together after either of them has walked out of their marriage will have the suppressed guilt. They won’t have a happy story to share of how they got together.”
This is because their path toward love would have inevitably broken hearts. It is not an ideal situation to be in and the person who is leaving marriage for affair partner will especially need to be strong and confident about their decision. Also, they will have to take care of not allowing past bitter memories or experiences to ruin their new relationship or marriage.
Related Reading: 20 Myths And Facts About Cheating In A Marriage
8. The challenges of building a new social identity
The story of every relationship is different and the challenges of each are different too. But one common factor that affair couples face is that they may have to build a new social identity once they get together. Now, this can prove to be challenging if their exes also live in the same city.
Friends and acquaintances are forced to take sides. More often than not, it’s the cheating partner who has to be prepared to lose some old friends and gain new ones. “It’s almost as if they have to rebuild a life together outside of the love bubble that they were existing in until then. Socializing can especially prove to be quite difficult,” says Tania.
9. The risk of comparison
When you have an affair, it’s most likely because this connection fulfills some needs that are not met in your marriage. “But the risk here is of comparison,” says Tania. “Instead of looking at the affair as an independent relationship, you may look at it vis-a-vis your marriage.”
The problem arises when you are leaving marriage for your affair partner and end up comparing your marriage or ex with your current partner and you may find the latter wanting in some aspects. The result is that you can’t be happy in either relationship. “Even if you are falling in love with someone outside your marriage, make sure it is for the right reasons and not just because you are not fully happy in your married life,” says Tania.
Extramarital affairs are the proverbial forbidden fruit. Most people enter it without giving too much thought or due consideration to the fact that it might lead to complications. But any relationship outside of marriage rarely has a smooth drive.
While it is perfectly okay to walk out of unhappy relationships, what a man or woman needs to do is to ensure that they are not entering a proverbial frying pan to fire situation. Perhaps, it would be best to give time for the new relationship to nurture and grow before plunging headlong into it even if you are leaving marriage for your affair partner. So be wise when you make a choice.