The very term lifelong extramarital affairs could be rather intriguing. Because when it comes to extramarital affairs aren’t we more prone to believe it as something that fizzles out as sporadically as it starts?
Extramarital affairs – be it an emotional affair or a physical affair – starts from a person’s need to find something that is not fulfilled in the marriage.
There is usually a pattern in which an affair begins and ends. Mostly it ends when it is discovered by a partner, when it becomes too much of a burden to maintain or when the physical attachment wanes. There could be bizarre reasons too for an extramarital affair to end.
But in cases when an affair survives the test of time the consequences of extramarital affairs could be an end of the affair or it could be divorce and remarriage. Some extramarital affairs however transcend all these timelines and last a lifetime. How does that happen? Let’s deduce.
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9 Truths About Lifelong Extramarital Affairs
If we are talking about lifelong extramarital affairs here then we have to see how different these are as compared to the short-lived extramarital affairs we are used to seeing and reading about.
Lifelong extramarital affairs are rare but they have always existed. Some affairs come out in the open and some don’t. Sometimes these affairs happen when both parties are married and when affairs turn into love it takes a completely different turn.
One such famous extramarital affair was that of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles that ultimately led to his divorce with Princess Diana. Charles married Camilla in 2005.
Theirs was an affair, that despite the ups and down and constant media hounding, culminated into marriage. In that case it could be called a successful extramarital affair.
What are the truths about lifelong extramarital affairs then? We tell you 9 truths.
1. Lifelong affairs often happen when both parties are married
Lifelong extramarital affairs usually happen between two people when they are already married. They are willing to continue in the affair for so long because they both have families and do not want to disrupt their family life.
You might think why do some affairs last for years? This is mainly because two people despite being much in love cannot take a decision to walk out and get married by hurting their children or spouses.
Sometimes they are so entrenched and settled in their respective family lives that uprooting their families for the affair to culminate is not a decision they can take. So love is often sacrificed for the family.
2. The affairs turn into love
Of course it does. The affairs turn into love that is why it lasts so long. Take for instance the affair of Hollywood stars Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn. A fiercely independent and vocal woman, Hepburn remained loyal to and madly in love with Spencer Tracy for 27 long years, knowing fully well he was married.
Tracy didn’t want to divorce his wife Louise because he was a Catholic. Hepburn, who has mentioned in her autobiography that she had a selfish streak, that’s why she didn’t want children, was totally smitten by Tracy. Theirs was the most famous affair in Hollywood but Tracy kept it a secret from his wife.
They were never seen in public and maintained separate residences. But when Tracy fell ill, Hepburn took a 5-year break from her career and looked after him till his demise in 1967.
Their relationship could be termed as a lifelong extramarital affair but one that had a kind of love that was rare.
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3. Benefits of extramarital affairs
We have the tendency to look down on extramarital affairs as something illegitimate, something that comes with more problems than bliss.
But extramarital affairs that turn into love and last a lifetime do come with certain benefits. Partners in lasting extramarital affairs become each other’s support system.
Rory Lane (name changed) found out about her husband’s extramarital affair only after his death when he left a part of his fortune in his Will to a lady whose name she had never heard from him.
When she went to her place she realised that it was she who had given him all the money that he needed to start his business 30 years back. She used to be his high-school sweetheart but things didn’t work out between them till they met years later. When they met again he was struggling as a jobless family man and she was a successful career woman.
Their affair remained discreet till his death but she was the pillar in his life. The benefits of an extramarital affair can extend to your marriage too by giving it a boost in the most odd ways.
4. A lifelong extramarital affair can be stronger than a marriage
When it’s an extramarital affair it would not have a legal recognition but since two people are in the relationship because they are in love, the bond is stronger than it is in a marriage.
There are instances when partners in an extramarital affair have supported and sacrificed for each other in a way that married people would not be able to do.
Gina Jacobson (name changed) whose mother was in a long extramarital affair with a neighbor told us that when her father was diagnosed with cancer it was “uncle” who paid the bills and stayed up by his bedside when he would be in pain.
Gina said, “When we were teenagers we used to hate uncle, for his intimacy with my mother. But as we left home to settle in other places we would come back to see the three of them looking after each other and I often wondered how my father accepted it. But as children we couldn’t do for my father in his last days, what uncle did.”
Can extramarital affairs be true love? Gina’s experience explains that. Doesn’t it?
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5. A long extramarital affair can cause extreme pain
How long do extramarital affairs usually last? If we look at the average timeframe of an extramarital affair it does not go beyond a year and usually ends within that.
When it’s that short lived no one actually gets to know about it. But when an affair lasts beyond a year and goes on to linger for years it’s inevitable it won’t remain discreet.
Most often the affair is discovered by a spouse and even growing children start getting a whiff of it and they develop a sense of resentment towards the parent who is involved in the affair.
A long extramarital affair becomes a constant bone of contention between spouses. If they continue in the marriage it’s like living with another person in between them and this causes extreme pain and mental trauma.
Children often face barbs and taunts in peer groups when their parent’s affair becomes known. It becomes really hard for them to function socially.
6. Successful extramarital affairs are rare
There are rare cases when an extramarital affair results in a marriage. A friend of mine was in an affair with a married man for more than five years. She was single but he was married, wealthy and had a lot of property. He finally decided to divorce his wife.
But they got locked in such a long battle over the divorce and couldn’t settle his wife’s demands for property share, that it started having an impact on my friend’s relationship with the man. He couldn’t cope with his divorce.
She told me, “Till we were having the affair everything was hunky dory. He dropped into my flat, we went on holidays together. But when his divorce battle started he got so stressed out that after a point we realised that was the only thing we were talking about. I stopped looking forward to a life with him because it felt so troublesome. Eventually we broke up.”
Not everyone can be like Prince Charles and Camilla. So how do we look at successful extramarital affairs then? If the affair partners can get married eventually is it success or if they can carry on a lifelong affair do we look at it as successful?
In that case successful extramarital affair becomes a subjective term and can only be decided according to the way the affair partners look at it.
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7. It is mentally stressful
A lifelong extramarital affair comes with emotional bonding, love and inevitable expectations. In that case a married person has to constantly maintain two relationships and that becomes really stressful after a point of time.
Do they have to constantly do a balancing act? If they are in love with someone else that means they lack that attachment with their spouse. So how do they conduct themselves physically and mentally with their spouse? Do they sleep in separate bedrooms or keep practicing mercy sex?
If they are continuing in the marriage and not walking out of it with their affair partner there must be some compulsions – that could be the children, not wanting to hurt their spouse or not wanting to break up the family.
So in that case how do they divide time between their affair partner and their family? When an affair is short lived these factors don’t come into play but in case of a long-term affair things can become complicated and get really mentally taxing.
8. A lifelong extramarital affair can become complicated
As such an extramarital affair, no matter how short it is, can complicate your life. And the longer it goes on the complications could grow.
For starters it’s very hard to keep a long affair hidden no matter how hard you try. It’s inevitable a spouse would find out and then you have to tell them that it’s over. But if you carry on with you continue with lies and deceit and at the same time try to rebuild trust with your spouse. Horribly complicated – isn’t it?
On the other hand if you want to stay honest and let them know that you want to continue the affair then you have to deal with their pain of feeling being cheated.
On the one hand in a long relationship with an affair partner when there is an understanding that you are in it for the long haul then they would have expectations and demands that have to be met.
If it’s an affair where both parties are married then there are chances of adult children interfering in the affair. On the whole the scenario stands at becoming extremely complicated in the long run.
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9. There could be a feeling of being stuck
A successful lifelong extramarital affair can be about having a great sex life and emotional bonding that transforms into love. You also deal with all the complications and the stress just to be together.
But sometimes people in such affairs get into a position where they might feel stuck. Just because a long time has passed they feel a certain obligation to carry on the affair but in their heart they might want a way out because they are tired of dealing with the questions from the spouse.
The affair could become like a habit that they cannot do without or they are in it because they cannot imagine their affair partner with someone else. But in reality they feel trapped and stuck and they are often left with the feeling that they lost too much to continue the affair. That’s not a good thing though.
Lifelong extramarital affairs have its pros and cons but we laid bare 9 truths about it that you must know.
It is rare but some extramarital affairs can last a lifetime. The extramarital affair of Hollywood stars Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy lasted for 27 years till Tracy died in 1967.
It is not possible to sustain long-term affairs if there is no love or emotional bonding that we also call emotional infidelity. People do fall in love when they are in long-term affairs.
When it comes to long-term affairs there is not only love and bonding there is also a sense of belonging, a habit of being together. The affair becomes a part and parcel of their life, something without which they feel a sense of emptiness. That’s why it’s so hard to end it.
Society was polygamous at one time but gradually to make things more organized and to make inheritance of property easier monogamy was advocated. But basically human beings can be polygamous and love two people at the same time.
Affairs start when two people feel an attraction towards each other, when they feel that the other person will be able to fulfill what is lacking in the marriage and when they are ready to cross the social boundaries to be with each other.