An Extramarital affair can be devastating to a marriage, affecting everyone involved deeply. The spouse who is cheated on is the most affected. Surprising as it may seem, a study reported that in 1 out of every 3 marriages, one or both the spouses admit to have cheated the significant other. And if you thought infidelity is only practised by couples who are unhappy, you are wrong. Affairs are not uncommon in couples who seem to have perfectly happy marriages.
8 risk factors that make you likely to have an extramarital affair
How can an affair happen to self-described happy couples, one may ask. The truth is, there are certain characteristics in a marriage and in an individual that place one at the risk of cheating. Infidelity is largely linked with these signs, and if you are able to identify and act on them, you may end up not going south.
The 8 biggest signs that make a marriage prone to extramarital affairs have been summed up as below:
1. Unhappy, stressed relationship
Couples in unhappy marriages try to break away from the stressed atmosphere and cheat. Not to say that happy marriages are immune to extramarital affairs, but when one is unhappy with a relationship, the inclination to cheat and find peace outside the marriage has more probability.
Moreover, it is easier to blame the relationship stress for this extreme step. Breaching trust seems justified and easier when you are in a chronically stressed marriage
2. People who like to experiment and take risks are likely to have an affair
Not everyone is satisfied with what they get in life. Some people like experimenting and do not feel contented with what they have in life. They like to take risks and value excitement and thrills over stability. People who have a risk-taking, experimenting, outgoing and flirtatious personality are likely to cheat in a marriage. Instead of making changes in the marriage and the way the relationship is functioning, such people escape the mundane routine by straying.
3. Growing familiarity of extramarital affairs
If a partner has relatives or friends cheating on their spouses, the risk of them having an affair also increases. If you have grown up in a family where extramarital affairs were considered all right, and there wasn’t much hue and cry over it, it is likely that you’d have the same views as well and would not regard an affair as something out of the ordinary.
The more familiar you are with others having an extramarital affair, the more likely you yourself are to fall prey to it.
4. Social environment
If your friends and colleagues are all right with having extramarital affairs and seem to think that it is normal to stray, you are also less likely to remain faithful in your marriage. The people we spend most of our time with influence the way we think and perceive things – so if affairs are accepted and even justified, you will probably think that way too.
This is one major reason that workplace affairs are on the huge rise.
5. Lack of intimacy with your spouse
As human beings, we all need that physical, intimate connect with our spouse to feel loved, wanted and valued. If your marriage has been lacking intimacy and you have not been making any attempts to address that, chances are you will look for that emotional connect outside the marriage. Many married men and women cheat just because of lack of intimacy and sex in their marriages.
6. Constant bickering and unhealthy atmosphere at home
Imagine someone constantly bickering about his or her unhappy life whenever you are with him or her. Should it come as a surprise if one of the spouses indulges in an extramarital affair? Also, abuse of any kind in a marriage can be a solid reason for one to look outside the marriage initially for support, and then as an affair. A lot of men and women who lead unhappy family lives get into affairs just to feel peace, happiness and someone appreciating them.
Some men simply start to spend time outside their homes because of their nagging wives.
7. Forced and/or young marriages
Some people get married very young, or are forced into a marriage. Such marriages are only showpieces, and not actual marriages. Spouses may have sex, children and everything else that may look normal from outside, but is actually a show of supressed emotions. Such people are emotionally vulnerable and can be easily convinced to have an extramarital affair. To seek happiness, and enjoy things they could not enjoy earlier, such people are drawn to the idea of living a double life too.
8. Tendency to avoid conflict
No two people living together can be exactly alike. That does not really sound probable. In a marriage, like in all other relationships, conflict is bound to arise. However, if partners choose to paint a rosy picture all the time and avoid conflicts, they impede any scope of personal expression. Slowly, frustrations start building up and a feeling of loneliness starts to develop, even though one is still married.
Loneliness is often linked to unfaithfulness.
How can you avoid having an extramarital affair?
Nothing feels worse than being betrayed by someone close to you. If any of the signs mentioned above are visible in your marriage, you need to get proactive and take steps to avoid falling prey to infidelity.
Make your relationship a priority
If it is important to you, work on it. Taking your partner and your marriage for granted is something a lot of us are guilty of, given the busy lives we all lead. However, it is important not to let your marriage fall down in the list of priorities. Little things in your marriage can make a big difference.
Communicate with your spouse
Talk and discuss with your spouse if something is bothering you. Share your frustrations, resentments and things that make you angry. If you feel disconnected, let your partner know. The key to a happy marriage that does not warrant a space for the third person is keeping the communication lines open.
Create relationship goals
Arrive at a few relationship goals with your spouse. Share your commitments with each other and draw a common ground on how you feel your relationship should be. Create goals that are achievable and then put them up somewhere where you can see them daily. They will remind you of your fantasies and make you work on them.
Get romantic and share a good sex life
Marriage, as it ages, takes a toll on sex and romance, not necessarily in the same order. Talk about how you and your spouse can make things more exciting for you. Know your partner’s idea of romance and share yours. Not everyone is born a romantic, but a few tips here can help you. Devise a plan to work on your sex life and make sure both of you enjoy each other. Turn romantic for each other with simple ideas.
Consciously decide to work on your sex life together and see the difference. Be imaginative and creative.
If you thought extramarital affairs happen just like that, it is not so. It is these choices and steps in our married life that we take which pave the way for extramarital affairs. If you spot the signs that make you or your spouse vulnerable to having an affair, work on fixing it.