Extramarital affairs can be completely devastating to a marriage, affecting everyone involved deeply. The spouse who is cheated on is the most affected. They are always left feeling abandoned, insecure and with a lot of self-esteem issues.
As surprising as it may seem, a study reported that in 1 out of every 3 marriages, one or both the spouses admit to having cheated on the significant other. So extramarital affairs aren’t exactly news. They happen quite frequently. And if you thought infidelity is only practiced by couples who are unhappy, you are wrong.
Affairs are not uncommon in couples who seem to have perfectly happy marriages. There are many risk factors that lead to extramarital affairs and we have summed them up below.
Risk Factors That Make You Likely To Have Extramarital Affairs
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How can extramarital affairs happen to self-described happy couples, one may ponder. The truth is, there are certain characteristics in a marriage and in an individual that place one at the risk of cheating. All marriages have their problems.
Long-distance relationship problems, constant arguments, lack of understanding or a general dissatisfaction – extramarital affairs can arise if any of these things pose a threat to your seemingly perfect marriage.
If the problems are persistent and not worked upon, it can even lead to lifelong extramarital affairs that can completely destroy the marriage one is currently in. 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.
Here are 8 warning signs of extramarital affairs that will tell you that your marriage is on the rocks and if you don’t do something soon, you might end up making a decision you will regret:
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 is higher.
Moreover, it is easier to blame the relationship stress and relationship arguments 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 content with what they have in life. They like to take risks and value excitement and thrills over stability. They’re just wired like that. Monotony and dullness are not things they endure very easily. This, unfortunately, can be one of the signs of having an affair soon.
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.
Related Reading: 20 Myths And Facts About Cheating In A Marriage
3. Growing familiarity with extramarital affairs
This is one of the biggest triggers and risk factors that extramarital affairs might be cooking soon. 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 in your social circle, you will probably think that way too.
This is one major reason that office romances and cheating at the workplace are on a 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 connection outside the marriage.
It is unfortunate but true that a sexless marriage is bound to go south very quickly. Many married men and women cheat just because of a 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.
Related Reading: 12 Warning Signs Of Gaslighting And 5 Ways To Deal With It
7. Forced and/or young marriages
Some people get married very young or are forced into marriage. Such marriages are often hollow, not real. Spouses may have sex, children and everything else that may look normal from outside, but the relationship is marred by an undercurrent of suppressed 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
This is one of the big warning signs of extramarital affairs. 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.
Feeling lonely in a relationship can be extremely difficult to deal with. One might not want to break away quickly but will look for security and love elsewhere. Slowly, frustrations start building up even though one is still married. Loneliness is often linked to unfaithfulness and extramarital affairs.
How Can You Avoid Having Extramarital Affairs?
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.
Be strong and believe in your relationship before taking hasty decisions and falling into the trap of extramarital affairs. Here are some things you can do once you identify the above risk factors:
1. 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.
2. 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.
Related Reading: 11 Ways To Improve Communication In Relationships
3. Create relationship goals
Avoid the signs of having an affair by being focused on making your relationship work. 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.
4. 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. 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 and say goodbye to those extramarital affairs.
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.
To put it simply, a relationship that makes you unhappy can lead to extramarital affairs. When one feels disconnected, lonely and insecure, one is bound to seek happiness elsewhere. The moment you feel like a relationship is not sustaining you or making your life better, becomes a huge risk factor.
There is no clear indication but they can start when one starts to feel empty and insecure. The moment one feels like they regret a marriage is also when extramarital affairs can start.
It depends on the nature of the affair and the nature of the previous marriage. But it is entirely possible