Infidelity—unfaithfulness in a marriage or committed relationship—can severely strain a relationship and the individuals involved. One partner’s affair can leave the other person feeling devastated, alone, betrayed, jealous, confused, and aggrieved. Sometimes, an affair ends a relationship, and other times couples are able to repair the relationship on their own or with the help of a therapist, often making the relationship stronger as a result.
Studies show that although adults in the United States (other than those in polyamorous or open relationships) generally expect sexual monogamy in their relationships, up to 20% will engage in extramarital sex at some point. Affairs happen for myriad reasons, but one main reason appears to be relationship dissatisfaction. In general, a successful relationship requires feelings of stability and security, physical and emotional intimacy, and companionship. When any one of these is deficient, one or both partners are likely to feel dissatisfied, and dissatisfaction in a relationship can increase the likelihood of infidelity.
Adultery does not always occur as a result of relationship dissatisfaction, though. Sometimes a partner may enter an affair based on personal dissatisfaction or for the personal gratification of obtaining an ego boost, a new sexual experience, or shared emotional intimacy.
Some of the reasons a person may engage in infidelity include:
- Low self-esteem
- Primary relationship dissatisfaction
- As an exit strategy to end the primary relationship
- A lack of emotional intimacy in the primary relationship
- Sex addiction
- Avoidance of personal or relationship problems
10 Signs Of An Affair
But if you notice three more of these signs, pay attention: they’re hints that he has pulled away from you and could be moving toward someone else, she says.
1. He’s suddenly shaving
If your husband’s grooming habits have changed for the better, you might be concerned that you’re not the one he’s trying to impress.
Maybe it is just a little harmless flirting with a cute new girl in the office who makes him feel young again, or maybe it’s something worse. You won’t know just by sniffing him, but you can certainly get your first clue
2. He’s dressing better
A new haircut may not be the only physical change.
While you may be thrilled that he’s finally dressing better, that slicker, trendier attire may be geared for someone else altogether.
3. He has a new favorite
Has your husband started wearing a special something when he goes to a particular place? A new favorite golfing sweater or fancy gym bag?
4. The devil is in the details
Suddenly no one has a name. He was out with “the guys” or “people from work” and doesn’t feel like getting specific, adding that it was just the usual crowd of friends.
He can’t remember the name of the place that they went to for dinner, either. Getting details out of your man is now like pulling teeth.
Be even more worried if he gives you details that change the next time you ask. This is almost certainly a sign he’s having an affair.
5. His phone or computer becomes a secret
Does your husband always leave the room to take a call or is his cell phone now locked?
6. He’s bored and preoccupied
He never wants to go out and do things with you, but he acts bored and restless when he’s home. He could be thinking about his new fling instead of being in the moment with you and your family.
Sure, his behavior could be due to stress from work, but it could also be a signal that there’s marital danger ahead.
7. He’s withdrawn
Simple signs of affection such as holding hands might become few and far between if your husband is having an affair. He also may pull away if you initiate contact.
8. He has new tricks up his sleeve
If you’re still having sex, has it gone from OK to outrageously good? Has he suddenly learned a new trick in bed when he’s not typically the adventurous kind?
This could be a reaction to how sexy his new fling makes him feel.
Sure, he might have seen the move on the Internet or heard a buddy bragging. But once you come down from the rush of a newfound pleasure, ask yourself where you think he really learned to touch you like that.
9. The sex has soured
A slide in sex drive also may be a sign he’s having an affair. Is the sex quicker and less passionate than usual? Or is it simply nonexistent? Perhaps he doesn’t spoon you anymore.
10. He shifts blame If your husband is unexpectedly getting defensive, it could be a sign of cheating. When you ask him why he’s late, he launches into a rant about how hard he works and how little you appreciate him.
The Six Steps Of Recovery After An Affair
Here are six steps that will help you move through the aftershocks of an affair so that you can recover your equilibrium as a couple.
Step 1: Take care of yourself.
If you are in the crisis phase, if you just found out about your partner’s affair, it’s normal to feel distraught. You may be overwhelmed and in shock. It’s important to take care of yourself at this time. Even if you have a family to care for, your needs must come first now. Remember, you can’t pour from an empty pitcher. Take care of yourself during this phase by letting yourself feel your feelings, getting sufficient rest and nutrition, and finding a support system. You may want to do additional self-care, like massage, acupuncture, or yoga. Think of friends you can call whenever you need to talk. Being alone in your pain can make it harder. Find an online group of helpful, nonjudgmental people to help support you right now.
Step 2: Communicate. Learning to communicate can be difficult, and if your style or skills at dealing with conflict before the affair weren’t great, they are probably not helping you now. The skills you can learn in a book like The New Monogamy will give you a good framework for communicating within your relationship. You will need to carve out some time to practice your new communication skills, and you may need a therapist to help you do that. Or you can use the exercises in the book to practice a new kind of dialogue about your feelings and needs with your partner.
Step 3: Have a date night. If you choose to stay together, set aside one night a week just for you and your partner. This is time that is separate from therapy and the children. You may feel awkward at first, as if you were dating, just as you did in the beginning of your relationship. But you need this time to explore your new relationship together. On your date, find something other than the affair to talk about. Give each other a break on date night by keeping things light and polite. Even if you are feeling intense emotions, you may need a break from the constant worry and frustration.
Step 4: Address the reality. Why did the affair happen? Through insight and discussion, you will explore together how you got to this place. Now that you are taking care of yourself, practicing your communication skills, and setting aside time to be together, you can begin the real work of figuring out how you both created the path you are now on. Only one of you may have cheated, but both of you need to change now if you are to stay together. In what ways can each of you grow from this experience?
Step 5: Create a new monogamy agreement. Your new monogamy agreement will clear away all the unspoken expectations that led to the betrayal and hurt that you feel now. You can rewrite your agreement to include anything that the two of you may find valuable for your future. This new vision of your relationship going forward is a new beginning. It’s not a way to go back to your old relationship, but rather a way to create a new partnership based on a mutual understanding of what will work for both of you.
Step 6: Initiate erotic recovery. Spending a lifetime together and staying monogamous won’t be easy. Let’s face it: desiring one person for a lifetime doesn’t happen effortlessly. It happens because you apply the energy and practice it. Monogamy isn’t something that happens automatically because you made a vow when you first committed to each other. Monogamy is a practice. You must focus on it, honor it, and choose it every day. Working every day on your erotic life means that you are both committing to that practice. And as with anything that you need to practice, some days will go better than others. Eventually you will get better at it, until one day you may even find that you are monogamy experts.
Think your husband [or wife] is having an affair?
Here’s what you should do. 1. Don’t confront him [or her] until you know what you’ll do with the information, advises Peggy Vaughan. Do you really want to know the truth, or are you just hoping for reassurance? 2. Be open to the prospect of either staying or leaving, in order to make the best decision. 3. Don’t make the decision to divorce too quickly, or you will forever second-guess yourself. 4. If you do decide to stay, it takes about two years for the marriage to recover if both partners are committed to working on it. (Jennifer D’Angelo Friedman, in Tango.com article “Did Elin Woods ‘Look the Other Way’?”)
Recovering From An Affair – A Quote That Will Make You Smile
Recovering from an affair is not easy, and inspirational quotes have helped me along the way. I believe quotes are so powerful that they can literally give you a new perspective that can change your life. So today, I am going to share with you a quote I like, that helped me in personal recovery from my husband’s affair. I hope it will help you too.
“I believe everything happens for a reason, people change so you can let go. Things go wrong so you can appreciate them when they are right. You believe lies so that you will eventually trust no one but yourself, and sometimes, good things fall apart so better things fall together.”
I really like this quote because it touches on things that I think we are all striving to get out of this experience. The first sentence says that things happen in order for us to let go. So often we think things happen to us for negative reasons, when really they might be happening because it’s time for us let go of something (a relationship, a person, a job, etc.) and there is no other way to show us that it’s time.
The second line touches on appreciation. I really feel like when you go through a very painful relationship, the next time around (there will be either a next time or a new phase in your marriage), you will appreciate the non-painful relationship much more, whereas prior to the pain, you wouldn’t know how to appreciate that aspect of a relationship.
Next, let’s look at the part that talks about believing lies so that you learn to trust no one but yourself. This is deep. It is basically saying you should trust yourself and your instincts over anything else. Ask yourself, how many times should we believe our cheating husbands over our own feelings (especially prior to their affairs)? My interpretation of this sentence is that you should trust your instincts instead of worrying about forcing trust onto others.
Lastly, Marilyn Monroe says that sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together. Never underestimate the power of thinking that something good can come out of this bad experience.
As you go forth recovering from an affair, I hope this little quote gives you a glimmer of hope
Bob Marley once said
“You never know how strong you are, until being strong is your only choice.”
I really like this quote as it made me reflect on my own life experience. If you are faced with an affair in your marriage, it is often the most difficult time in the marriage. People always said what they will do in a situation, but until you are in it, you really don’t know what you will do. But the truth remains, that if you are dealing with an affair, it is a test of your strength, a test of how much you can endure and survive. You will utilize mental muscles that were never stretched before. You will feel emotions that were never felt. You will question life in ways that you never had prior.
And in the middle of the storm, you are developing something. Something so powerful that if you have the right perspective, it can change your life for the better. And that is strength. The day after my husband cheated someone in the family told me ‘It will be ok, you are going to be so much stronger because of this.’. I didn’t believe him, I was devastated. Stronger? Years later, he was right. Now that I have made it through that experience, I feel I can tackle more than I could before. I stand up for myself more. I do not tolerate mess.