Why Do Affairs Happen If You Aren't Bitchy or Frigid?

I was infuriated this morning by listening to some chappie on the TV saying, ‘well you never know what was going on at home, maybe it was a sexless marriage!’; PLLLLEASE!  That is such an urban myth, that affairs happen because the partner did something ‘wrong’.  I’m not saying that something was not going on in the relationship.  But because no one is taught what I’m about to explain to you, often the partner has no hope in hell of staving off the unfaithfulness of their partner.

Why do affairs happen if there is no bitchy wife or lack of sex?

Affairs are fascinating, as there really are reasons for them to occur, which explain what often appears to be totally illogical.  Take the recent captain of the english football team, with a beautiful wife and family; is he really so vacuous that he is incapable of refusing a woman who throws himself at him?  What about the famous golfer who appears to have slept with anything that walked, despite childhood distress when his Dad was unfaithful; why did he get himself into that situation?

The answer is a mixture of the points below, most of which you will never have heard of before (and I’ll keep blogging as well, to fill in the gaps and add extra information in the future, like why the ‘other woman’ gets involved, and can a relationship survive unfaithfulness).  p.s. I’ve used the words ‘victim’ and ‘culprit’ and ‘other woman’ just as convenient titles, but that is just for ease of identity, I don’t believe that it helps if you consider yourself to be the ‘wronged’ person, and I will continue to blog on ideas on how to pick yourself up afterwards, whichever role you played.

1) There is ‘baggage’ in both the ‘victim’s and ‘culprit’s emotional lives about unfaithfulness.

Either they have been unfaithful and it’s time for them to experience the opposite, or they are still upset about someone being unfaithful to them.  Often, I have found that the ‘baggage’ goes all the way back to the parents too and something that happened with them.  This is one of the key problems for the golfer, because he probably vowed he would never be like his Dad, but there is tremendous wisdom in the saying ‘Never say never’.  If we are unaware of the potential for being unfaithful, then we can easily get caught unawares.  Often, when we then discover with horror that we have done exactly that, the guilt paralyzes us, and we ironically keep doing it, because we just don’t understand how on earth we got there.

2) There is a change in the ‘victims’ empowerment levels.

It can either happen because they suddenly become disempowered or ironically because they become more empowered.  I bet this is particularly true of WAGS, because as they get more and more worried about their partner’s being unfaithful, they will become less and less sure of themselves.  If they are not sure of themselves, then they are not sure of their value, and their partner will subconsciously pick up on that.  When their partner picks up on the change they will either match it (by becoming more or less empowered) or look for someone else who matches what they used to be like.  Because of this affairs often happen at what appears to be the most ‘socially unacceptable’ point in time, because that is when the ‘victim’ is most disempowered, e.g. when they are pregnant (very prevalent).

3) ‘The victim’ is not selling themselves to their partner in terms of their partner’s values.

Values are what we think are important in life.  They give us purpose, and determine what we love to do and have.  In fact they are basically what makes us tick.  (If you would like a free ebook on values and how to start identifying yours and your loved ones, sign up for my free email newsletter).  The ‘victim’ may not be being horrid, but it could be as little as just taking their partner for granted a little or assuming that they will always be faithful.  It’s not very romantic to say this, but all relationships are a deal, where you show that your particular brand is better than all the other brands out there.  I know what you are going to say ‘but what about love’ or ‘but what about vows and promises’?  I totally know what you mean, but as a major people watcher and studier, I can ensure you that there’s no point in saying ‘but we SHOULD be faithful’, because that just isn’t the way life is, apart from a very small group of people who have an incredibly high value on faithfulness or loyalty.

Often, the person having the affair will have blamed all that is wrong in their life on their partner and assume all that is good is down to the new relationship or the high they get from the one night stands.  So they definitely have a tendency to not taking responsibility for their lives and what they are dissatisfied with.  Sometimes, they have terribly low self-esteem, and it would literally be impossible to pamper their ego’s as much as is required to keep them faithful.  Or sometimes, they have been spoilt so badly, that they literally have no impulse control or are easily swayed by people who are more important in their values (e.g. team/work mates).

Now this is obviously a complicated subject, so I’ve just started by giving you a taster in order to help you understand the rubbish behind the urban myths around affairs.  When I get a chance I will write some more, for example:

  • Why it is totally possible to survive an affair and come out of it with a better relationship (if you would like to)
  • Why it’s also OK to not stay in the relationship, but how to make sure you don’t end up repeating old mistakes
  • How come you ended up being the ‘other person’ in an affair
  • And loads more!

10 comments

  1. I don’t like commenting anonymously but this is personal to me. A very interesting article. My husband’s affair was triggered by me having PND. We didn’t realise I was suffering with it at the time and the marriage went downhill. However we worked hard at it, recovered and are now stronger than ever. I’m looking forward to your post on surviving an affair.

    1. Hiya Anon,
      I totally get why you would comment anonymously – the ‘problem’ with society is that it initially criticises the ‘bad buy’, but very soon it’s suspicious eyes then turn towards the ‘good guy’. Then if you actually stay and work through it, they definitely think that either the wife was desperate or had done something wrong. They don’t realise how many people have affairs and how prevalent it is, because we all keep quiet about it.
      Thanks for sharing about the PND – a very frequent time for an affair, because although society thinks that the husband ‘should’ be more understanding, it is unrealistic because they don’t always have the skills to recognise or deal with the problems.
      It’s great to get someone like you sharing how it can work out – thankyou for that as well.
      You are welcome anytime to contact me direct if you ever need to.

  2. Yes, please keep going.

    From the sentence “apart for the few who have a high value on loyalty” are you suggesting that the majority will be unfaithful at least once in their lives?

    Is an affair in many cases just an attemp to get your partners attention? Either by betraying them or being the betrayed?

    In my experience the betrayed probably quite liked the power being betrayed gave them and it was basically free game to have tantrums and feel like a proper “victim” and make sure their partner knew this and knew everything else that was potentially shitty and unsaid. I have a feeling prior to the affair the tables were turned, and the betrayer was the “victim” and made it hard on the betrayed to live out certain wants or express problems.

    So are you also saying, it’s absolutely ok to have an affair? I mean it probably hurts more because of it’s social status rather than the act itself? I mean being betrayed really makes you feel like a right loser socially. Hmm, which might go back to the subject of empowerment levels. What comes first, feeling like a loser or the affair to seal the deal on that assumption?

    And I’d definitely like to hear more about the third person or various other persons in the relationship.

    I don’t know about bitchy or grumpy, but I can imagine this to be an important topic for mothers and pregnant women, given that one could assume that the hormonal changes and changes in values will massively affect a relationship and how one’s partner feels during this time. It’s hard when someone new aka a baby becomes more important than the relationship.

    1. Great questions, thanks Hildi ….

      – Re your question ‘will the majority will be unfaithful at least once in their lives’?
      – Hmmm, I suspect that at some point in their lives many people would be physically unfaithful in a relationship, but not necessarily in a long term committed relationship. What I can guarantee is that they will be unfaithful in some way to their partner’s, even if it is in a more socially acceptable manner. For example, talking to a friend about private matters, not being honest about finances, eating stuff they promised they wouldn’t, having the odd fantasy about someone else etc etc.

      – Re your question ‘an affair in many cases just an attempt to get your partners attention? Either by betraying them or being the betrayed?’
      – I agree that with some people it would be, especially those ones where I mentioned the low self-esteem, or maybe a love of drama (we all love drama, but some love it in our lives, rather than on the TV). It depends on the person’s value system and what motivates them. But as the majority of unfaithful guys tend to want to actually remain in the relationship, it doesn’t appear that they had the affair in order to leave (although, I do know people who have done that too!). They certainly will highlight and bring problems to a head ;o)

      – Re betrayed and the power
      – People are so different. Yes, for some it would make sense that it would give them the ability to use guilt to gain power over their partner. For others it would be a wake up call to sort themselves out. The second is definitely the option that I would recommend! The great thing from their perspective is that they can feel very self-righteous when they ‘forgive’ the wrong doer!

      – Re is it OK to have an affair
      – I don’t believe that someone should leave a relationship, that they would prefer to stay in, just because society says that a physical affair is one of the worst sins. I am definitely sure that the world is not a totally cruel or unfair place, and that when I work with couples in this situation, I can prove to the ‘victim’ that there is no lack of love in the unfaithfulness. But just because there is bound to be a silver lining and therefore benefits for the ‘victim’, doesn’t mean that there are not consequences for the person who was unfaithful.

      – re what comes first – the affair or feeling like a loser
      – it would be the change in empowerment of the ‘victim’, either increasing wise or decreasing wise. I will try to blog as soon as possible for people in this situation so that they don’t continue to feel like a loser – depending on the arrival on babyno2!

      – re hormonal/pregnant women
      – yep, they do get affected by this a great deal, because socially in the UK we lose a lot of power generally when we become Mums, plus due to our lack of close community, there are very few sensible reality checks on what the first few years of having kids can be like!

      – re the third person
      – promise – there will be more about them too! Especially as often if the ‘victim’ doesn’t sort out their perspective on the betrayal that they see, they will often end up being the 3rd person later on!

  3. Hmmm….I guess that’s really all I can say. I just know for sure that being betrayed hurts, hurts hurts! It changes you completely, whether you like it or not. And it changes how you respond to relationships further on down the line in your life. Can a relationship survive unfaithfulnees??? I believe, that with Grace, Love and the help of God people can survive just about anything…but there will be work, struggle, pain and hardship along the way…but can you survive it? yes you can!

  4. first is to “DECIDE” to like the touch, or gesture, or words.

    Need to include studies done on brain chemistry.
    after the act:
    seratonin is released; this acts on the “bonding” receptors. In other words there is an instant bonding.

    Then you are “hooked”
    Very few marriages survive an affair.

    1. Hi, thanks for your comment. I’m not quite sure what you are saying – but are you suggesting that I should include studies done on brain chemistry?
      Infact, the thoughts occur before the brain chemistry kicks in – it is the thoughts that create the chemistry. So it is the thought, that this person suits them or matches their values better than the wife, that creates the chemical attraction to them (doesn’t sound very attractive or romantic, but it is how we work as people!).
      You are right, some people are addicted to the chemical dopamine, so they will constantly look to be supported by people, and the more prone to the addiction of infatuation.
      More marriages survive affairs than you might think, because many people go through the whole process incredibly quietly due to it being such a taboo subject. But I agree, that often the relationship will not survive, which is a shame, when with a little assistance they could. I’m not saying that they should, I just like to get people to the place where it doesn’t hurt any more, so that they can choose, rather than react to the situation.

  5. hey mummywhisperer, i recently got married and have just come back from my honeymoon, im fairly easy going and trust my man implicitly. I think overbearingness or too controlling can lead to temptation else where. Not ‘Bitchyness’ but just too full on if you know what i mean? the risk if you will of doing something frowened upon.

    Would love your thoughts on this

  6. Sorry for the delay in replying Jenny, your comment went into spam.
    I would say no worries at the moment – but make sure that in a few years time ‘trust implicitly’ doesn’t turn into ‘takes for granted’! I suppose I’m suggesting to help him not put himself into temptations way – there are women out there who prefer a married man as they have already shown they can commit (arghh!).
    You are right though that over-controlling and emasculating your man can be just as bad – often it will go the other way, they won’t have an affair, but won’t want sex with you either ;o)
    Congratulations on getting married, may you have a fabulous life together through all the ups and downs!

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