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User Topic: Why are affairs so prevalent?
Marriedman2013
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Member # 39254
Default  Posted: 10:56 AM, January 19th (Sunday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I do not post much but read a ton on here and other sites. I know there is no easy answer to this question but why are affairs so prevalent? Is there a common underlying characteristic that waywards share? Is it a tweaked chromosome within our DNA, that makes some people more susceptible to addiction or obessive behavior. I know there are no absolutes in life, but the prevelance of infidelity in our society and others suggets there has to be some shared tendancies, personalites, etc. I dont know and am just asking a question.

I think for the analytical person that I am, i need to know what the underlying cause of affairs might be. I am not looking for an excuse for my behavior, i am trying to understand and fix who I am so that this doesnt happen again. Without understanding and knowledge what may have led me down this road, then i think change can't really happen.

For some background, I was in a off/on 6yr LTA affair that ended in 2013. I have gone NC multiple times and have failed. I am in therapy. I have been married for 23 years with 2 teenage sons.


Posts: 21 | Registered: May 2013 | From: Midwest
painfulpast
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Member # 41038
Default  Posted: 11:05 AM, January 19th (Sunday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

BS here. Great question.

I think that we see so many affairs because life is boring. Sorry, but that's it. We are all capable of making errors in judgement. We are all capable of deceit, to anyone. We've all done it. We may have had an A, or lied about how much money was spent, or maybe withhold information about something. We all make excuses and justify it, but in the end it's usually about not wanting to deal with any repercussions for doing something we shouldn't have done.

First, taking a spouse or LTSO for granted is easy. They are always there. They are just a part of you. Second, that 'sparks fly' feeling tends to leave, and if it's not nurtured, it goes very deep into hiding. We all love that feeling. Affairs give that feeling.

So, a person in an A convinces themselves that it isn't that bad. They 'rewrite' the marriage to justify the A, because they want that feeling, and they are so used to their spouse, they can't imagine the spouse not being there. So the cheat. The lies flow. It all seems 'ok' because what the BS doesn't know won't hurt them, the WS just wants some fun and excitement, and who's getting hurt right?

Then DDay hits. The BS may leave. The real damage is out. The WS cannot believe it was them that did this. How? How did they become 'that' person? Where did this all go wrong?

That's how I see it anyway. I could be very very wrong. I'm just basing it off of what my fWH says, and what I've read for several years on the subject.

I would, however, LOVE some counter opinions on this!

Thanks!!


The stones from my enemies, these wounds will mend
but I cannot survive the roses from my friends

Posts: 1888 | Registered: Oct 2013 | From: East Coast
dogg
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Member # 41995
Default  Posted: 11:27 AM, January 19th (Sunday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

So, a person in an A convinces themselves that it isn't that bad. They 'rewrite' the marriage to justify the A, because they want that feeling, and they are so used to their spouse, they can't imagine the spouse not being there. So the cheat. The lies flow. It all seems 'ok' because what the BS doesn't know won't hurt them, the WS just wants some fun and excitement, and who's getting hurt right?

This is sooo true. My A was so much fun. It was new and exciting. It was almost like an adrenaline high. My AP desired me sexually, my W didn't at the time. I'm hoping that will change. It did seem okay at the time. Now that D DAy had happened I realize that it wasn't at all okay. I now despise my AP.


If I could turn back time.

Posts: 41 | Registered: Jan 2014
HardenMyHeart
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Member # 15902
Default  Posted: 12:11 PM, January 19th (Sunday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I know there are no absolutes in life, but the prevelance of infidelity in our society and others suggets there has to be some shared tendancies, personalites, etc.

All affairs are unique, but I have found that many WS's do share common patterns and traits. The most prevalent of which is poor personal boundaries; meaning the person was able to betray their own personal core and moral beliefs (for example infidelity, lying, cheating, stealing, etc.). A person with strong personal boundaries and convictions would not allow this to happen.

People are complex and life throws many obstacles in our path. When we are faced with a situation that we feel will bring us happiness and/or avoid some kind of suffering we often make poor choices. This is where our personal boundaries should kick-in to guide us on what is right or wrong.

We all make the best decisions we can given our wisdom at the time. The fact that you failed NC so many times says a lot about yourself and how much you are struggling. This is a strong indicator you are suffering emotionally (i.e. you're somehow unsatisfied with your current situation) and believe your happiness depends on your extra-marital relationship. In my opinion, you need to address the root of your emotional suffering and determine why your life feels unfulfilled.

Happiness comes from within. This may sound clichéd, but it is true.

[This message edited by HardenMyHeart at 1:31 PM, January 19th (Sunday)]


Me: BH, Her: FWW - Long Term EA/PA
d-day: June 25, 2007
Married 30 years, Reconciled

Inner peace begins the moment you choose not to allow another person or event to control your emotions.


Posts: 5641 | Registered: Aug 2007
painfulpast
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Member # 41038
Default  Posted: 1:36 PM, January 19th (Sunday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

All affairs are unique,

Respectfully, I disagree with this. The nitty gritty details are different, but at the core there are only a handful of affairs. The exit, the midlife crisis, the flat out cheater, etc. There really are only a few types of affairs.

This is what I've read from several experts on the subject. Yes, I believe it, so it's my opinion too, but I didn't make this theory up.

Maybe we aren't discussing the same base point?


The stones from my enemies, these wounds will mend
but I cannot survive the roses from my friends

Posts: 1888 | Registered: Oct 2013 | From: East Coast
Marriedman2013
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Member # 39254
Default  Posted: 1:58 PM, January 19th (Sunday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Harden my heart, i agree that there is an emotional hole that i am trying to fill. I have spent alot of time in therapy exploring this but still dont feel like I have found the answer. My moral beliefs and personal boundaries were strong up to this point in life when I met this person. Crossing the "line" had never been a thought I ever considered. I am still digging for what my core really is.

Painful past, i dont know that i fully agree that affairs happen because life is boring. I had a very active, busy life when my affair began, so i think its deeper than that for me.


Posts: 21 | Registered: May 2013 | From: Midwest
painfulpast
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Member # 41038
Default  Posted: 2:00 PM, January 19th (Sunday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Hi MM2013,

I didn't mean boring in a 'stay home always, do nothing but TV' sense. I meant that 'spark', that feeling you get from a new love interest, is not there after time with a spouse. THAT is boring in the 'romance' department.

Like you said, you never thought about it, until you met this person. That 'spark' took over. I'm not saying you specifically. I think many people would say they never thought of cheating until they were cheating. I believe in many cases, thats why. That 'spark' is pretty enticing.


The stones from my enemies, these wounds will mend
but I cannot survive the roses from my friends

Posts: 1888 | Registered: Oct 2013 | From: East Coast
Prayingforhope
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Member # 41801
Default  Posted: 2:10 PM, January 19th (Sunday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

There is a psychoanalytic perspective that a lot of affairs are driven by men trying to cover up deeper emotional problems. A lot of this can stem from childhood trauma, abuse, etc. but the core is the same - the man is not emotionally "above water" on their own and in lieu of facing their own trauma, fears or depression, they enter into an affair.

The affair, at first, gets the man to emotional balance where they feel 'normal', but like any artificial addictive, if you're not dealing with the underlying issues, the effect wears off.

I was also in an LTA for 6 years, on and off, and I can tell you from a LOT of IC that this accounted for a good portion of my "reason why". I may be unique in this, but since DDay I initiated NC with the OW and haven't thought about her once. She just wasn't important to me at any deep level, and she was just one more defense I was using to hide from from my real problems.

I think there is a lot to be said from PainfulPast's explanation and I assume a lot of A do occur for just that reason, but it doesn't explain my situation. For that I'm digging into some dark places...


WH 41
BS 40
D-Day Oct 28th, 2013
Together 18 years
Three amazing boys 12, 9 & 6
Praying for hope daily

Posts: 260 | Registered: Dec 2013
HardenMyHeart
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Member # 15902
Default  Posted: 2:47 PM, January 19th (Sunday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

The nitty gritty details are different

That is what I meant by unique.


Me: BH, Her: FWW - Long Term EA/PA
d-day: June 25, 2007
Married 30 years, Reconciled

Inner peace begins the moment you choose not to allow another person or event to control your emotions.


Posts: 5641 | Registered: Aug 2007
Marriedman2013
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Member # 39254
Default  Posted: 2:48 PM, January 19th (Sunday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Prayingforhope, I am tend to lean to this thought as well, but there was no abuse or trauma in my childhood. My childhood was good, but what was lacking was the physical or emotional expression of love from my parents. I knew/know that my parents loved me, it just really isnt expressed in my family, even to this day. How much of this has played a role in my affair?

Did my marriage fill this emotional hole for awhile and when that no longer did, i needed another source. I think that my emotional maturity and self worth were never really fully developed because there was no input of that from home. I know that healthly self worth and emotional maturity needs to be found within ourselves, i just clearly havent found it yet.


Posts: 21 | Registered: May 2013 | From: Midwest
LA44
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Member # 38384
Default  Posted: 2:59 PM, January 19th (Sunday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

In our case...

Poor boundaries (see behavior prior to A and/or other family members too)
Poor coping skills when things got tough
Conflict Avoider - didn't avoid that in the end did he?!

Sadly, I honestly think we will see more A's/drug and alcohol use in future generations due to poor boundary/coping skills.


Me: 44
He: 47 WH
Married: 15 years
D Day: December 2012
Affair: Fall 2009 - Dec. 2011
R is not linear

Posts: 2228 | Registered: Feb 2013 | From: Canada, eh
totalheartbreak
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Member # 41589
Default  Posted: 4:05 PM, January 19th (Sunday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

BS here - so this will color my response.

The most prevalent of which is poor personal boundaries; meaning the person was able to betray their own personal core and moral beliefs (for example infidelity, lying, cheating, stealing, etc.). A person with strong personal boundaries and convictions would not allow this to happen.

I have such difficulty understanding this.
I mean, if the boundaries existed, they couldn't/wouldn't be crossed.
I think it'd be more genuine if it was said that these people had no boundaries, or didn't understand what boundaries were.
My WW says her behavior violated every fiber of her being... Really?
Because that didn't stop her... so I don't believe it.
I recovered everything, there wasn't an ounce of regret or hesitation.. so 'violated every fiber of her being' seems like more lip service.

Please note, at this point, I am questioning everything. I do not understand, believe or accept anything at face value anymore... likewise, my opinion on boundaries will probably change in the next day or two.


Me: BH (30s)
Wayflost: WW (30s)
"Ever notice those that advocate anything for 'happiness' are perennially unhappy?"

Posts: 145 | Registered: Dec 2013
HardenMyHeart
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Member # 15902
Default  Posted: 4:49 PM, January 19th (Sunday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

My WW says her behavior violated every fiber of her being... Really?

That means your WW knew and understood what she was doing was inappropriate and damaging to herself, her marriage and to others; however, she was still unable to stop herself from having the affair. This is one of the main reasons affairs are so prevalent. For some, the allure of the affair can be so strong it can overpower (or even alter) their sense of right and wrong.

Please note, at this point, I am questioning everything. I do not understand, believe or accept anything at face value anymore...

Don't ever lose that, even for non-infidelity related things. Always balance faith with wisdom.

[This message edited by HardenMyHeart at 4:54 PM, January 19th (Sunday)]


Me: BH, Her: FWW - Long Term EA/PA
d-day: June 25, 2007
Married 30 years, Reconciled

Inner peace begins the moment you choose not to allow another person or event to control your emotions.


Posts: 5641 | Registered: Aug 2007
2B1again
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Default  Posted: 6:09 PM, January 19th (Sunday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

As another person in long term married and monogamous loving union for over 24 years before I committed adultery and engaged in a 4yr LTA, I also would like to understand the answer to this question. I agree that affairs come down to a handful of categories. However it is the LTA's with repeated NC's or On and Offs that are most baffling. I think it is fairly easy to come to some consensus of why's. The rush, boundaries, arrogance, self centeredness, etc. These reasons or labels are the title of their respective chapters; it is the text within these chapters that is so hard to discover and explain.
How could I have been so arrogant?, How could I have been lacking personal boundaries? How could I have lied all those years? It is a daunting task to understand and one that humankind has yet to fully grasp and evolve from. It seems that our human condition has to evolve individually and not collectively.


me- WH 51
her-BS 49
DS(26) DD(23)
Married 27 years
LTA 4yrs
DD1 1/2010
False R
DD2 8/2013

Posts: 15 | Registered: Sep 2013 | From: NW US
solus sto
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Default  Posted: 7:09 PM, January 19th (Sunday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I think for the analytical person that I am, i need to know what the underlying cause of affairs might be.
Gently and respectfully, no. You don't need to know this. You need to know the underlying cause of your affair.

I wonder: Is pondering the foibles of humanity while you're still standing in the wreckage of your individual behavior--distracting yourself from the real work at hand---wise?

For now, I'd wager your BS really isn't concerned with why affairs are so prevalent. She is reeling from yours.

As are you. And I would imagine that feels awful. But while it may be soothing to distance yourself from your actions with analysis of societal ills, it likely will not effect the changes that are required now.

Even if R is not in the cards, it's worthwhile to figure yourself out. The rest of humankind can wait a while.

(And really--I *get* your analytical impulse--I do. I just know how destructive it can be.)

[This message edited by solus sto at 9:34 AM, January 20th (Monday)]


BS-me, 52
WH (Trac-fone), 52, PD
2 kids-DD25, DS18
multiple d-days
DIVORCING
Alone, most strangely, I live on~Rupert Brooke

Posts: 8584 | Registered: Jan 2011 | From: midwest
918Mama
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Default  Posted: 7:16 PM, January 19th (Sunday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I think you've gotten some great answers here. Especially bad boundaries and poor coping skills. I'm going to add a few more in.

There's this concept of HALT. When you're about to make a decision to do something, you should stop and ask yourself: am I Hungry? Angry? Lonely? Tired? Those are often the root causes of bad choices. Which ties back to poor coping skills and if you have bad boundaries on top of it? Well hello...now all you need is someone else unhealthy to act out with and there you go.

Second, we are sick. Our brains are sick. Abuse, FOO issues, exposure to pornography at a young age, circumstances beyond our control...they've all added to this epidemic of illness. Our brains take the abuse and suffer. Without the proper balance of chemicals in our brains, we are forced to self medicate. Some people have a beer. Some smoke a cigarette. Some get on Facebook and connect with a past love.

We are all a little broken friend. We need to find out why and invest in our health to keep from making these bad choices again.

I remember my therapist telling me once "the safest person is the one in recovery." I get it now. I want to be with people who know exactly how unsafe they were and are open about their recovery, instead of ones who have no idea how sick they really are.

Keep working through it...


Surrender to what is. Let go of what was. Have faith in what will be. -- Sonia Ricotti

Posts: 537 | Registered: Dec 2012
pointofnoreturn
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Default  Posted: 12:11 AM, January 20th (Monday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

(DISREGARD THIS SINCE I'M WRONG)

I guess I'd look at this from a scientific perspective. If you look at us in our caveman days, we weren't programmed to be monogamous. Fidelity took a back seat if it meant a man could get as many women pregnant as possible.

However, over time, I believe as we developed civilizations, monogamy became popular because well, we're a social species and well, fucking another man's partner doesn't do well for the survival of your tribe.

I think people cheat is because there is still a very primal part of our brain. If you look at the "wild children", those who grew up with little to no social interaction from neglectful homes, they literally act like animals acting on pure instinct. It is my belief therefore we act "human" due to social conditioning.

Since we all have this primal instinct, everyone is prone to lying, cheating, stealing, murder, etc. Though some are more prone in certain aspects than others. How or why an affair ever occurs is a little different depending on the situation, but I think a vast majority of them can be boiled down to that selfish primal thinking.

I guess thinking of it this way makes me realize that I'm human. I've done the most horrible thing ever, but maybe this dumb ape can learn to be better than that.

[This message edited by pointofnoreturn at 3:12 AM, January 21st (Tuesday)]


Me- WGF 22
Him- BBF 21
Ddays:
August 2011
September 26th, 2013

"A lesson is learned. Life is. Simply. There is no Death. There is no Before. There is no After. All is in Flux. Simply."


Posts: 187 | Registered: Oct 2013
SlowUptake
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Default  Posted: 2:24 AM, January 20th (Monday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

There is a psychoanalytic perspective that a lot of affairs are driven by men trying to cover up deeper emotional problems. A lot of this can stem from childhood trauma, abuse, etc. but the core is the same - the man is not emotionally "above water" on their own and in lieu of facing their own trauma, fears or depression, they enter into an affair.

The affair, at first, gets the man to emotional balance where they feel 'normal', but like any artificial addictive, if you're not dealing with the underlying issues, the effect wears off.


Or maybe we're just a bunch of self-centered, entitled asshats.

I guess I'd look at this from a scientific perspective. If you look at us in our caveman days, we weren't programmed to be monogamous. Fidelity took a back seat if it meant a man could get as many women pregnant as possible.

However, over time, I believe as we developed civilizations, monogamy became popular because well, we're a social species and well, fucking another man's partner doesn't do well for the survival of your tribe.

Really? Scientific?
Actually getting as many women pregnant as possible by one male in a tribal unit is anti-survival, the increase of birth defects caused by inbreeding would quickly put an end to the tribe.

I believe as we developed civilizations, monogamy became popular

Because the system is reasonable effective in advancing the species.

[This message edited by SlowUptake at 5:15 AM, January 20th (Monday)]


Me:WS,50+
Her:BS,50+ (WantToWakeUp)
Married 33yrs
Dday Dec 2009

"Do not say a little in many words but a great deal in a few." Pythagoras

There are two kinds of people in the world.
Those who can extrapolate from incomplete data.


Posts: 390 | Registered: Aug 2013 | From: Limbo in Oz
pointofnoreturn
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Default  Posted: 9:27 AM, January 20th (Monday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Look back then. Successful births like today were low, and it was even lower for a child to survive the first few years without dying of some illness. If you're up against those odds, your ultimate goal as a man would be to spread your seed. No where did I mention inbreeding at all.

Think back to how wars were handled. One of the rewards of winning a war was taking the women. These women were of different tribes. Obviously they will take them as their own and make them baby incubators.

Our primal nature is truly misogynistic, but that's what happened before we developed these morals and compassion.


Me- WGF 22
Him- BBF 21
Ddays:
August 2011
September 26th, 2013

"A lesson is learned. Life is. Simply. There is no Death. There is no Before. There is no After. All is in Flux. Simply."


Posts: 187 | Registered: Oct 2013
bionicgal
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Default  Posted: 9:45 AM, January 20th (Monday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Our primal nature is truly misogynistic, but that's what happened before we developed these morals and compassion.

Not sure you are saying what you mean to say here. But if you are, then I'd say the evidence on this is not conclusive, or perhaps even significant.

And re: "Selfish, primal thinking" -- IDK. Certainly there are elements of lower level thinking (or, flat out choosing not to think) in many affairs, but your rationalization seems to lend an air of legitimacy to affairs that I am not sure they warrant. ("My primal nature made me do it!") That sounds so much more forgivable than, "I was a . . ." (ETA: Took out less flattering representation here. Not sure if it is ok for Wayward forum.)

[This message edited by bionicgal at 9:46 AM, January 20th (Monday)]


me - BS (40s)
DDay - June 2013, A was 2+ months, EA then PA
In MC & Reconciling
An affair is more like a mental break than a relationship.

I edit, therefore I am.


Posts: 1887 | Registered: Jul 2013 | From: USA
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