What leads to an affair or infidelity?
A few of the biggest questions someone asks after an affair are “Why? How could I not see this? Did I miss the signs? If only I had seen it, I could of done something different. How could they do this to our family?”
“Looking back now I begin to understand why this all happened. We were lost in the kids and lost in work. I was always worried about them, and not about my partner. I just thought my partner knew I loved them and that we would have time for each other once the kids were out of the house on their own. I guess we should have focused more on each other.”
This is an unprecedented level of heartbreak. At this point, you may wish that your heart couldn’t feel anything at all.
After you have been in a relationship for a significant period of time, it is not uncommon for couples get so caught up in the daily routine of life that they neglect the “spark” that attracted them to each other in the beginning.
There are a lot of reasons for affairs and no one can list them all, but we do see some themes that emerge in relationships that have suffered infidelity. Sometimes you and your partner may be looking for something more out of the relationship or maybe something is lacking. Here is a list of a few of them:
- Physical and emotional fulfillment
- Without making a conscious effort to fulfill your physical and emotional needs and those of your partner, it can become tempting to believe that you don’t care for each other that way anymore and you need to find those things in another relationship
- Feeling appreciated
- This feeling of unappreciation could begin with one partner falling out of love with the other or falling in love with someone else, and will likely begin with an emotional affair before progressing to a physical one
- Not finding joy or taking interest in your shared life and your individual lives can create a desire to find someone who you can enjoy being around and sharing common interests and experiences with
- An escape from the responsibilities and commitments of everyday life
- You and your partner have more responsibilities such as careers and children than you did in the beginning, and it is crucial to retain the fun and playful attitude that you started your relationship with as you mature
- You may be tempted to start a new relationship which makes you feel like you don’t have a care in the world and you can just blow off some steam at the end of a long week
- Sexual encounters to feed an addiction
- In this situation, an affair is just a symptom of a greater problem with sex or porn addiction
Many times betrayed partners ask, “Did I miss something?”
It is unlikely that you missed one thing, since the progression from a single relationship to an affair is usually gradual. It is more likely that there were tiny red flags going up every few days, weeks, months, or even years until you didn’t even see them pop up anymore and they just became the norm.
What are those red flags?
- Not paying attention to or taking an interest in one another
- Telling small but frequent lies about where you have been
- One of you having increased work hours or responsibilities all of a sudden
- Having the desire to be away from your partner more than with them
- Thinking that your relationship might be less stressful if you didn’t have to rely solely on each other for physical and emotional fulfillment
- Making big or small decisions without consulting each other
- Complaining about your partner to friends or family
- Also, not standing up for your partner when others talk badly about them
- Your conversations with each other become hostile or aggressive regardless of the topic
- Decreased physical affection
- You are meant to have a consistent physical relationship, not just be roommates
- Having an uncharacteristic personality shift
- This could mean an introverted person becoming significantly more outgoing or vice versa
- Close friends or family members start to ask you if something is wrong
- Your partner no longer allows you to see their smartphone or they seem a little more possessive of it.
- When you aren’t fulfilling each other’s needs, the foundation of your relationship begins to crumble
You and your partner are the best judges of the health of your relationship. If a significant number of these red flags resonated with you, it would be a good idea for you and your partner should sit down and intentionally evaluate what is going on. It is healthy for relationships to have ups and downs, but you never want to get to the point where the “downs” lead you away from each other.
To read more about red flags that could indicate relationship trouble, check out this