Reasons for extramarital affairs
Reasons for Extramarital Affairs
The Reasons Why People Cheat

reasons for extramarital affairsReasons for extramarital affairs
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Reasons for Extramarital Affairs

"How could he do this to me? I loved him. We had a good marriage. We have kids for goodness sake. Now he's gone and ruined it all. Why did he cheat? Why?"

Do you find yourself desperately trying to understand why your spouse cheated? Do you search your brain looking for a logical explanation to make sense of your spouse's actions only to be left wondering over and over again?

If so, you aren't alone. People who are faced with the devastating realization of an affair almost always ask themselves this question at some point.

If you have gone through the trauma of finding out your spouse cheated, you probably want to know, "Why?"

In this article I will be exploring an answer to this question. The answer I offer probably won't be the one you expect, but I hope it will help shed some light on this problem.

The Cheater's "Leaky" Character

The truth is that there is no single, simple "reason" people get involved in affairs. Human beings are complex creatures and we all have different "reasons" for acting the way we do. I have seen a common set of themes come up over and over again that people who cheat use as a justification for acting the way they did. Here are some examples:

"I cheated because I wasn't getting my needs met inside the marriage."

People who say this are usually under the deluded notion that going outside the marriage is a legitimate answer. It isn't ever legitimate for reasons I will explain in a moment. "I did it for the thrill." Some people are thrill seekers who think they just can't pass up the opportunity to get a thrill. The very fact that these people are doing something taboo boosts the feeling that they are compelled to engage in the affair.

"I had the opportunity. What kind of man would I be if I turned down an opportunity for sex? Some men think that they will not be considered a real man if they turn down a sexual invitation from someone attractive. I did it because it made me feel like I was worth something again.

Some people have a low sense of self-esteem and get an increased sense of self-worth out of finding people who care about them. At its extreme end, this group perceives lust as a kind of caring, even if it lasts only one night. Included in this group are those who try to make more out of the outside relationship than was there.

My spouse wouldn't fulfill my sexual desires. This can be an issue of frequency, but would include those people with particular sexual fetishes that their spouse's have problems with.

My spouse no longer makes me feel special. This is a theme I see come up over and over again. The cheater no longer feels special in the eyes of his or her spouse, so they go outside the relationship thinking that another person might be able to fill this void.

These are only a few of the reasons people give for cheating on their spouses. There are many others as well. Whatever "reason" or "reasons" the cheating partner gives, in my opinion it all comes down to one problem.

The cheating spouse has a hole in his or her character. When you get married and take wedding vows, you are making a commitment. This commitment is about fidelity. When you get married you are essentially saying:

No matter how bad things get, even if we get into horrible arguments, don't have sex for weeks or months, have more responsibilities than we can possibly juggle, draw apart emotionally, and even if we forget about how much we love each other, I will not cheat on you.

You have lots of options even if your marriage seems unbearable. You could argue. You could try to discuss your problems. You could see a therapist, talk to a priest or rabbi, discuss your problems with other couples or family members you trust. You could move to your parents' house, you could separate, you could even divorce, but having an affair is not one of your choices.

You vowed that no matter what happens you will not cheat when you get married. This is what the marriage vow means, and when you take marital vows, that's what you are telling your spouse.

Therefore whatever "reasons" a cheater may give for cheating, are really only justifications that the cheater has established. In fact, when analyzing the pre-affair situation, it often can be demonstrated that the cheater created or exacerbated the problems he or she is complaining about.

If you are the cheater, you broke your commitment--a very serious commitment--that you made on the day of your wedding.

The only reason is that you have a hole in your character. The "size" of the hole in your character varies with your circumstances: the length of time you were faithful, the number and duration of your affairs, the emotional depth of your affair(s), and your level of remorse.

If you are the injured party, and your spouse is a serial cheater or has shown himself or herself to be less than honest and faithful over the years, the hole is probably bigger than a "leak" and it will be that more difficult to repair the problems and restore your marriage.

That doesn't mean it's impossible. It just means it's more difficult.

To get beyond the affair, the cheater has to take the necessary steps to repair this leak or hole in his or her character.

There are ways the cheater can achieve this goal, and I have outlined steps for doing that in my books How to Survive an Affair and Saving Your Marriage.

What I am trying to communicate here is that looking for "rational reasons" your spouse cheated isn't getting to the heart of the issue. In fact, the "rational reasons" might add insult to injury by making it seem that the injured person was at fault.

It may be important for you to understand what problems existed or still exist in you marriage, but know that these problem couldn't "drive" someone to cheat. A person of good character will not engage in even the earliest steps that might lead to an affair.

It is also important to understand that even though it takes only one person to bring an affair into a marriage, it will take both of you working diligently to repair your marriage and make it better than ever.

Why You Will Never Completely Understand a Cheater

You may come to some understanding of your spouse's actions.
In cases where there were problems in your marriage and this contributed to your spouse's dissatisfaction in your marriage (and perhaps your dissatisfaction too) you can (and should) identify these problems, discuss them, and try to understand each other's feelings.

But if you are not a cheater, you will never fundamentally understand what led your spouse to make a decision to cheat on you. You will not understand what has caused the "hole" or "leak" in his or her character. And you will probably not understand why he or she had the affair.

The reason is simple: You have stuck to your marital vows, you have proven that you do not have a hole in your character, and therefore you will not be able to understand the actions of someone who does.

The good news is that you don't have to understand why your spouse cheated in order to repair your marriage.

In fact, spending too much time wondering about "why cheaters cheat" is probably not the best way to start rebuilding your marriage.

Instead, I suggest you focus on doing what you need to do to make your relationship better than ever.

That might include:

* Turning inward and working to overcome your own emotions about the affair. This would include getting over images that may still haunt you.

* Working on your communication skills so you can learn to listen to your partner and say what you have to say in more effective ways.

* Discussing the problems in your marriage that preceded the affair.

* Overcoming the jealousy and anger you are feeling right now.

* Learning how to rebuild trust.

* Moving toward acceptance and forgiveness when you are ready.

* Building fences to protect your marriage from future problems

* Having fun with your spouse again.

In addition, the cheater will need to repair the leak in his character and recommit to the marriage. This will include:

* Understanding how you brought yourself to the point where you could cross the boundary of decorum-- it's usually a slippery slope and you have to be hypersensitive to the earliest steps in order to prevent the progression from occurring.

* Improving your communication skills so you can listen to your spouse's pain and communicate as clearly as you can about your marriage.

* Making a full and complete apology for your actions, the first step of which is accepting full responsibility for them.

* Learning how to be transparent.

* Creating an environment where love and trust can blossom again.

In short, what you want to do is focus your energy on making your marriage better than it was before the affair. After all, if you get your marriage in the best possible shape it can be, you make it more unlikely that another affair will happen in the future.

I suggest you turn all of the energy you have been spending trying to figure out why your spouse cheated on you toward healing yourself and repairing your marriage.

You will find it is a much more effective way to spend your time. Click Here - Surviving an Affair

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Please note: The suggestions and advice offered on this web site are opinions only and are not to be used in the place of professional psychological counseling or medical advice. If you or someone close to you is currently in crisis or in an emergency situation, contact your local emergency 911 or a Counselor nearby