Causes of Affairs:

Why Do People Have Affairs?

by Sally R. Connolly, LMFT and John E. Turner, LMFT

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Sandy felt Jim fading away from the marriage. The more she tried to get him to spend time with her, the more he seemed to avoid her. He seemed to be spending more and more time at work and she felt lonely and sad. Ted listened and understood her. He really seemed to “get” her.

Jack felt like he could not talk with Katie. He had given up long ago. He had tried in the early years to talk with her about his concerns or complaints but she just got defensive or turned the argument back on him. 

Anne and Steve worked together.  They were assigned to a project together and found that they had good chemistry.  Not only did they work well together, they found that they had the same sense of humor and developed a solid friendship.  The main problem was that they were both married to other people and both said that there marriages were fine.

Causes of Affairs

The causes of affairs can vary. Many affairs develop in marriages where couples have drifted apart because they have avoided conflict and resolving problems, are fearful of intimacy or have just not tended to the necessary feeding that a marital relationship requires.

Other causes of affairs are at times when one person is depressed, unhappy in the marriage or within a social group where affairs are condoned.

Other causes of affairs may happen at transition times in marriages, sometimes called “mid-life crises,” which are often opportunities for individuals to take stock of their life and evaluate what is “missing” and then look to others to fill that space.

In healthy marriages, it can take someone by surprise when feelings for another person develop, generally with a co-worker, neighbor or a friend that someone sees regularly and with whom a friendship develops into more as stories, experiences and life events are shared.  In healthy marriages, it may seem that there are no real causes for the affairs.

Multiple affairs generally indicate some personal problems with the person having affairs. Some are addicted to love, sex or self-affirmation. Often there is a family history of affairs often by the same sex parent and it is a “tradition“ accepted within the family. With some, there is a feeling of entitlement with little regard for the spouse’s feelings. The causes of multiple affairs are much more complicated.

Are you experiencing an affair in your relationship?  Would you like help from professional therapists who have helped many other couples navigate this territory? 

We can help, either in person or online.   Click here to be taken to our enrollment page. 

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  We can help you figure out the causes of affairs in  your relationship.

Emotional Affairs Are Also Damaging

Emotional affairs may not involve a sexual relationship (intercourse); however they do involve secrecy from the spouse and sharing of intimate details in each other’s lives.  Emotional affairs can be as destructive, often even more so, than sexual affairs. Women are more likely to have emotional affairs, men are more likely to have sexual affairs.

Internet affairs are becoming more and more common. With today’s technology and easy access to others with similar interests or problems … as well as the opportunity to see “what is out there” in the single world, people can become emotionally open to another in ways that distance them from their spouse and the marriage.

As you can see, there are many causes for affairs and all very painful.

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