Can Affairs Prolong Marriages?

Can cheating help a marriage survive longer? And really… should one help rescue such a marriage, if it is in need of that sort of help! I wrote about this before, but the thought has been haunting me for a few days now. He said that if it weren’t for sex-on-the-side,his, around two-decade relationship, would not have survived.

This all started when, about a year ago, he asked me if I were to disregard consequences and circumstances and morality, would I let him kiss me? The consequence I was thinking of then was guilt! Guilt of kissing a married man, guilt of thinking that way about a married man, guilt of being married and breaking that vow of faithfulness. Not in the life of me would I have thought that it would actually help extend the marriages!

Affairs or infidelities have one of two effects on a marriage I think…

  • The first is that it actually helps a marriage live longer (not necessarily a good thing, I must add), either by filling the absent or lost pieces of the puzzle, somehow completing whatever one lacks in the marriage and satisfying the un-met needs, making a person feel wanted and that they still have it… or by merely being a distraction from the actual problems between one and his primary partner, like an escape zone.
  • The second is that it helps one realize that there might be something better out there for them, something healthier, something more exciting and fulfilling, or missed out experiences that one craves for, or even a more satisfying set-up… which eventually might lead to shortening the life of the marriage.

So what has this one, dare I call it affair, done for me? Prolong my marriage and act as a diversion, somehow holding me back from putting an end to a dysfunction marriage, and if it weren’t for him I might have otherwise taken that leap a year ago… or … has it been slowly making me recognize what I have been missing out on and actually gradually helping me get over the fear of getting out…

What do I lack in my marriage??…because it isn’t the sex; I could get marital sex if I wanted to… in fact I lately tend to push it away when it is about to happen… However, I do lack feeling ever prioritized, lack respect, lack feeling that I matter, lack passionate closeness without the baggage of him or his violence hanging over my head, lack an un-judged sexual partner, lack emotional and daily support… Is that what I am gaining from this parallel life? Sometimes… maybe… It does, without a doubt, fulfill something in me.

Anyhow, this secret exciting bond is definitely a distraction of some sort. A distraction for overthinking about how dysfunctional my marriage really is. A distraction of how dispassionate and cold it has become. Instead of focusing on the husband, alternatively, I find myself thinking about someone else. Instead of thinking what he, my husband, might be doing or going or saying and him pissing me off, I have in the back of my head someone else that is keeping my mind busy… and just knowing that I have another someone out there keeps from being obsessed or feeling choked and bound to my marriage. Am I unconsciously side tracking myself!

Although, it might be healthy not focusing on the husband and the marriage like I used to… I have defiantly become less obsessive on the everyday fuck-ups and maybe that is why sometimes things have calmed down between us! I have also stopped caring like I used to… what he says or does or where he is most of the time… and I bit by bit I don’t need him anymore… I surely don’t hear the wordsyou are a burdenas much…

On the other hand, maybe this distraction might be extending the matrimonial union more than it should… help put a vegetated relationship on unneeded life-support and maybe I should, in fact, start focusing more about ending this marriage, making a plan, instead of losing track of reality.

One of my favourite quotes from this apparently controversial book, I recently came across, When Good People Have Affairs, Mira Kirshenbaum says“… underlying the complicated mess is a kind of deep and delicate wisdom. It’s an insight that something isn’t working and needs to change.” That I most defiantly believe… I also believe that it is not necessarily a personality type that tends to be infidel, it is relationship type; What kind of relationship is likely to be prone for an affair?

According to her, there are 17 reasons why people cheat, regardless of which and although I tend to see her point about most of them, she does say something I found very noteworthy and relevant, which is that “You should stay with your partner if your affair is a heating-up-your-marriage affair, let’s-kill-this-relationship-and-see-if-it-comes-back-to-life affair, do-I-still-have-it affair, accidental affair, revenge affair or midlife-crisis affair, …” “But you need to think carefully about whether to stay with your primary partner if your affair is of the following kinds: the break-out-into-selfhood affair, unmet-need affair, having-experiences-I-missed-out-on affair, surrogate-therapy affair, ejector-seat affair, …”….

8 thoughts on “Can Affairs Prolong Marriages?

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  1. Wow. This is an interesting piece to me. I have always thought about life after marriage. Especially that I fear to end up with the wrong person. Cheating is definitely not the way out, but I think it helps calm down the heat in marriage. I don’t wanna find myself in such situation though… Thanks for sharing

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  2. Back when I was in my abusive relationship (12 years ago) i found myself in a year long affair with someone close to his family. A man 26 years my senior and married. I don’t regret it and I dont think he does, either. He is still very much married, and he worships his wife. I don’t know what he was going through at the time, but he pursued me, and I was in an emotional state that I welcomed his tenderness. I’m still friends with both him and his wife. He and I have never spoken about that year, and I will never bring it up. I don’t know …. I guess he needed something from me at that time, and I did from him, as well. It made getting my ass kicked a lot easier to deal with somehow.

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    1. I am glad things worked for, because there r many heart breaking scenarios that could have followed.. There are reasons where I believe affairs are excusable although not I have never been at the receiving end of it, so I cannot really imagine. Abusive relationship are definitely one of them… specially when the abused person cannot really summon the courage to leave. Others are when the relationship is dead beyond repair, and in that case the affair might help un-numb the person, or when the affair revitalize the marriage, but non of which i believe are long term solutions.

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  3. I’ve been considering writing a post about how infidelity actually saved my relationship, but this has definitely given me that last bit of motivation that I needed to get it going. Thanks and it’s nice knowing there are others out there who have gone through the same things as myself.

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