Sunday, 12 June 2011

Why an affair might be justified ...

I’ve met quite a few people online looking for affairs.  Not everyone is looking for a dopamine high. Many are very reasoned and strategic in their approach. A caring and intimate relationship is essential to happiness, so I am not surprised so many people are looking.

I don’t judge what people are doing – it’s their business, not mine, but I am interested in relationships and sex, so I take an interest. I thank everyone that has frankly explained their life to me or answered my questions.

·        Married but bored or neglected:  I find many men online looking for exciting affairs. They are married but their wife limits intimacy even though they still have sex. They feel unloved and even lose some confidence in themselves. I usually suggest they talk to their partner and now suggest they read  Married Man Sex Life.

·        Great spouse, but no sex: Many really nice people make good friends and life time partners, they just don’t want sex or intimacy! Perhaps they are asexual, perhaps their libido has died, perhaps they are just not attracted to the spouse and married for children and to create a comfortable home! I think it is wrong to force someone to do something they don’t want to – be it to have sex or live without sex. However, divorce might be off the table due to religious or child-care imperatives. Difficult situation since someone is bound to be unhappy. Also, see “cultural option”.

·        Spouse says look elsewhere: Surprisingly there are quite a few cases where a spouse tells the other partner to find a lover as they are unwilling to provide affection and intimacy. The good thing here is that the dialogue is open and frank. Depending on the situation, it may be appropriate to rigorously pursue the reasons for the spouse to say this and address any issues. I’ve known at least one couple who have worked through their issues and now have a much stronger marriage and better intimacy. Issues included stress and fatigue from demanding work and addressing the reluctant spouse’s needs.      
 ·        Spouse is an invalid: This happens often and is very sad – a loyal and devoted spouse remains with their loved one, but the illness means the relationship turns into carer and dependent. The caring spouse looks to find someone for support and intimacy. I can only guess that the invalid spouse is totally unable to think of intimacy due to the illness, because there are things one can do to show one’s love, even if one is immobile.   

·        Strategic retreat: Many people decide when they will leave their marriage ahead of time - perhaps when children have finished school.  They then rationalise it will be a great idea to recruit the new spouse and get to know them beforehand so a seamless transfer is possible. OK – I can see the efficiencies so gained here! Also, one needs to date a little before settling down for personal development, so this could fulfil that need. However, execution may be difficult in that potential new spouses will be wary of married but looking people. Certainly many men/women do not date married ladies/gentlemen on principle. Also, one changes a great deal due to the experience of separation, divorce and subsequent dating, so the person found at the start may not suit at the end.

·        Waiting for the right time to jump: Sometimes the marriage is over, the person looking for an affair has emotionally detached from the spouse and separation is merely a formality that will happen in good time. See “strategic retreat” for implications.  

·        Cultural option: In some subcultures and even cultures successful men routinely recruit second wives. The first wife keeps her status, income etc and does not have to provide sex, while the husband’s needs are met and the asset base is protected for the good of all including the children who will inherit.

What are the implications of the above?

I believe it’s wrong to judge people or become over excited over the issue of affairs. I leave judgement to God who is an expert in such matters and can see the hearts of humans. Affairs may destroy a marriage, but equally they may help someone prolong the appearance and benefits of marriage for vulnerable parties such as children or invalid spouses. Actually, I used to pray for a miracle, namely that my ex would have an affair and the lady would take him off my hands without all the crying and gnashing of teeth that usually accompany divorce.... 

There's always a different perspective ... New Farm Park 2008


  1. Thanks for the link love, appreciated.

    I think there can be acceptable sex outside of the marriage - I don't see swinging, or poly, or someone on the side as morally wrong in and of itself.

    However I do think that does require a clear fair warning and/or sought consent that such activity was going to take place to the other spouse. Otherwise they tend to continue having unprotected sex with the cheating spouse without being able to give an informed consent.

    And sometimes the clear fair warning is the spark that changes the nature of the relationship for the better that removes the need for the cheating in the first place.

  2. Thanks for your comment – when I was young I saw things in black and white and would never have thought an affair was anything but hugely bad. However, now that I have experienced marriage break down and developed a greater awareness of the experience of others, I can see that the world is neither black nor white. Many marriages are not marriages in the sense that people have sex (and some people don’t even like each other) – it is very sad, but that is reality.

    Your point on putting the other spouse in danger from STDs is valid. However, it appears that in the majority of cases I informally surveyed, there was no danger simply because they would never have sex again.

    The people I talked to were all 40+ and most had been living without sex or intimacy or even liking for a long time. All but three were willing to have safe sex. These three were either unmarried or never likely to have sex again with their wives. Only three men had an affair while having sex with their wives – all were very concerned over her safety and used safe sex. In one case the wife gave permission.

    Seeking consent for an affair would definitely change the dynamic of a relationship. In one case, the crisis so caused resulted in the couple establishing greater understanding and a stronger relationship. However, in some cases, the men did not see the point in distressing their wives as they believed they genuinely did not want sex. In other cases, the aim was to keep the peace until children grew up or to just keep the peace – announcing an affair would have been counter to that goal.

    I guess the way of managing such terrible situations would have been to try to resolve the issues before the relationship had broken down or become non-sexual, but sometimes that is not possible, especially with illness and incapacity. I wish life had worked out better for many of the people I meet online.

  3. Well you know what I think regarding affairs. Many times the world is not black & white.People can be mismatched socially, personally as well as sexually. Yes the ideal answer is get a divorce, and if the ideal was in the grasp of each one of us there would be a lot less marital strife in the world. But we're human. We succumb to the temptations of the flesh. Good, bad, or indifferent it just is what it is.

    If you get to the point where your spouse is not giving you the emotional/spiritual/sexual satisfaction you are needing you have to move on.


  4. BJ - thank you for your comment. I know your wisdom comes from hard-earned experience, so I always respect it. You remind me that even with all the goodwill in the world, and good health etc, some people will never be able to salvage their marriage because it was ill conceived in the first place – they were simply not compatible. Perhaps I should have entered another category of “the utterly desperate”. There are so many ties that bind in a marriage above the mere contract, so a divorce may not be easy or desirable, even if there is no emotional/sexual/spiritual satisfaction as you so concisely said! It seems therefore unreasonable to insist someone be celibate and distant from what little comfort may be possible. Or perhaps more correct, that one should judge another harshly for a discrete affair.

  5. I am struggling with this very issue right now. I am a 46 year old male with many health issues but I want to have the sexual intimacy that my wife cant give me because of health issues on her part. We have been married for 10 years now, and I love her very much, I don't want to devorce her, and she loves me as well. We have been through so much together. But my heart is divided with someone else and I just don't know what to do.

  6. Poor you! Please see my post of today 19 January 2013 - I've left a lot of advice. Please contact me again if you need more advice and support. C


  7. Has a guy ever given you mixed signals?

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    [Sign off]