Photo by Michał Parzuchowski on Unsplash
Why do people have affairs? There are numerous reasons that contribute to this unhealthy decision. The latest scandals focused on Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dominique Strauss-Kahn help us appreciate the influence of power and control on infidelity. These men fit the exact profile of my book and my practice; successful people with unsuccessful relationships. Another contributing factor is the need for stimulation, excitement, and risk. Many of theses individuals are adrenalin junkies who crave nonstop activity and get easily bored or restless. Thus, successful people are more vulnerable to negative self-indulgent behaviors since they like new challenges/adventures, have enough arrogance that they feel entitled to special treatment, and don’t believe that the rules of life apply to them. Many of these high achievers also have an entourage of groupies that will reinforce and support any and all behaviors, even self-destructive ones. Over 60% of men in marriages have had at least one affair and the percentage for females is not far behind. In addition, when affairs occur, typically one or both parties are unhappy with some aspect of life, either relational, work, or family and therefore are more vulnerable and susceptible to making poor decisions. The decision to cheat on your spouse can have devastating and destructive effects on the entire family. In some cases the partner decides to leave to be with the mistress, which often fails since the relationship is very different once they commit to be with each other. The affair is not a real relationship since you have the thrill/risk of sneaking around, the novelty of a new person, no shared responsibilities, and no experience with living the daily grind together. Think about why you might have had or are having an affair and take a positive course of action. Get counseling, change what’s wrong with you, find healthy ways to fill the void and put the energy into your marriage.