Of course, there are many reasons why people have affairs. By looking at some of the motivations of having an affair, some couples might be able to see the tell-tale signs and therefore, be able to get help before it is too late.

First, sometimes in the conversations that couples have with one another, you can hear the hints of someone who is thinking of “someone else.” Often the words such as these below are hints that something might not be right:

  • Please, will you go to counseling with me.
  • Something needs to change with our sex life.
  • I really enjoy hanging out with Kathryn.
  • You never talk to me anymore.
  • I don’t love you anymore.
  • I am not happy at all with my life.

Usually men and women have affairs for very different reasons. Women seek an affair most often for friendship and to feel emotionally needed. For men, it is fairly simplistic in that they are looking for something sexual and what they think will be a spontaneous and fun relationship.

So when men and women have an affair what do they think they are going to get out of it?

Women desire the feeling of being thrilled by their lover’s interest in them physically, emotionally, and intellectually. They are hoping for an emotional connection, and feeling loved is a deep motivation for a woman in having an affair.

As said before, a man is seeking sexual variety when he pursues someone. What is it like to be with another woman sexually—this is a core motivation. However, unlike a woman, typically a man tries to control his feelings in the relationship, and will not try to form a deep emotional bond with the other woman.

Here is a major difference in the motivation of men versus women in seeking an affair—when women have affairs, it almost invariably means that they are deeply dissatisfied with their marriage. This is not a typical motivation for a man. Nearly 60% of men who have an affair respond that they are happy in their marriages.

However, sometimes people end up in an affair and there is little motivation behind it. Sometimes people just fall into an affair because they did not protect their marriage and guard their relationships. Some years ago, I worked with a doctor who had an affair with a co-worker and when she retold the story of how the affair happened, the relationship evolved almost like clockwork. I have heard this story countless times.

  • She began having personal conversations with him on the same floor that they worked.
  • The conversations moved to having lunch regularly at the hospital.
  • Eventually, they began to meet for lunch or coffee off-site. More and more, a sexual theme covered their conversation.
  • She ultimately ended up at his apartment continuing these “conversations.”

No matter what motivates a person to be unfaithful, an affair in every case reveals a brokenness in the unfaithful person, and a brokenness in their marriage. Sometimes affairs are founded on secret motivations and other times, they seemingly occur out of thin air because the unfaithful person did not protect their marriage in concrete ways.  Motivated or not, affairs often have dire consequences. Next time, we will look at the costs of having an affair.

In: Psychology
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