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Why Spouses Cheat – It’s Not What You Think

Is your spouse having an affair?

If asked, most couples will agree infidelity is unacceptable while at the same time admitting to having fantasies of engaging in an affair. And it’s not just men! Although there is a longstanding belief that men are more likely than women to have an affair, today’s women have more money, which makes them less dependent on a spouse for support and therefore less risk-adverse.

Once infidelity has occurred, partners tend to look back on their relationship and look for flaws. They ask themselves, “What went wrong?” and “How could I have prevented this?”

However, the reason to have the affair may have more to do with situational factors than dissatisfaction with the marriage! In most cases, marital problems are the effect, not the cause, of extramarital involvements.

The reality is people have affairs for many reasons, which often have nothing to do with the marriage. If you exclude mental health problems like drug/alcohol addiction or bipolar disorder, the most common reason for an affair is sheer opportunity.

Did you know most cheaters meet their lovers at work?

Work-related travel is a big contributing factor. Individuals with higher incomes often travel and interact with appealing co-workers who have common interests and the opportunity to socialize outside the office.

Other factors that may increase the likelihood of an affair include:

  • Population density – Living in a large city increases exposure to large numbers of potential partners, giving one more opportunity to escape detection.

  • Higher Education – This may be an indicator for more liberal attitudes toward sexuality and permissive attitudes toward adultery.

  • Experience with divorce – either a previous of divorce, or having parents who divorced, especially if either one had an extramarital involvement.

  • Friendships – People are more likely to cheat if they believe their friends won’t judge them. Separate his & her friendship networks are also risky.

  • Personality Differences – Spouses who are equally comfortable with conflict are less likely to have affairs.

  • and much more…

While there are many reasons people have an affair, that doesn’t mean your marriage has to end! Although they may not know how, 70% of couples choose to rebuild the relationship after infidelity. Even couples for whom the violation is so painful that divorce seems the only alternative they often later regret the hasty decision to split up. I have worked with dozens of couples over the years work through the issues of infidelity and restore their relationships. I can help you too!