Note: Mumsnetters don't necessarily have the qualifications or experience to offer relationships counselling or to provide help in cases of domestic violence. Mumsnet can't be held responsible for any advice given on the site. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Why do people have affairs?

(244 Posts)
navada Sat 02-Feb-13 10:43:59

Is it always due to a bad marriage/partnership? - or is it pure selfishness?

I haven't had one btw, neither has my dh, I'm just wondering as it seems so common.

AbsintheMinded Sat 02-Feb-13 10:49:25

I imagine that for some people it is down to lack of imagination. They can't fast forward 5 years and see that the new man/woman farts, moans, stresses just like their OP currently does.

And definitely a good dose of selfishness helps.

Thrill of the chase.

The list is long...

AuntieStella Sat 02-Feb-13 10:52:42

I think the state of the marriage is pretty irrelevant.

It's down to one person being flawed and deciding that s/he will deal with those flaws by turning to a third party rather than the primary partner, probably without even considering the damage of betrayal.

navada Sat 02-Feb-13 10:52:56

Ha - yes, it's a fantasy world isn't it.

Sioda Sat 02-Feb-13 10:58:21

Being a baboon -impulsivity, selfishness, lust, cowardice, boredom, attraction, lack of conscience, rationality, self control, self awareness, willpower, courage, imagination. The bad marriage thing is a myth started by the first baboon who had to rationalise away what they were doing so that their beleaguered rational brain could handle it.

countingto10 Sat 02-Feb-13 11:00:06

This is a very good article that explains the types of affair, the people who conduct them etc. Affairs are all about the people having them, not the betrayed spouse although it feels extremely personal at the time sad

nefertarii Sat 02-Feb-13 11:02:38

There are loads of 'reasons'.

It all boils down to the cheater justifying their needs and wants above the feelings of their partner.

navada Sat 02-Feb-13 11:07:25

Fascinating article countingto10 - thank you.
& agree sioda & Stella.

ProphetOfDoom Sat 02-Feb-13 11:10:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

navada Sat 02-Feb-13 11:17:49

SM - I'm so sorry. I hope you're okay.

fluffiphlox Sat 02-Feb-13 11:24:22

I don't know WHY, but I do wonder where they find the time.

ProphetOfDoom Sat 02-Feb-13 11:24:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ProphetOfDoom Sat 02-Feb-13 11:34:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bongobaby Sat 02-Feb-13 11:39:12

I recently posted a thread in which a friend of mine husband came to me and said that he wanted to sleep with me with his wifes knowledge and consent and would I be up for it just me and him. It was a mixed reaction on mn. My reaction was no I don,t want to sleep with you as you are a married man.
Affairs, cheating it all comes under the same umbrella and should be avoided.

navada Sat 02-Feb-13 11:43:49

I'll never understand it tbh, why people get involved with married men/women. The fact that they're cheating on their partner would be enough to put me off - they'd be cheating on me next, I'd have no respect for them as people.

Seenenoughtoknow Sat 02-Feb-13 12:06:11

From working in pubs in one area over many years I see the same men marry, cheat, divorce, marry, cheat, divorce...

When you chat they'll tell you this one is their soulmate, but within a year or two they revert to type. Just very selfish, insecure men - I genuinely feel very sorry for the (usually very nice, normal) women they marry.

Seenenoughtoknow Sat 02-Feb-13 12:09:58

I would say women too but I've genuinely only ever seen one try to cheat openly...which from my experience is nothing like statistics suggest. (60% men - 40% women).

Charbon Sat 02-Feb-13 13:10:21

No it isn't always because of a bad marriage/partnership and yes it is nearly always about selfishness.

But a lot of people having affairs fall between the extreme caricatures of the repeat philanderer and the miserably married/ attached. These are people who no-one would say are the 'type', live conventionally 'good' lives and even if you asked them, would say that they were in strong marriages.

But this is a threat in itself. Because they think they are good, upstanding citizens who would never cheat, their boundaries are often poor around other people and they under-estimate the effect of someone else boosting their egoes and making them feel better about themselves. Especially so if their ego has taken a knock in other areas e.g. at work, weight gain/appearance change, older children being less adoring and compliant, the feeling of being less needed.

In summary, there are an awful lot of very ordinary people who have affairs.

Looksgoodingravy Sat 02-Feb-13 15:07:01

Charbon, dp fits into the 'ordinary' catagory you describe and he too would never have seen himself as somebody who would cheat, me neither tbh, which is why even though I started to have my suspicions it came as a complete shock when I found out what he'd been up too.

We'd been together for 17 years. One ds, life was ticking along ok (ish).

Circumstances, a dip in his own self worth, which in turn affected our relationship, selfishness. OW came along at a time when a mixture of all those things mentioned where probably at a peak.

We are still together nine months on. Dp will talk about it whenever. He says he was a different person and can't quite believe he cheated.

I have to say that dp was the person I thought the least likely to stray, I was totally blindsided. I'm still very much hurt by what he's done but we are working together to build bridges.

Abitwobblynow Sat 02-Feb-13 15:11:20

Why do people have affairs?

Because it feels absolutely great when someone admires you and lets you know you are hot, and you want a bit more.

That this slope (of wanting a bit more) is soooo slight you don't notice how much you are sliding. And it feels SO GOOD to be this admired, and this alive, and this sexual!

That it feels better and better and better, and you can't do without it.

Then you cross the line. And life changes for ever.

Abitwobblynow Sat 02-Feb-13 15:12:21

Gravy, does he answer any question you ask? Does he not try to run away from it?

Looksgoodingravy Sat 02-Feb-13 15:24:56

He does answer my questions Abitwobbly even though at times I can see that he feels awkward (and rightly so) answering them as it's bringing it all up again but he's never lost patience.

I think about it less and less, I have fewer questions. It's just building the trust again.

Looksgoodingravy Sat 02-Feb-13 15:26:07

I should say that I don't make him feel awkward when he talks to me about it I just feel his awkwardness.

Looksgoodingravy Sat 02-Feb-13 15:34:25

It's left our relationship 'bruised' if you like. I think about the ow less and less but I'm still left with the hurt of the betrayal by him iykwim.

Sorry I'm waffling, entertaining a 6 year old while responding grin

People have affairs because they are selfish wankers.

Otherwise they would finish their current relationship before embarking on another.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now