Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Affairs and long marriages

(29 Posts)
MagicHatching Sat 19-Nov-16 10:05:49

An older friend has recently been widowed and has been talking a lot about affairs she has had over the years.

I'm fascinated about it. How many people do you think, in long long marriages actually end up doing it? And how many spouses know? Do the same?

It's so interesting to me because I know of lots of people IRL who have had affairs at some point over the course of their lives. And it's treated so differently than I see discussed on here.m, I suppose because it's from a long time ago and not fresh.

Just a conversational question really. I've been with DH 15 years and don't think either of us would have an affair but it makes me realise how long and complicated life is and that you just don't know!

Myusernameismyusername Sat 19-Nov-16 10:13:54

I know of more than I wish I did but probably not in the same sense as a long marriage yet.
In my group who are only 30's/40's - (you know old school friends and acquaintances) I know many who had affairs then still married their partners, who still would have affairs once married, who have had them and been forgiven or who it's still a secret. People do gossip about stuff I try not to but it seems to be something that's unnervingly common. I will say that IME it doesn't seem to be the people (men and women) who are the least likely to do it it seems to be the people who are MOST likely to do it - but people overlook it and get married and have kids with them anyway hoping it won't happen to them. I'm thinking of one person in particular I know who is an ex of mine from way back, prolific cheater, his wife must be in full force denial because he's always been that way and I know he hasn't changed just because they got married - he came on to me a few years back! I don't know her well enough to tell her, also I think he would tell her I was lying.

AmberEars Sat 19-Nov-16 10:16:29

It's partly a generational thing I think. In my parents' generation, divorce was less common and if one partner had an affair the other one might be more likely to paper over the cracks and carry on. Whereas now they'd LTB.

Moondance87 Sat 19-Nov-16 10:21:24

In my parents generation I know quite a few family friends who had affairs. Some survived it and some didn't.
I recently found out mil casually cheated on fil throughout her marriage...this is in 90's and 00's so not any divorce stigma it was purely for fun.
Fil also had a long affair... he is with ow now.
Of my generation late 20s to 30s I have one friend who cheated on his pregnant wife and left her for ow... cheated on her and left her for his pregnant mistress...
Another friend whose dh cheated with a colleague but are working past it.

From what I read on mn I expect many many more affairs to happen as we get older and not always end the relationship

YvaineStormhold Sat 19-Nov-16 10:24:09

It's absolutely rife. I know very, very few people who haven't dabbled or been dabbled with.

I'm always fascinated by the reaction to it on here. Not the 'LTB' attitude - I have a zero-tolerance policy in my own relationship- but the shock that ensues when someone finds out.

I wouldn't be shocked. I'd be gutted, but not shocked.

UnoriginalNN Sat 19-Nov-16 10:27:23

All the marriages around me atm are less than 5 years old. I often wonder which of us will last, and I've come to the conclusion that you just never know what goes on behind closed doors.

TheNaze73 Sat 19-Nov-16 10:32:58

As much as I'd like to think it doesn't happen, stats in the US said it can be as high as almost 70% of marriages.
I've always thought that marriage should be on a 5 year rolling contract. How someone could possibly want exactly the same thing at 50 as when they did at 25 is beyond me. There's also a get out then for mismatched ambition, wants & see drives.

TheNaze73 Sat 19-Nov-16 10:33:21

Sex drives

phoolani Sat 19-Nov-16 10:37:54

'Very few people haven't dabbled or been dabbled with' 😭😬. When you put it like that, I very much want to be dabbled with!

PMT783 Sat 19-Nov-16 11:55:42

There are lots of examples of affairs not being found out than those that are so it's going to be fairly high.

I know my mum had one - found out. Dad was a real looker and flirt so probably did but not found out, sister has had a one night stand while married (not caught out) a friend has an an affair (not found out) and has had numerous kisses when out, 2 friends marriages broke up due to affairs and husbands leaving for another women and most of my brothers mates cheat when away with the lads, some with prostitutes! Not found out as far as I know as all still married.

I know lots of couples where I know nothing of this but who knows?

It is a tempting life!

MagicHatching Sat 19-Nov-16 18:17:20

Depressing. But then again maybe not. Maybe that's life sometimes and it is unrealistic to be content to be with one person for fifty odd years confused

Flum Sat 19-Nov-16 18:22:11

I think most people do. I haven't and wouldn't too scared, too much to lose always keep my distance if find myself attracted to someone else.

Have had a few suggestions from friends husbands though so must be rife as if they ask around enough someone will say yes. I am always shocked though as I think... why not look outside your own social circle. otherwise eugh so messy!!

WetNovemberDay Sat 19-Nov-16 18:37:43

Loads and loads. I'm sure I read something like 80% a while back.
In my experience it seems people get to their 40s and that's when the trouble seems to begin. Is is mid life crisis? Length of relationship? Or what?
I seem to have hit my 40s and "know" of several people who are having or have had affairs. It's not always the ones I would have thought either.

peppatax Sat 19-Nov-16 18:48:58

I think that if anything affairs have become more common due to opportunity but less tolerated due to equality changes. Women don't necessarily have to stay with a cheating husband any more as divorce is more accepted and a greater proportion are financially independent. As for men tolerating women's affairs, I couldn't comment.

DivingWithoutANet Sat 19-Nov-16 19:06:28

It must more common than I even suspected.

It's most striking when it's people who on the surface seem irreproachable, you'd think sex is the last thing in their mind and off they stray.

MatildaTheCat Sat 19-Nov-16 19:13:32

I'm in my early 50s and know a very few people who have been cheated on. Almost all our friends have been married for years and almost no divorces, same with all our siblings. Maybe we are just lucky.

BUT, in my parents generation there were a lot of affairs. I think the sexual revolution of the 60s and 70s really affected that generation. Most seemed to stay together but not all.

I'm very interested by the concept that some families seem to have high divorce rates while others don't. I'm not smug its just quite noticeable.

anxiousnow Sun 20-Nov-16 00:56:03

I saw an ecard on fb that said in older generations people tried to fix something that was broken rather than just throwing it away without trying.

PMT783 Sun 20-Nov-16 07:54:02

Matilda- that's the issue though. They might not even know they have been cheated on. Lots of people have cheated and never been found out. Not everyone comes clean.

MagicHatching Sun 20-Nov-16 08:50:14

It makes me think about the long term. Honestly if DH had an affair but loved me, wanted to stay with me,it didn't impact our life somehow I wonder if maybe I'd want to be like someone from the old days and just not know about it.

PMT783 Sun 20-Nov-16 09:04:09

I wouldnt either magic. How does knowing help? My sister had a ons and is very happily married. It was pre child days, she was pissed, it was wrong but is it worth coming clean and wrecking her family? My brothers mates are always at it by the sounds of it especially on lads trips etc. All of them are married with kids.

MsGameandWatch Sun 20-Nov-16 09:16:41

I do think men do it more than women. I think many women, after having children are more invested in keeping the marriage together to protect their children so wouldn't risk it. In Marriages and relationships I know of - I know only one woman who cheated but almost every man has and I am not talking random kisses either, I'm talking about men on business trips who pay for sex and go out looking for ONS. My ex H tells me everything they get up to as justification for why I should have put up with his transgressions hmm. Also I was employed in a very male dominated employment and I would say 80% plus of them were routinely unfaithful.

DoItTooJulia Sun 20-Nov-16 09:22:04

Of my peers, I know none. Of my parents generation, nearly every one that I know! Some have carried on and some have split.

I think it's different now. It's like jobs for life: people don't do that so much either nowadays, like relationships-they're not viewed as 'for life' the way they were.

But my social circle is full of ball breaking women, so maybe my sample is skewed!

danTDM Sun 20-Nov-16 09:26:53

I know of one, very long marriage, very upstanding person, you would never, ever think they were having an affair, but they are, a very long standing one. They would never, ever leave their spouse, however.

AddToBasket Sun 20-Nov-16 09:35:10

I am entering my 40s and I am starting to hear/see a lot more infidelity in the couples that I know.

Every relationship is different, but for most people 50 or 60 years of being completely in step with the same person is quite tough ask. There will be moments where the binds of affection are weaker or stronger. Affairs or ONS are really to be expected.

When it comes to post-affair devastation, often the incredibly high expectations of fidelity are partly to blame.

ALaughAMinute Sun 20-Nov-16 09:45:47

Everybody is at it! Since my divorce the amount of married men that have come on to me hoping for a quick fling is unbelievable. I had thought that most of the men were happily married and not the type to have an affair but it seems I was wrong. Even my best friend's husband keeps sending me messages on Facebook asking me how I am and says if I ever 'want someone to talk to' I know where he is etc. I'm now ignoring his messages and he seems to have given up now thankfully. All in all, very disappointing.

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