Why Do People Have Affairs???

The first question most people ask when they learn of their partner's affair is, "Why?" And the answers they come up with are usually based on personal blame. They blame themselves, their partner, their relationship, or the third party. They see it strictly as a personal problem, a personal failure of the people involved. This is a very simple explanation for a very complex question.

Usually there are three different kinds of forces that are working together:

1. Forces within the individual that pull them toward affairs

2.Forces within the individual that push them toward affairs

3. Societal factors

1. Forces within the individual that pull them toward affairs:

Attraction: sex, companionship, admiration, power


Excitement, risk, or challenge


Enhanced self-image

Falling in love

2. Forces within the individual that push them toward affairs:

Desire to escape or find relief from a painful relationship


Desire to fill gaps in an existing relationship

Desire to punish one's partner

Need to prove one's attractiveness or worth

Desire for attention

3. Societal influences:

*Affairs are glamorized in movies, soap operas, romance novels, and TV shows of all kinds. Public disclosure of public figures having affairs is headline news because we are fascinated and titillated by hearing of others' affairs.

*People are bombarded with images of women as sex objects in advertising and marketing campaigns. Over and over, the message to men is that the good life includes a parade of sexy women in their lives. Women inadvertently buy into this image and strive to achieve it.

*The lack of good sex education and the existence of sexual taboos combine to make it difficult for most partners to talk honestly about sex.

*As teenagers we get conditioned in deception when it comes to sex--engaging in sexual activity while hiding it from our parents.

*The code of secrecy is a major factor in affairs because it provides protection for the person having affairs and leads them to believe they won't get caught.

Bottom Line: There is no ONE single reason a person has an affair. There are usually many reasons, including some of the forces that pull them toward affairs and some of the forces that push them toward affairs, combined with the influence of the general factors in society that contribute to affairs.

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