AFFAIRS -What is true about affairs and what is not? by Linda Riley, LMFT

Affairs are normal since everybody has them. Actually, marital fidelity is the norm and surveys show time and time again that the majority of people believe strongly in monogamous marriage. Intimacy requires exclusivity and always will. We try to justify cheating by telling ourselves that everybody cheats. Only about half of the population actually commits adultery.

1. Some people actually believe that affairs can keep marriages together or even enrich them. This idea is popular in secular society and is portrayed in the media; movies, books and magazines. The truth is that affairs are extremely destructive to both the people having them and their marriages. It takes a great deal of healing and pain to recover from an affair and save the marriage.

2. Affairs mean we aren’t in love with our spouse. In my practice I have worked with countless people who claim they still love their spouse even though they are involved in an affair. Frequently, we only fall out of love after having an affair not before. The affair breaks the bond and makes us feel no longer in love with our spouse. It is not uncommon for people to have an affair and justify it in their own mind by convincing themselves they are no longer in love only to wake up sometimes years later to the awful realization that they are in fact still in love with their ex-spouse.

3. Our spouse is to blame for our infidelity. They drove us to it by not meeting our needs sexual or otherwise. We make the choice to deal with our marital unhappiness by having an affair rather than confronting the problem or problems in the marriage. It can seem easier to turn to someone else to meet unmet needs than to try to resolve the conflict with our partner. However, the choice to cheat only makes our life more complicated and unhappy.

4. Affairs are about love and sex. Most of the people I have worked with can honestly acknowledge that the people they choose to have an affair with are not any better than their mates, in terms of desirability. In other words they aren’t better looking, more accomplished or sexier. In fact, often people will admit that the sex is better at home. Affairs happen for all kinds of strange reasons such as accidentally due to sexualizing friendships with the opposite sex. Other times the motive can be hate and revenge or a desperate attempt to get our mates attention.

5. If you discover that your spouse is having an affair the best thing to do is nothing, just keep quiet and hope they stop. This is the worst thing to do, since affairs thrive on secrecy. And the longer they go on the more damage they cause. Confronting your spouse and dealing with the pain and conflict is the only hope you have of possibly saving your marriage. Get help as quickly as possible!

6. Most affairs result in divorce. In my long career as a Marriage Therapist, I have helped many couples to not only heal from an affair but build a much stronger marriage. Marriage Counseling can make a significant difference in the outcome or aftermath of an affair.

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Written by: Linda Riley, A Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and Certified Sex Counselor who is part of the LifeWorks Group, Inc. in Winter Park, FL. She has counseled family's and couples for over 22 years. Her focus has been with enriching relationships and understanding relationship dynamics. Promoting personal growth and building healthy self-concepts to help her clients achieve maximum results in their personal and professional lives. To find out more about the LifeWorks Group, Inc. please visit,

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