Whether you’ve been married for 30 days or 30 years, you’re never really immune to an extramarital affair. Maybe it’s happened to you. You’re fed up with your spouse. You start chatting with that attractive person of the opposite sex in the next cubicle. You’ve known him for years, and it’s so easy to talk. He just listens. Pretty soon you’re sharing intimate problems, and now the co-worker is telling you how hard you have it. Maybe you should just leave your spouse. Or maybe the two of you should go out to lunch to talk more about it all. With this person, you’re finding what you need and want: a sympathetic ear, someone who understands you and all you’re going through. Maybe even the first meaningful physical touch you’ve had for months.
How Common Are Extramarital Affairs?
So, how many married people are cheating on their spouses? Polls and estimates report that more than one-third of men and about one-quarter of women admit to having had at least one extramarital sexual act. If you factor in cases of “emotional infidelity” — where a spouse engages in an intimate (yet not sexual) friendship with a member of the opposite sex — the numbers are much higher, probably greater than 50 percent.
Eighty percent of Americans say adultery is always wrong and only physical abuse does more harm to a marriage than does cheating. Indeed, the discovery of an affair more often than not leads to divorce.Kerby Anderson . “Adultery.” Probe Ministries International. http://www.probe.org/docs/adultery.html
Even “Virtual” Affairs Wreak Havoc On A Marriage
If anything, the growing influence and availability of the internet has only made things worse. As many as one in 10 Internet users report that they are addicted to cybersex or other online temptations. After all, online sexual encounters offer the thrill of a make-believe romance along with the added benefit of anonymity. Because many online affairs don’t involve actual physical contact, participants can convince themselves that cybersex isn’t really adulterous. They believe they aren’t really cheating on their spouse. Truth is, however, that even a “virtual” affair can wreak havoc on a marriage or a serious dating relationship. No marriage is really immune to extramarital affairs.
Why Do Affairs Happen?
Affairs occur for reasons other than just sex.
- To give a conscious or subconscious “wake-up call” to the spouse. This might happen if your spouse has a different kind of “lover” outside of your marriage. It could be a consuming career or even a hobby.
- To inflate a bruised ego. You might want to get back at your spouse for something he or she did that hurt you rather than offering forgiveness and dealing with the root issue.
- A friendship gets out of control. Whether or not you think it’s healthy to have friendships with members of the opposite sex, take extra care in those relationships. Unfaithfulness often begins totally innocently.
- Your spouse doesn’t live up to your expectations anymore. Remember that you know your spouse’s good and bad qualities, while you may only see someone else’s good side because you don’t know him or her well enough to see warts yet.
Christian Marriage Counseling Is Invaluable When Infidelity Occurs
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