Extramarital "affairs" are
very common. We all know that.
In fact, they are so prevalent, it
seems as if they are almost to be expected as just a part of marriage these
In general, studies show that almost 60% of men and over 50% of women "cheat" on their spouse at some point in the marriage. So, according to these statistics, basically half of all marriages experience some sort of infidelity.
Here are some statistics:
|Percent of marriages where one or both spouses admit to infidelity, either physical or emotional||Percent of men who admit to committing infidelity in any relationship they’ve had||Percentage of women who admit to committing infidelity in any relationship they’ve had||Percent of married men who have strayed at least once during their married lives||Percent of married women who have strayed at least once during their married lives||Percentage of men and women who admit to having an affair with a co-worker||Percentage of men and women who admit to infidelity on business trips||Percentage of men and women who admit to infidelity with a brother-in-law or sister-in-law||Average length of an affair||Percentage of people who participate in affairs who divorce their spouses and marry their lovers||Percentage of marriages among those 10% who had the affair who eventually end in divorce||Percentage of marriages that last after an affair has been admitted to or discovered||Percentage of men who say they would have an affair if they knew they would never get caught||Percentage of women who say they would have an affair if they knew they would never get caught|
Interestingly, according to these statistics, the number of marriages affected by infidelity could be even higher since many more than half of all men - basically 3 out of 4 - and 2 out of every 3 women say they would have an affair if they knew they would not get caught.
What's wrong with this picture? Are people just not trustworthy? Do people make bad decisions regarding relationship commitments? Are “commitments” not really true commitments anymore? Is the institution of marriage flawed or obsolete? What is it?
Well, I am not an expert on marriage, fidelity, or even psychology, but here is one of my simple perspectives on it…
I suspect that happy people (truly happy people) generally don't have as many extramarital affairs as unhappy people.
I know that may seem contradictory to what you may hear since, according to “the experts”, many people who have affairs say they have “a happy marriage” - yet they still end up in bed with someone else.
The point I am making here is different, though. You can have a "happy marriage" (in other words, your relationship is good, and maybe even satisfying) but you may still not be really happy in life overall. (NOTE: What I am talking about here is total life happiness, not just a “good relationship". People who are totally happy in life have much more than "good relationships". Truly happy people are grateful for what they have, have goals and positive expectations for the future, have minimal regrets, very few "rules" and who are living consistent with their own personal Definition of Happiness).
It is probably no coincidence that the percentage of extramarital affairs is essentially the same as the incidence of "unhappiness" in our society today (about 50% of people today report that they are not as happy as they would like and only about 20% of people say they are "very happy").
As an example, let's say you and your spouse have a "good relationship" (in other words, a "happy marriage"), but outside your relationship, your spouse has components of their overall personal Definition of Happiness which are not being met (like maybe "adventure", "excitement", or "variety"). Then, let's assume he or she is under a lot of pressure at work or maybe your family has some significant financial pressures. Finally, let's say that, although you and your spouse have a good sex life, you also have children, so between this and all the stress, you don't have sex as often as either one of you would like (which does not make either of you totally happy). Or, even if you are having enough sex, maybe you are somewhat "conservative in bed" and your spouse (perhaps deep down inside) would like a more "aggressive" sexual life.
Well, you know where I am heading with this. Yes, you may have a "happy marriage", but the bottom line for your spouse in this "exaggerated" example is that, although they would say they have a “happy marriage”, he or she may not be a totally happy person inside. They are under stress, not fulfilling their personal Definition of Happiness completely, and may have some sexual feelings buried deep down that are not being totally satisfied. These things combined could create the initial desire to "cheat" in an attempt to ease the stress, satisfy an unfulfilled sexual desire, or just feel happier (even briefly).
On the other hand, for someone who is truly and totally happy, I propose that even if they may not have the "perfect marriage" or the "best sex life", since they are truly happy inside (in other words, they are grateful for what they have, have minimal regrets, and are fulfilling their personal Definition of Happiness completely), they will be less likely to have an affair since it just isn’t necessary and would likely jeopardize their overall happiness.
I know, it sounds a bit complicated and perhaps over-simplified at the same time, but it all boils down to what I call the “relationship happiness loop” concept, which you can learn more about by clicking here. In essence, it means that, first, happiness creates great relationships, which then, in turn, creates more happiness, which then (again) makes relationships even stronger. It’s an upward (positive) spiral that is self-perpetuating. In this situation, there is no need (and maybe even no desire) to deviate from the marriage.
But, I realize that doesn’t help some of you who are reading this and want more “tangible” information than just “be happy and you and your spouse won’t want or need to have an affair”. I know that’s somewhat idealistic and simplistic.
So, if you are interested in something more tangible, check out some of the additional resources at the bottom of this page. Then, check out the most likely result of having an affair by continuing reading below. But first, make sure you know what really makes you happy by clicking on the "Get Instant Access" button below and I'll send you two free gifts...
The Result of Affairs:
A “Lose-Lose-Lose-Lose” Situation
As can be seen from the statistics at the beginning of this article:
Only 1 out of every 10 people who participate in an affair actually end up leaving their spouse and marrying their lover.
On the other hand, only 31% of marriages survive after an affair occurs.
Then, even worse, for those 10% of “lovers” who had the affair together, if they do end up getting married, 70% eventually end in divorce.
So, one simple conclusion from all this is that affairs are essentially a lose-lose-lose-lose situation.
In other words, generally speaking, everybody loses. Sure, there are exceptions. But, overall:
The Bottom Line…
So, if you are thinking about having an extramarital affair, or even if you are already participating in an affair now, consider the odds. They are not good. You are likely to “lose”, as will everyone else involved in the situation (either directly or indirectly).
If the affair is with someone who is married, most likely he or she will not leave their spouse. If they do leave, and you and your lover get married, that relationship will also likely fail.
Obviously, it gets very complicated. On a very simple, perhaps superficial level, it gets down to my basic premise about this whole issue (and the whole concept here at BeHappy101.com), which is:
If you are not happy overall, then your relationships will not be great – or at least they won’t be as good as they could be. So, if you stray from your marriage, the affair will be very unlikely to suddenly make you a “happy person”, and so the new relationship with the person you have the affair with will also likely fail - creating even more pain, regret, and unhappiness. Again, it is much more emotionally and psychologically complicated than that, but this is what I believe to be the foundation.
The point is this … if you are thinking of having an affair, or are already in one now – make sure you know yourself and the facts.
Understand why you might want to stray from your marriage or monogamous relationship.
Consider your personal Definition of Happiness (click here to find out what it is).
Understand the odds of having a “successful affair” (which are very poor).
Consider the implications of who loses and gets hurt (everyone generally does).
Consider the regrets you may have later (see my “3 R’s of Happiness” concept by clicking here).
Then, if you feel you are still having difficulty knowing what to do, get some professional help if you need it to "save your marriage".
Understand what really makes you happy (or could make you happy) by clicking here.
Repair your marriage. If you don’t, there is usually a steep price to pay since it usually ends up badly.
Then, for more information, check out some of the related resources below.BeHappy! my friends
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