Men's Articles

Don't Tell Anyone I Am Having An Affair!

Let's face it. There is no running away from the subject of affairs. It's no longer an uncommon phenomenon. Most of us know someone who has had an affair - a neighbor, colleague and sometimes even closer to home, our spouse. Consultant Clinical Psychologist with the International Medical University Paul Jambunathan remarks that there is no particular "dangerous" point in a marriage where the ubiquitous affair happens.

Affairs can happen at any time; in fact Jambunathan has even known of husbands who have had a fling or two while their wives were pregnant for the first time. While the common belief is that men have affairs more often than women, Jambunathan declares that there is no hard evidence that says it is more common for a man to have an affair. Neither age nor gender is a distinction. As enticing and attractive as it is made to be, many who have had affairs have regretted it deeply testifying to its disastrous consequences in their lives.

Joanne's Story

"Mine is a typical lonely-wife-seeks-attention-from-man story. My parents divorced when I was two years old. Dad moved to a state far away and I hardly ever saw him. That left me and mum in the house. It was a lonely life and as soon as I hit puberty, my focus was solely on boys. I mastered the art of flirting and had sex for the first time when I was 15.

I went from one guy to another looking for fun and attention because I so desperately wanted to escape the boredom at home. As my grades were good in school, my mum did not notice anything amiss. I left home for college when I was 17. Life was just one big party then. I met many guys; some of whom I slept with. This went on right up to the time I graduated.

"Soon after I started my first job, I met my husband. He was 10 years older than me, mature and, l knew he could provide the stability that I lacked all my life. Deep down I was just yearning for the father that was never there. After a brief courtship, we got married and two children came in quick succession.

My lifestyle was tremendously altered and I felt bogged down with responsibilities. Although we had problems, we never really addressed it as we were too busy. Slowly, the problems started getting bigger and the more we swept it under the carpet, the more we started to get angry, bitter and disillusioned with each other.

I realised that we had allowed things to get so out of control that they just became too difficult to deal with. Although I still loved my husband, I knew we were growing apart. It became painfully apparent that he and I had nothing in common. We were only together because of the children. My marriage became a mechanical way of life; functioning like clockwork.

"I missed all the excitement and fun of my single days and yearned desperately for it. Our sex life was practically non-existent as well. It did not help that my husband was working late on many nights. I had no idea that it could get so lonely in a marriage and I felt like ending it. My children and society's would-be perception of me held me back.

As I felt trapped in the marriage, I started looking for love and attention elsewhere. I yearned to be touched and made love to, and feel like a desirable woman again. Work was my form of escapism as it felt good to chat with others my age. Soon, I started hanging out with my colleagues at nights.

When I was out having a good time, I resented the fact that I had a husband and kids at home. My night escapades increased to three nights a week and quickly became the only thing that I looked forward to. "I'd come alive on these nights. Pretty soon, I started getting attention from some of the guys at my regular hangouts.

I felt shortchanged of attention in my marriage and the attention from these guys was just what I needed to boost my ego. One day while out clubbing, I met a Caucasian who kept giving me the eye. We got to talking and I found him to be stimulating company. He was sensitive to my needs and made me feel alive and attractive.

We exchanged numbers and soon started seeing each other whenever we could. I was desperately looking for something exciting to happen in my life that when we met up for the third time we slept together. While the sex was fabulous, I did feel an intense stab of guilt at what I had done. However, each time we had sex, I justified it by saying that if my husband treated me better I would not be doing this.

Each time my husband was cold to me, I blamed myself less. My lover and I started seeing each other as often as we could. I started coming home later and later at night. In a way, I stopped caring whether my husband found out or not. My lover and I were falling in love with each other and thinking of making a serious commitment to each other.

When showered with his love, the faults in my husband became more glaring. Four months into the affair, my husband started getting suspicious. One day, he confronted me and I admitted the whole thing to him. It shocked me when I realised that I did not want my marriage anymore. All I wanted was my kids. We filed for a divorce and I got custody of the children.

My boyfriend left me in the end and today I realise that I made a huge mistake in not having worked out my marriage. I took the easy way out; I chose to find temporary love and excitement elsewhere and gave up on my husband. I know I hurt him deeply because I know he stayed faithful to me. There is still a deep sense of  loneliness and longing in me. I am still searching for love, still searching for someone to replace the gap that my dad left-"

Jennifer's Story

"I'm 43 years old and have had affairs for as long as I can remember. I got married when I was in my 20s to Mary and we had a lovely daughter. We were happy for a while before the problems set in. By nature, I am not a confrontational person and I tend to bottle everything up. When something is wrong, I find it very difficult to speak about it.

And so, my marital problems never got settled. I got bogged down by my marriage to Mary and started seeking excitement elsewhere. I thrive on excitement and am a bit of a high-sensation seeker. I started going out more often at night and before long, I met Sandy. "Sandy was seven years younger than me and studying at a university which was a two-hour drive away from my home.

She was vibrant and vivacious and provided all the excitement that was lacking in my marriage. We used to meet up for coffee whenever she came back on the weekends. From my conversations with her, I sensed that she was attracted to me as well. One day, after yet another cup of coffee, she gave me a hug and we both felt something in that hug. Not long after that, Sandy and I started having a physical relationship.

By this point, I knew that my marriage was definitely over. I decided to file for a divorce. The divorce was messy because Mary knew that I was having an affair with Sandy. Mary contested the divorce all the way and I ended up getting only visitation rights to my daughter. Throughout the divorce proceedings, Sandy and I kept seeing each other. While it was nice having Sandy in my life, I found that I enjoyed my new-found freedom too much.

My charismatic personality drew women into my life. Over the weekdays, whenever I went out, I sought out women's company and before long found myself sleeping with two other women. One day, just after sex with one of them, Sandy called. I answered the phone immediately but she heard my lover's voice in the background.

Sandy asked me if there was a woman in the room with me. I denied it vehemently but that  did not stop her from driving over at once. She confronted me about the situation and decided to come clean with her. I told her about the two women. She was so furious she jumped on me and started choking me.

I thought she was going to kill me but instead she calmed down and told me that she was going to move in with me to keep an eye on me. Ironically, that worked out to be the best thing for both of us. "We lived together for a year, at the end of which I asked Sandy to marry me. She accepted and two years later gave birth to a baby girl.

When my daughter was about two years old, the problems started again. Whenever I was unhappy with something she said or did, I never confronted her and so the problems in our marriage escalated and never got solved. It did not help that I am not really capable of deep, meaningful relationships. I started feeling trapped in my marriage again. I felt that Sandy was continually nagging me because she felt insecure in our marriage.

She kept asking me if I was faithful to her. She also suffered from post-traumatic stress from the birth. Sandy's decision to spend more time at home with our baby only made things worse. I started working long hours so I could avoid going home. As a last resort to save the marriage, I figured we should have a second child but Sandy did not want to. In the end she agreed and got pregnant again, but later lost the baby when she found out about Sylvia.

"I met Sylvia when my daughter was two years old. Sylvia was new and exciting. I slept with her because the sex was electrifying. I never intended to leave Sandy and most certainly did not ever want her to find out about my affair. But Sandy did find out and we ended up getting a divorce. I got married again, this time to Sylvia. Fundamentally, I know I am totally insecure and should never be married but I am too scared of being alone. We have been married three years now and I have just started yet another affair."

Jambunathan opines that affairs could happen anywhere at anytime and anyhow. It is highly personal and subjective. The only issue that is common across all affairs is the need for secrecy. When one spouse is involved in an affair and the other spouse finds out, ultimately the first question that comes to the mind of the "victim" is "why did he/she cheat on me?" "Remember, anybody can, at anytime, make a move on a married person.

It is their right and is almost defensible by the theory of survival. It is society that creates the norm and the expectation that nobody should make a move on a married person. I believe the 'tempter/temptress' is neutral. It is the person who gives in that makes the decision to have an affair. It is he/she who is primarily responsible," notes Jambunathan.


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