I'm just interested to hear other people's thoughts. Although there is nobody else (or so I currently believe!) involved in the breakdown of my own marriage, I have been thinking back a lot over the course of my marriage when there were several opportunities to do that. I keep raking over the coals to establish the killer point when things started going wrong. The arrival of children in our marriage put a huge dent in the affection and physical aspects of my relationship with my wife, and I think that was the start of the breakdown of my relationship. I never went looking for an affair, but several opportunities presented themselves. I never took them, and now I try to understand why. Was it that I loved and respected my wife? Was it that I might have been found out? Was it that I did not want to do anything to upset the home life and the happiness and security of the children? I don't know. I guess I am thinking that had I been having an affair, I could accept that my marriage was over, or that it deserved to be. The fact i didn't and still have the same nett result troubles me in a strange way. What are other people's experiences? Why did they do it? Why didn't they do it?
Mike, I suppose its difficult to imagine being in the shoes of an ex partner and see your relationship from their point of view. My x2b had a choice of either sorting things out or having an affair, she chose the latter. Though things were not very good in the garden of marriage at no point do i remember saying, go on get yourself another partner and forget about our 14yr marriage. no body forces anyone to have an affair, its your choice to say yes i will or no I won't. I'm not being judgemental on anyone who has one because all circumstances are different. I just hope my next partner doesn't see having an affair as a little bit of fun that does no harm!!!!!!! As my ex did!!!
Seems to me that there is a familiar pattern with a lot of separation/divorces. Obviously the partner having the affair is not happy/satisfied with the marriage and the affair is the catalyst that gives them the strength to leave.
I believe that there are few people that would leave a marriage (particularly with children) unless they had some kind of safety net. Unless it is an abusive relationship.
So, going back to the question Mike - Why do people start affairs? They start affairs because they get excitement, they feel young again and they are extremely selfish. They don't think of the cost emotionally and financially to all involved. Do they think of the consequences at all? My ex2b certainly didn't think it through. They escape from the mundane norms of married life and then the s*** hits th fan!
Autumn, so does that mean that the partner who wasn't having an affair was blameless in the breakdown of their marriage? I agree that having an affair simply isn't the solution, but I do question whether both partners are equally guilty of allowing the relationship to get to such a low, that an affair becomes a substitute for their chosen partner. I'm just exploring ideas and trying to justify my feelings at the moment, trying to explain the unexplainable.
Mike, my experience sounds a little like Autumns, I loved my husband dearly andwas looking forward to the future. I became more independant and started looking after myself properly. The little one had turned three. He walked willingly ito an affair and to this day I don't understand it. I have accepted that I won't. He kept telling me that he still loved me and that something made him keep coming back to me. Why then did he make no real effort to save our marriage that was entirely saveable? We got on really well most of the time, we had fun adn love our children dearly.
I know I did everything i could. He did nothing and refused to try relate or anything like it. He is a selfish git and I have accepted that. I am not perfect and neither was he, but I could accept him and he couldn't accept me and our life together.
I had oppertunities and ddn't dream for a second of taking them. I had too much respect and love for him. I valued what we had. Was it here I read 'it takes two to tango but only one to leave the floor'? In a nutshell.
He never had the courage to tell me it was over. He put me in the position where I had to throw him out. You can only take so much lying and deceit. He was a cowardand he took the cowards way out.
Unlike many people on the forum, I think infidelity can be forgiven and marriages can be repaired subsequently if both parties are willing.
I think some people have affairs because they know on some level that their marriage has gone wrong and needs to end and this is the only way they can find the courage to leave it. There are some people on the forum in this situation, some of whom were in abusive relationships and who probably needed that level of support to be able to get out.
Some people really do just fall in love with other people. I don't think people who have affairs are always blameworthy. In some cases people have stuck it out unhappily for years in order to keep the family together. They don't mean to fall in love with someone else, but they do, and then they feel able to leave. I think that sometimes if they can build a new relationship that works well then it can be better for the children in the long run to see and maybe live with a functional and happy relationship between adults in their lives than watch their parents' dysfunctional marriage and think that is what they are supposed to be aiming for.
Some people seem to be capable of multiple loves. This can be hard for the people they love, who expect exclusivity, but it isn't blameworthy in itself, I think.