Extramarital affairs, also termed as infidelity, are relationships outside of marriage where a married man or woman initiates a sexual or romantic relationship with someone else.
This act has become a huge canker in society and needs to be checked. One would ask,‘Why do people go as far as marriage and then end up having extramarital affairs?’ Well, let me give you answers.
Most times, people do not give themselves enough time during courtship. They psych their minds that they are meant for each other and they can make things work just because they feel they are in love. Instead of getting to know each other better, they spend their time making memories, not realizing that they may both have some dislikes that are not seen just by going on dates.
After marriage when they finally move in together and live life more seriously, they realize there are some uncommon interests, different life priorities, disagreement on core values and many other things that they may fail to compromise on. At this point, they begin to look outside the marriage for a much compatible partner.
Early marriage is another factor provoking extramarital affairs. People who get married in their early 20s usually have the perception that it is not too early to start life so even as they are married, they spend more time building their finances than exploring and enjoying their love life. Now, as they begin to grow older and financially stable, they feel they did not enjoy life enough while they should have, so they find it exciting indulging in extramarital affairs as a way to experience or make up for all the moments of fun and thrill of dating that they missed out on. They are eager to know how it would feel being with someone else aside their spouse.
When couples lack time and communication, they grow emotionally disconnected and they don’t even feel the urge to let each other in on their problems. They then begin to look outside the marriage for comfort and someone to talk to. Eventually, they grow attached to the other person much more than their spouse and they find themselves initiating a romantic or sexual relationship.
Also encouraging extramarital affairs is the inability of couples to deal with changes. Most people are able to deal with small changes but bigger ones like serious illness in the family, death, loss of employment, financial loss, etc, are tougher to deal with. Many turn to people, apart from their spouses to deal with such changes because they find more comfort in the arms of someone new, perhaps someone not connected to their tough circumstances in any way. This comfort gradually turns into a deeper attraction and they end up having extramarital affairs not because they are out of love for their partner but because they enjoy the peace and comfort outside of their marriage.
Again, have you given it a thought that difficulties in personal finances (excess debts and liabilities), or disagreement on personal financial management can sometimes be the trigger for consistent squabbles in one’s marital life? At such a vulnerable time, anyone who is willing to give a listening ear to their problems or even provide some financial support is welcome and this can lead to an extramarital affair as they grow more comfortable around the person.
Another reason that we do not seem to realize but is a huge cause of extramarital affairs is the stress of becoming parents. Becoming a parent changes a lot about a husband-wife relationship like priorities, way of living, etc, and this effect is more on the part of men than women. The time they can give each other reduces because the woman has now allocated that time to taking care of the baby and the men, unless they decide to spend their ‘then couple-time’ working, suddenly feel lost and unimportant at home. This pushes them to indulge in extramarital affairs. In cases where the men dedicate all their time working to make extra money, it may not be a problem at the initial stage but as the child grows up and requires less attention from the mother, she begins to want back that couple time they used to have and the unavailability of the man can push her into extramarital affairs.
Now though this seems like an equal possibility of infidelity on both sides, it is more with the men because some tend to start having affairs outside of the marriage right from when their wife gets pregnant. When the pregnant wife gets to the stage where she is no longer able to have sex, the man may not be so good at celibacy and thus, indulge in extramarital affairs.
According to study, 75% of marriages that are stained with infidelity end in divorce after about five years.
If you find some of these causes relate-able in your marriage, relax, your partner might not be cheating ‘yet’.
Here’s what to do:
Know yourself and know your spouse: Know what you want in your relationship and what your man wants, then you can both compromise to build and strengthen your relationship.
Also, it is totally okay to get married in your early 20s but when you do, make sure you make time for each other and explore your life as you go. All work and no play will make your relationship prone to extramarital affairs.
Create a relationship vision: Set goals for your relationship. Write them down if possible so that whenever you or your partner is going wayward, you are reminded of what you set out to achieve together.
Make your relationship a priority: Children are a blessing in marriage and should not be the cause of a drift. Nothing should be more important than keeping your relationship strong. Set aside couple-time and make it an everyday thing. At least fifteen to thirty minutes before bedtime should be enough to talk, tell each other how your day went and make sure you are both comfortable in the relationship.
Build your communication: Discuss your problems or concerns with your partner, regardless how difficult it may be, and if possible, see a counsellor together when problems seem to overwhelm you. You should even be able to tell your partner when you think you like someone.
Bonus tip: Make time for doing fun things in the marriage and very importantly, have a good sex life and sense of romance.
No one can have a perfect partner, relationship or marriage. It only works if you decide to make it work!
By: Maureen Dedei Quaye