Reasons for Having an Affair

Reasons for Having an Affair.  As a Marriage Counselor and Affair Recovery Specialist, I’m often asked why people have affairs.  My response is there is no one-size-fits-all answer to that question.  There are many different reasons why people have affairs.

Reasons for Having an Affair

Life Transitions

Relationships can go through many transitions throughout life.  These transitions are often accompanied by some level of anxiety.  The birth of a child, career demands, middle age, and retirement are typical life transitions that impact each partner and the relationship itself.  When we enter into a committed relationship, we bring with us various idealized images of what our lives will be like and how we will relate to our partner.  When these images are disrupted by a life transition, we can experience anxiety.  Rather than dealing with the apprehension trading old ideals for the new realities, and making healthy adjustments to accommodate the transition, one of the partners may choose to find a different partner in order to maintain the ideal.  Unfortunately, the futility of this strategy often becomes apparent after the damage is already done.  New loves are no less immune to transition and anxiety than existing relationships.

Unrealistic Expectations

Our parent’s marriage is the role model for what we hope to find (and avoid) in our own marriages.  Our partners, similarly, bring their own set of expectations into the marriage, -and often the two different sets of expectations conflict.  This conflict may not be apparent initially, but over time can become a major source of discontent in the relationship.  It is at this point that one partner may try to change the behavior of the other partner so that it conforms to his or her expectations.  But trying to change another person, is, of course, inappropriate and usually brings more conflict into the relationship.  The better option is to examine our expectations and adjust our own behavior.  This is very difficult to do so some people opt to go outside the relationship to find someone who meets their particular expectation.

Reasons for Having an Affair

The Cry for Help

While some people have no intention of leaving their relationship, they find themselves burdened by some unbearable aspect of it.  They may feel they have exercised every other option to correct the problem, and out of despair finally play their strongest card: an extramarital, affair.  They then inform, their partner about the affair, as if to say, “See, I’ve been trying to tell you all along how much I hurt.  Now, do you hear me?”  Rather than place the relationship in jeopardy by giving into your frustrations and acting out, the better choice is to work with a Marriage Counselor to learn how to communicate and deal with those frustrations in a more productive way.

Breakdown in Communication

During the course of a relationship, there are often times when two partners stop communicating with the depth and intimacy that characterized their earlier years.  This can happen when one partner feels that he or she has outgrown the other in terms of social activities, career development, emotional growth or intellectual pursuits.  It can happen when one of the partners is geographically removed, ill, or otherwise unavailable.  And it can happen when there is sexual dysfunction stemming from, a physical problem or lack of communication.  Rather than working together to enhance communication and correct the problem, one of the partners may find it easier to simply look outside the relationship for a new partner.

The Exit Strategy

Some people use an affair as their strategy for making a break.  They’ve already decided they want out of the relationship so they engage in an affair to make their partner angry enough to initiate a breakup.  Others see an affair as an excuse for entering Marriage Counseling or Couples Therapy so that the therapist can maneuver the dissolution of the relationship for them.  Still others have an affair to garner the emotional support they need from their new partner in order to endure the breakup of their existing relationship.

Sometimes people have affairs to remain in their marriage.  Whatever the reason, the outcome of discovering a partner’s affair is devastating.  As an Affair Recovery Specialist, I help couples examine why the affair occurred and help them make thoughtful decisions about whether they can or even want to remain in the relationship.

For more information about reasons people have affairs please contact me at (858) 735-1139.

Emotional vs. Sexual Affairs

Emotional vs. Sexual Affairs. I believe it is a breach of fidelity when inappropriate relationships and behaviors are kept secret from a significant other; such as communicating online, using sexual innuendos, sexting, flirtatious banter, and sharing deeply personal thoughts and feelings.  When two people share personal information it makes them vulnerable, and vulnerability leads to intimacy and emotional connection.

Emotional vs. Sexual Affairs

Emotional Affairs vs. Sexual Affairs

An emotional affair vs. sexual affairs is the act of behaving unfaithfully and cheating on a spouse or significant other.  Sexual intercourse may or may not occur.

People who share their marital and sexual problems with a friend of the opposite sex begin to feel emotionally close to that friend, and sometimes that emotional affair leads to a sexual one.  In Marriage Counseling, I work with couples who are struggling with these challenges.

Victoria Milan, a dating site for people seeking affairs, asked 5,000 of its members how they feel about an Emotional vs. Sexual Affairs.  “Many people are searching for affection, a deep connection that can lead to real feelings, not just sex,” said Victoria Milan, CEO Sigurd Vedal.  “What kind of cheating is more painful?  It totally depends on the individual, and maybe on gender as well.”

As you can see from the results listed below, men and women have very different ideas about what is forgivable and what is not. Emotional vs. Sexual Affairs

Their findings include:

  • 72% of men said sexual affairs were worse than emotional affairs.
  • 69% of women said emotional affairs were worse than sexual affairs.
  • 76% of women would forgive their partner for a strictly sexual affair.
  • Only 35% of men would forgive their partner for a strictly sexual affair.
  • 80% of men said they would forgive an emotional affair.
  • Only 30% of women would forgive an emotional affair.

Researchers from the University of Michigan found that women viewed “forming a deep emotional bond” during infidelity a much bigger concern than did men.

Emotional vs. Sexual Affairs

Whatever your views on Emotional Affairs vs. Sexual Affairs, betrayal never feels good.  As a Marriage and Couples Counselor, I specialize in Affair Recovery and believe that affairs are symptoms of other issues affecting the relationship, not the least of which may be a partner who is inherently promiscuous.  I enjoy helping people learn why they do what they do and how to stop hurting themselves and their relationships.

For more information please contact me at (858) 735-1139

When Is Enough, Enough?

When Is Enough, Enough?  I’m working with a couple who has been in affair recovery for over a year.  The husband had been cheating for ten years.  The wife discovered the last infidelity via text messages which pretty much summed up his behavior with her over the course of the year.  No doubt she was devastated to discover this affair.  He also disclosed his other discrepancies during the course of those ten years.  We succinctly talked about how their marriage was derailed and was able to get some traction over the course of therapy for stabilization.

A moving forward plan was developed based on what they wanted from one another to remain in the marriage.  Expectations and boundaries were put in place to ensure appropriate behavior was being exercised.

Throughout the course of counseling, the husband showed insight into his behavior and was committed to the process of being transparent and forthcoming.  As much as the wife understood and appreciated his insights and appropriate moving forward behavior, she continued to bring up events from their past and ruminated over them indicating she was “stuck” in the process.

In the most recent events, the wife discovered her husband had been communicating with his first “affair partner” a few months ago as they were planning on making arrangements to talk to each other.  His reasoning is far less important than the breach of his commitment to exercise transparency and being forthcoming.

As their Marriage Counselor, I have been working with the wife to help manage her anxiety, obsessive-compulsive behavior, and co-dependency to get some insight into her continued rationalization of why she tolerates these boundary violations.  At this point, the issue isn’t about why he continues to lie, (lie by omission, etc.), it’s why she continues to tolerate his inappropriate behavior.

As a Marriage Counselor specializing in Affair Recovery, I understand individuals stay in relationships because of the “pay-off” they receive.  Different “pay-offs” for different people.  At this point in Affair Recovery, the wife needs to take a more serious look at herself and what she’s doing to enable bad behavior and live with the “good enough” progress they’ve made, or accept he cannot meet her expectations for moving forward and choose to move on, because when is enough, enough?

For more information about Affair Recovery please contact me at (858) 735-1139.



Why Some Men See Prostitutes

Why Some Men See Prostitutes.  The definition of a prostitute is a person who engages in sexual activity for payment. Prostitutes are also referred to as sex workers, escorts, and hookers.  Some people are quick to judge these men, especially if they are married and label them as “horndogs, sex addicts, assholes, pigs, and pricks.”  Sex with a prostitute is typically the commodity traded making sex transactional, anonymous or commercial.  Sex with a prostitute can alleviate a lot of psychological problems that men may have with their primary relationships.  Prostitutes are wanted because of their attitude.  They are typically assertive and confident.  They know what to do.  They are, after all, professionals.  Some men go to prostitutes for quick sex, convenience, control or to be controlled, to indulge in a fantasy, or to avoid complications.

As a Marriage Counselor, more than one man has said to me, you don’t pay the hooker to come, you pay her to leave.  Here are other reasons outside of what those trendy relationship magazines write about why some men seek prostitutes.

Love-Lust split (Madonna-Whore complex)  –  Some men have what is referred to as a Love – Lust split. This happens over a course of time where once there was a voracious appetite for sex with their partner can turn into tenderness or even worse, an aversive sexual response to his partner.  Some men manifest an incapability to integrate closeness and sexual passion as there are sexual blocks to his erotic psyche. These men have unhealthy childhood pasts as they have done a bit of codependent caretaking of females in their lives, typically their mothers, experiencing what is known as an intrusion trauma that inhibits physical intimacy with them. Some of these men see prostitutes because their availability is a turn on that frees them from any caretaking responsibilities as they tend to see their wives as “mothers” rather than intimate other or lover.

Another reason to seek services of a prostitute can be due to Performance Anxiety. There’s a myth that men want sex all the time no matter what.  Another myth says it’s a man’s job to be able to please a woman all night long even if he isn’t up to it. Having bought into the oversold definition of male sexuality as being biologically driven, uncomplicated, always ready, and always in search of novelty, comes at a price for some men in the form of being obsessed with performance and having anxiety about it.  This male mystique can turn men to less emotionally complicated forms of sex to include, masturbation, and utilizing sex workers, or prostitutes.  Having sex with prostitutes makes for a level of dissociation that they bring to their sexual proclivities as a response to these uncomfortable emotional pulls.  Time with a prostitute can create a space where insecurities, fear, and anxiety to perform are minimal as the freedom and control they seek in their anonymous partners manages the relational and emotional connection they are trying to avoid.

The appeal of paid sex is the promise that for that specific period of time, the prostitute is on the clock and she’ll take away the complexities of the male sexual myths and ease their life pressures.  For the time paid prostitutes put men at the center of women’s attention relieving them of their sexual vulnerabilities and are relieved of any pressure to perform as they are in the position to fully receive.

As a Marriage Counselor, I have successfully worked with couples whose husbands had cheated on them with a prostitute. In counseling, we talk about the reasons behind the transaction and get to the core problems which lead to helping the couple understand what went down and what is needed to move forward.

Please contact me at 858-735-1139 for more information about being able to move forward from an affair consisting of a sex worker/prostitute or other betrayals.

Can A Marriage Survive An Affair?

Can A Marriage Survive An Affair? When an extramarital affair is discovered, a crisis exist. Now the question is can this relationship continue? In more than half the cases, the relationship does end but depending on how this crisis is dealt with by both partners, the relationship does have a chance to continue. In some cases, this crisis serves as a relationship awakening event that opens the door to self-examination and honest communication that may make the relationship even stronger. The most destructive threat to committed relationships is when one of the partners engages in a sexual relationship with another person. Conservative estimates suggest that about a quarter of women, and a third of men, have violated their marital commitment to their partners. About 65 percent of marriages struck by infidelity end in divorce. Whether infidelity leads to a breakup or divorce, or at the other extreme, a more positive outcome with a stronger commitment and better communication depends on many factors.

Can A Marriage Survive An Affair?

One important variable is whether the partner who cheated came from a family with infidelity. People with parents who were unfaithful are at higher risk for infidelity within their own relationships. This is certainly not always the case as many people from these families are determined never to repeat their parent’s mistake. We learn a lot from our families of origin.  One of which is to copy the behavior of our parents  and sometimes to act out our unresolved issues.

Another factor that may determine whether a relationship can survive infidelity is the nature of the affair.  Some affairs lack emotional commitment, while others involve a deeper level of intimacy and connection that is found within the primary relationship. While a marriage or relationship may survive the former, as long as the underlying issues are brought out into the open and worked through, the latter type is not as hopeful. The couple would have to put in a great deal of work to save this relationship.

Life After an Affair

Many marriages are unable to survive infidelity.   Approximately 31% of marriages survive infidelity and come out even stronger after the crisis.

The first course of action when you learn about your partner’s infidelity is to find a Marriage Counselor who specializes in Affair Recovery.  A counselor who doesn’t specialize in Affair Recovery will be less likely to help guide you through the process as you try to cope with the emotional turmoil that accompanies this crisis. You will need to make rational decisions during a very difficult time, and depending on whether your decision is to “Stay or Go,” your therapist will help you go through the stages of the decision-making process in a supportive and thoughtful manner.  Couples have little experience on how to rebuild their lives after infidelity devastation occurs.  Marriage Counseling and its therapeutic support is an invaluable part of the process.

We need to examine why the affair occurred and make a decision about whether we feel we can remain in the relationship. We need to examine our partner’s motive for engaging in infidelity. We need to see how the affair is going to affect the relationship in the future, and whether we can live with that. We need to decide whether communication can be enhanced in the event that we decide to repair the problems. We need to examine both the positive and negative aspects of divorce (in general, divorce is a profoundly painful experience for most people, including the children).

If the primary relationship is to have any chance of surviving, the affair needs to end. If the affair continues, the straying partner would likely not have the emotional energy or motivation to repair the damage done to the primary relationship.  As a Marriage and Couples Counselor in San Diego I help couples who are dealing with the aftermath of discovery of an affair and help them sort out what to do next.

So to answer the question, “can a marriage survive an affair?”  The answer is “yes.” If you need guidance in determining whether your marriage can survive an affair please call me at (858) 735-1139 or email me at