Would you stay with your partner after an affair? | Rebecca Jane
A few months ago I told you we were entering the prime season for people having affairs, and I wasn’t wrong.
New statistics have surfaced and it is a sorry state of affairs. No pun intended.
Over 70% of married people have now experienced infidelity during the course of their relationship. 7 in every 10 relationships, a ludicrously disturbing figure. Some people want to blame the pandemic, but the truth is, this figure has been extraordinarily high for years.
22% of people actually go ahead and leave their partner, or the partner leaves them. Meaning that 3 quarters of people stay in relationships where trust has been broken.
This topic has fascinated me ever since I ran my private investigation company for almost 10 years. However, we investigated over 1000 cheating partners and from our statistics over 90% of people stayed after infidelity. WHY ON EARTH IS THAT FIGURE SO HIGH?
Any time I debate this topic or read up on it, the vocal people ready to share their opinion are almost unanimous.
‘Once the trust is gone, the relationship is dead.’ ‘I would never stay’. ‘I would be a doormat to stay with someone who cheated on me’....
But yet, 90% of people stay!
The first question to ask is, why do people have affairs to begin with?
Well, the recent ‘excuses’ I’ve heard…
‘I don’t fancy my partner since we had kids’, ‘I’m sick of doing all the work in the bedroom’, ‘Life is too dull and I need excitement’, ‘The bond between the woman I had an affair with was just too strong, I couldn’t fight it anymore, the intensity between us was too overwhelming, I had to have her (read ‘I lack self control)’..
If I’m brutally honest, the main cause of infidelity I have seen over the last 4 years has been because people aspire to have something they think is better than what they have got.
That is largely thanks to social media for presenting a fake portrayal of normal life, making it look more glamorous, loving, romantic and exciting but also because people still just believe the ‘grass is greener on the other side’.
The sad thing is, you can post the happy pictures on Instagram, but people see a lot of the truth when your relationship is dead in the water. Adding a whole other level of embarrassment for the innocent party.
Have you ever heard the phrase ‘burying your head in the sand?’ that’s what happens when one person decides to have an affair.
Many people say ‘I know my marriage is dead, but I can’t face dealing with it. I don’t want to hurt people’. They then bury their head in the sand, failing to address the dead marriage by seeking excitement, affection and intimacy in someone else until they’re distracted enough.
That’s the point where they give the third party an ultimatum, telling them they want to be together but the third party doesn’t want the commitment, so it all ends. Or, the third party accepts and astronomical destruction occurs. In my professional experience, the person having the affair ends it only 16% of the time.
Mainly because they only entered the affair because their marriage is well and truly over, in their mind - the only problem is they didn’t let their partner know!
There is one type of affair that when uncovered, you just can’t come back from.
It is the one where the two parties have known each other for years and the one in the relationship has been longing for the other person the whole time.
It comes to a point where the person in a relationship just can’t suppress their feelings any longer. It is either acted upon, and the marriage is tarnished forever, or they continue pining after what they can’t have.
It may not end the relationship once it is discovered, adrenalin, bitterness and a need to prove the world wrong will see them through the turbulent period. Once the dust settles and not only is life as dead as it was before, now you have no trust either.
One thing I can tell you, people rarely ‘cheat’ on a night out. Maybe back in the 70’s that was the case, today, affairs are far more calculated than a 2am fumble in a nightclub.
Affairs today are deep, parties spend their time plotting and planning how they will get away with the act. Becoming even more emotionally connected, involved and downright brazen.
Physical infidelity is not the problem here, it’s not a good thing, by any stretch of the imagination. However, what is the worst act of betrayal to your partner is the secrets you share about your life, your relationship, the connection you build, the intimacy, living a double life… It may be exciting for a time, but it is destruction of the highest order.
So why do people stay?
Upheaval. The truth is, the majority of people who are in a relationship but have an affair are desperate to leave, their heart and head was gone long before they were unfaithful and that will never come back. They just don’t want the upheaval of separating a life, houses, cars, finances and especially the children.
Think about it as the innocent party. You get told tomorrow your husband of 4 years has been having an affair and he is in love with someone else. You’re distraught, you barely knew anything was wrong. Now you have to face bringing up your children alone, your family image is shattered, you would need to tell the world, you may have to move, you may lose your job and your car. When you put all the jigsaw pieces together, people often prefer to bury the truth than leave the life they thought was forever. So, they stay.
Shame. Oh, the shame! Shame is probably the biggest factor in most suicides. Living with shame is torturous. Your image is destroyed, everyone knows you’re not the perfect image you have portrayed and internally you’re dying inside. You may want to be with the person you had the affair with, but when it all comes out, can you live with the shame?
For the innocent party. The shame of ‘I failed in my marriage’, ‘I can’t tell my family’, ‘what was wrong with me to make them do this’, ‘why was I not good enough?’ is soul destroying. It’s easier to put the brave face on, act like everything is wonderful, take the ‘happy family pictures’ and mask the internal shame. So, they stay!
I can tell you what I know from experience, personal and professional. I am not an innocent party, I have also made mistakes and been on both sides of this disturbing coin, there is no judgement from me - what is important to me is to understand everyone.
Why do people stay? Why do people have affairs? Get in touch, let me know your [email protected]