The Fallout Of Affairs: Think Before You Leap
November 16, 2010 · Posted in Communication, Marriage, Parenting · Permalink

By Lisa Merlo Booth

Many people do not purposefully leap into an affair. Typically they start as innocent conversations, cups of coffee or lunches with a friend or co-worker.  Seldom are they a well thought out plan for deception.

Unfortunately, the impact is the same regardless of whether they were planned or not.  And the fallout is often way beyond what people expect.

Before you jump into an affair take a moment to think about the implications of that choice to you as well as to those around you.  The reality is that affairs rock marriages.  In fact, affairs actually destroy many marriages.  Below are some of the almost universal effects of affairs…the ripple effect, let’s say, of affairs:

1.    Affairs break the trust in relationships.  This mistrust does not come back simply by ending an affair.  Mistrust becomes a new entity in the relationship and typically lasts for years. If the partner who had the affair doesn’t address the mistrust in an honest, forthright and compassionate way, the mistrust is likely to remain in the relationship throughout its duration.
2.    Affairs have a tendency of being passed down from generation to generation.  Your children are likely to also struggle with affairs in their life (either their own or their partner’s).  This is such a powerful phenomenon that at times it can be shocking.  I’ve worked with several couples impacted by an affair who reported that there were no affairs in their parent’s marriage only to later find out that when they asked, there were indeed affairs.  Their parents just tried to keep them a secret from the kids.
3.    Affairs take 3-5 years to overcome…under the best of circumstances.  This does not mean you are doomed for 3-5 years of the kind of intensity prevalent in the first year; however, the affair takes up a lot of space for a long time.

4.    Seldom do affair relationships work.  Many people have left their partners for an affair only to later regret it or realize the same issues are repeating themselves in the affair that were present in the marriage.  The grass is often greener at first but soon turns brown when it’s not watered.
5.    Often when one parent has an affair, their relationship with their children is damaged.  If the children find out, they are incredibly angry and hurt at the offending parent.  The affair puts the children into a loyalty bind between their parents that is unfair and caustic.
6.    The offending partner often struggles with guilt, self-esteem issues and depression as a result of having an affair.  Many people who have an affair struggle with the decision they made and lose respect for themselves.  Others around them also may lose respect for them as well.
7.    Affairs minimally damage relationships and often ultimately destroy them. This is especially true if the offending partner is not willing to do the hard work necessary to repair the damage they caused.

The bottom-line when it comes to affairs is they are caustic to individuals and families.  No one comes out of an affair unscathed and the ripple effects are often far reaching.  Before you enter into an affair be certain that you are willing to bear the brunt of your actions.  Also be certain that you’re willing to have your family bear the brunt of your actions.

Don’t just blindly put your relationship in jeopardy.  If you aren’t happy at home then speak to that.  Get help if you need to but don’t run via an affair.  There’s never an excuse for having an affair and the repercussions are far worse than you predict.

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  1. Lydia Morrison
    November 23rd, 2010 | 2:24 pm

    ah; it always starts w/lunch!!

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