The Seductive Nature of an Extramaritial Affair

by Rod Smith

Get out of the middle!

Get out of the middle!

Extramarital affairs are very seductive. They appear to offer better, more intense passion than the marriage. Hide and seek will do this, spawning the kind of relationship we wished was possible with a spouse. It’s amazing how “attractive” someone can sound, look and feel when you add large amounts of adrenalin. The secrecy idealizes the other, not love or truth. Deception, the “ducking and diving” past family can give vitality to the stolen hour.

What is so ridiculously seductive (and hurts so badly when the truth comes out) is the belief that affair is about you. Actually, it is about who you are not. It about what you do not represent. You are not the wife or husband; the “routine.” Yours’ is not the other name on the mortgage, you are not one who owns the other car in the garage. You are not the one whom the children sound like when they are at their worst (and best). It’s not your beauty. It is not your charm (although you might be both beautiful and charming). It is the difference from, the contrast with, what your affair knows. In his or her boredom and selfishness, you become so very appealing in the heat of it all. It’s the contrast he or she “loves.” The secrecy, the chase, the conniving makes it all so surreal and convincing and such a turn on. It is not you. It is not he or she who has met you here in this rendezvous, but the secret itself, the fact that you will share this secret, that’s lighting your fire.

The seductive thing is that for a period of time one or both of you actually believe in the affair as if it is a real and enduring relationship, able to offer you each something you really want. For a time you will give so unreservedly, so wildly, and be sucked in by passion. Every meeting will feel like you were meant for each other and that it is a cruel world forcing you apart. The really sad thing is that even your children will feel, to you, as if they are in the way, obstacles to your freedom, hindrances to your finding true love. When you are with your lover the first hours will slip past feeling like heaven. The approaching absences and those times when you are apart, will begin to fill with suspicion, heaviness and demands that come with cheating. You will think your love is cheating on you (even when with their spouse) every time the cell-phone is off, a call is not returned or a weekend happens without you. The moment the clandestine activity began with you, the scene was set for it to occur around you and to you. He or she who cheats on a spouse will most certainly think nothing of doing the same to you.

The affair itself, born in secrecy and lies, itself begins to lie, making the participants believe they have been short-changed, deceived in marriage and that a fling can offer what’s really wanted. It is not so. Affairs seduce the participants from what is real, what is important, what is enduring and significant. If I cannot talk to my wife, talking with someone who is not my wife (or who is someone’s wife) doesn’t help anything one iota. Learning to talk with my wife is where the real action is, it is not in talking with some other lost person looking for a temporary shelter from her own storm.

Affairs are always a poor substitute for a relationship. No matter how intense, how willing each person is, inevitable pain and suffering lies ahead for each person in the seductive cycle. If this is your dilemma break it off today. Go cold turkey. See a professional. Change locks. Change phone numbers. Quit your job if you have to. Run home to your parents! Get out of it. No, you do not owe him or her an explanation or closure. Everyone you love, or thought you loved, will be better off for it.

Copyright 2002, Rod Smith, MSMFT

11 Responses to “The Seductive Nature of an Extramaritial Affair”

  1. Affairs as you put it are the woo of the issues a person must face. He has only made matters worse by treating me and the kids unfairly and warranting his affirmations by making cruel comments.
    A few weeks after he left i was diagnosed with cancer. He was devasted, but refused to leave his girlfriend. Devasted enough only to force his ways to my dr’s appointment but carefully enough not too send the wrong message to his girlfriend and convince her that the only reason he was doing this is because i am the mother of his children.

    Affairs, are masks created by insecurities and fueled by the adrenalin that feeds him passion and zeal to feel young again. He has lost weight and hangs around with people half his age.
    I have no further strength and tired of knocking on doors looking for the hope and love that i think he still feels for me but is refusing to acknowledge. i didn’t allow him to help me with my treatments. When i did it only permitted me to see that he still cared and this only caused me more pain because of this other relationship that he so painfully hangs on to.

    True, i don’t know what is going on with him and her behind closed doors. I don’t know what is fueling him through this whole ordeal. Is it really my job to know? This is a journey that he must make on his own and see things through his own eyes. I can only sit back and through it all keep myself together for my own children, because who is going to be there for them? Most days I wake up and feel weak and feel cheated; some other days I wake up and am ready of a world of independence. I constantly looking for sources of strength that I get from my friends and watching my children grow.

  2. thanks Rosemarie — please contact me if you’d like to talk…….

    SKYPE address: “RodESmithMSMFT”

  3. also, see

  4. I read this with sinking pain. How many have read this and thought, “that’s not how it is for us – we’re different”. I know that’s how I feel. I also know that on most levels I’m wrong.

    We’ve both tried to end it. Four times now, I think. The last time it was my attempt and I lasted barely a month before I couldn’t bear it any longer. I missed him so much, I was so lonely without him. When I returned to him, he was angry at me for taking us away. A week later, he was anguished telling me we had to stop, had to end. And then we talked for hours and he told me he couldn’t give me up and I cannot give him up.

    He’s never offered more, I’ve never asked it. But I’ve wished for it. Before I got divorced, it worked for us both. But I changed; I got out of my marriage for other reasons. Now, well now I want him. I am terrified at the thought of losing my last touchstone. I cannot think about anything else but the few hours a week we spend together. I know he’s unhappy and I see the evolution and I see that his own marriage will not last forever.

    He’s a good man. I am a good woman. I never expected to love someone like this and even though we’ve never used that word, I know he loves me too. I also know that I have never been in love before until now. My ex husband and I never had this. I am afraid of trying to start again. I have only loved two men in my life and the first was not even real love, I know that now. It took me 35 years to find this person who ignites my body and my mind. The thought of leaving it behind, even the limited time we do have together, frightens me more than I could ever truly say. I don’t know how to meet someone else.

    I’m too afraid.

  5. Hi Sugarfree,

    I was involved in an affair with a married man while I was married. It was exciting and passionate and I felt alive. I did not leave my husband of 12 years during the affair but it strained the marriage and my children so badly that we have since seperated. I feel a lot of what Rod had to say up top is right on the money, and I have lost everything that was important to me because I thought I loved him.

    You didn’t mention how long the affair has been going on, but if it has been a while, there is a reason that you two have not told each other that you love one another. If it has been short, like mine was (but intense), then you may be in love with the excitement, the passion, the way he treats you when you are together. This is the feeling I had. But he went home to his family and I went home to mine after our meetings. It became unbearable, living two lives and the constant cover-ups.

    He did not want to commit, or should I say, he did not want to leave his family and life. You also didn’t mention if you have children from your marriage. I have two teenagers, who were preteens when this all happened. They have had a lot a trust issues with me and stored up anger. My husband (maybe soon to be ex) is not a bad man. He provides for us and is involved in the community. I just felt like things were stale between us, so I looked elsewhere. When I was involved in the affair, I thought I didn’t love him, because I was so convinced that other man was the greatest thing on earth. After some time I realized that I was being selfish. I let everything else slip, the house, our friends, the kids, because I was crazy in the head over this guy.

    I now go to see a counsellor to work on this. I hope to work with my husband soon too. Yes, I have issues with him, but in the end, they seem trivial now and I think we could work it out. I’m sorry that you were not able to work it out with yours, but maybe the reasons for your divorce were significant.

    I have also looked around at other websites and done some reading into the subject. I can’t quote anything, because I have a bad memory, but there is good advice out there. I found out the hard way that affairs are hurtful to everyone involved. Especially to me, because I have to live with it now. I hope you can figure it out and don’t worry about meeting someone, it will happen.

  6. After all this time, i am here to tell a story. my story continues from up above. Its been over a year. There is nothing i see that is consistent this whole year except that he is still with her. It has been a few weeks that he has not signed the divorce papers. He seems to want to come and hug me and come and have casual conversation with me. He still checks me out when he sees me. His behavior is confusing. He has broken down a couple of times and he says its because of his children. I’m not sure what to think. Help!

  7. WoW! I happened to fall upon this site and I am so amazed at all the responses on this matter. I am not proud of what I am about to say….but I fell in love with a married man. It started out as a professional relationship, but he flirted and pursued me and eventually I relented. I believed him when he said “nothing would change between us professionally”. I believed him when he said “I have never done this before”….but little clues led me to believe different. The fact that when his wife called him on his cell and he answered while I was present…he would look me straight in the eye and not act nervous at all. Another time….I tested this, but hugging him while he was conversing with her and he did not wince, or push me away at all! So, either he really hated her or he is very used to this situation. I wised up and left this relationship…..she caught on….and you could tell that she had dealt with this before….she wasn’t even angry…it was more like…..”here we go again” type of attitude…..I feel sorry for her. He is “high profile”, makes a good living and they have several young kids. If hurt to leave, because I did love him….probably still do…but bottom line…it was so wrong!! One doesn’t intentionally try to get into these situations….at least I didn’t….it just happened, and like a fool I fell for his charms. Don’t be stupid like I was…..realize…that if they REALLY loved you?? They would leave her for you….but then…..”buyer beware”….you just might get what you wished for!?!? Hmmmm………!?! No Thanks!! I don’t want to spend MY marriage looking over my shoulder and babysitting my husband…..just like it has been stated previously….it they did it to them? What is to stop them from doing it to you?? What makes you better?? You are NOT the mother of his kids, you do NOT own property together, you do NOT have a history together….so why wouldn’t he cheat on you too?? Just an FYI….take it from someone who knows….

    OH!!……yeah…here’s an update for you…..AFTER I broke it off with him….I ran into a girl at a nightclub and she told he that he had sex with one of her co-workers!!! Now who would have thought!! ~

  8. Dear Singsweet:

    Thanks for your reply and your insights.

    I trust your reflections will be read and informative to many women.

    Rod Smith


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