When a long-term affair is discovered, the results can be cataclysmic at times. No wonder those in long-term affairs keep the infidelity going but also remain quiet about it to their spouse. That raises the question: Why do people have long-term affairs but want to stay married? What factors are at play that keeps the relationships from falling apart? Let’s explore the reasons why someone in a long-term affair would want to maintain their current marriage.
What Is A Long-Term Affair?
A long-term affair is generally an affair that has survived for 15 months or longer. Since most affairs lose steam around 6-10 months, anything that survives for over a year is considered long-term. However, there are some long-term affairs that have lasted almost a lifetime. These affairs are extremely rare because the longer infidelity goes on, the harder it is to hide.
But what happens when the extramarital affair continues for years and years? Why would someone keep such activities going, knowing full well it will come back to bite them?
Reasons Why People Have Long-Term Affairs But Stay Married
Affairs are an isolating experience—for those being unfaithful and those being betrayed. Yet, with a long-term affair, there is some kind of shift or accommodation, so to speak, that allows for the long-term affair to continue on. It may not even be that the affair goes unnoticed. Maybe it means that you denied the signs of the affair because you didn’t want to confront the cheater.
In the end, you both let the affair go on without speaking of it because you know it would disrupt the life you have built.
Here are some of the reasons accommodations are made for an affair or how it continues to survive undiscovered:
When you have kids, the whole idea of dealing with an affair, breaking up the family bond, and troubling the little ones is too much to bear. Even parents of older kids will hide the affair because they do not want to be cast in a bad light for their actions. In many cases, while the family dynamic is healthy and both parents want what is best for their children, the marriage itself may be in shambles. When that happens, both parents are subconsciously fighting tooth and nail to hide any tension.
Unfortunately, even if you think you are successfully hiding the pain of an affair from children, they are far more perceptive than you think.
Marriage means tied assets, like home and car. Should divorce be on the table after a long-term affair comes to light, that financial stability would be ruined. Fear of losing that could drive someone to hide the affair. Similarly, a long-term affair may be overlooked for the same reason.
The Fear Of Divorce
The fallout of an affair is nothing short of a mess. The one who had the affair may be running from the responsibility of owning up to their mistake. The betrayed spouse may know the truth but hides it because a divorce is just as terrifying. The financial burden alone is mortifying.
However, if you both still love one another, there are ways to end the long-term affair and rebuild your marriage. Sitting down with a marriage counselor or infidelity recovery specialist, like those at Couples Academy, can help you both move on from the long-term affair and avoid divorce.
Family And Friends
Marriage inevitably bonds together more than two people. Families and friends intermingle. You meet people through your spouse, and you eventually know everyone they know. Should the long-term affair be exposed, all those people would also be affected by the news. While having a strong support group is necessary for overcoming the pain of an affair, those same people can easily disparage the unfaithful spouse.
Familiarity And Security
While people tend to get into affairs because they are bored and craving something new or exciting, a long-term affair isn’t like that. A long-term affair means that both the marriage and the affair have become so routine that true feelings are involved in both. Loving two people and leading two different lives is not entirely fantasy, especially in today’s digital world.
Even if the spouse is no longer the beloved, being together may feel so natural and so secure that destabilizing the relationship to confess an affair is unthinkable.
Furthermore, if the other partner in the affair is also married, any backlash could ripple and affect their home life as well.
Overcoming A Long-Term Affair
Maintaining a long-term affair can be exhausting and stressful, but people do keep them because the fallout would be too devastating. Whether you agree with that action or not, knowing why long-term affairs keep going can help you understand why your spouse did what they did.
As long as you continue to love one another, even after the long-term affair, you can work on rebuilding your marriage. While it may not be as it was before, the new life you build will be better. Couples Academy can help. Our services are designed for couples who want to overcome any and all challenges together, including infidelity. Give us a call or contact us today to learn more.