extramarital affair Affair partners barely know one another at first and then just a short while later, they’re making plans for moving in together. (A version of this post ran back in December of 2010.)

I have learned so much from the contributions of the cheating spouses on this site because they have provided insight about their feelings and actions during their affairs.  One aspect that has intrigued me was how serious an extramarital affair relationship can become in a relatively short period of time.

One cheater claimed that after just a three month affair they were discussing the logistics of where they would live, legal issues, how a separation would play out, etc.  Most people who are in normal relationships would still be learning the little things about each other and meeting family and friends at that stage.

I wonder why a marital affair relationship seems so different?

I recently read an article that compared an affair to a “rebound” relationship.  The cheaters are still feeling the effects of their previous relationship (their marriage) and want to continue from that point, which brings all the aspects of their marriage to the affair.

I also have to believe that it is part of the fantasy.  The cheating spouses believe they have finally found someone who can meet their needs so perfectly that they quickly begin thinking about starting a new life together.

I believe the prospects of a new life can be just as intense as being with the affair partner.  The cheaters believe that they now have an opportunity to start over with a clean slate; with the ability to do things differently. They believe that all their problems will disappear because their unhappiness was caused by their “bad” marriage.

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The fantasy and the illusion never allow them to see all of the other implications of their decision. They agree that it will be a difficult situation but they will certainly survive because they have such a strong relationship within their extramarital affair, and since they are in the “affair fog,” they feel their love can conquer anything.

They convince each other that their relationship will never be like their current one because they have finally found someone who provides them with everything they need to feel loved.  They are convinced they would never make the same mistakes twice.

It’s doubtful that they are aware that the divorce rate for second marriages is significantly higher than that of first marriages.  It is also doubtful they are aware of the extremely low success rate of marriages that are a result of a marital affair.  Rather, they believe that their relationship is different and special.  

They are oblivious to the possibility that their actions also contributed to the demise of their marriages.  No doubt they place more blame on their spouses instead of taking ownership of their own actions.

I guarantee that when Doug and I were younger and first started thinking about spending the rest of our lives together (which was well after 3 months together, btw), we believed that we would always feel the same about each other as we did when we first fell in love.

We knew we would have problems at times, but also knew our love would get us through anything.  I never imagined that I would be sitting at a computer 30 years later writing about Doug’s emotional affair.

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A new life is a better life?

When a person begins an extramarital affair they are looking at all the negative aspects of their lives and marriages.  I am sure they are not seeing all the things they should be thankful for.  So I understand how easy it would be to believe that a new life with a different partner would be better than their current situation.  I imagine it wouldn’t take much convincing to go along with the fantasy that a new life provided.

Taking the leap to leave their spouses however, takes away all the fantasy and turns it into a formidable reality.  This proves to be a difficult, if not impossible proposition and is probably the reason why most marital affair relationships end. They know deep down their relationship is a fantasy and wonder if anything about their relationship was real.

One reader addresses this by saying…

Like all the other “affair” crap, the seriousness of it is just “crap” as well. If you’ll notice when it all hits the fan, and they are free to follow up on the plans, somehow about 90% of the time, it just doesn’t happen. Like the song says, Talk is cheap when the story is good.

Last Thursday an opportunity presented itself for us to see the positive in our lives and to count our blessings.  That day it snowed over 8 inches and my daughters and I had the day off from school and our son came home from college for his winter break.  As we were making our annual holiday gingerbread house, all five of us stood around the kitchen talking about things that only a family that has been together as long as we have could experience and appreciate.

See also  Healing From Infidelity: How to Get Over the Hurt

I know that Doug would never have moments like that if he chose to start a new life with the OW.  These kinds of moments can only happen between people who have shared a history and a life of experiences together.


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    31 replies to "It Doesn’t Take Long for an Extramarital Affair to Get Serious"

    • Gizfield

      I just think that any “seriousness” of these affair relationships is a result of knowing you can say whatever “crap” you want without having to ever act on it. In real life you make plans and you proceed with them. Announce it to your friends and family, get a place, work, pay bills, take care of kids, show your TRUE self. Notice almost all of these relationships stay in the run your mouth stage. I know my affair “relationship” certainly did. Talk is cheap, even when the story isn’t good.

    • exercisegrace

      At their core, most affairs seem to be about escape. And not from the marriage, as the statistics show most people don’t leave the marriage. They are trying to escape something within themselves. Childhood abuse, job stress, middle age…you name it. Years ago we made a very long distance move, to a city and state where we knew absolutely nobody. I remember how appealing it was to think of a clean slate. Being whoever I wanted to be.

      And this is what I think makes an affair the most appealing to someone that is weak. The AP does not know them the way the spouse does. They do not have the history together. They have not seen them at their worst. History can be re-written. They can make themselves into an entirely different person. The AP reflects this back, because they are seeking the same thing. The affair rolls along and the two players feverishly write a script. They are the misunderstood, under-appreciated, soul mates. They are being held back from their true selves by their selfish, needy spouses. But sooner or later the curtain gets pulled back, and the average person behind it is revealed. The initial zeal of two people who think they have found the holy grail is seen for what it is. Willful self delusion.

      So it inevitably crashes to the ground. It seems like it usually ends with one of the AP’s being vindictive and spiteful. They are not ready to give up the screenplay. They resent being pushed back into the real world. They want to punish their co-AP for not fulfilling the fantasy of happily ever after. They don’t want to realize that it wasn’t their spouse all along, it was THEM. They land with an almighty thud into the realization that what they have done is make things far, far worse. Instead of solving all their problems and giving them the life of their dreams, they have created new problems. Not just for them but for the spouse and children they now realize they have loved all along.

      • Dee Dee

        I was very impressed with your reply to the article. I know you wrote your response a few years back. I would love to know if you have experienced or know of more ibstances of fantasy l8fe the AP creates and pick your brain.

    • Gizfield

      So true, ExerciseGrace. I think my finest moment was when I realized that the “fantasy” my husband had wasn’t about his girlfriend but rather about himself. I’m not sure what he would have done if he’d actually gotten with this skank cause the things he was saying he liked are actually things I KNOW he doesn’t like. How do I know this? Uh, dating him for three years and living with him for ten. He told me he guessed he’d just “commit to his “boring” life”, but guess what, he is the one who chose the boring life, not me. He had his chance, a number of them, to change his choice, but guess what? When push comes to shove, he won’t. I bet my ass he never had any intention of doing anything, regarding leaving me, etc. He just couldn’t resist being Mr. Stud in his own mind to some attention seeking skank. PaThetic.

      • exercisegrace

        Exactly Giz, it is about themselves and never about the skanky affair partner. I struggled so much in the early days to understand WHY he would choose HER? She has NONE of the qualities he would seek in a real partner if he suddenly found himself single. Case in point: she doesn’t like kids, and he has four that he dearly loves. They would never have been compatible in real life. But he wasn’t looking for that, no matter what he might have said, or she might have thought or wanted. He wanted to see a better image of himself reflected back. That’s all. Their many incompatibilities didn’t matter because he never, ever intended to leave me for her. She was just too stupid to grasp that concept. Silly whore.

        I can’t really say if it makes it better or worse. Better because it is crystal clear they would never have made it as a real couple. Worse because he risked so much for someone SO not worthy of what little she was given.

    • Gizfield

      Agreed, EG. I read some of his emails praising her as a “wonderful mother.” Say what?! I guarandamtee you if I was doing their crap around our daughter, it would not have been ok. And it wasn’t ok that she was dating a married man, and dragging her kid across the country to shack out with a pilot cause shes a gold digger either. He would probably try to revoke my parental rights if I did that. But again, guess what? He never had to deal with her, her daughter, or the results of her whoring in a serious way. Plus, if she was a wonderful mother, he could also maintain his “fantasy” of himself that he was a wonderful father, all the while dating a whore. Very logical, lol.

    • Gizfield

      It’s so great to me that the pieces of this crap actually do fall together in time. It takes a while but if you are lucky you will eventually see all affairs as the tawdry pieces of crap that they really are. Nothing good, just crap. If there is any one piece of advice I wish everyone could get, that is it. The affair partners aren’t better than you. where on god’s earth did that idea ever come from.? Their sneaking is not better than your marriage. It is crap, completely ludicrous, at best.

    • Strengthrequired

      There is one thing it all boils doe to, fans that is “it is all about what the cs wants”
      No matter what you do, no matter what you say to your cs, won’t stop the affair unless they truly want to. The affairs are addictions, until they see clearly, the affair is no good and is destroying their life, that want to communicate in any way shape or form with the ap, the marriage and family will only then take over that want and need.
      My h was not intending on leaving his us, he believed as long as he wasn’t sleeping with her he was doing nothing wrong, he was with his family, so his sneaking around was what seemed to me as a way of him in his recovering mind, that as long as I didn’t know it wouldn’t hurt me. Wrong….. Yet he couldn’t see that, because all he “wanted” was what “he wanted”. If he wanted to see his ow, then he would and No one was going to stop him.
      Until he saw that I was done trying, and she was not done trying to get him to leave his family, which was not what he “wanted”, that was when it hit him. That want to protect his family and to save the marriage was only then what had finally outweighed the “want” to keep the delusional affair alive and the want to see the ow stopped.
      It’s is all so selfish, but their mind was in a low place, and that ego boost and that admiration and adoration being recieved by someone else, is what they crave to keep them feeling good an out themselves, even if it is short lived in their mind. I think that is actually why they get so consumed in the calling the seeing, the texting, because they have to keep hearing how much they are wanted and loved and how awesome they are, and worthy of a better life, then what they currently have, that it is hard to let go of, and because that feel good feeling doesn’t last long, they have to keep getting dosed up in that high.

    • Strengthrequired

      “It all boils down to, and that is ” it is all about what the cs wants”. (That is what it was supposed to say)

      Yet when I say that, I also mean, unless the cs sees and feels the damage caused for themselves, without just appearing to be seeing, like when they see we are suffering due to the results of their ea/pa, but aren’t really seeing and feeling, because at that time they are still only doing what they “want” being selfish, and lapping it up about it all being about them. I honestly believe during the time my h was in his unstable head stage, I could have been on my death bed, and it probably wouldn’t have brought him to his senses, it probably would have felt to him like it was forced on him to get over his “so called love”.He had processed everything himself, he had to make himself see, he had to truly feel what was at stake if he didn’t change his thinking. He had to wake up out of his delusional dream, to truly see what was happening.

    • Redemption

      When I look at the question, “I wonder why a marital affair relationship is so different?”, by extention it prompted me to think of what Andrew G Marshall said “Sometimes people tell me of almost out of body experiences as they type how much they “love” their affair partner and “I’ve never felt this way before” because they knew at the time that they didn’t mean them but it was what was expected in an affair and went along – like someone in a play performing their role.”
      My own H told me he had feelings for his AP and that he told her he loved her . . . because “she expected it”. . . . like someone in a play performing their role? Is it fantasy, an out of body experience, or just selfishness pushing through to control the situation to get what they want out of it? Ie: if my H tells her he loves her then he’s not really just using the OW for cheap sex. And she’s not “low hanging fruit” for letting him have the cheap sex.
      In my view the affair relationship is so different because at it’s most basic level it’s escapism. How quickly can they make themselves feel better by having someone else believe they are something which they are not. And doesn’t that feel wonderful! And the faster the better! They’ve escaped into wonderful bliss.
      Which I believe can be viewed as just a cowards way of running away to make themselves feel better as fast as they can. The faster they can make themsevles feel better the quicker they can dispense with reality. The selfishness is so pervasive my H actually told me, while still involved with his AP, that he would not accept that our marriage was over. (Talk about wanting your cake too!) He was delusional.
      He has since looked back and stated he “must have been crazy” then. Sadly, that is as far as his self reflection will take him. And although he has been back with his family for almost 2 years now I still wonder if he is just playing “his role” here also? Without true reflection it is hard to know.

      • exercisegrace

        Good point redemption. My husband described much the same. Until the day they kissed, he could fool himself into thinking they were just good friends. Even that the flirty texting was harmless because no PHYSICAL line had been crossed. He said the first time they had sex was pretty bad and he was wracked with guilt. He said he pulled over to the side of the road on the way home and sobbed. The sex never got much better, and more often than not, he had issues. It took closing his eyes and picturing me to overcome the “issue”. He sobbed and carried on like a crazy person on d-day about that one. For a long time I thought he was lying, because why on EARTH would you keep something going that was mediocre at very best? His response was he thought our marriage was over. He realized what he had, what he had risked and he thought it was only a matter of time before I found out and left him. He knew the kids would turn against him as well. He thought he had no choice but to continue on the chosen path or be completely alone. When I fought for our marriage it gave him hope. But the AP was always throwing subtle hints about outing the affair. And in the early days, I believe he WAS addicted to her nonstop attention. That is apparently trick #1 in the whore playbook. Maintain constant, obsessive contact. Make them believe they need that attention and adoration more than air itself. Pray they don’t figure out otherwise. Of course they always do!

    • Gizfield

      You know, Strength, I was just thinking about how low my opinion of my husband is. It’s ironic, he was so desperate to convince this pathetic whore what a good person he is. All he has really done is convince me what a creep he is. Cheater, liar, sneak, condescending in that he thinks he’s better than me cause I actually “did something”, while he “did nothing”. He also enjoys thinking that hes so much better than my first husband and that I’m “crazy” for putting up with him.

      I might be able to forgive him his adultery, but the real issue is that my whole view of what he IS as a PERSON has changed so dramatically. You dont “get over” a total change of what you think of a person’s character. I can kind of love him in a superficial way, just to make my life easier, but I dont think it will ever go deeper than that, and I truly dont care. I can see why most people divorce cheaters after the first chance. Lol, like I said it’s ironic he and his scuz thought they were soooo much better than me. They really wouldn’t want to know what I think of THEM.

    • Strengthrequired

      You know giz, the side of my h that came out during his ea, I hope to never come face to face with that person again. I too can’t understand how some people just walk away. Yet it isn’t always as easy as just saying what we always thought we would do, come the situation we were faced in. I thought I would have walked, yet here I am…. Yet still very much iMovie with my h.

      Redemption, my h told me the same things, he only told her what she wanted to hear, as it was easier just to say it, even if he didn’t mean it. So I believe She chose the roles she wanted him to play, and he puppeteered to keep her happy. Otherwise that fantasy land they were building up together would have crumbled all around them, so that feel good feeling wouldn’t have died, that wasn’t what he wanted, he needed to feel like he was valued, like he was important to someone else other than his family. She gave him the story he needed to follow, until he believed that his family didn’t need or want him, he was just there to make money.
      Funny thing was though, she was the one that wanted exactly,what she made him believe about his family.

    • Strengthrequired

      Giz, that was supposed to say, I too can understand how some people just walk away, not I can’t understand. Lol. It certainly has crossed my mind a lot during these past two years that’s for sure.

    • Strengthrequired

      What is going on with my iPad today lol, I am still iMovie with my husband, lol. That was supposed to say inlove.

    • Paula

      I was truly, madly, deeply in love with mine, every bit as much after more than twenty years, as the first flush, and I was totally in love with him after D-day, in lust, yes, honeymoon-hysterical-bonding, yes, but also very deeply in LOVE, and it surprised me, I thought I would be disgusted, and want him gone, this was how I felt for about two years after D-day. I was so proud of the way he was handling things (mostly) the deep remorse, the work he was prepared to do, the amount of self-reflection and self awareness, but after nearly five years, I don’t love him anywhere near how I used to, my love is compartmentalised, whereas once it was holistic. As Giz stated, that has changed, and this is to do with my opinion of him. I used to see him as a man of integrity, never a perfect man, but one with a strong core, one who admitted his mistakes, and worked to improve himself once they were recognised, but after choosing to text, meet behind my back and fuck (without protection) my “friend,” for fifteen months, I learned I had lost a great deal of respect for him. I told my best friend this a few months after D-day, that I wasn’t sure if I could ever respect him again after these choices, and she looked at me and said, “oh, Paula, I hope you can, because my mother said that it is the cornerstone of any relationship, respect, when you are angry at them, or are even just ‘blah’ about them, it is the respect that glues everything back together, so you can get over the tough times” At the time, I thought it would be okay, because I LOVED him – so what? – respect, harumph! However, as I continue to walk this journey, I think my friend’s long gone (and much beloved by me) mother was spot on the money. Lack of respect clouds so much. It isn’t like I don’t respect parts of him, and what he does, in fact, I have HUGE respect for the way he has conducted himself in the years following D-day, the way he has put me and my heart first, ALWAYS, how he has protected me from local gossip, etc by fronting up to the gossips and telling them he cheated because of HIS issues, NOT because of me, or because of any perceived “lack” on my part. But, I don’t respect someone who acts the way he did, AND CONTINUED TO, after all, I get a once only error of judgement, but fifteen months of secrets, lies and downright dangerous behaviour??? That seems insane to me. And he was insane, or at least very mentally impaired at that time. So if I can recognise this, why can I not regain respect? Hmmmm, something to talk to new counsellor about, lol!

      • strengthrequired

        Paula, I think you just need time and patience with yourself. Look at what you have been through. He was also your first love, as was my h. Respect is earned, just like trust. You can’t expect to have the trust and respect to return so quickly, your h has a lot of work ahead of him to regain what he threw away, but with time I believe he can prove himself to you again, and that guard you have built around yourself to protect yourself will start to drop. I believe it is only natural after being so hurt to not give respect and trust away so easily, it’s hard, but I don’t think impossible.
        Just go with the flow, take each day as it comes, then one day, whether it be one year or even 10 or more years from now, you will wake up and feel safe with him again.

        • Paula

          SR, you are a romantic. I don’t agree. He was not my first love, but he was the first, and only man I have had sex with. I was deeply in love with another before him. I genuinely hope this is true for you, but sometimes people just let you down so much that full respect never returns. And, you know, that is okay, that is life. You just need to get to a place where you can accept this cannot be restored, and I am either there, or if not, very close :-).

          • strengthrequired

            That was what I meant lol, my h was my first too.
            I guess Paula,maybe I just don’t want to lose that hope lol, I do believe that it can be restored. I look at it how we won’t ever stop loving our children, they will disappoint us at times, they will even have us maybe lose respect or trust in them yet I know it can be restored, so I believe if there is real love in a marriage, then it can be restored there too.
            Maybe I just don’t want to believe in anything else, lol

    • Gizfield

      Unfortunately, I dont know of any way to gain respect for a person, Paula. I just get so tired of hearing all the “justifications” people give for being liars and cheats. A real Respect Buster. I was 41 when I met my husband, with a full background history of liars, cheaters, abusers, alcos, druggies and just plain general creeps and jerks. I was not interested in adding one more asshole to my resume. So this has really been a deal breaker for me. I thought I had found a person of integrity and I was wrong. I found a creepy little liar and a sanctimonious one at that. Ughhhh. His creepy no morals choice of girlfriend just disgusts me, in all honesty. I’m glad she has such a high of opinion of herself cause I sure dont have one of her, lol.

    • Gizfield

      I agree with Paula. I think it’s pretty much gone for me as well. It’s just a gross loss of integrity, at least to me. For example, when I have some spare time to my self, I read, or watch tv, or play Angry Birds, or maybe even shop a bit, take a walk, write on the website here. I might even have a few drinks occasionally. This is how it’s been the ten years of our marriage. He, in contrast, used his time to sneak around with a slut and lie about it. There is nothing to respect there. I’m pretty sure my thoughts on this won’t change.

    • strengthrequired

      Ohh giz and Paula, I love you guys, I know you both will be ok. Am I crazy for not wanting to lose faith.
      I hate what my h has done to us, I especially dislike the ow, but when I see the man I married showing himself again, I don’t want to think any different.

      • Paula

        No right or wrong, SR, I was the same at your stage. Hope and faith are GOOD things, not bad :-). I think many of us “come right” and some of us just don’t seem to be able to get enough back, and I think I may be one of these, although I didn’t think so even a year ago. Just because I can’t doesn’t mean you won’t, and remember, every case has its own special features, recall that mine slept with this woman, my so-called friend, whilst I was entertaining her and helping her manage her thoroughly spolit son, he did this over and over, without protection, for a long time, while still letting me believe we were fine, telling me he loved me, etc, and gave me two diseases, one of which is potentially fatal, and then when I kicked him out two years after D-day, he slept with her again (ironically, using protection this time, lol.) I was raped at uni, by someone I trusted, so carry that baggage. I understand why he slept with her again, but it is material to my lack of respect for him today. As I said earlier, this is a good guy, who fell down very badly, but got back up again, really genuinely sorry and sick about what he unleashed. Unfortunately, I am not okay though. Sort of okay, but not really enough. Every case is different, I do believe I could have recovered enough for him with an EA, the special level of disrespect he delivered by his actions is icing on the cake. So, because I lack respect, doesn’t mean everyone should, or will xx.

        • forcryin'outloud

          Paula, I’m for the most part right there with you. My H and I are still married living under the same roof but over the past few months I just cannot seem to get that “loving feeling” back into full gear. He tried so hard for the first couple years, now he’s migrating back to his old ways. I think I’ve lost all respect and trust in him as a person not just a partner. I was at his work the other day and his asst. said she loves how he’s such a family man. I wanted to burst out in hysteria. I just can’t see it anymore. He’s an amazing person with incredible attributes but the ones that matter the most to me as his lover, friend and wife are gone. It’s really sad! And I have to say the involvement of my MIL has been a hurdle I cannot overcome. She takes no responsibility for her actions and he tells me I have to just accept her…that she’s always been that way. She’s an enormous problem for us.
          I feel sort of a mess too. I had done so much work because I was raised in a volatile, abusive house along with being molested at a young age. I had become strong and as comfortable as I could in my own skin. Now I’m just a head case. When I go to therapy it’s all the same talking and work I know I need to do but for some reason I just feel paralyzed. I’m encouraged by the Strength Requireds out there but I think that will never be me. I do have hope sadly I don’t think my H is part of it. I really keep trying for my teenage son he really doesn’t deserve this serving of adult bulls#*+.

    • Gizfield

      Oh, Strength, you are such a sweet person. I dont think there is any set answer on the Respect issue. I’m just saying for me, with this particular guy, it’s gone. I’m certainly fine with that. I didn’t meet my husband til I was 41 and am waayyy past any thoughts of unconditional love. If a guy can’t act right, I truly don’t want him. I’m not really sure why that was so hard for him to understand. Liars, cheats, sneaks, and all that crap, are a dime a dozen. Been there, done that, got a tshirt, lol.

    • FrankL

      OK so many of you know my story. My wife’s affair not only crossed into physical even though she denies it, but she ran off to his country with him for a total of 14 days from take off to return. From what I can tell she has him coming back with her. I don’t think this guy works much anymore. She says part of it is my fault since our tour company fired him when I told them abut his affair with my wife. Now I am so grief stricken. Before she left she was considering an in-house separation then when she was away she told me to leave her car at her job and that she would get it serviced. This tells me she was not coming home to our home. Then she called and asked if I picked it up. I told her no, she said not to. Well, I just don’t know what to do. Many of my friends said I should just divorce her, but they just don’t get how much I love her. I swear if she comes back to me I will just let this go as if it was a mid-life reconnect for us. I just think I might be smoking dope. I just fear that all of her talk with him about their new life in his country etc, has taken hold. I mean she only called our 15 year old son twice in 14 days!! and our 21 year old cut her out of his life. The other issue is I can not compete with his ability to introduce her to his friends and all his contacts etc. I mean he is a tour guide has a large family and knows everyone because of his job. Here in the USA we have a real life with work, family, stress etc…I can not compete with her fantasy life. I am so distraught today it is incapacitating me. This is the worst I have been the entire time from discovery through her running away.

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