4 Not-So-Obvious Reasons an Affair is Disappointing

Why did your affair that started out so exciting turn so disappointing?

Niko Guido-E+/Getty

An affair can feel like a good idea in the beginning. It can give you a boost of self-confidence to know that you still “have it.” You may feel like a rebel standing next to regular people with their boring lives. It can be exciting to keep a secret. Not to mention, an affair brings you close to a new person – something that is out of bounds in a marriage.

The problem with these “pluses” to having an affair is that they can be short-lived and can be outweighed by the overwhelming “minuses.” You get used to the self-confidence boost, and the excitement of being a rebel can fade. People engaging in infidelity are usually well aware of the ramifications to their marriage. What they are not so aware of is the way the downside will quietly rob them of the “joy” they feel with their new partner.

It is challenging to arrange the money.

Affairs can be expensive. The presents, hotel rooms, taxi fares and restaurant bills quickly add up. In addition, you need to constantly be alert and sneaky so that you are not called out for an unusual charge on your credit card statement. Finding a way to explain to your spouse why there is suddenly less money for groceries or medical bills can be even harder.

You probably won’t have anyone to talk to about it.

We consult family, friends and colleagues about important events in our lives. We share our joy and pain with them. When it comes to cheating on your spouse, though, your confidants may not be the right people to take your questions to. They may disapprove of what you are doing and not stand by you. It can be a severe strain to not have your usual sounding boards for important developments in your life. While it can be wonderful to have a great secret at first, once you understanding just how secret the affair has to be, it can lose some of its appeal. 

You inevitably feel guilty.

In some cases, an extramarital relationship could be seen as justifiable. Whether your fling is fair to your spouse are not, though, is not the only potential source of guilt. If an affair is exposed, it often shakes a family to the core and can be devastating to all of the family members, children included. Fair or not, the children usually suffer the most. The guilt a parent feels for harming his or her children can be very hard to get past.  

You will be exhausted.

One reason why human beings have decided to stick with one family at a time is that it can be nearly impossible to juggle multiple families. It can take everything you have to merely raise one family properly.

It doesn’t even take an entire second family to strain your time and your mind, though. Simply having a secret lover can do the job. Many people who have affairs complain about how all of their guilt, the need to plan for the coming day and all the surreptitiousness catches up with them when their heads hit the pillow. It can be very difficult to sleep with this on your mind, and the lack of sleep and mental exhaustion will have detrimental effects on your health.

To add insult to injury…

People often look for affairs when life at home is unpleasant, or is no longer exciting enough. The new partners who you may find, though, are not the special, super humans who they first appear to be. These new love interests are regular people with flaws. Past first blush, lovers can begin to demonstrate that they can be biased, unpleasant, impatient, apathetic and indifferent. Even worse, once you begin to notice your lover’s flaws, you often start to notice wonderful qualities in your spouse that your paramour lacks.

For some, an affair may be worth it. Most often, though, it turns out to simply be an awful idea. With all of the obvious and not-so-obvious risks, it simply is not worth the cost.

For further reading: After the Affair: Healing the Pain and Rebuilding Trust When a Partner Has Been Unfaithful, How to Help Your Spouse Heal From Your Affair: A Compact Manual for the Unfaithful, Not "Just Friends": Rebuilding Trust and Recovering Your Sanity After Infidelity