There are always reasons not to have an affair.
We usually know it’s not a wise decision, but I want to be specific with 18 reasons WHY NOT to have that affair you may be thinking about having.
Why would someone have an affair when they knew in their hearts beforehand that it was wrong?
How do otherwise good people decide to get into an affair?
There is usually a period of time when a person is thinking of cheating on their spouse. They may not admit it, or even be aware of it, but there is a time between thinking and acting upon it.
Although they may justify in their minds that their actions are innocent, they play a dangerous game of playing with fire. Many who play too close to infidelity will eventually be burned. Affairs are like tornadoes, they blow in quickly in a whirlwind of power and then they’re over leaving everything and everyone destroyed in its path.
If you’ve found yourself thinking of having an affair, even just entertaining the thoughts occasionally, there are some things you should consider before making the leap. Take it from someone who made the leap and got burned so badly that the scar is still there.
These are 18 reasons why not to have an affair, a warning, before you get swept up into it:
- The affair is an illusion that life will be better with this new person. All we can see our their positive qualities and we’re blinded to anything negative. It’s only later on after we’ve entered into an affair that we realize the affair did not make life easier or better, but actually made life harder and their feelings to be torn.
- Secrecy and Lying will become your new normal. You’ll begin to change into something you eventually won’t recognize yourself. Your life will be characterized by lies and deceit. The very existence of an affair needs secrecy to survive and so you’ll find ways to lie more than ever before. Only these lies will be to the very person you vowed to love and cherish the rest of your days. You can’t cheat without lying and you’ll find yourself becoming a liar every day. Keeping those lies straight will become your part of your daily thoughts, wondering who you said what to and making sure nobody finds you out. Callousness will easily grow in your heart as you find yourself not caring as much telling the truth like you once did.
- Your secret will find you out. You will be caught eventually. Part of the illusion (#1) is that you won’t be caught and you can have an affair and nobody will know and so nobody will be hurt. It may not happen immediately, or next month, but it will happen. Secrets don’t stay secrets very long and remember that people usually like having the latest gossip on others so you can guarantee that when your secret is out, more people will know about it than you could have even imagined.
- Your integrity and reputation will be lost. No matter how many years you’ve spent building up your reputation or how many people think very well of you, it only takes one act of moral indiscretion to lose the reputation you’ve spent years building. It will deeply impact those you love and hurt them to the core. Those closest to you will be very disappointed and their trust in your Integrity often won’t return for many years, and sometimes not at all. For some people in your circle of contacts and relationships, you will always have a cloud of suspicion and mistrust about your lack of integrity and conviction.
- Do as I say not as I do. Anyone who looked up to you or who trusted you will not value your word or your said convictions any longer. It’s difficult to tell our children to not do drugs when we do them ourselves. So it is with adultery. Our lessons of moral conviction will be seen as the hypocrisy it is, particularly with our children and spouse. That respect is not impossible to return but it’s a very long road back to being a moral example.
- Your spouse’s trust in you will be lost. Sometimes that trust can eventually return, but sometimes it cannot. Even if your marriage does eventually survive, trust is not something that returns for many, many years. Living under suspicion is never a fun place to be and your future existence will be marked by always having to explain your actions and whereabouts. Years of trust can be destroyed with one action and it’s never as easy to gain back.
- You’ll spend years putting your life back together. The guilt and shame you’ll feel about yourself will likely linger and self-forgiveness will be a goal of yours for a long time. Rebuilding your life after infidelity takes many years to do in restoring your marriage, family relationships, friendships and business associates (see #4). The lie is that we’re ‘only’ being unfaithful in our marriage (which is a huge ‘only’), yet in reality we’ve broken trust and relationships with others in our lives too. And the fact is, we hurt ourselves, and our opinion of even ourselves, in the process as well.
- Guilt and shame will become your new companions. You’ll find it hard to shake these two and no matter how much you ignore them or pretend you don’t care, your own moral convictions will prove you do. You can ignore them for a while but they will grow bigger and get louder. It’s called our conscience. Some can singe their conscience but that is not without doing even greater harm to our lives. After seeing the destruction and pain our affair has caused those we love, we will seek some way out of our guilt and shame. Self-forgiveness may be our eventual goal but it doesn’t happen quickly or very often.
- Nobody ever “affair’s up”, meaning the person you have an affair with is most likely way lower on the scale of moral integrity, conviction and positive character traits. Maybe they are more attraction, or they make more money. But the fact is most people “affair down” not up. Look at it closely, is the person really better than your spouse? Where is their maturity, loyalty, spirituality, integrity and other important character traits?
- Prepare yourself to live in confusion, a torn heart and inability to decide. Even before your spouse finds out about your affair, you will live in confusion and feel torn apart. Giving your heart and body to someone else only serves to divide your soul in two and will cause you to be indecisive about who to spend the rest of your life with. You may know in your heart that your affair partner is not right for you, but your very actions will cause a separation of your reasoning with your feelings and a divided heart should not be minimized. This is what results from allowing someone els
- You will become trapped in a web that is hard to break free from. Ask anyone who’s been involved in any emotional affair, whether it became physical or not, and they’ll say it became a power great than themselves to stop it. Most will say it was harder to stop the affair than they expected. You will understand this terrible hold that will come over you and you’ll likely also find it incredibly difficult to break free of the affair, as though invisible chains were wrapped around you. It becomes a trap you never intended to get into and will take everything in you to break out of.
- You risk getting an STD and passing that on to your spouse. Will a potential affair partner be honest about their STD before your passionate exchange? Even if they are, you may fool yourself into thinking it won’t affect you. This is unfair to your spouse who did not sign up for this and had no choice in what may happen to them from your infidelity. You risk more than losing moral authority and conviction, the repercussions on your physical body may be more than you bargained for. Look up the various STD’s out there and decide if you want to play Russian roulette based on the word of your cheating affair partner.
- Your children will be affected in many ways in the future. If you divorce, they will feel that and deal with the affects of that for the rest of their lives, even if they eventually learn to live with that fact. No child wants to live in two homes and be shuffled between visitations and weekends with different parents, should your marriage not survive. However, even if it does survive, they will likely take your infidelity personally and may feel responsible somehow. The disappointment in a parent they looked up to will stay with them a very long time.
- Financially you will be hurt. Nobody enters an affair with less money than they ended it with. Affairs can be expensive between secret dinners, hotels, jewelry, gifts. Not to mention the loss of your standard of living if your affair precedes divorce. Divorce lawyers, court fees, child support, alimony, these all cost huge amounts financially. Costs and new financial obligations can easily add up, leaving you in a much lower standard of living than you are in now.
- At some point the fog will lift, leaving your life ruined. As in #1, there is an illusion, or fog, when being in an affair. The fog comes over previously normal thinking individuals until they are acting in ways they, and those who know them personally, would never dream of. Yet, eventually the illusion of thinking their affair partner is the greatest or the affair will make them happier is shattered. The fog will lift to expose the lies you believed. After seeing the truth, and this other person for who they really are, your life will be destroyed and you may be left without a spouse or close relationships you once cherished.
- Lost friendships and ruined relationships. Tying into #15, you’ll likely find people who you were close to, and friendships you counted on for years, dissolve quickly after they learn of your affair. Even friends that you’ve sacrificed a lot for and helped out in the past, may not be able to continue in a friendship with you. Some people can’t get past their disappointment in your moral failure and seeing you fall from grace may take more maturity and mercy than they are able to give. It’s a sad fact but true.
- Your faith and relationship with God will be affected. Perhaps you don’t share my Christian faith with me. But if you do, you can be certain that your walk with God will be hurt and it will likely take a long time to recover fully from it. This is not because God takes a long time to forgive. On the contrary, His mercies are new every morning and when we come to Him with true godly sorrow over their actions, they can be assured of His forgiveness. But our hearts had to become hardened along the way to allow our selves to get involved in an affair and this hurts our soul as a believer. The length of that spiritual damage varies in each person. Also, being forgiven doesn’t negate the consequences we must face as a result of our actions. Just as a criminal must still face jail time even though he may have repented of his actions. Yet, when we can truly grasp the concept of His incredible mercy and grace in the face of our great sins, we become overwhelmed with gratitude and thankfulness.
- You will always look back on this affair with regret. You may tell yourself now that it’s real love or that it feels right, but you’ll likely be regretting this decision for the rest of your life. As stated before, most affairs are an illusion and once the fog lifts and your eyes are open, you’ll live with regret that you made the choice to enter into infidelity in the first place. Regret is that feeling of wishing you can go back in time and change the past, but nobody can do that. Our actions now affect our futures and a decision as big as deciding to have an affair will leave you with much regret in the future. Nobody ever says later they wish they’d had an affair. Yet many live in regret over the many poor decisions they’ve made. Knowing an affair would top most peoples list of regrets, why even enter into it?Although this list could likely go on and one, you get the idea.Maybe you could add to this list your own reasons why to not have an affair. Maybe you’d get fired from your current job, or kicked out of the military. Even though your list may look a little different than mine, the truth is the consequences are always more than we think they would be.It’s a natural tendency to downplay the effects our actions will have on others and on our life. But infidelity has a track record of leaving people brokenhearted and relationships destroyed in its wake.
Also, you may very well have your mind made up already to have an affair. There is nobody on this earth who can keep you from doing something you’ve determined to do already. Hopefully though, this list will give you reasons to pause and think more seriously of the consequences that WILL happen as a result of your decision.
If you’re already caught in the trap of an affair, read my post on breaking off an affair.
The tornadoes of affairs have no mercy on who or what it destroys.
Nobody escapes the destruction that follows an affair.
It’s much better to get the help now for whatever is lacking in your marriage before your life is ruined by infidelity. You’ve been warned.