Understanding the answer to why do women have affairs is important in her own healing, and the healing of her marriage.
1. More women are having affairs than ever before.
It’s easy to ask ourselves why do women affairs, as it seems to be more common these days. Infidelity is passed off as normal on TV, in movies, and even for many of personally. Most people either know a couple who went through an affair or have experienced the pain of an affair themselves.
Statistics show the number of women having affairs is climbing. The journal of marital and family therapy reports 22% of married men have admitted to having an affair and 15% of married women have also admitted to infidelity. However, in the last two decades, the numbers of married women who have had an affair spiked to 40% (according to National Opinion Research Center). Unbelievably, 74% of men and 68% of women say they would have an affair if they knew they wouldn’t get caught.
Yet, statistics don’t do much good when it’s your marriage torn apart by an affair. Whether you were the wife who strayed into the arms of another man, or you’re the betrayed husband who found out your wife was unfaithful, the effects are devastating.
If more women are committing affairs now than ever, the question becomes- why?
Does it matter to know why women are having affairs? Does it change anything if it has already happened in your own marriage? Knowing why does not change the fact that it has happened. No one can change the past. But it’s important to have an understanding of why a woman would stray so far from their hopeful vows of faithfulness they repeated on their wedding days.
If that woman is you, it’s important to know what led you down the road to unfaithfulness to begin the healing in your own heart and, if your marriage still has hope of recovering, for you to have answers for your husband who is trying to understand. Every woman is different and so every affair will have different reasons for why it started. Yet, listed below are the top reasons women have given for why they strayed into infidelity.
2. Main reasons women have affairs.
- Discontentment in their lives. Either with themselves or their marriages or both. Discontent with how their lives are going, they may have expected more fulfillment at this point.
- Bored with life. Needing an escape from the monotony routine of life. This goes closely alongside #1 but boredom is different in that there’s nothing exciting to look forward to each day, the routine is the same.
- Feeling unattractive and she seeks attention and validation that she’s still desirable and has worth.
- Lacking excitement and romantic passion in their lives. More middle age women are seeking passion and sex as their reason for an affair, contrary to what society would believe, even women happy in their marriages, and have no intention of divorcing their husbands, cheat because they’re looking for passion. (source: American Sociological Assoc./(www.asanet.org)
- Unhappy in their marriage. Lack of communication, affection, or disconnected from their husband. it’s important to note that even happily married are cheating which appears to go contrary to what we would believe. The study
- Tired of being the “good girl”. These women have usually played the good girl roles all their lives and they are tired of pursuing their perfectionist lifestyle. When they realize how exhausting it is maintain the image, most will sink into doing the complete opposite of their values just to escape.
- Switching from one addiction to another, commonly known as substitute addictions in recovery. This often happens to someone who are trying to overcome one addiction yet, have only substituted the first addiction for another as a way of dealing with the triggers and stress of life. It is well known that an affair can easily become an addiction with all the characteristics that comprise an addiction.
- Desiring to live out a fantasy life with no responsibilities and demands upon them, believing a new prince charming will make them happier. Sometimes the roles of mommy and wife can get demanding and many women see no way out of the stress and responsibilities placed upon them. Having an affair may give them the temporary escape to live a careful fantasy world.
3. Helpful for the betrayed husband to understand why his wife strayed.
Understanding why a woman has had an affair is important for her husband, if he has decided to stay to work on rebuilding their marriage. It will always be a question for him and unless he has some understanding it could be an unresolved issue that he will likely fear can be repeated if he didn’t get the answers. Also, a betrayed husband is more likely to find the compassion needed for his wife, at a time when daily resentment will be the temptation, if he could see a bit more into her state of mind and reasoning at the time it occurred.
4. There is always a lie every woman believes before entering into an affair.
Ultimately, every woman who has had an affair, has believed a lie on some level. Either the lie was a conscious thought in the forefront of her thinking, or it was subconsciously believed, that having an affair would fill some void in her life. The lie says this other man can fulfill you and validate your attraction and give you meaning and worth. The lie continues that she’s feel passion she hasn’t felt and she’ll be able to escape the boredom or stress of her life. She may believe nobody will find out and nobody will be hurt, that she deserves the attention and affection of another man in the affair.
However, the lie will eventually be exposed for what it is.
Can one person really fulfill all those demands and requirements? That’s a lot to place on another human being.
Especially since at one time, she most likely believed that her husband could fill all those needs too.
The truth is, no human being can fulfill all the needs we have as women. There is no affair that will make you prettier, wiser, younger, more fulfilled, less stressed and more happy.
Women in affairs eventually discover that those assumptions are short lived, the secret comes out and the lies are exposed.
Most women who had an affair soon find out the consequences are much costlier than they ever bargained for.
Although listed above are the most common reasons women gave for being unfaithful, every woman is different and every affair is different. Sometimes a woman may not even understand why she crossed a line she vowed to never cross. This is when seeking the help from a counselor or psychologist to help her sort through her feelings and frame of mind at the time, can be very helpful in the healing process.
It’s been said that we can’t heal what we don’t acknowledge and the first step for a woman to heal her own heart and her marriage is understanding why she was unfaithful.
To read about the various stages of an affair, click here.