Today, I'm focusing on eight risk factors for affairs.Roughly 50% of marriages experience infidelity at some point, and most people never see it coming. I can't tell you how many couples I've worked with where there's been infidelity and the person who had the affair says, "I never saw it coming!"
The more you think you will not develop an affair, the higher risk you are for developing one because you let your guard down. When guards go down, people take risks and put themselves in vulnerable positions. In contrast, the more you acknowledge you are capable of a marital affair, the more boundaries you’re going to establish in your life because you know you're susceptible. We are all susceptible to affairs. We're human and if put in the right situation long enough, we all have the potential for having one.
Marital Affairs | 8 Risk Factors
The first risk factor is going through a traumatic event, such as the loss of a parent, child, or sibling. The traumatic event can also be the loss of a career or home. When people go through traumatic events, their whole world gets disoriented. Their value system gets turned upside down. All of their hopes in life get crushed and they go through a period where nothing matters. In the wake of these strong emotions, many turn towards an affair.
A second risk factor for developing an affair is someone who tends to not share all of what they’re thinking and feeling. If you tend to withhold information from your partner in general, when something creeps in, like an affair or attraction to someone else, you're more likely not to share that also, which encourages it to grow.
3-Need for Adoration
A third risk factor is someone who needs adoration. This is the person who wants to feel like they’re special, cherished, and the center of someone's life. When someone has the need for adoration, it puts them at higher risk for an affair because an affair is the ultimate sensation of being adored.
A fourth risk factor for an affair is stress. When we get under too much stress for too long, we become fatigued. We all have a certain amount of self-control units every day and every time we do something that requires effort it takes some of our self-control units. So, the more depleted our self-control units because of stress, the less self-control we possess to resist impulses for an affair when temptation strikes. In addition, chronic stress creates desire for pleasurable escape.
The fifth risk factor is if you have unmet needs in your marriage. Unmet needs can range from a desire for adoration, emotional intimacy, affection, or sex. When our needs go unmet in marriage we can start to feel like we are starving. Therefore, our susceptibility to getting our needs met elsewhere goes up.
The more often you travel alone, the more likely you're at risk for having an affair. When you travel alone you're anonymous by being in a foreign place where no one knows you. The more anonymous we feel, the more likely we'll do things we normally never would. Therefore, the more you travel, the higher your risk for an affair.
Number seven is alcohol. When we drink we're more likely to act out in all sorts of ways. We tend to do and say things while intoxicated we never would dream of doing otherwise. Alcohol lowers our inhibitions. Therefore, it can lower our inhibitions towards having an affair too.
The eighth risk factor to consider is sharing your emotional distress with another person. When you share your emotional distress with the opposite gender, you're building emotional intimacy, which is often the path to falling in love with someone. This path to an affair can be very subtle and seem innocent. "We were just sharing our life stress and before we knew it we had feelings for one another."
As you read through these eight risk factors, consider how many you and your spouse have and what you can do to mitigate your risk.
Be sure to check out Dr. Wyatt Fisher's other resources below to better your relationship!
What else do you feel increases the risk of a marital affair?