After many years of marriage, it’s not uncommon to find yourself in a dry spell. Maybe you’ve genuinely tried to keep the passion alive but found that sex with the same person inevitably gets boring or maybe you’ve just became too consumed with raising a family that you’ve completely neglected your needs as a couple. Regardless, you’re not alone and many people around the world encounter a stage in their marriage where it just isn’t what they expected it would be.
So, then what?
It should be simple, why are people cheating when they can simply exit their marriage? But what if a divorce isn’t the easiest choice? What if a divorce isn’t necessary at all?
What if the key to recreating that adventure in your life was to have a secret?
According to a survey* of nearly 3,400 members of Ashley Madison, three-quarters said that their affair has had a positive impact on their marriage, with a further 89% admitting that choosing to cheat is actually easier than choosing divorce.
There are many factors to consider when making the choice to cheat. Those who have already made that decision have told us why it is that they opted to remain married and why divorce was not what they wanted.
1) They’re still in love with their spouse
Divorce can be a perfect decision if the marriage just isn’t working. Sometimes people grow to become incompatible (or were never actually compatible to begin with!) and that hinders their ability to live together happily over time. But in many cases, those who cheat are living in otherwise happy marriages. They love their spouse. Their spouse provides them with everything they need, emotionally and financially, however there can be certain areas where they feel unsatisfied—generally with regards to sex. For them, it isn’t worth scrapping the entire marriage because one area is lacking.
It can be quite unreasonable to expect one single person to fulfill every area of life, for the rest of your life. Because of this, people sometimes choose to stray from their marriage to have those needs satisfied elsewhere, then return back to their otherwise happy marriage with a completely satisfied partner.
2) They want to keep the family together
People who are married with children generally feel a responsibility to keep the family unit in tact. According to Psychology Today, divorce introduces massive change into the life of a child no matter what age, sometimes leaving a negative lasting impact. This is what drives many people to initiate extramarital interactions on Ashley Madison. Many members of our site admit that when they outsource things like sex from their marriage, they return home not only a more attentive spouse but also a more caring and enthusiastic parent. If cheating means making yourself happier, and keeping your family dynamic in place, then maybe cheating can not only be an alternative to divorce but a positive supplement to a marriage.
Cheaters say their affair makes them feel:
3) They don’t want to live without their spouse
People can choose divorce, opting to live life without their spouse, all the while still love them. This is especially true if they are the co-parenting which is why many choose to consciously uncouple. But sometimes not only do they still love their spouse, they truly don’t want to live without them. They could be their soulmate and desired life partner, yet some part remains unsatisfied.
For example, what happens when someone’s ability to become intimate is hindered by a medical condition? This is not uncommon for many of our members. Removing sex completely can be a serious barrier to happiness for some people and their partner’s inability to perform sexually shouldn’t constitute a barrier to happiness, nor warrant giving that person up.
The ripple effects of a divorce can be damaging and far reaching and it could mean introducing new barriers to happiness that didn’t exist before. Consider what it would mean to truly end your marriage and live without your spouse when evaluating your decision to pursue a discreet affair and you might come to realize a secret outside relationship is the more pragmatic and effective choice when it comes to your life.
4) They don’t believe they would be better off with someone else
Everyone seemingly wants to marry their best friend. This is usually defined as someone they can talk to for hours, be honest with, and grow old with. Unsurprisingly people tend to look for something different when choosing their affair partners.
In the previously mentioned Ashley Madison survey, participants were asked how they would describe their affair partner. Men responded by saying younger and sexually skilled, and women answered sexually skilled and financially secure. In the same survey 84% of respondents said they seek sex from an affair, while only 34% responded that they were looking for affection.
While these results may not be entirely surprising it is a reminder that for the overwhelming majority of cheaters, they’re cheating for reasons that are primarily sexual. Having an affair is not the same as shopping for a new spouse. Our members have lived a life and know that marriage is not the fairytale they were sold as a kid.
People will always want someone to talk to and make them feel safe and secure, for many their spouse fills that personal role. Being comfortable and safe can be the basis of a wonderful relationship, but it does not necessarily mean the sex is great. An affair allows people to venture out of the marriage to be sexually satisfied while simultaneously allowing them to keep that relationship with their spouse, a relationship that satisfies them in other ways.
According to 61% of Ashley Madison members the set of needs they look to have met in an affair is intensity, challenge, and fantasy, with another 35% answering adventure, fear, and sensation. But when it comes to their own marriages, 83% of respondents reported that their spouse satisfied their need for safety, trust, and connection, explaining why they aren’t looking for security in an affair, but rather the thrill that follows with risk and adventure.
Even if the love in a marriage has disappeared and there is no family to keep together, many still feel as if their current situation is safe and comfortable over the prospect of a divorce. Divorce is daunting and can be extremely tough on all parties involved. Many cheaters feel as if their spouse is someone that they connect with and know well, and leaving that marriage for single life leaves them in the great unknown. What if they don’t find anyone that they are comfortable enough with like they are with their spouse? The fear of leaving someone you know and becoming newly single is just not worth it for many.
The bottom line
While an affair may not be the right option for everyone, those who are sexually dissatisfied yet deeply in love, or wish to keep their families together, or are in a caretaker role with their spouse, should consider going outside of their marriage to meet their sexual urges. While a divorce is the result of some type of incompatibility within a marriage, an affair is a way to fill in some of those gaps.
*Survey of 3,345 members of Ashley Madison between March 20, 2019, and March 29, 2019.
AshleyMadison.com is the original destination for married dating and the global leader for affairs. With more than 60 million member accounts worldwide since 2002, Ashley Madison is the premiere destination for married dating.
 Survey of 1,692 members of Ashley Madison between May 17, 2018 and May 23, 2019
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