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Updated: October 2, 2012 10:30 AM | By iVillage.ca
Wish We'd Known: 20 Things No One Told Us About Having an Affair

Ever thought about cheating? (C'mon, not even once?) If you have, trust us - it's normal, especially if your relationship gets overrun by the stress and lack of privacy of parenting. But read this before you consider doing anything more than just fantasizing



It Probably Started Out "Innocently"
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The hottie at the gym. Your sweet coworker. The UPS guy. Nearly all women fantasize about cheating at some point in their relationship, but only a fraction of those women actually go through with it. We talked to women who did: Before you even think about having an affair, here are 20 things they wish they'd known.

It Probably Started Out "Innocently"
Unless you were married to a total jerk and spent every free hour on Ashley Madison looking for an extramarital bedmate, chances are you didn't set out to cheat. Maybe you were bored and lonely, or just vaguely unsatisfied. Perhaps you "reconnected" on Facebook, forged a friendship at work or started flirting with a friend. At some point, the line between right and wrong got blurry...but in hindsight, all of the signs were there.

45Comments
Oct 9, 2012 7:55AM
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Pretty good, up until "An affair can actually strengthen your marriage".  How many couples have you met that have had their marriages strengthen by this?  Go back and see them 5 years, even two years later.  You'll see the cracks in the relationship.

I cheated on a boyfriend in university.  I made myself sick, guilty, anxiety-ridden for what?  For a couple of months of sex. Sooooo not worth it.  I was on the other side of things when my boyfriend of 6 years cheated on me.  I tried forgiving; but I could never forget.  Despite all the best intentions and councelling, the old habits crept back.  I never trusted him again. 

Suriviving cheating (as the cheatee) might strengthen the person, but it sure as $h!t does NOT strengthen a marriage.

Oct 9, 2012 9:58AM
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As a famiy doctor I have a unique perspective when I see patients who are cheating on their partner. I was surprised to see a few trends. At least in my practice, men seem to cheat more than women. But surprisingly to me, when women cheat, they seem to more often put their marriage and family and entire way of life at risk. When men cheat, they don't seem to put their families and children at as much risk, because it seems they have no intention of leaving, and the person who is going to be hurt is the other woman. Men often end the affair quickly, and are simply "messing around" with another woman, and don't blame their wife for making them have an affair, they seem to take full responsibility for it. Women having an affair often blame their husbands for "making" them cheat, and in some unfortunate cases blame their new found lover for ruining their life when it doesn't work out and they try to pick up the pieces and find themselves single and alone with a broken family in their wake. Whoever wrote this article seems to have an acurate view of the things women go through, and the way they react when they choose to have an affair. On refection, after reading this article, I've also just realized how among my colleagues when discussing a woman and infidelity there seems to be more sympathy, and whereas a male in the same position is simply a cheater or a jerk, women are having an affair, and you will never hear the term woman cheater.
Oct 9, 2012 5:42AM
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This article was wriiten from the female perspective because WOMEN CHEAT TOO! We have all read about the millions of men who cheat...over and over...women are no different and there is nothing wrong with viewing infidelity from a female light. We often have the view that women are "cheated on" and not the cheater. Adultery is not all it is cracked up to be and can destroy a family regardless of who is cheating. Thank you, author, for destroying the world's sad myth and misguided perception that cheating is fun, enjoyable and permissible if you are unhappy. If these are the hallmarks of your marriage, you need counselling...not another lover.

 

Really people, these "as long as it feels good, do it" attitudes are destroying society. There is still right and wrong, black and white, no matter how many times you want to believe in 50 shades of Grey!

Oct 9, 2012 4:38PM
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Great article that people will probably over look or dismiss as we think we're all invinceable. I used to think I was above it all, didn't believe in divorce wouldn't imagine I would ever cheat and yet I did both, Well one led to the other. I cheated on my ex-husband today, 15 yrs ago and I live with the guilt everyday and not because I miss him or love him, but it was so wrong. Everything in the article is so dead on with making up excuses etc.

After the first child, things changed, I hated him, felt we grew a world apart. At this point we were together for about 10 yrs. I wasn't planning on an affair, but something clicked and I didn't say no. The moment felt right but left me a lifetime of regret. My ex and I tried to stay together, had another child but he couldn't forgive me or forget, at least that's how it felt. I hated him more as he was my excuse to having the affair in the first place and a daily reminder of such. At the end I only have myself to blame. The pain I caused our family, our children, our parents... will always be there in their eyes.

Today I'm in a loving relationship but the guilt continues to torment me and the broken family aspect is difficult even today after 15 years. Get over it? Not that easy... when kids are involved it's close to impossible.

 

So do yourself a favor, if the temptation arises, walk away and the rewards will be endless. If your marriage doesn't work than seek help and if all fails, then take the next step. A third person is NEVER the answer!

 

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strenghten a marriage..? An affair..! Can i contact this messed up A-hole who wrote this??I,m a guy who had a great buddy, like a brother, and his girl came on to me,,i went straight away to tell him,he showed her the door.For me,it is sacred in a relationship/marriage do not screw around,if you had it in your past,you may be desensitzed to the consequences and should stay single and have one night stands,that will lessen the amount of broken hearts that do want a one on one relationship.
Oct 9, 2012 11:39AM
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No I never cheated, nor thought about it.  Yes I was unhappy, but after 35 years together, who doesn't have problems in their marriage:  child raising, money issues, in-laws, job challenges, but does that really justify cheating?  But alas, in my ex's case, I guess it did.  After 33 years of marriage, he came home one day about a month before Christmas and asked me for a divorce.  I thought he was joking, but apparently he wasn't.  5 days after he moved out of our home, he was with the "other" woman; declares there was nothing going on prior to.  I took my marriage vows seriously, obviously he didn't.  My advice:  if you can't stay the course, then don't start on the journey.  To many people (and I include children in there) get hurt and carry a lot of extra baggage because someone was "bored", "adventurous", etc.  Stay single and continue with the "flings"....no one gets hurt, but you could end up a lonely person
Oct 9, 2012 12:32PM
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Excellent article.  As a woman who still deals with her guilt daily, I have to admit that every single item listed throughout this post was dead on ( I don't have children, but I'm sure I don't need any to agree with what was written).  My husband found out 2 years ago of my affair, and it was an ugly tumultuous ride.  Ironically, the whole thing did bring us closer together, but, like I stated above, I still live with the guilt daily.  It's a horrible feeling, one that I agree I deserve, despite the fact that my husband has forgiven me completely and we now have a wonderful relationship.  I'm disgusted with myself, disappointed with myself, and ashamed unlike ever before. No matter how tough a marriage we were experiencing, turning to another man was NOT an option.  I only hope I can forgive myself one day - 2 years is a long time....and it keeps going....
Oct 9, 2012 6:05PM
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it not only breaks marriage, it breaks relationships between friends and children in the family. after the day i found out my dad was having an affair before and while my mom was pregnant, i never looked at him the same, he was so good hiding it all until getting phonecalls and going outside, shutting his phone... being gone for days and never really saying where he went..etc. i used to trust him so much! he was my hero.. to this day i don't speak to him, i don't even want him near my family, he never apologized to us all and never apologized to the other woman, who was my mom's bestfriend.. all he said was forget about it, and lets move on.
it was hard for me accepting it even though i am just his oldest child, i used to believe he was the best dad ever, i used to look up to him but what he did broke the bond, the father-daughter relationship. trust got lost, love is gone.
Oct 9, 2012 7:53AM
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It comes down to culpability, responsibility, loyalty, integrity, respect, honour and giving a damn.

Clearly any excuses made are just that, excuses and not taking responsibility for your own actions.

Cheating, like lying or stealing and breaking promises are choices. Choices which not only affect the cheaters life, but also affect those close to them ie: spouse, children, extended family and friends and it does hurt.

Get off the bandwagon of blame, who cares at this point whether it is a male or female who wrote this or a male or female who cheated. Both male and female cheat.

If you are not happy in a marriage, do something about it and give your marriage the full monty and then some before you break a promise, trust and vow.

There are no excuses unless you are trying to avoid taking responsibility and seriously, something is wrong and it is not just cheating or a bad relationship. You have to look into yourself and be brutally honest.

Oct 9, 2012 1:27PM
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I admit it .....I cheated on my commonlaw bf. Why because my bf at the time made me feel ugly. I was continuassly asking for sex and love and he was always turning me down. I did not feel love by him so I cheated. I did not stay with the man I cheated on but went back to my bf. We sat down and discussed why I did this, we broke up for awhile then got back together, He did forgive me but truth be known everytime we got in a bad argument that subject would come up. So even though he said he forgave me and understood why I did it he still got hurt by it and never really got over it deep down inside we eventually split up and he ended up cheating on me. So what I am saying is, if you are thinking about doing this, talk to your husband or bf and tell them how you feel. I think if you do this and you are in a good relationship you will be able to work through your problems and maybe even spice up your relationship before you decide to do something like this.
Oct 9, 2012 5:13AM
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One thing I know, being an out-door man; I saw good sound couples who never had any problems until the adventure left their partner, due to some incident in the family. Then this is how I thought about it, I once got caught in a forest incident, and being delayed, had no choice but to use a dangerous short cut, which involved using a trail with a dangerous ledge. It is for the faint hearted, and very scary, even for me. Sometimes I find myself looking for this moment, wanting to prove myself strong still and able enough to handle the stress of it. Cheating can be this way, knowing it is dangerous, can fall, can find yourself not able to go back or stop yourself. It becomes the only focus, everything else becomes a blur of excitement, until the worst happens, and one heart is always broken. This trail is dangerous, sometimes it ends alright, and others, changed forever.

Oct 9, 2012 5:07PM
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I've been there & done that, we are not alone. It goes both ways, not just the women. I've done it, thinking I never needed my husband in my life, that I was going in a direction that I wanted......that I could do better. NOT knowing that OMG, I already had it all........ Sure, one day this drop dead georgous guy, gave you the time of day, have him say words to you you've never heard, so sweet, so meaningful, YET! It was all JUST words, words to get you into bed, get something from you, it was all apart of his plan! Not knowing , IT WAS WRONG, NOT THINKING at the time. And YES ! regret will always be there, but you have to learn how to forgive yourself & move on. Make the best of your life & focus on the good. You can't change the bad but learn from it.  You can't change the past & dwell on it, LET IT GO ! Even to this day, I still have to swallow my words. My husband slept with my best friends daughter. We watched this girl grow up........and to think I was councilling this person too! Little did I know, i was NEVER there friend in the first place.  Yes! I still need help, to this day ! I don'y speak or talk to either one of them.......HAVING AN AFFAIR DOES NOT HELP ANY SITUATION. Think before you sink!
Oct 9, 2012 3:59PM
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It is true that people rarely think about the consequences of cheating let alone what this does to the husband or wife. My husband was away on a job and starting hanging with a younger crowd. Drugs and alcohol were just the beginning. He started going to Men's clubs and before I knew what hit me his Lap dancing girl friend started calling me up looking for him. He stole her money and some personal effects and hit the road. She told me it would be in my best interest to find out where he was and continued the calls until I got my number changed. He threw away his family like a worn out rag and couldn't understand why we were not ok with what he did. I hate the ground he walks on for what he put us through. With my head hung low, I was tested for the Aids virus. Thankfully for me I am ok. He is now alone and his reputation is shot. What decent woman would want a jerk like this. Too bad I didn't have a clue as the signs were not there. My bad luck that I married a Jekyll and Hyde. Who knew....
Oct 9, 2012 12:11PM
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Interesting how all the photos are of women cheating, or feeling bad, never the man. I wonder what that says about our gender.
Oct 9, 2012 9:43AM
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I really thought this would be a useless article (These picture articles are killer for my computer so I usually skip them). Instead I was impressed at all the little things I never thought of before. The amount of guilt and paranoia make perfect sense but it's never something I would have thought of. It was a really good read from someone that either knows or did some serious homework. Nicely done.
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Is an emotional Affair: is it really cheating ??

In my opinion an emotional Affair is boarder line and I'd question it & some trust would be lost though it can be forgiven but not forgotten. The reason I say that isn't because I'm a jerk it's because I've never cheated (yeah there are a few know it all jerks out there who'd say other wise but you don't know me so shut up to the know it all A$$ H#$$) & an emotional Affair can lead to more & yes I'd care if I ever hurt a lover in anyway.
Oct 9, 2012 8:53AM
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The article is from Ivillage.ca, which is a web magazine directed towards women so it's not unusual that the article would look at the issue from/towards women.  I'm pretty sure everyone is clear that both sexes are capable of cheating.

I think the article covers everything that goes through the mind of a cheater after an affair ( even if was during pre-marriage dating ) and what everyone should consider if the thought of an affair is looming.

Oct 9, 2012 4:50PM
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A few comments:
1 - Why is this article addressed to only women when, in fact, more men cheat than women? I would be more receptive to the article had it been addressed to both genders.
2 - I think women tend to cheat because they're not getting their emotional needs met. Secondly may be that the sex is unsatisfactory or not fulfilling. They don't feel like their needs are being acknowledged. Their partner is selfish and only cares about his needs. She doesn't feel cherished and adored, which is what most women want. Rarely is it because they're not getting enough sex. 
  On that vein, most men cheat because their strong libido is constantly being aroused by what's around them outside the home. Plus they're probably not getting enough sex at home. So they have one-night stands, flings and affairs. They're emotions are not as involved because it's their sex drive that is driving the extra-marital activity. Men having affairs to get their emotional needs met is rare. 
 Most women tend to put their hearts and emotions into someone they're having sex with. It's in their nature, and it's what stokes their sex drive. Men are the other way around. Men say they feel more cheated on by their partners when she is emotionally attached to her lover. And that's why men, when caught, often say it didn't mean anything. Because to the man, there wasn't any emotional investment in the affair. So men's and women's hearts get broken for different reasons.
4 - Another downside of having an affair is that when big occasions come up that most couples typically like to celebrate together, such as Valentine's day or Christmas or birthdays, the other person will more than likely be celebrating with his/her spouse and children. It would be too awkward to go out at that time to be with the lover. So, expect to feel especially lonely, unappreciated and abandoned at those special times of the year.
5 - There's a lot of truth in the old saying, "What you don't know can't hurt you." If you're having an affair and you feel guilty about it, suck it up, keep your lips zipped and suffer. What right do you have to alleviate your guilty conscience at the expense of your spouse's feelings? If you can't break off the affair then live with the guilt. You have no right to cause more harm, by confessing to your spouse!!! 

Oct 10, 2012 1:08PM
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Women folks should not take offense to this article, Just read all of the replies and see who's admitting to having affairs...it's mostly women.
Oct 9, 2012 9:59PM
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