Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Why adulterous relationships don’t work

Those stolen moments may live to haunt you for the rest of your life.  University of Botswana Senior Social Work lecturer, Poloko Ntshwarang says, “many people find that having an affair was one of the worst mistakes they ever made and wasn’t worth it in any way. Unless you plan on parading your activities in front of your spouse, having an affair means adding an entire person to your life and keeping it secret from the one you are married to. Your spouse will likely notice changes in your behavior and reactions to them. Living with the threat of someone you know spotting you at the wrong moment or a single call or text bringing your world crashing down around you can be exhausting, stressful, and harmful to your mental and physical health.”

It is a given that relationships that start in an unhealthy way are doomed to fail. Some optimists believe the adulterous relationship can only be saved by transitioning it from the dark hole of secrecy to the light. Ntshwarang however argues that, “whether it’s an emotional affair or a sexual one, relationships that start as affairs are not built on a strong and honest foundation. They are built on fantasy, deceit, and a desire to escape. For this reason, the partners involved in an affair don’t typically see one another clearly, or really even know each other very well until they have made the life altering decision to take things from affair to full-scale relationship.”

Not only does it start in an unhealthy way, but it is also rooted in dishonesty and pain for another person. Some might point to the inherent mistrust in the relationship that increases its likelihood of failure. Adulterous relationships are doomed to fail because they are born and exist in darkness. Nearly every living organism on Earth needs light to foster growth and thrive. While the amount of light varies, light is crucial. When relationships have room to grow, they can stretch and shift to accommodate the changes that each partner experiences and changes in their environment. Since they are constricted to specific days, times, and locations, adulterous relationships can’t account for the room they need. Unfortunately, these relationships can only survive in secrecy, which is the very thing that strangles them. In other words, what propels the relationship to continue (i.e., secrecy) also slowly aids in its death.

Gaborone based clinical psychologist, Bame Mophuting says “part of the appeal is that they’re forbidden, illicit, and overly romanticized. The other woman or man is seen as ideal, intriguing, and possibly mysterious. And they represent all the things that the person cheating feels their relationship with their spouse or partner is missing. Often it’s the lack of intimacy and/or absence of romance that are blamed initially. An affair addresses unfulfilled needs for a person – things that their current relationship isn’t providing. Those needs may be, emotional, sexual, spiritual. Whatever those unfulfilled needs may be, an affair offers an escape from the reality of the daily grind and responsibilities. This is where the problems begin.”

There’s a multitude of reasons why people cheat. Explanations for infidelity often dip into three main categories: personal problems, beliefs, or characteristics; issues with your partner or the relationship as a whole; and situational factors like easy access to dating websites, long business trips, or liquid courage. The life cycle of adulterous relationships changes from couple to couple. For example, people with emotional attachments to their cheating partners typically have more difficulty ending the relationship. Regardless of how long they last, they are doomed to fail unless the film of secrecy lifts. Transitioning the relationship from the dark hole of secrecy to the light is the only way to survive. While the probability is low, some couples eventually find levels of health in their once adulterous relationship. However, you will never achieve this in a relationship made up of stolen moments. Many times, once the secrecy is lifted, the relationship loses its excitement. In these cases, you know that the glue of the relationship was its forbiddenness, not an emotional connection.”

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