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The Truth About Affairs

Posted by Alecia under Affair
Photo Credit: www.riversidesheriff.org

Photo Credit: www.riversidesheriff.org

We have said a thousand times…affairs are not worth it.

We’ve also attempted to the best of our ability to get people to realize that, while they would like to think so, they are most likely not the exception to the rule. If you are having an affair, and think that you two are meant to be together and that you two will be the ones to beat the odds…let us share those odds with you…

The truth about infidelity is:

Most professionals will tell you that anywhere from 95-97% of all affairs never last.  They usually end within two years. They either end by one person deciding it’s not worth all the loss and ending it or by it dying a natural death once it sees the light of reality. You know, taking out the garbage, paying bills, dealing with the real life consequences.

For the sake of this post, I’m going to give the affair marriages the benefit of the doubt and give them the full 95%. So, lets assume that the best occurs in affair statistics and 5% of affairs actually last and become marriages.


Moving on…

Of the approximately 5% that end in marriage about 75% of them end in divorce.

A 1% chance that your affair will make it to marriage. Not a 1% chance that you’ll be married beyond 5 years. That, I’m afraid, is an almost zero chance.

According to Dr. Frank Pittman, the mortality rate of affair-based marriages is as follows:

5 years – 75%

10 years – 90%

Lifetime – 95%


Let me break this math down for you…

Out of 100 people who leave their marriages for an affair only 5 of them will last and lead to marriage.

Of those 5, 3.75 of them will end in divorce within the first 5 years. That’s a 1.25 out of 100 shot that you’ll make it to the 5-year mark. Never mind the “till death do us part” mark. There’s only a 0.025 chance in 100 that you’ll get that far.

Why? You’ve got way too much going against you. And you’d know that if your mind and your heart wasn’t wrapped up in a fantasy bubble.

Every day we hear about people leaving their spouses for this other person that they think is better for them, more meant to be.

There are plenty of valid reasons why these relationships don’t work. But, when you are caught up in it, the last thing you want messing up your mojo is a little bit of reality.

Affairs are nothing more than fantasy. There is not one aspect of them that is reality based. We see people who think they will leave their spouse and every thing will be perfect ALL. THE. TIME.

And in this affair fog they are in, they fail to see how their decision will forever impair their relationship with their children. How their decision will more than likely affect their job, if not their career. They fail to see how their decision will damage their reputation and their friends and families ability to trust them.

Beyond that, the top reasons why affair marriages don’t work are:

1)   The affair partners don’t take time between their failed marriages and jumping into a commitment with each other. The 0.025% of affair marriages that make it are couples who waited up to a full year after the divorce was final to not only get married but live with each other. People who are in full on affairs find that very difficult to do. They usually just jump right in.

2)   The affair partners have children that are involved in this mess. Affair marriages that have a 0.025% chance of making it are couples who don’t have any children from previous relationships or have all of their children grown.

3)   The affair partners were very deceptive. Not only is their relationship with each other based on deception that will follow them into their future, but there is a supreme amount of deception that goes into everything they do to get out of their marriages so they can be together. Affair marriages that have a 0.025% chance of working have friends and family who support their decision because they aren’t lying and excuse-making their way through the whole process with their spouses and extended family. That rarely happens.

Sorry if I sound like a broken record, continually bringing up the 0.025% but I’m all about being real.

An affair is not like a real relationship.

It didn’t start out like your typical dating experience.

It doesn’t have the same dynamics.

And consequently, it will not have the same outcome.

The consequences are a totally different ball game.

Most people would mistakenly believe that their relationship has the same chance of making it as any other relationship. 50%.

They couldn’t be more wronger. (That’s a Veggie Tales reference, just for fun.)


We cannot say this enough, affairs aren’t worth it.

No matter how you slice it.

No matter who you are.

No matter how well you think you plan out your future.


Our advice?

End it.

Tell the truth.

Face the consequences.

And do whatever you can to heal your mind and heart and heal the brokenness in your current marriage.

Even with the stress of healing from an affair, your current marriage stands a better chance of lasting then your affair relationship does.

I don’t have a statistic for this, but do have personal experience and countless conversations with others who have also experienced infidelity… but for every couple I know that experienced infidelity and chose to stay in their marriage and work at it… 100% of them are glad they did. 100% of them would tell you that their marriage is better today than it was before the affair.


Some odds, huh?


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I recall sharing similar facts with my ex wife as well as asking if she could even trust a man who would betray his wife or if he could really trust her as she had no problem breaking the vows she had taken with me. The fantasy is largely impervious to facts, logic or reason.


Hmmmm...I don't think many would like these odds!  But I love that you broke them down because so many have visions of grandeur when it comes to this topic but faced with reality they might make better choices.  Great post!

Rosemary West / forbetterorwhat.com
Rosemary West / forbetterorwhat.com

"They fail to see how their decision will damage their reputation and their friends and families ability to trust them." This is one that people having affairs seem to never consider at all, but it is very real. About ten years ago, a woman we know was revealed to be cheating on her husband with a married man. People who knew them were shocked. Her husband left her and the other man left his wife, and they became a couple in public. Very uncomfortable for just about everyone who knew them. There were well over 100 people who had at least some knowledge of all this, and there was a lot of gossip. I overheard a group of women talking about how they would never trust her anywhere near their husbands, and even some of the men admitting how uncomfortable they felt around this couple. It wasn't long before the affair fizzled out. She told me that she realized what terrible mistakes she had made, and how ashamed she felt. It seemed that she had learned from the experience and would do better in the future. She's a likeable person, and we are still friends with her, as are most of those who knew her then. And yet, even ten years later, a lot of folks feel a sense of distrust around her and wonder if she cheats on her current long-term boyfriend. There is no way to know how many people may have permanently distanced themselves from her because of this, or to measure how it may have subtly altered her relationships with others, or to know whether it had any negative effects on her career (it did on his).  Like it or not, people form an impression of you based on everything you do, not just the nice parts.

Amy@out on a limb
Amy@out on a limb

I'm in that 100% category, and t's true -- because of transparency and enhanced intimacy on all levels, our marriage is better than it ever was.  


The numbers are startling, and I think every single person in an affair situation thinks they're above it.  My husband has difficulty remembering any events during the year+ of his emotional affair -- it created an amnesia that makes him very docile and accepting of my thoughts about anything that happened during that time.  


When a person gets into the deception in that type of relationship, they see themselves as truth-seeking and truthful -- EXCEPT for in hiding from the spouse.  Before I knew about the affair, my husband would throw angry tantrums over anything that felt or sounded like a lie to him.  I didn't realize it was a reaction to his own multitudes of lies and the stress of trying to hide them.  Now that I know why it happened, I can see very clearly how deep into the addiction he was.  It is addiction, and most of the public doesn't realize that, either.  


Thanks for all of the numbers -- sadly interesting and even more sadly real.


You've done a thorough and compelling job on presenting the facts and statistics, Alecia. I'm so glad you're bringing all of the downsides to light. This reminds me of those Bachelor and Bachelorette "reality" shows. They aren't reality. Like you've said, an affair creates that pseudo-reality, because we all need to "take out the garbage, pay bills, deal with the real life consequences." Thanks for sounding the alarm and linking this amazing post up with Wedded Wed, my friend!


A.men. The world needs this report.


And again, I say... A-men.

marriagelife moderator

 @happywivesclub One would hope. Many people involved in affairs fail to see any of the "reality" involved in the mess that they are in though. But if any sliver of truth can get through that might be enough to break the chains.

marriagelife moderator

 @RosemaryWest / romanticmarriage.org Absolutely. Thanks for commenting! People just don't get how far reaching and long lasting the consequences really are. It's not an exaggeration to say that people involved in affairs really are in some sort of fog or bubble that completely inhibits their ability to think and behave rationally.

marriagelife moderator

 @Amy@out on a limb You are absolutely right. It is an addiction. People in affairs, especially when they END the affairs, exhibit very similar symptoms to anyone who might be addicted to an illegal drug. Clint experienced some of the same things you described and then some. Thanks for commenting and reminding about how serious the after effects of an affair can be.

marriagelife moderator

 @BethOsterSteffaniak Thank you! And you are so right...I watch the Bachelor almost every season...and almost every time regret it. There is nothing real about it. It's all based on fantasy. No wonder those couples have such a hard time making it when they get out in the "real world." Thanks for stopping by!

marriagelife moderator

 @Jason@SongSix3 Thanks Jason! People need to hear the truth. These aren't just our opinions. They are cold hard facts. Don't ya just love math? :)


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