Yet, fidelity is more an inspiration than reality. What makes infidelity so addictive? When a marriage has gone stale and the monotony of routine has set in, a new relationship is seen as a bringer of hope. It tempts with its offers of exhilaration and vitality; the secrecy it demands makes the relationship even more exciting, especially in the sexual sense. But how long can it last? Since human beings are not designed for monogamy, the next relationship lies just round the corner. Remember Tolstoy's Anna Karenina? She left her home, country, husband and son to live with her lover, Vronsky, and the child she bore him, but to what end? Discord eventually set in between the couple and Anna committed suicide. Leo Tolstoy had been inspired to write the novel, "Anna Karenina' when he had read of such a death in the newspapers.
Today with the spread of the internet and the monopoly of mobile phones, having a forbidden affair has become even easier. It's easy to connect with people from around the world, and to keep in touch through mobile phones without your spouse finding out. Studies show that the rate of infidelity has gone up because of the internet.
If you are involved in an extramarital affair, have you ever thought of the impact it will have on your self-esteem? Will you be able to forgive yourself? Will you ever be able to get rid of that immense guilt? You might think that divorce is an honourable way to end your marriage. After all, you can't be two-timing your husband forever, and who knows, maybe your new lover will ask you to marry him or leave his wife for you.
But research reveals that most cases of adultery die out in three years, and very few end up in marriage. It also reveals that most married men prefer to hang on to their wives rather than divorce them in order to marry their mistresses.
The male species is known for its tendency for sexual jealousy. Your infidelity could cause him to confront you on every issue during divorce proceedings; it could make him vengeful, and may affect the judge's decisions about custody and settlement of property. It has happened before.
Anything but Love
You might feel that your affair is about love and mutual adoration. But can it be based on mutual respect? Dishonesty is not something that evokes respect which is an essential ingredient of love. A relationship based on guilt, secrecy and pain cannot be healthy and forever.
Besides, there is no way of your being sure that your lover loves you like he says he does. Chances are that you are emotionally starved and he is looking for sexual gratification. Like my beloved father used to tell me when my teenaged escapades with a boyfriend landed me in numerous scrapes: "If he loves you, he wouldn't want you compromised".
It was not sex, however, that he was referring to, since I was a virgin then, but about how my boyfriend did not really care that I was being yelled at and locked up by my grandfather and my uncles because of my "clandestine meetings' with him.
Your lover, if he truly loves you, will not want you compromised. He will want you to have a sense of integrity, and will not want to endanger you in any way, for endangered you are. What if your husband finds out? What if you divorce your husband, alienate your children, and find that you are more miserable than ever? As a single woman, you will have to be completely responsible for your welfare, and that is a burden that most divorced women cannot bear. Many end up impoverished and ill. And if your lover does not marry you, then what? Even if he does marry you, the fact is that 85% of marriages that occur within two years of divorce end in failure.
Finally, a word about your current emotional state. This is a stressful time for you, when you are battling with your guilt and shame and trying to keep your affair secret. It can wear you down mentally and physically. At such a time, emotions cloud judgment and it is not possible to make the right decisions, let alone life-altering decisions such as divorce. So stop in your tracks as you ponder divorce, and get out of that affair before it's too late.
James Walsh is a freelance writer and copy editor. If you want to find out more about a solicitor managed divorce see http://www.managed-divorce.co.uk
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