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8 Possible Reasons Why Some Affairs Last for Years

Why do some affairs last for years?

No one grows up dreaming of getting married and then having an affair. Everyone wants the happily-ever-after type of romance we see in the movies and read in the books. But life happens, with all the fights, stress, and pain that come along with it.

For those who end up having affairs, they often don’t know how they got to that point. They only know that they are there, and it’s now their reality.

But if affairs are so morally repugnant, why do some affairs last for years?

How can people live with the idea that for years they have been betraying and lying to the one person they are supposed to love until death do them part?

In order to understand why some affairs last for years, and perhaps even for a lifetime, we’ve rounded up eight reasons why this happens. Check this out!

affairs last for years
Photo by Andrey Danilov from Shutterstock

1. Some people are naturally polyamorous

While some affairs last for years, they can still be mentally stressful for both parties involved. You’ll always be at least a bit worried that someone who knows you will spot you out with another man or woman, making it difficult to truly enjoy the moment with the other person you’re with.

No matter how awful your marriage might be, you always feel a tinge of remorse whenever you find yourself enjoying too much of the time you spend with this other person. After all, there was a time when you felt the same with your wife or husband.

However, for some people, those feelings of stress or guilt never truly arise. This is because they don’t actually feel like they are doing something wrong. Marriage feels wrong to them; they see it as a social construct of staying committed to one person for the rest of your life.

And since they never truly feel remorseful or guilty for something they believe is natural for them to do, some affairs last for years.

2. Both partners already have a “full” life on the side

According to experts, most affairs last anywhere from several weeks to a year. In fact, it isn’t common for a love affair to last any longer.

However, those that do last for years tend to have something in common: the adultery isn’t between one married individual and one single individual, but rather between two married people.

When two married individuals start having an affair, there’s no drama or confusion. Both parties know what they want—some adventure and excitement on the side, nothing more. They are satisfied and happy with the life they’ve established and built with their partner, even if they aren’t completely content with their partner’s company any longer.

They probably have a career, a family with kids, and a home, and the last thing they want is to ruin all that just because of some fling. Marriage on both sides usually erases the need to ask questions like “Will he or she ever leave their partners?” or “Why am I always on the second spot?”. This situation often makes some affairs last for years.

3. Some people won’t stop until they are caught

Some affairs last for years, too, because those who are fully aware that the affair is wrong love that part of it. While this may sound weird, they enjoy betraying their spouse, and there are several possible reasons for this.

One would be that the partner who is cheating doesn’t feel like they are being heard enough in the relationship. Another possible explanation is that they are taking revenge on their spouse for something they did (perhaps the spouse cheated on them in the past).

A third reason why some affairs last for years would be that the partner cheating is simply inherently spiteful and enjoys that they are lying to and betraying the one person who is supposed to be closest to them.

For married partners who do that, the excitement is less about sleeping with someone new but rather about the act of sneaking around behind their spouse’s back.

In this situation, they know that the only thing that will stop them is the partner finding out. It’s a kind of self-destructiveness, but one they choose willingly, making some affairs last for years.

affair
Photo by Drazen Zigic from Shutterstock

4. The affair can become a full-time escape from the marriage

When we marry someone, we do this because we love our partners and want to spend our lives with them. But nobody knows if you’ll still feel that way a year, five, or more down the line.

Marriage also comes with all the responsibilities of being an adult: paying your taxes and bills, building a family, and dealing with lots of different little things. You might love your wife or husband and never want to hurt them, but chances are you’ve associated your spouse with all the real-world stressors that make your life a chore.

Some affairs last for years because they become more about coping with your life and less about satisfying your body’s needs. Once the affair starts satisfying a need that goes beyond just carnal pleasure, it becomes harder to let go of it.

Keep reading to discover other reasons why some affairs last for years!

5. Affairs can feel freeing, while marriage can feel binding

When it comes to marriage, we often let the social expectations of what it should be eclipse what we want it to be. When two people fall in love, there’s nothing else to think about: it’s just the two of them and their feelings for one another.

But once they become engaged and then married, things change. The greater social implications and expectations start to put pressure on both of you—what does it mean to be a good wife, husband, mother, and father?

You slowly start to lose yourself and become a spouse, a parent, or a “we.” The love you once felt stops seeming like such a big deal with everything else now going around it. It may get to the point where having one or many affairs becomes the only way for that person to feel freedom again.

Some affairs last for years because the truth is that no one wants to feel imprisoned or bound, no matter how much they love the person they are married to.

If you’re the one who got cheated and you feel like you and your spouse can still save your marriage, talking openly about the affair and getting help from a couple counselor can help you rebuild trust and heal. This audiobook, which is called The Courage to Stay, can also help you go through the healing process.

6. The other partner is happy to live in denial

Another reason why some affairs last for years is because the one who’s being cheated prefers to live in denial. It’s almost impossible to hide all the evidence of a long-term affair. Unless your spouse pays no attention to you at all or lives on the other side of the world, then they will realize at some point or another that something is wrong.

They will notice that you’re not where you’re supposed to be, that your schedule doesn’t make sense, or that you carry a certain smell on you whenever you get home late.

Whatever it is, they will eventually notice what’s going on. The cheater may think that they’re being very careful, hiding an affair for so long, but the reality could be that the betrayed one has known for quite some time now.

If because, instead of saying anything about them, the one who gets cheated decides that it’s better to live in denial than address the issue. Maybe they’re waiting for things to get back to normal. Or perhaps they have self-esteem issues and are willing to accept another woman or man in their partner’s life, as long as it means they can keep their current life.

affair
Photo by Prostock-studio from Shutterstock

7. Long-term lack of openness and communication between married partners

Another reason why some affairs last for years is the lack of communication in the marriage. At the end of the day, with most affairs that go on for years, the biggest problem preventing the cheating partner from opening up and being honest with their spouse is that they feel that they can’t.

As marriages mature and get older, you can feel more like you became a wife or husband with a spouse than someone who married the love of their life.

This occurs when partners refuse to openly and honestly communicate. Without communication, it gives off the feeling that nothing will change and that you’re stuck. You may think, “How can it change if your spouse isn’t willing to hear your feedback and your thoughts?”

However, your partner hasn’t done anything bad to you, and you don’t want to go through the mayhem of splitting your lives and getting a divorce.

At this point, for many, it can seem like the only option to give a boost to their life is by finding another person who doesn’t carry all the baggage that you and your spouse share. And that’s how some affairs last for years.

8. An affair can eventually feel like a bad habit

The thing with the human brain is that it can get addicted to anything. Give yourself a reward after experiencing an action or event, and that can slowly become part of your regular needs. This includes a long-term affair, too, even if you’re not feeling it anymore.

Even if a person doesn’t want to have an affair anymore, they may not be able to stop doing it. Any relationship can be binding, even one built on a shoddy, cheating foundation. When affairs last for years, it’s inevitable for those cheating to build some type of bond with the person they’re sneaking with, whether it’s love or something a bit less than love.

Some affairs last for years, too, because many people lack the confrontational skills to put an end to any kind of relationship. In other words, they’d rather stick to the affair’s regular schedule instead of getting out of it and committing again to their spouse.

If you liked our article on the reasons why some affairs last for years, you may also want to read 11 Very Subtle Signs Your Wife Is Cheating on You.

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