New research explores how individuals who betray their spouses think about their actions.
Essentially, this research tries to address what people were thinking as they started an affair.
The findings of the study reveal that individuals who start an affair:
- They tend to be unhappily married. They believe there are unresolved problems in their relationship.
- They also tend to have a fixed mindset when thinking about the problems they encounter in their marriage. They don’t think that their problems can be solved.
- They believe that they have a greater desire for passion and sexual novelty than their spouse does.
- They believe that sexual gratification is an important aspect of their lives.
- They tend to put their own concerns over consideration for what their spouse is experiencing.
- They don’t believe that divorce is an option.
Individuals with the above mindset don’t necessarily set out to have an affair or recognize that their actions are putting them on the path to cheating.
Instead, individuals may meet someone who is fun and interesting and start spending more time with that person. Increased time and activities lead to a greater sense of connection with the other person. Eventually, passion overrides reason and judgment. Again, people don’t see the affair coming, until after it happens.
However, once individuals cheat on their spouse, feelings of regret are common.
Source: Zapien, N. (2016). The Beginning of an Extra-Marital Affair: A Descriptive Phenomenological Psychological Study and Clinical Implications. Journal of Phenomenological Psychology, 47(2), 134-155.