Leandie Buys Realtionship Therapist & Clinical Sexologist

After an Affair

Not only does an affair have a devastating effect on a marriage, but it also affects the emotional, physical and psychological health of everyone involved.

The emotional roller coaster ride

Affairs bring out emotions like anger, denial, grief, resentment and lead to a loss of self-esteem. If you have been the victim or instigator of an affair, remember, you are not alone! There are always two sides to the story and a lot of emotional baggage to deal with after an affair.

To divorce or not?

Even if a couple wants to divorce after an affair, it is still extremely important that each individual works through its emotional and psychological effects, otherwise it will influence all of their future relationships.

Working through an affair is not something that should be done alone

It is possible to re-build a relationship and self-esteem after an affair, but it takes a lot of hard work and dedication from each partner.

Couples seeking to rebuild their relationship should consult a professional relationship counsellor who can teach them good communication tools. It is also important to have an impartial, clear-headed person around when working through emotionally-charged issues. 

Who's to blame for an affair?

If you are the victim of an affair, it is important for you to know that the affair is NOT your fault! There is never ONE cause of an affair. There are usually hundreds of little “reasons” that people add up and use to justify having an affair, but the blame can never be laid completely on either partner in a relationship. 

An affair can also never be blamed solely on the third party involved.

In order to heal after an affair, it is important to identify the underlying “causes” of the affair, and work through them to ensure they are not repeated in the future.

Reasons for an affair

Emily M. Brown, LCSW, Director of Key Bridge Therapy and Mediation Center, has listed some of the reasons for extramarital affairs: conflict avoidance, intimacy avoidance, sexual addiction and low self-esteem. However, each relationship has its own unique characteristics and therefore each affair will also have its own unique causes.

Affairs can also happen when a couple experiences a major change in the relationship

Becoming parents, extreme work pressure and moving are some of the changes that can lead to a person feeling insecure in their relationship. They will then seek security and intimacy from somewhere else. 

Lack of affection between partners, sexual addiction and feelings of sexual entitlement based on gender or status are symptoms of an unhealthy marriage, and are often given as “reasons” for an affair.