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The Affair
by Paul Mauchline
Do you know someone who is having an affair? Have you ever had, or considered having, an affair yourself? Why is it that so many people are cheating on their partners? What is it that makes someone want to cheat on his or her partner?

Affairs are not always premeditated; sometimes they just happen. Affairs can happen almost anywhere. They happen with people you meet at work, people you meet at the gym, or people you meet at the local bar. They can happen with people you have known for years, or with someone you have just met. The nagging question in my mind is, "Why do affairs happen at all?"

I am sure you have all been at a social gathering, like the office Christmas party, where the wine is flowing freely, people are flirting with one another, and everyone is having a grand old time. With this freely flowing alcohol, everyone is feeling great after that third or fourth drink, when all of a sudden, the flirting gets a little out of hand. One thing leads to another, and before you know it, two co-workers end up in bed together. It could be just a one-night stand, or it could be the beginning of an affair.

Another scenario: your partner is out of town and has been doing continuous business travel for several months. One night, one of your mutual friends drops by, out of the blue, and you invite them in for a drink. You are feeling lonely and welcome the company of this member of the opposite sex. Some flirtation occurs during the evening, and before you know it, one thing leads to the next, and you are having sex with this person.

Most of us have witnessed affairs among people we know, and some of us even have had affairs ourselves. This kind of thing happens in the real world, and it happens all the time. Every time it happens, it happens for a reason.

What is the reason? There are a lot of reasons why people have affairs. In my opinion, people have affairs because they are bored in their current relationship, or because they have needs that are not being met within that relationship. In some cases, they are just thrill-seekers who become turned on by cheating on their partner. These three reasons have one common denominator: The people who are engaging in the affair are seeking something exciting, new and different.

Affairs begin with two people who find each other interesting and attractive. For whatever reason, the relationship escalates into romance and, finally, into sexual intimacy. People who seek romance and sexual intimacy outside of their primary relationship feel that their relationship is missing something, so they go out and they seek it from someone else.

An extramarital affair takes a great deal of energy. The lying, sneaking around, and destroying of evidence all take tremendous amounts of energy. The onset of guilty feelings about having the affair, in the first place, further zaps whatever energy the partner having the affair might still have left.

Why is it that people who have affairs do not simply put this energy into improving their relationships? It sounds like an easy concept, but, based on the vast number of people cheating on their partners, I surmise that such is not the case. Rational thinking indicates to me that it would be better to focus this energy on oneself and one's partner, rather than on someone else. I feel it is selfish to think that you can have your cake and eat it, too, but many people clearly think this way. You have to be honest with yourself and your partner: If you have tried everything -- and I mean exploring every possibility, going the distance -- and your relationship still is not working, you need to end it, so both of you can get on with your lives.

Do not complicate matters by having an affair. All you are going to do is end up hurting a lot of people. That's what happens, reliably, every time, when people have extramarital affairs.

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