Cheating is a heartbreaking thing for a partner to deal with. You give your all to someone, to be vulnerable, and trust despite any baggage or heartbreak you might have suffered in the past. You’re in love and hope it will last forever. But then, your partner goes and does something monumentally stupid. They cheat on you with someone they’ve either just met, someone they’ve known a long time, or a co-worker. How do affairs start, you wonder?
It shatters your confidence, trust, and leaves you wondering what comes next. There is a very real difference between a one night stand and an affair. You will have no idea how you will react until you’re in that moment and faced with your partner admitting to cheating… or you’ve found them out yourself.
[Read: The most obvious signs of a cheating spouse that are easy to miss]
Perhaps a one night stand is easier to forgive because it was just one night and nothing more, but an affair? An affair is a longer term deal. It might be a matter of weeks, months, or even years.
It’s heartbreaking, but how do affairs start in the first place?
What is an affair and why do they start?
An affair is basically a relationship of some kind with someone who isn’t your partner. Affairs can happen when a couple are married, not married, or engaged. They can start at any time.
Sometimes they’re super-intense and fizzle out, while other times they’re just about sex. However, the worst kind is undoubtedly when an emotional connection is formed. More on that shortly. [Read: The signs of emotional infidelity that can lead you to a real affair]
Affairs ruin relationships. Many couples manage to overcome an affair, provided the cheating ends and the straying partner learns their lesson and vows never to do it again. However, some couples simply can’t overcome it and go their separate ways.
Sometimes, the cheating partner ends up being with the person they had the affair with, and even go on to marry. That’s a real kick in the teeth for the person they were originally with, don’t you think?
[Read: Why do people in happy relationships still cheat?]
How does it all begin?
But, how do affairs start? They can happen for a multitude of reasons. It’s long been thought that humans are able to love more than one person. In that case, maybe they just met and fell in love.
However, it could be that a partner is feeling unloved. Maybe their sex life has really slowed down and communication has broken down. This could leave a partner to seek comfort elsewhere. It could be enough to begin an affair if they meet the right person.
Of course, none of these potential reasons are good enough. But they’re common answers to the question of how do affairs start in the first place.
[Read: The 13 types of affairs people have and the reasons behind them]
How do affairs start at work?
The work environment is one of the most common places for affairs to start. In this setting, mistakes can happen and affairs can blossom. Why? Because people spend a large amount of time together and bond over a poor working situation, such as bad management.
There is a reason why many workplaces have policies that prohibit working relationships. It tells you a lot about the frequency that these types of affairs can happen. Of course, workplaces don’t really care about whether you’re cheating on your partner or not. But it can affect your focus in the workplace.
However, when two people share a work space, no matter how big or small, it’s common for emotional connections to form. If a person is feeling unloved or unappreciated by their partner at the time, this can be a breeding ground for cheating situations.
[Read: The unwritten work spouse rules to keep things fun and uncomplicated]
The problem is, if you are attracted to someone you work with, it’s very difficult to put space between you. You work together day in and day out. While you can try and be professional and push your feelings or your attraction to one side, it can be extremely hard to do so in the moment.
How do affairs start online?
That leads us to another of the most common places for affairs to begin – online. Social media is a blessing on so many levels, but if you’re wondering how do affairs start, that’s one of the culprits.
You see, if someone is looking for flirtation, they can find it in seconds on any social media site. It might start off innocently. But things can spiral out of control very quickly. Before you know it, online flirting has turned to sexting, and then people are meeting up in person.
[Read: Instagram flirting and how it is secretly ruining your relationship]
You can’t completely blame social media for this, because it always falls at the door of the person and their intentions. It’s definitely a very easy place for those who want to stray to be able to do so with ease. How many relationships have ended because of something that’s been seen or said on social media? Far too many!
At the end of the day, whether you want to point the finger at the internet or workplaces as two of the most common places for affairs starting, neither can force someone to do something they’re not supposed to do.
There must be an underlying reason why the affair took place. Whether someone is not happy in their relationship or a simple attraction that couldn’t be controlled, it all comes down to the person cheating. You always have a choice. [Read: How to get over someone cheating on you and repair the damage]
Emotionally involved or just sex?
Whether or not you forgive a partner who has had an affair is a personal decision to make. You should never feel rushed or pressured into going either way. If you feel like you want to forgive your partner and you’re sure that you can learn to trust them again over time, that’s perfectly fine and your choice. However, for many people, the decision of whether to forgive or end things depends on whether it was just sex or if actual emotions were involved in the affair.
[Read: Do emotional affairs ever stop? Steps to breaking the connection]
In that way, it doesn’t so much come down to how do affairs start, but how do they evolve? If it’s just sex, could that be forgiven more easily than a partner who fell in love with someone else or developed a strong emotional connection?
There is no right or wrong answer. For me however, if it was just sex, I may be able to forgive it in time more easily than if there were actual emotions involved in the betrayal. Because at the end of the day, that is what it is – betrayal.
It’s a total and utter betrayal of your trust and love for that person. It can destroy you, and, if you allow it to do so, stop you from developing relationships in the future. [Read: The 7 stages of emotional affairs and the games it plays on your mind]
So, what should you do?
Take your time. That’s the only thing you can do. Don’t feel rushed into making a decision right now. Give yourself the time and space to really digest what has happened. Then, when you’re ready, find out the answers you need.
If your partner is sorry and they want to work on the relationship, they’ll give you the answers you need in the most honest of ways. However, if they’re not keen to share details, that’s not something which is going to help you overcome the betrayal. [Read: 18 signs of an emotional affair you probably never ever considered]
When emotions are involved, how can you be sure that those emotions have gone and that they won’t rear their head again in the future? How can you be sure that your partner isn’t going to stray again? The answer is that you can’t.
You have to be able to trust once more and put your faith in the relationship that has been rebuilt over time. That’s what is so difficult, because once you’ve been betrayed, it’s easy to assume that every red flag means the same thing is going to happen again.
[Read: The practical steps you need to take to rebuild trust after cheating]
How do affairs start? For a huge number of reason and in a range of different places. But you need to remember that affairs aren’t forced on anyone. They are a decision that a person makes, to betray their partner.
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