The Biggest Spousal Secret: An Affair

Nothing tears apart a marriage like a good, old-fashioned affair. This is one secret that you neither want to hear nor tell. Unfortunately, you’re more likely to feel philandering’s ugly grip than you are to have voted in the 2010 mid-term elections.

Estimates place the occurrence of infidelity between 30 and 60% for men and 20-50% for women in the U.S., according to a University of Texas at Austin study. Some estimates place the probability of any marriage having at least one member commit adultery between 40 and 76%. With around half of U.S. marriages ending in divorce, these statistics are more disheartening than surprising.

Additionally, those who do cheat seem to keep the secret well. A survey by Undercover Lovers, an extra-marital affair website, showed that 89% of married people who cheat say that they never get caught. The rate was higher among women, who said they weren’t found out 95% of the time compared to 83% of men. Another study by Divorce Statistics put the numbers lower, but they were still high. Women did not know of their spouse’s infidelity 70% of the time, and men didn’t know about it 54% of the time.

Some scenarios are more likely to breed extra-marital activity. Actually, 36% of people admit to having an affair with a co-worker, and 36% admit to committing infidelity on a business trip, according to Infidelity Facts. Workplace affairs are the most common type.

Not all affairs even involve sex. There is such a thing as an “emotional affair” in which a spouse seeks non-physical intimacy with another person. It involved secrecy and deception, some of the elements of an affair only without the sex. When you are evasive about talking to a coworker in whom you confide personal information, it is an indication of an emotional affair. Flirting, frequent deep conversation, and emails are all elements. Once you are trying to hide the amount of time you are spending with a person from your spouse, it is a breach of trust and an emotional affair.

Once an affair is discovered, only 31% of marriages last. The overwhelming response is to get a divorce. An affair is a symptom of an already unhealthy marriage. It is much easier to fix a marriage before an affair happens than after one is discovered.

Additional Resources

Infidelity Facts:

Susceptibility to Infidelity in the First Year of Marriage:

The Magazine 89% of Adulterers Never Get Caught:

Divorce Statistics:

Independence Political Report Participation in 2010 Election:


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