11 Reasons Why Some Affairs Last For Years

Extramarital affairs can ruin families and relationships. Unlike romance, these affairs, at least the majority of them, start as casual ones or flings but end up doing irreversible damage to both the involved partners, their spouses, and also their children. While some of these affairs may last weeks, some might last months, and others may continue for years. Why is it that some affairs are just a flash in the pan, but others last long? What are the contributing factors? Why do some affairs last for years? Delve into our post to know the reasons.

In This Article

Why Do Some Affairs Last For Years: 11 Reasons

1. Natural inclination for polyamory

Some people are inherently inclined to have multiple sexual partners. Their affinity to be polyamorous has nothing to do with their spouse’s behavior in marriage or other background. They have flings, which sometimes turn into affairs owing to the joy of indulging in physical relationship with multiple partners.

2. Escape from the monotony of marriage

They look for other partners in quest for excitement

Image: Shutterstock

Most people who have extramarital affairs consider marriage to be banal and boring. They look for other partners because they lack patience and seek excitement in newer things, and to this end, they seek new partners to fulfill their needs, common interests and desires.

3. Getting back at partner

Some married people don’t have compatibility, appreciation or commitment with their partner, be it physical, emotional, or mental, which gradually leads to resentment and hatred towards their spouse. This spite could turn into frustration, and they end up having affairs with the goal of getting even with their partner.

4. Partner is a narcissist

Dealing with a narcissistic spouse can be taxing both emotionally and mentally. Sometimes, to escape the apathy and unrequited love of their partner, people start having affairs. They seek love, dedication, affection, and contentment that they lack in life in these relationships.

5. Societal compulsions

Some of the married people who get into affairs after marriage are usually the ones who are forced to cohabit with their partners owing to peer acceptance and societal pressures. They avoid that extreme step of divorce and have an affair to seek love and solace outside of marriage due to lack of love and proper communication.

protip_icon Did you know?
Among adults between 18 and 29, women are a little more likely to feel guilty about infidelity. But this gap reverses among those aged 30 to 34 and becomes vast in older age groups. (1)

6. Casual affairs turn into love

Casual affairs turn into love, some affairs last for years

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Without the two people involved in the affair realizing, sometimes casual affairs transform into serious relationships. They go to the extent of completely ignoring their spouses and start investing their entire time, money, and similar values of marital emotions with their paramours.

7. Affairs become an addiction

Though the affair might be fun and exciting for the two people involved, at the outset, spending long periods together can insidiously turn into an unnatural admiration due to uninhibited openness. This addiction can be physical and emotional attraction, and both may find it extremely difficult to live without the other.

protip_icon Quick fact
Neurohormone testosterone may also have something to do with a man’s chances of seeking a sexual partner outside the marriage. According to a study, men with high testosterone levels are more likely to have extramarital affairs compared to men with lower levels. (2)

8. Sexual or emotional incompatibility with spouse

Lack of physical intimacy, care and emotional compatibility with your spouse also plays a key role in extramarital relationships running for years on end. Once you strike a chord with your lover with respect to physical intimacy or emotional connection, the sacrifice of the newly found physical affair and going back to your spouse decreases.

9. Abusive partner

Abusive partner, Why do some affairs last for years

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When you are living with a partner who abuses you verbally, physically, mentally, and psychologically, the easiest escape route is an affair. Of course, leaving them for good is the ideal solution, but people tend to feel that seeking solace in a new partner gives them relief as they are warmed by their sympathy.

10. Fear of loneliness

The fear of loneliness can strongly drive individuals to engage in long-term affairs. The lack of emotional support and companionship might lead them to continue with the affair, even if they recognize its harmful impact on their primary relationship. In such cases, avoiding loneliness becomes a priority over addressing issues in their existing marriage or partnership.

11. Low self-esteem

For some, knowing they are desired by someone else can significantly boost their self-esteem and sense of self-worth. If an individual is insecure within their marriage, they may be more inclined to seek validation outside of it. Even if their partner is loyal and caring, feelings of insecurity may make them believe their partner’s affection is obligatory. On the contrary, receiving admiration from someone new can feel exciting, contributing to the longevity of the affair.

protip_icon Point to consider
Having an affair can also be a medium to seek revenge on the spouse for something they did, like cheating.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why are affairs so hard to end?

Any deep bond filled with priceless memories is hard to break apart. An affair is hard to end because you may have created an emotional, spiritual understanding, mutual trust and sexual bond with this person. Moreover, this person may seem to know you well and fill some deep need or void in your life. Separation can also get hard when you feel guilty and worry about hurting your partner.

2. Can affairs lead to true love?

Yes, they can. The passion and physical intimacy may fade over time. However, when both parties become their support system as they display empathy, have similar shared goals and fill the void in each other’s life, the affair may transform into true love.

3. How does secrecy affect affairs that last for years?

Secrecy maintains the affair’s confidentiality from an individual’s partner, family, friends, and colleagues. It can also create heightened intimacy between the involved parties. They evolve into close confidants, relying on each other for emotional support and understanding.

4. What are some signs that an affair that has lasted for years is starting to end?

If one or both parties involved in the affair begin to experience physical and emotional withdrawal, it could signify the relationship losing its intensity. Furthermore, if the affair begins to cause significant strain on the individuals’ personal lives, it can lead to increased conflict and tension. These conflicts may contribute to the decision to end the affair.

5. Can therapy or counseling help individuals in affairs that have lasted for years?

Yes, therapy (including couples therapy) or counseling can help individuals involved in long-term affairs. Experienced therapists or counselors can offer support and guidance and create a safe space to address the complex emotions and dynamics surrounding infidelity.

An anonymous married mother from Australia describes her experience of how she and her husband needed to work together following her discovery of his affair. She says, “Back around the middle of the year, I was convinced my marriage was over. We lived separate lives, just under the same roof. But I hung around. I had three young children to think about. We’ve done the work. We’ve gone through couple’s therapy. We’ve had many talks. He owned his mistakes (i).”

There are various factors that influence the longevity of affairs. The ideal thing to do to avoid cheating in a marriage is to talk it out when issues prop up and resolve them amicably. While having an affair and cheating on your spouse may give instant gratification and seem like a temporary solution, in the long run, it stands against the principles of loyalty and is detrimental to your spouse, partner, and family.

Infographic: Is It Possible To Come Out Of An Affair?

Sometimes we fail to understand what we want and may get involved in an extramarital affair. With time, it may seem futile to trade your family for someone else, and you wish you could undo some past events. Though it may not be easy to end an affair and continue happily in your married life, it isn’t impossible either. Check out the infographic below for some pro tips.

tips for exiting an extramarital affair (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Get high-quality PDF version by clicking below.

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Download Infographic in PDF version

Key Pointers

  • An inclination to polyamory and the need to escape the monotony of marriage are common reasons for long-lasting affairs.
  • It can be difficult to end an affair if two people fall in love or are addicted to each other.
  • Issues such as sexual incompatibility with the partner or narcissistic or abusive behaviors can also make one stay in an affair for longer.

Personal Experience: Source


MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Who Cheats More? The Demographics of Infidelity in America;
  2. Higher testosterone levels are associated with unfaithful behavior in men;

Discover the surprising reasons why some affairs can last for a long time. Gain insights into the complexities of these relationships and understand what keeps them going.

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