Does An Affair Really Make Life Happier?

By: Katie Lersch:  Some people realize that something is suspicious with their cheating spouse when that same spouse is suddenly acting overly happy or gleeful.  This isn’t surprising because many cheating spouses will tell you that the affair changed their happiness level dramatically – which is why they can believe that it is so hard to end the relationship.

Needless to say, many faithful spouses have a hard time buying this reasoning.  They believe that this newfound happiness isn’t real or that it is all in their cheating spouses’ head.  They might say something like: “my husband is reluctant to give up the other woman because he says that, like it or not, she makes him happy.  He admits that their relationship really should not work.  They are complete opposites.  He has a very extensive education and she has none.  He is very introverted and she craves attention.  But, he says that he loves the carefree way that she looks at life and that some of that just can not help but rub off on him.  He says that his relationship with her has made him much happier.  He says it is like Dorothy in “The Wizard Of Oz” when at first her life was in black and white but then it turned to color once she left Kansas.  He says that his life has now turned colorful.  It kind of makes me sick to hear him talk this way.  Of course she has a carefree way of looking at life – she is too young to have any real worries or obligations and their relationship is just about having fun – which isn’t real or sustainable.  In real life, grown up relationships, people have real struggles and problems and that sort of gets in the way of having fun all of the time.  I believe that all of this “happiness” is only a temporary reprieve.  True happiness comes from within.  Someone can’t ‘make’ you happy.  A relationship can’t ‘make’ you happy.  You have to be happy within your self.  Am I wrong about this?  How can I make him see that I am right?”

I believe that you are absolutely right.  In fact, I see a lot of men who are repeat cheaters who will finally admit that, all along, they were chasing happiness and the thrill of something new.  But you are right.  None of this is sustainable.  The newness eventually wears off.  And that’s why people seeking happiness from their relationships often go from one to the other – always searching and always thinking that they have found that magical thing, only to find that it eventually slips right through their fingers.

Unfortunately, it can be hard to “convince” your husband of this or “make” him understand it.  It’s usually something that he has to realize on his own.  Sometimes, the other person will break the relationship off, and, once some time passes and he can be more objective, he will start to see that what he thought he experienced was not reality.  But it is harder to do this while you are caught up in the relationship.

What I see help with this most often is counseling.  And the person might not be going for counseling for the infidelity at all.  But often, a counselor is the one who helps them realize that they are seeking happiness from external things, which is almost impossible to obtain in the long term.

Once that realization happens, the next step is to learn how to search within for happiness and how to learn how to cultivate happiness from things that are going to build your life up rather than tear your life down.

Because of all of the correspondence that I get from people who have had or are having affairs, the vast majority look back on it and see that it created huge amounts of hurt and damage and that while it may have felt good for a very short period of time, that small amount of euphoria was not worth all of the trouble that it caused in the end.

But people who seek happiness from their relationships or from their significant others are looking to fill something that is missing inside of themselves.  Since no one can do this for you (and it must come from within) these people sometimes go from broken to relationship to broken relationship searching for something that only lasts for a fleeting amount of time.  Or until they realize that their method is just temporary and is exhausting.

So no, my answer to the question is that affairs do not cause happiness.  It may feel that way in the short term.  But in the long term, they cause misery and pain.  They hurt those you love the most and they may end your most important relationship.  Plus, they send a message to yourself and those around you that you can’t be happy on your own, which just isn’t true.

I think that both my husband and I agree that his affair caused nothing but misery.  I am glad he never gave me the happiness excuse.  It did take him some time for him to have the objectivity and distance to clearly see his motivations for cheating and that helped also.  There’s more at

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