When a married person falls in love outside of his marriage, I believe this is what is called an affair. It can be an intimate affair or an emotional affair, but an affair is an affair. If a man is at a point where he is talking about “love” in a relationship, chances are the relationship has been going on for some time. I do not know any man, with the exception of teenage boys looking for a sexual encounter, who uses the word “love” lightly. By the time a man gets married, falling in love outside of marriage would generally signal that the love within the marriage has somewhat subsided.

Human beings can and do change with time, this is relating to the sanctity of marriage. Personally, I doubt that any person purposely sets out after marriage to have love affairs outside their marriages, especially when they still love each other. But contrary to the general belief, most persons involved in this situation they choose not to leave their marriages over an affair. Let’s talk a little bit about the types of affairs: The sexual affair, the emotional affair and the combination of both. The affairs that are based on sex generally do not lead to love. That type of affair is more based on lust, and not in the natural progression of loving someone by getting to know a person over a period of time.

Sneaking around and living to avoid detection is usually not conducive to a long-term relationship.

The emotional affair is more likely to have the potential for love developing between two people. Usually in a emotional affair the persons involved take friendship to a higher level, that leads to a much deeper bond that just the mere sexual action. Once the persons get too close and start sharing  hopes, dreams, worries, anxieties and the joy of everyday life a friendship between them takes on a life of its´ own.

The combination of an intimate and emotional affair would have the greatest chance of growing into love because it is really a marriage outside of a marriage.

Marriage is made up of several things but the emotional, spiritual and intimate bonds are generally, what hold a marriage together. Spiritual not necessarily in the religious sense, although it certainly can be, but more so on the value that a couple places on the marriage vows, how hard they are willing to work to make their marriage succeed and thrive. When the emotional bond between a husband and a wife are broken or weakened, it is very hard to regain or rebuild this trust. I believe that most women can forgive a sexual indiscretion easier than forgiving an affair where an emotional bond has been forged.

Marriage is a fluid entity, with its ups and downs. No marriage is perfect no matter what intentions we start out with. The best of marriages, the ones people often think will go the distance, sometimes fail while marriages that seemed doomed from the start thrive and prosper. Falling in love outside of your marriage can and does happen. How strong your marriage is will dictate what you choose to ultimately do about the situation but remember, none of us gets to have both ways.

Dr. Alberto J. Arana

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