“The grass is not greener on the other side; the grass is greener where you water it!” One of the most unfortunate realities in marriage is the phenomena of extramarital affairs. According to a recent study conducted by Rafael Wlodarski and his team of researchers at Oxford University, 60 percent of men and over 45 percent of women will cheat at some point in their marriages. Affairs affect 1 out of every 2.7 couples, which is almost one third of all marriages.
These same studies suggest that only 1 to 3 affairs out of 100 end up in marriage, and of these 75% will end in divorce. The end result of affairs is devastating. For the spouse who has been betrayed, the effects are incredibly damaging. If the stats are so overwhelming and the end result is so painful, why do affairs occur so frequently? It is the “grass is greener” syndrome. The belief that life over their is going to be better than it is here. In my coaching business I frequently have the opportunity to work with people who are having affairs. They almost always say things like, “Dave, you don’t understand this person is my soul mate” or “We are just so happy together” or “This relationship is different”.
The truth is these individuals are always living in a fantasy world. They are leaving their children, their spouses, their responsibilities at home and entering a fantasy world where they play, have fun, and are the center of their affair partners’ attention. These people usually ask me, “How can something that feels so right, be so wrong?” or “I never feel this way when I am with my spouse”. The reason they don’t feel this way with their spouse is that they are not doing the things that they do with their affair partner with their spouse. The grass is not greener on the other side; the grass is greener where you water it. I have found that when these individuals begin to lean back into their marriages, they discover that feelings do come back. Affairs never happen in a vacuum. There are always underlying reasons why a person strays.
The good news is that when these issues are dealt with, when the affair ends (and they almost always do), marriage reconciliation becomes a possibility. There are some people who say, if my spouse cheats, “I am done”. There are others who have weathered the storm of infidelity and report that they are glad they did because today they have phenomenal marriages. If you are reading this and are having an affair, realize that statistically speaking the odds are stacked against you. Put the energy you are putting into your affair partner towards your marriage. You will be amazed to learn that the grass is greener where you water it. If your spouse is having an affair and you are inclined to save your marriage, don’t give up on them. Work on you, love them unconditionally and fight for your marriage.