Long term Adultery

Does any one have any link to info regarding the long term effects of adultery on all parties involved? That would be the cheater, the cheatee, and the cheated-upon?

By long term I mean more than a few years.

The problem with trying to find a link about adultery and its effects on people is that you either end up in a site with a religious tone which tells you what the Bible says about how it’s a sin, etc., or you have sites put up by “counsellors” who are out to sell you their book on the subject. Kind of like wandering blind into an Oprah Winfrey show.

Your best bet, I’d say, cheater, is not to look for online links, but to head for a good library with books on the subject.

Thanks, I have tried that and I end up with books with a religious tone that tell me what a sin it is and books from counsellors who want to tell me how recoperate fromthe heartbreak of an affair (or prove my mate is cheating). I am actually looking for something from a sociological standpoint. I know that many people have had lengthy affairs for years but I wonder if due to the sensitive nature that they just aren’t forthcoming until someone writes their post mortum biography? (usually their illegitimate child!!)

Interesting matching your username to your question. Are you trying to tell us somethign? :slight_smile:

No…he’s trying not to tell us about something, and I for one think we should respect Cheater’s privacy.

Maybe looking in a good university library’s social sciences section? I’m not sure anything like what you are looking for will actually be documented, although I would be interested in the findings also.

Well it’s interesting that you automatically assumed I am male - I never said one way or another. But thank you for respecting my privacy.

Try Affairs by Emily M. Brown. It’s not a sociological work, but it does take a fairly objective view and discusses various types of infidelity, from all perspectives, including third parties.

I would suggest finding some relationship and dating forums, and posting there. There may be a higher percentage of people who have experienced what you are (perhaps) experiencing, and some of those websites may have psychologists who offer advice as well.

IANAPsychiatrist, but common sense tells me long term effects would include guilt, anger, hurt, loss of confidence in relationships, loss of self-respect, depression for all parties, in varying degrees.

I don’t think it would be like a disease (long term effects of smoking, eg, or alcholol) that one could very easily scientifically quantify. Certainly studies have probably been done, you might try looking for research studies into adultery instead.

Wait a minute here. Guilt, anger, etc. might be logical if the affair was kept secret. Not all affairs are to one extent or another. It might be a tacit agreement that the couple will stay together for kids, respect one another, and be free to find friendship wherever they wish. There is a big problem with US marriages that the spouse is often expected to provide 100% support all the time. It is possible to divide the support among two or more people and to love all the parties concerned. A case in point would be polygamy (which does work at least some of the time). If it works for the people involved, then I say more power to them. I wish Cheater and those close to him/her happiness and food fortune.

I suggest that you re-post your question on the following website:


There are also other threads on the subject on this board. The consensus seems to be that, in general and in the long run (but not always), infidelity is highly destructive and painful for everyone involved.

And here’s some unsolicited advice: If you are thinking about cheating, ask yourself what exactly you want out of your extra-marital relationship. Then see if there’s some way you can get that out of your current relationship. You might discover that your marriage (or whatever) is quite salvageable.

I think most people subscribe to the idea that if all parties involved are aware of and agree to the extra-marital dalliances, it’s not cheating. Cheating by definition requires some form of deception (hence the anger, guilt, etc.). Simply having multiple simultaneous sexual relationships is better described as polyamory, I think.

Although at this point we don’t know which version of the extra-marital affair cheater is referring to, so yeah, I think the answer will vary depending on which it is.

Okay, I’ll be more specific. I understand polyamory and that isn’t an issue. I’m specifically talking about an affair that the spouse knows nothing about for a period of five years. The tension obviously wears on the cheater, the loss of intimacy affects the cheated upon spouse, the loss of having a real mate has affected the other person but what about long term. This situation doesn’t seem to be budging either direction although the cheater should probably be the person to make a move one way or another (thank you for kindly not being judgemental) but I wonder about others who have been in these long-term relationships and how it has affected their lives, their families and their lovers.

even if you are female, you could still be cheating…

My sympathies. It looks like life is already pretty bad for at least two of you (can’t say about the third party from your letter). There are people who enjoy such a relationship. You are obviously not one of them. It is easy enough for any of the three people involved to say enough and cut ties, however, since it was Cheater apparently who felt something was missing in the original relationship and looked abroad, if s/he does not start making some decisions about his/her life, then the problem is not going to disappear, probably no matter what anyone does. No one in a chat room/message board is going to take responsibility for guiding you through such a thing. You need to find a councelor, either from a church or some branch of psychology (I know of no other places offering such professional services) and get help working through this thing. I think the consequences have already appeared in your life. As to what to do, that also depends on the people involved. Some spouses, for example, can forgive if told, others cannot. Only you can make that call.
I wish all the best. Everyone makes mistakes but, from my experience, people almost always try to do the best they can in their judgment at any particular moment.

Sorry, my writing is perhaps somewhat unclear. You asked for the results of what other people have done but none of us are statistics. If 80% (stat out of thin air) of couples who have an affair divorce, that does not mean you should. If 80% of spouses who are told about an affair cannot forgive their partner, that does not mean you should not. The decision is too complex for any conselor to answer for you, s/he can only give you skills to help you better evaluate your situation and decide what is best for you and those around you. The decision that was made 5 years ago was perhaps right at that time but it appears from your last letter that it no longer is the right one. Neither the decision to marry or have an affair was made lightly, so neither should the present one. Good luck.

Your words are kind and wise, however, I think you may be mistaking what i am looking for. I definitely would not make decisions about my life based upon what was right for others. I specifically want to know what kind of harm I am causing to these two men and probably my children. This is my decision and mine only (and the needs of these two men) If it were not hurting either of them I would certainly continue on my present path no matter how much tension it causes me. I get a fair amoutn of happiness as well.

The decision was made five years ago yet, this is quite a bit more than I signed on for. At the time I really didn’t just “decide” to go have a 5 year affair (or any affair for that matter). It happened incrementally and I have found myself in very long term somewhat stable relationships with both. I have two husbands. I know that there are people (usually men) who keep a lover for 20 or 30 years. I just kind of wonder about the benefits and drawbacks of this arrangement for all parties.

This site is a discussion forum that deals with these types of issues and it’s a thriving community just like this board.

Benefits: no pressure on anyone except the person in the middle if both ends want attention at the same time. If the person in the middle requires lots of attention and the people on the ends don’t, everything is great. In other words, say one man is romantic, the other not. There is no longer any need for the non-romantic man to be forced into being romantic. But the non-romantic must understand that you love him for some other good reason and be comfortable with that.
Drawbacks: if you fail to compartmentalise, if you fail to keep the positive aspects of both people pretty much constantly in mind, then there is a tendency to gravitate to one or the other and the end of the other relationship. It does take more energy to maintain two relationships and perhaps hold down a job, raise kids, let alone have time for oneself (true for both men and women). Complaints in bed are an indication of this choice being made. That’s one reason I mentioned decisions.

This is a very brief format and so easy to be too brief. I said the best decision for you AND the people around you. For example, for just you, it might be telling someone ‘f–k you’ but not very nice for the other person. There are ways to say ‘no’ without being rude. Thus doing what is best for you and the other person. OK?

Life is what you make of it. It does throw curve balls, which are great for keeping the brain cells awake and to grow on.

Rereading your letter, it appears the tension is getting to you. I have never heard of such tension as being healthy. Rather it is a good way to develop serious medical problems. If any of the three parties are not satisfied, then they are going to stay only so long as they do not find a better option or the pain becomes stronger than the benefits.
But the big question: what are you getting out of it? (I do not expect an answer-that is for yourself alone) You have four options: 1) get rid of everyone or both men leave at one time; 2) get rid of one - end of tension but can you do it in a way that you don’t feel like you betrayed him and so that he doesn’t try to seek revenge; 3) continue as is and probably suffer serious medical problems. It is a known fact that tension on the job causes heart attacks, for example; and 4) keep both men but find a way to reduce the tension, which is going to take a psychologist to help you with the skills to handle your emotions and the men so they don’t become upset by a mistake on your part. No 4 might or might not mean open polyandry. A psychologist might also be able to offer help with the first two. If you need an ear, then a chat room would probably be cheaper.
I am sure a psychologist could do a better job of explaining the various consequences but you need to be in charge of the session. Have specific questions and give them to him/her before time. Schedule an appointment only if s/he is willing to answer them. However, your letter already shows you see the consequences and do not like them. Therefore, a decision is necessary to decide how to eliminate those negative consequences. Sure there are people who keep a second lover for 30 years, but that does not mean that you can. They are who they are and you are who you are. They might see a wife as someone who raises their children and a mistress someone who provides passion (compartmentalising) and both women also accept these roles. In that case, everyone is happy without tension. The wife has respect and children without having to be too sexually responsive and the mistress can be sexually free without worrying about children (at a husband’s request), for example. Maybe the wife knows the man is cheating but she loves his money more than she hurts. There are lots of variants. You need to deal with the emotions in your life, not theirs.

I believe in the viability of healthy polyamory in some situations, so I have no problem no matter what direction you choose. I again wish you luck. Obviously, if I missed something, please write.

With all do respect, cheater, what does this information on “long term effects on all parties inloved” have to do with anything?
Common sense tells you what the long term and short term effects are. You don’t need a book or website to tell you this.

My only guess is that you are looking for something that will tell you your actions are ok, the person currently being deceived will be ok, and your lover will be ok.

No website or book can tell you this.
Your best bet is to use your common sense, empathy and respect.

How…would YOU feel in each position? Don’t feel too good, does it?