WHY WOMEN HAVE AFFAIRS
Not every situation is alike, but there are common reasons why women have affairs.
Firstly, it can be hard for women to figure out who they are outside of their roles as wife or mother. Roles can become rigid, and this can begin to define who we are and we forget who we could be.
Life is short. It's not uncommon to wake up in the middle of a marriage, in the middle of a life and say, "I'm on auto pilot, I have no idea who I am anymore, and I want to feel alive."
EMOTIONAL LABOR & MENTAL LOAD
Secondly, women tend to hold a lot of information in their heads: staying on top of doctor appointments, managing the social calendar, knowing what gifts to buy, and for whom. Women coordinate household tasks, and chances are good that they do a larger percentage of the housework. It can be exhausting. All of the keeping of domestic plates in the air can often be in addition to a job.
Have you heard of the terms "emotional labor" or "mental load?" If you haven't please find them explained in this wonderful comic called You Should Have Asked, and this article "Women Aren't Nags We're Just Fed Up."
Affairs can give women a break from the mental load of domestic relationships and have something in their life that doesn't feel so hard.
WOMEN AREN'T SUPPOSED TO BE SELFISH
Thirdly, many women are taught to focus on others and to avoid being selfish.
We are so good at focusing on others that we forget to center the attention on ourselves.
Affairs can function outside the confines of role, partner and family and be a place where women can focus on themselves, if just for some moments. A place where they are the center.
Where they can feel agency, passion, creativity and energy, something that partner and family expectations don't always make room for.
Affairs can make a woman feel like she's steering her own ship. They can make her feel that she has something that is ALL HERS.
UNDERPINNINGS OF AN AFFAIR
Women who have affairs, or who are thinking about having an affair, are often struggling with feeling:
- A lack of vitality, resigned to a life that doesn't make them feel alive
- Disengaged, unappreciated or unnoticed by their partner
- Overwhelmed by the emotional labor in their marriages
- Conflicted about roles of mother or wife
- Frustrated by doing the lion's share of housework
- Despondent, discouraged, or disempowered
- Uninspired and yearning for "something more"
If you are having an affair, or are thinking of having an affair, there is a lot to unpack.
Therapy can be a safe haven to sort through what's going on inside you. A place where you don't have to worry about bias or the fear of judgment about who you are.
A place to come back to yourself.
We're walking contradictions, seeking safety and predictability on one hand and thriving on diversity on the other.” ~ Esther Perel
DO THE WORK: EXPLORE CONFLICTED FEELINGS & HIDDEN DESIRES
Focusing on yourself and doing individual therapy is one of the best ways to process conflicted feelings and explore hidden desires.
You deserve some time to get more connected to yourself. Reach out to see what therapy can do!