I recently heard from a wife who was trying to determine the average life span of an affair. Her husband was currently cheating with a coworker. The wife had recently found out about this and demanded that it immediately stop. The husband insisted that he was sorry and still loved his wife. However, he just could not seem willing to let the other woman go. He told his wife that he just felt the need to see where the whole thing lead before he made any lasting decisions.
Needless to say, this was not what the wife wanted to hear. But in her heart, she felt that once the husband finally ended the affair, they could begin working on their marriage and picking up the pieces. She was very clear on the fact that she wasn’t ready to let her marriage (or her husband) go.
She asked me in part “how long can you expect the average extramarital affair to last. I know the answer varies because my aunt’s husband had the same mistress for over 20 years and my best friend’s husband had a one night stand. But, what is the average? Do affairs generally end quickly?”
The person asking this question was right. The amount of time that an affair goes on can certainly vary based on many factors like how long before someone else finds out, how the relationship is progressing, and how each person really feels about the other. However, I was able to find some information on the average life span of an affair, which I will discuss in the following article.
Unfortunately, Statistics Show That Many Affairs Last For Quite A Long Time: I know that this wife was hoping that I was going to tell her that the average affair lasts for less than a month. This is possible, of course, but here’s what the statistics that I found in several places show. Around 50 percent of affairs last for longer than a month but less than a year. I realize this is not all that specific. With this statistic, you could be looking at anywhere from 5 weeks to almost 12 months and anywhere in between. So what this really tells you is that it’s not uncommon for an affair to last for months.
Jumping to the next applicable statistics I could find, my research indicates that 40 percent of affairs last two or more years. So where does the last ten percent come from? Well, ten percent last a day or less (these are the one night stands.) And the last ten percent last more than a day but less than a month.
As you can likely see, these numbers indicate a wide range of very short and long term relationships. But it’s clear that a good number of affairs can last several months or even years. And I think the time frame (at least in part) depends on the factors like how long it takes before the affair is caught and monitored. Because if the relationship has a chance to take hold, it can be harder for the spouse who is being cheated on to get a handle on it before the cheating spouse believes that they have real feelings for are “in love with” the other person.
Things To Think About When You Want Your Spouse To End The Affair Quickly. (Walking The Line Between Pushing Your Spouse Toward The Other Person And Pulling Them Away:) This wife had an advantage even if she did not realize it. She had learned about her husband’s affair shortly after it began to happen. The affair had been going on for about three weeks. Now, the husband believed he could have something “real” and lasting with this other woman. He was in that infatuation stage where he thought that the other woman had something special.
But, the wife did still have a presence in her husband’s life. His reaction and his actions seemed to indicate that he was still somewhat invested in the marriage. The wife’s next step was going to be to try to make the husband end the affair without pushing so hard that he pulled away from her instead.
The thing is, if the other person is presented as something that is off limits or forbidden, it is sometimes human nature to want the forbidden thing that much more. And frankly, the husband saw this person at work on a daily basis. That was another issue to consider.
My suggestion for her was to place herself in the best position possible. As hard as it would be, I suggested telling him that it was very obvious he had some struggles that he needed to work out, but that she couldn’t interact with him romantically if he was with someone else either emotionally or physically. She could still stress that she was open to working things out once he made a decision. In this way, she wasn’t alienating herself from him or allowing him to paint her in a negative light (which would only push him more toward the other woman.)
Suggested Discussion: Of course, every one should take into account their own situation and the personality of their spouse. But in this situation, I would suggest saying something like “It goes without saying that in order for our marriage to work, you need to end this affair and work with me on our marriage. It seems as if you are not prepared to do that right now. It probably wouldn’t help for me to give you an ultimatum or point out how wrong I feel you truly are. But, when you come to a decision, I’m willing to talk about this. Until then, I have to place the focus on myself and what I need.”
I know that this is a tough call and I know that some will point out the risk in this strategy. However, time and time again, I’ve seen wives give ultimatums or demand that he end the affair and what sometimes happens is that he only wants the other woman more as the result or he tells the wife he has ended the affair and then lies because he really hasn’t.
It usually works out better when the husband decides to end the affair on his own. And I believe the above discussion or something similar gives you the best chance of this happening.