13 Simple Things That Can Trigger An Affair

Some of the trigger points are pretty surprising.

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As both a sex writer and a relationship writer, I’ve read a lot of studies about affairs. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it’s a near-obsession of mine.

You see, most philanderers — particularly those who cheat on their spouses after years of being loyal via a long-term affair — claim that they never really would have imagined themselves to be cheaters.

So, being the analytical person I try to be, I have to ask why people cheat. From what I’ve seen, it’s a mixture of things.


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First, they need an affair partner who is interested in being with them. Second, most of the long-term affairs done by people who never would have seen themselves cheating tend to start after a specific event. Third, it’s important to realize that affairs also are an act of selfishness.

Affairs are not excusable, regardless of why they were started. Frankly, my best advice is to dump the cheater immediately. But dumping them alone doesn’t make people feel that good right when they find out they were betrayed. Most of us end up wondering “Why?”


There’s often a specific tipping point that makes people decide that they should throw out their partner’s trust and get into an affair. Ever wonder what is that specific spark?

Here are the most obvious culprits of why people cheat — and some that might surprise you.

1. They turned a "9" age.

The ages 29, 39, 49 tend to mark the end of a decade, and in many peoples’ eyes, marks the end of the era. Most people are terrified of getting older, and when they hit a "9" age, it really sinks in.

Statistically, this is one of the most common times people start to cheat; the reason being because they want to know they still got it.

2. You are about to have a major relationship milestone with them.

A lot of affairs get triggered by major life milestones, such as an engagement, the birth of a child, or marriage.


The reason why is because men and women both tend to want that “final hurrah” of freedom before they take the plunge.

3. They feel ashamed about themselves or have deep-seated insecurities, and it came to a head.

Shame is a surprising motivator for a lot of people. Simply put, if they feel ashamed of the way they look, insecure about their position in the world, or if they feel ashamed because of their partner’s actions, they often will try to find a way to retaliate or compensate for that shame.

In some cases, this may include cheating, emotional abuse, or other kinds of behavior.

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4. It’s Mother’s Day.

Wait, what? Yep, it’s true. Most married women who stray tend to do so because they feel unappreciated and it’s often a particularly bad Mother’s Day or one too many ignored anniversaries that makes then decide to stray.

How do we know this? Ashley Madison signups spike during this day, and the company itself said so.

5. They are stuck, for long periods of time, with someone who’s interested in them.

There’s a scientific reason why people cheat with their “work spouses.” It’s called the Proximity Effect, and it means that people naturally find those who they see regularly as more attractive than total strangers.

That being said, it’s still his fault if he has an affair, and it’s not healthy to monopolize his time.


6. It’s a "revenge affair."

A lot of people who may have felt slighted by their partners will never admit that they feel hurt by them and will often resort to passive-aggressive behavior as a way to hurt their partner on the down-low.

This is most commonly done by women who caught their spouses having an affair, but it can happen with all genders.

7. They developed an addiction to porn.

Porn addiction is a real thing and can have fairly devastating effects on a relationship.

It also happens to escalate into sex addiction — specifically, an addiction to hiring escorts.

8. Most of their friends started to have affairs.

It’s true. The habit of having an affair is contagious.


Studies showed that men who have friends that are cheating on their wives are far more likely to cheat, too. The reason why is because these kinds of friends tend to reduce the stigma of cheating.

9. They got a high-paying job.

Studies show that people who tend to earn very high salaries are more likely to end up cheating on their partners.

Why? Because they feel that they “deserve” to have a side piece for providing for their primary partner.

RELATED: The Question Your Partner Might Ask You Right Before He Cheats

10. They felt alone in the relationship.

The majority of women (and a large portion of men) who admitted to cheating did so because they felt that their partner no longer cared about their feelings or because the relationship they were in stopped being rewarding.


Common reasons that trigger affairs that fall into this category include an unsatisfying sexual relationship, being stuck in a rut, and being emotionally abused by their primary partner.

11. They fell out of love with their primary partner or lost attraction to them.

It happens, and it can happen to the best of people. Sometimes, the spark dies, and for one reason or another it can’t be resuscitated.

There are ways to avoid this, but by the time it happens, the point is often moot.


12. They suddenly lost a lot of weight.

If your partner has been getting a lot more fit, watch out. Losing a significant amount of weight has been linked to a spike in having affairs. This is because people who have just started to lose weight often find themselves with more attention from the opposite sex.

If they aren’t used to it, they may end up having an affair simply because of the thrill of having not one, but two people show interest in them.

13. It’s an “abandon ship” affair.

With a lot of people, the potential of being single is just not doable.

So, when some people want to end a relationship, they start scouting for a new partner. The affair starts, and when it’s discovered, they abandon ship.


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Ossiana Tepfenhart is a writer based out of Red Bank, New Jersey whose work has been featured in Yahoo, BRIDES, Your Daily Dish, Newtheory Magazine, and others. Follow her on Twitter for more.