The world is falling apart and nothing matters. We’re all going to die alone. Seize the day as if it were your last! When you look back on your life, you’ll regret the things you didn’t do more than the ones you did.
It feels good to give in to lust. It’s natural. You are but a random blip in the universe, so why not live according to what brings you pleasure?
These are just a handful of lines you might conjure up as possible rationalizations for why you should take part in an illicit affair. Or maybe they’re the lines someone will use to try to lure you into one. Some of them are, to be fair, pretty solid reasons.
But there’s always the other side to consider. Here are four things you should consider if you’re thinking about cheating, according to experts and people who have personal experience with infidelity.
1. You may turn into a miserable liar.
Lying is, of course, a necessary part of cheating, which is itself a sort of lie. But one lie begets more lies, and for many people, this web o’ lies can turn into a very troubling situation—and not just for your conscience.
According to the findings of Anita Kelly, PhD, a psychologist at the University of Notre Dame,
“Towards the later part of the evening, when we were about to leave, he told me ‘I f***ing hate what you did to our family. I hate hearing mom cry every night because of you, she thinks I don’t hear her, but I do. You completely destroyed our family and I don’t think I can ever forgive you for that.’ He left and has ignored all of my calls and texts since.”
4. You’ll learn the power and disappointment of illusions.
According to GoodTherapy.org, up to 20 percent of adults in the United States will participate in an extramarital affair at some point in their lives.
Although some may do this because they’re deeply dissatisfied and in the wrong relationship, others are cheating for different reasons—from low self-esteem to intimacy problems to depression—none of which will be remedied by an affair.
When you’re trying to escape from yourself, any form of stimulation can be intoxicating enough for temporary relief, and cheating is no different.
Because the object of desire in an affair is a human being and not a substance, an affair may even seem like a more substantial and less nefarious pursuit: the pursuit of true love!
Ultimately, however, if you’re using a lover as a stepping stone in a search for the happiness that can only be found within, that person is just a fix. And like any other fix, an affair can leave you feeling empty, exhausted, and still searching for a sustainable solution.