10 Reasons Why People Have Extramarital Affairs in India

Last updated 27 Sep 2019 . 1 min read

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What is Adultery Law?

Very recently, The Indian Supreme Court decided to scrap the Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code that stated: "Whoever has sexual intercourse with a person who is and whom he knows or has reason to believe to be the wife of another man, without the consent or connivance of that man, such sexual intercourse not amounting to the offense of rape, is guilty of the offense of adultery.”

The same section also permitted up to 5 years of imprisonment in case of this offense. However, it was considered to be archaic and as a result, adultery has been decriminalized in India.

While cheating on your partner in a marriage is no longer a criminal act in the country, it doesn’t become any less harmful to a marriage. The psychological impact of adultery is far stronger than the legal context can even begin to cover.

When one partner cheats on another in a relationship or a marriage, the aftermath can often be very toxic. A lot of couples have no choice but to part ways as they cannot overcome the trauma this brings. Even if couples choose to stay together, the cheating becomes like a crack in the glass - the line of discord always remains.

Studies state that men are less likely to be forgiving when the woman is the one who has cheated. This is mostly because their emotional quotient is very connected with their ego and takes a hit when met with a cheating partner. Women tend to be more ‘practical' when confronted with a cheating partner. They often swallow the rage because they go into survival mode.

Despite knowing well how disastrous the consequences can be on relationships, what exactly drives people to cheat? Here are the top 10 reasons:

#1. Regret over an early marriage

People who got married in their early 20s feel that they didn’t 'play the field’ enough in their youth. They regret getting married too soon and missing out on fun and dating. This especially happens around the mid to late 30s when family responsibilities are very high and marital life is relatively dull. They are driven to indulge in an extramarital affair because they want to spice up their lives again. They want to make up for the lost time from their 20s.

#2. Dissatisfied in the marriage

As unfortunate as it is, in India love isn’t the only reason or even the top reason for marriage. Many people agree to get married to someone due to pressure from families and relatives. Or sometimes, they get married without knowing the other person well. This can be a gamble. A lot of couples find a few years into the marriage that they’re not right for each other. They then start to stray and look for the love that isn’t found their marriage, outside it. The minute they find someone who is more attractive to them than their spouse, it can lead to infidelity.

#3. Reigniting an old flame

With social media penetrating into every single aspect of our life, relationships are no different. Social networks make it very easy to stay connected with and updated on the lives of people in our past. When an ex comes back into our lives, especially when we are not happy in our current, it’s very human to feel attracted to them once again. Many people feel tempted to rekindle the old romance and seek emotional intimacy with old flames. They can be drawn to cheat on their spouse in this way.

#4. Becoming parents

Parenthood changes the entire dynamic of a husband and wife relationship. You aren’t just each other’s whole universe anymore. The baby takes center stage in both of your lives. Priorities change as well as the time you can give to each other reduces. Women have a tendency to give their all to become good mothers. Especially then, men begin to feel alienated and unimportant in their own homes. This feeling of lack can make them want to look for importance and pleasure elsewhere.

#5. Lack of spice

Once the honeymoon period is over in any relationship, the mundane sets in. While many couples manage to make the mundane magical, to some, it feels like being stuck in a rut. Life isn’t bad. It is simply predictable. An affair, on the other hand, seems more charged, exciting and glamorous to such individuals. Despite being aware of how terrible the consequences can be on their home, the thrill seems worth the risk to them. They can cheat on their partners trying to find that missing spice.

#6. Physical dissatisfaction

Possibly the most common reason why people cheat. Like every other kind of compatibility, physical compatibility is extremely crucial to any marriage. A lot of couples find after marriage that they’re not on the same page in terms of sex and intimacy. This definitely does not mean that anyone should be pressurized to do something they aren’t comfortable with. But there has to be an open discussion and common understanding. Otherwise, in the long run, it begins to take a toll on the health of the marriage and people find themselves looking for other partners who are more in sync with what they want.

#7. Emotional dissatisfaction

Do you believe in grand gestures while he prefers the little things? Everyone speaks a different love language. That is to say that even when two people love each other very much, the way they express it can be very different. What is sad is that if someone doesn’t express love the way we do, we think it does not exist. Partners who are more expressive feel the other is too cold and emotionally distant. The ones who are quieter might find the former overbearing. This emotional incompatibility drives a wedge between partners.

#8. Intellectual dissatisfaction

Differences in education, drastically different professions or no common interests causes couples to feel like they have nothing to talk about. They cannot relate to each other anymore. Because of the lack of common hobbies, they also don’t spend a lot of time together anymore. As a result, they are tempted to seek someone else who shares their world view. Someone who they have a lot in common with and can stimulate their intellect. Unfortunately, in most cases, this intellectual exchange ends up being physical as well. This is the reason why most adultery often begins in the workplace.

#9. Career gains

Possibly the most unfortunate reason in this list. This is the second most common reason for workplace infidelity. People feel that flirting and having physical intimacy with their superiors can help them get ahead in their career and achieve professional goals. The infamous ‘casting couch’ of Bollywood is a sad reality. What’s worse is that it exists in all industries, not just Bollywood. For the sake of their career gains, people indulge in extramarital affairs that can devastate the entire family.

#10. Midlife crisis

When people reach their late 40s or early 50s, they feel disappointed that their best days are behind them. They are no longer the good looking, charming individuals that they used to be. They feel taken for granted by their families. At such a time, getting the attention of someone younger can feel very validating. They tend to love the attention because it reaffirms their self-worth. They feel like they still have it. It’s a huge ego boost. Dating a younger person adds thrill to their otherwise monotonous lives and then leads to an affair. Men especially are driven towards younger and more beautiful women. Such instances of cheating are very very common.

No matter what the reason, cheating on one’s partner is never okay. Even if things are not going too well at the moment, you owe a person you love an honest conversation.

If you have experienced being cheated on by your partner, this is also to remind you that it isn’t your fault. Often people go into self-doubt and feel like something must be wrong with them. They drove away their partner and caused them to cheat. That isn’t true. It takes two hands to clap, it is never one person’s fault.

So if this has happened to you, tell yourself you’re amazing anyway. This is not your fault. And here’s a hug from me. You’ll come out of this stronger. I promise.

Palak Kapadia

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