Why Do People Seek Love Outside Marriage

By Somali K Chakrabarti


Going a little offbeat from the usual kind of posts on this blog on the occasion of Valentine’s Day, when the idea of Love pervades the atmosphere and fills up most of the heart space, I present here a topic, the occurrence of which may not be as infrequent as we may think/want it to be.

This guest post is written by Sarbani Chowdhury, a Clinical Psychologist with the Indian Air Force. Sarbani draws from her experience of counselling couples who have been involved in relationships outside their marriage, and shares her observation on why people sometimes seek love outside their marriage.

Read on what Sarbani has to say…


Love Outside Marriage

Image Source

Extramarital affairs are nothing new in human society. Despite all the social disapproval and taboos, one out of every seven marriages face this. As a therapist, I have come across a large percentage of my clients, who are involved in extramarital affairs. It urged me to explore how affairs get started, what goes on in married people’s lives that lead them to have an affair. Clients, both from civil corporate society and military organisations were interviewed.

Surprisingly, those who are or have been in affairs expressed that it helped them to know their self-worth better and gave them an increased sense of self–esteem and confidence because of the validation the person received from his/her lover. It brought out many hidden qualities in them which were never expressed in their relationship with their spouse. They re-experienced the excitement and stimulation in their lives, which had gradually vanished from their marriage.


How does marital happiness or satisfaction change over time?

Where does the feeling of euphoria disappear which all of us experience during initial years of our courtship or marriage? Clinically, when in love, our brains are flooded with a chemical – Phenyl ethylamine (PEA), which lasts from six months to two years of the relationship. This produces the emotional connect. Marriage loses its freshness overtime and couples stop making that extra effort of being loving and caring and making those small gestures which makes the other person feel special. It is the responsibility of both the partners in a marriage to keep the essence of romance alive and let the other person know their special place in their partner’s life.

It is mandatory to keep doing something out of the ordinary to make the relationship lively and interesting.


Looks do matter even after you are married!

Remember, during courtship period how one makes a special effort to look his/her best? Many cases of extra marital affairs begin when one of the spouses neglects his or her physical appearance and hygiene or becomes out of shape, may be due to pressure of work in office, coupled with running a household and raising children.


Keep the spark alive

60% of couples agreed that they invested very little time and creativity to rekindle the romance with their spouses. Loneliness was prevalent in their marriages even when they were living under the same roof. Their marriage was devoid of any emotional connection. A great marriage is not something that just happens, it is something that has to be created. It was found that married couples did not experience enough communication or affection in their lives and had fallen into the destructive communication patterns, blaming the partner and feeling frustrated. Feeling distant and alienated from each other, they looked for support and affection elsewhere.


Being a friend to your spouse is the best gift

When one of the spouses goes through some kind of crisis, may be at work or in personal life, and he/she gets the required warmth, affection, empathy from a colleague or a neighbour in the backdrop of a busy or disinterested spouse, it often fuels a friendship which eventually leads to an affair.

Power of TouchImage Source

The power of touch

80% of the couples agreed to have forgotten that a simple touch has great power. A simple hug, holding hands while talking, a kiss gives a boost to the bonding chemical in the brain.


The attitude of gratitude

It is very common for spouses to take each other for granted. It gets to the point where people peripheral to marriage seem more concerned and ironically they are generously appreciated.


Mind your manners

Things can go awry between married couples. Some years after marriage they start taking each other for granted and don’t hesitate in saying hurtful things without gauging the pain it inflicts on the partner. Too often, couples show more respect to a stranger than to their partner. In marriages that are dominated by anger of either spouse, the first thing that vanishes is intimacy, for most of the energies of the spouse at the receiving end of the anger outbursts get consumed in what is known as ‘avoidance behaviour’.


Too perfect to be sorry

The simple word “SORRY” can heal many wounds if correctly timed. But what is it that keeps us from apologising? A big ego, keeping “score”, the fear of looking weak, fear of giving in. Yes, we all have these feelings, but why let self-inflicted feelings keep us from doing the right thing and spoil the relationship? Not only it is important to say I am sorry but it’s important to say it from the heart. A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers!


Any reason is a good reason and any time is the best time to say “I Love You”

When was the last time you said, “I Love You” to your spouse? Why are these three magical words extensively used only during courtship and affairs, but not after marriage? To love someone is wonderful and to tell them that, is amongst the greatest gifts one can give. People think love is an emotion but in reality it is an activity which is why it is very important to say “I Love You” to the people you care about.

In the age of high-speed internet, WhatsApp and crash diets, it’s quite common for people to want to “microwave” their marriage to renewal.

Does it really work?

When it comes to relationships, there are no short cuts. It takes time. Ironically, the search for a quick answer to your marital situation delays the process you will eventually have to go through.

When it comes to your marriage, slow is fast and fast is slow. In other words, if you try to go too fast and skip-over the necessary steps, you’ll slow down the whole process. But if you go slow and rebuild your marriage one step at a time…that’s the fastest way!



What do you think the reasons could be?


** Lei: A wreath for your soul  is a collection of short poems that combine elements of nature, philosophy, culture, science and spirituality. Take a peek here on Kindle Store.





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  • Wonderfully written, kudos to Sarbani… every point here makes sense and is of absolute importance if one really wants to enjoy a happy and healthy married life. In cases of married couples partners often take each other for granted, that is really harmful and can tarnish the relationship. A little touch, a little ‘show-off’ expressing the love, can freshen up the relationship… 🙂 Loved the post…

  • Great article and so true! Especially the part about saying I love you. Five years in and my fiance and I still say I love you every day several times a day. He is first and foremost my best friend and we have both helped each other through some very difficult times….I feel because we have stuck out the difficult stuff….knowing who we are at our core and never wavering from that, that our relationship seems to grow more and more each day instead of going stale. It’s not like things are always perfect but when things get tough we turn to each other instead of away. Communication is key and I feel many relationships fail due to a lack of it. I can see how it would be tempting to think the grass is always greener on the other side but I feel it’s important to remember why you came together in the first place. Great read! 🙂

  • Aptly put by Sarbani. It is something that needs to be discussed more between couples given the trend of breaking relationships. Even is there is no ‘other’ interest, marriages start falling off. There is a need to be a ‘friend’ to your partner, to reach out to him/her and to not take the better half for granted.

    • Thank you Sunaina. There could be many reasons for marriages falling off – like lack of connect, lack of common interests, mismatch of expectations etc..so yes friendly, open and non judgmental communication certainly helps.

  • What an important post; great timing, too, with Valentine’s Day and all! Wonderful reminders for us married couples — you can never love too much (unless it’s ice cream and cake! Lol). 🍨 🍦 🍰

  • A brilliant post. I especially appreciate the idea that pain is inflicted without thought. It happens between friends too but with intimate partners, it pays to avoid the power struggles and be kind.

  • Keeping the spark alive (physical and even otherwise) after marriage is very important for a healthy relationship.

    Most of the issues are because of different expectations on various matters…better to sort them out using communication (take help if need be).

  • Hi Somali and Sarbani,

    This post makes more sense than the usual Valentine Day reflections, which talk about love.
    There is no doubt that love degenerates as time elapses and the most relevant reason is taking each other for granted. All other factors mentioned by Sarbani too play a significant role. Most of the marriages go through this phase and it is in the middle of such testing times that the couples learn to take care of each other. Some fail to acknowledge it and fall an easy prey to break ups…so common these days!

    Women get busy with household duties and rearing of children, not to mention the zillion other responsibilities they have to take up ( especially in Indian homes) and men remain as demanding as ever, without caring for these realities or lending some helping hand. They start looking for pleasures elsewhere. 🙂

    • Thank you so much Balroop, Yes marriage tends to mellow down with time. As the spark vanishes, some efforts are needed by both to keep it rocking. If either of the partner is too demanding or is repeatedly unconcerned about the needs of the other, the gaps increase.

  • Good research with correct reasons!! Keep the research on to find more corrective measures to save marriages.

  • Absolutely correct. People do not make an effort to keep that magic lamp of love burning .
    Sometimes people stop sharing openly with their partners and when u meet a person whom you can easily open up ,people start becoming more intimate emotionally with them
    I agree with point anytime is a good time to say I love you. Cmon what are they waiting for ??

  • I feel the principles of ideal marriage in relation to changing times are difficult to achieve…although couples spend more time to achieve long lasting consummation of marriage. Although extramarital affair appears a relief, it never substitutes the actual marriage either for male or female. We need to stress the intracouple distractions and correct them. Moreover the one from outside the marriage, has strong urge to utilize the positivity of an institution of marriage, little sacrifice as a matter of social help doesn’t appear to be odd to avoid distress for the seeker.

  • Very aptly put across the complicated relationship in simple success formulae. I have few thing to add or say question back…. May I!
    Can I take any one else for granted? Can’t think of any other than my spouse who understand me and takes care of my weakness. what matters do i feel ok if spouse takes me for granted! As a marriage grows dependancy rises. Thats not granted…. thats sacrifice, compromise over self esteem/needs, selflessness which are essential ingredients of loving a person.
    Most affairs are not want of seeking love they are of selfish natural instinct of physical desire. As she bought out correctly all points to keeping your physical needs emotionally attached. But granted attitude does come in when you love someone. What ia more important you should be ready to accepting taken for granted too.
    The chemical locha talked about have to happen as PEA is always there to create locha. Unfortunately it does not recognize for whom it’s happening.
    So it’s you who has to use Sarbani’s tips and have it happen with spouse.
    Open and Frank talks of flirts with spouse keeps the kindle and spark. It’s both to make the fire alive than to let it relight with affair. Its that right time minutes of act which keeps years of togetherness restraining mind to succumb to physical desires of PEA affect.
    If some one is seeking support, self-esteem, love and affection outside marriage is either fake or really needs it. If latter… its right time to do so as his/her marriage is past. The affair should be adopted and reunite in New marriage bond as marriage is true institution for all we seeking for happy living.
    Good work Doc. Hope am not too rudely true.

  • Wonderful post Somali. Thanks for sharing.

    Today there is very little time that you spend your partner due to the financial pressure one faces. We meet our colleagues and spend more time with them than our partner, which is sad.

    Happy Valentine’s day to you!

  • An excellent post with a message so apt for the occasion. With changing outlooks towards social life and putting the blame on work, money, health or whatever, I strongly believe that valentines day ahead needs to be celebrated not for love but for maintaining love and relationships. Great effort put by sarbani chowdhury and Somali k chakrabartyk in highlighting a topic so relevant in the simplest but interesting manner. After all, causes that shatter a family are also simple. Happy valentines day to all. Celebrate with ur loved ones. A simple gesture can bring in loads of happiness than a red rose or a Facebook post…keep up the good work sarbani ma’am. I know you have immense potential…way to go. ….

  • This is an interesting post, Sabani. Thanks Somali for sharing it. Relationships and the notion of love are complex things. Agree with you on the looks after marriage point. Too often when we are in a relationship we might take things for granted and stop looking after ourselves, or stop looking out for the two of you. It could be work, social pressure or plain laziness.

    I think sometimes we are driven to find love outside of marriage because we are bored, caught up in the routine that we have with our partner. Or as you mentioned in an earlier comment, two people’s interests might change over time. People change over time, and perhaps some of us neglect to be flexible when it comes to our attitudes to our partners.

  • Excellently written and very readable article. I totally agree with your beautifully brought out points Sarbani. You’ve been doing a wonderful job counseling too. We have to keep working on anything that is worth keeping

  • Excellently written and very readable article. I totally agree with your beautifully brought out points Sarbani. We have to keep working on anything that is worth keeping. In this fast paced easy solutions world, a lasting relationship takes too much work, so people are really not willing to put in the effort. That causes disillusionment and things just go downhill. The other thing is to keep all channels of communication open. Thank you for a well timed article

  • Indeed True. Just Amazing this article is. I am sooo blessed to have Sarbani ma’am in life. If people actually give these little things a thought, their lives will be far far better and they wont only survive a relationship under one roof but Live it.

  • Nice Article… Useful information 🙂

  • A useful article.

  • Simplest success formulae, if followed life definitely would be worth to live. Amazingly written by Sarbani Chawdhury.

  • Psychological analysis identified three basic attributes of love as craving for emotional union, obsessive thinking and involuntary will. Dr. Helen Fisher, an anthropologist and leading expert in the topic of love, divides the experience of love into three partly overlapping stages: lust, attraction, and attachment. Lust is the feeling of sexual desire; romantic attraction determines what partners mates find attractive and pursue, conserving time and energy by choosing; and attachment involves sharing a home, parental duties, mutual defense, and in humans involves feelings of safety and security. The three circuitry systems, associated with lust, romance and attachment are testosterone guided circuitry system, dopamine guided circuitry system and oxytocin guided circuitry system respectively. The three worked together as well as independently. It is due to their independency; we have attachments with few, involved in romance with others and at the same time could sleep with some others.

    • Thank you Ravish. Quoting your statement that the three circuitry systems may work together as well as independently, it means that the difference in the wiring of these three systems can lead to mismatch of behavior and expectation.

  • Hi, just dropping a note to say I’m really enjoying your writing and that I’ve nominated you for a Blogger Recognition Award. The details and outline are here: https://advancedresearchtechnology.org/2016/02/15/blogger-recognition-award-2/

  • A great write up Sharbani on the need for touching gestures, saying I love you and the ego that kills relationships. Love matters a lot and enjoyed reading the detailed assessment.

  • Beautifully written, the nuances of marriage and the evolution of post marriage relationship and everybody can relate it, Sharbani has spoken the voice of majority of us who feels it but don’t know how to express it.

    By nature human being love freedom and constantly loved to be loved. But as rightly pointed out nothing remains the same in the journey of marriage, the initial excitement to initial anticipation never remains the same, yes the PEA matters, it is combination of emotion and chemicals that determines the way we behave and the way we engages. It is very important in life to recognize these indications when it starts dwindling and when it starts depleting, and we need to get the course corrected…

    Aptly pointed out love needs efforts and relationships needs commitment and work to make it work, but as we get into our daily challenges of life we get lost in the wilderness of myriad activities and also start taking things for granted, and therein begins the rupture of relations unless and until we take the initiative to amend it. But it is big “EGO” which constantly keeps us at bay, and it happens to most of us when we get the empathy and support from somebody outside and if it is mutual, it grows…

    It is a reality, it is natural, it is not a problem, we need to recognize it and I don’t think there can be any recommendations which is universal in nature, it is contextual, it is upto each individual to take their own decisions and find their own way of handling it.

    Thanks Somali for sharing it and indeed it puts us in lovely reflection…Valentine day is just a pretext, the real text is in this post.

  • Relationships are not complicated but if only rightly handled. Wonderful post with each thing pointed out so clear.
    ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​A Rat’s​ ​Nibble

  • I am positive this is a post that will be read with interest by many people in a relationship who wonder where the romance has gone.

  • Enjoyed reading the post. A well articulated original write-up. everyone who wants to know relationships better. The fun stays in keeping the romance alive in our marraiges..which means unconditional love, sacrifices, caring, trust, respect for each other, deep contentment, happiness being with family etc. Keep up the good job Sharbani and help those millions who seek help from you. God bless.

  • What a deep discussion! I agree with each and every points in your post. It’s unfortunate that we take things and people as granted when we are comfortable with them!

    A very beautiful post!

  • Beautiful article Sarbani! It’s so true that over time the spark in married life dims down and its all about how well we deal with it then. These simple gestures can end up saving relationships and nourishing married life. Totally loved it!

  • kanikasoni1998@gmail.com

    March 20, 2016 at 7:40 pm

    Nice post guys…I totally agree with you that in order to make marriage work we need to work on it, just like we work on other things we love..marriage too needs to be nourished and taken care of as its a living process. Nice to see a post on the subtler but more important aspects of life for a change. Keep up the good work.

  • Totally worth reading…so after stubbing upon this article I realised how much little things matters to humans. All we need is that extra love ,care and support from our spouse. Beautifully written mam honestly. 🙂

  • Totally worth reading… So after stumbling upon this article I realised how much little efforts towards our spouse matters. As humans all we need is that little love, care And support. Beautifully written mam honestly. 🙂

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