Why Do People Seek Love Outside Marriage

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

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Extramarital affairs are nothing new in human society. Despite all the social disapproval and taboos, one out of every seven marriages faces 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 – Phenylethylamine (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 make 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 extramarital affairs begin when one of the spouses neglects his or her physical appearance and hygiene or becomes out of shape, may be due to the 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 the 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 shortcuts. 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 at Kindle Store.





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  • author's avatar

    By: Somali K Chakrabarti

    Hi there! Welcome to Scribble and Scrawl! Here, I delve into themes related to positive lifestyle – from making smart-living choices, savvy financial decisions to nurturing the mind, body and soul. I share my travel experiences, explore facets of art and culture and highlight inspiring stories. Hope you enjoy reading my posts.

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Somali K Chakrabarti

Hi there! Welcome to Scribble and Scrawl! Here, I delve into themes related to positive lifestyle - from making smart-living choices, savvy financial decisions to nurturing the mind, body and soul. I share my travel experiences, explore facets of art and culture and highlight inspiring stories. Hope you enjoy reading my posts.

  • 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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