Cheating is a complicated business. Sometimes, the relationship is falling apart or one person isn’t getting their needs met, but other times, it’s not always easy to get to the bottom of what makes someone cheat. And plenty of the time, someone who cheats is looking for an emotional connection as much as they are a physical one.
“Cheating allows [someone] to escape,” Joshua Klapow, PhD, clinical psychologist and host of The Kurre and Klapow Show, tells Bustle. “They can be with a person where problems and conflicts don’t exist, where they get respite, support, and validation.” And yet, affairs aren’t always that simple.
In fact, it looks like a lot of people who have cheated wish that their affairs had gone a little differently. Ashley Madison, the extra-marital affairs website, recently shared a survey of 1,369 members with Bustle that discovered 53 percent of cheaters wished they had approached their affairs a differently. Although, interestingly, the survey doesn’t look at how many people (if any) wished they hadn’t had one at all.
What do Ashley Madison members wish that they had done differently? Well, a lot of the regrets, perhaps unsurprisingly, revolved around wishing they had put a lot more thought into their infidelity before they just jumped right in. Here’s what the survey found.
1. They Wished They Spent More Time Seeking Out The Right Affair Partner: 22%
It’s easy to see why you’d want to make sure it was with the right person. Not just someone who’s discreet, but someone who is going to give you whatever it is that you think you’re really looking for. Over a fifth of respondents — 22 percent — said they wish they had put some more time in at this stage.
2. They Wished They’d Been More Explicit And Direct About What They’re Looking For In An Affair: 13%
Affairs are still relationships, which means you have to navigate your dynamic with this other person. Thirteen percent of those who responded said that they wished they’d spent a little more time being transparent about what they wanted. Some people might be looking for something more consistent and emotional, while others may want a no-strings attached fling, so you need to lay the groundwork and boundaries.
3. They Wished They Had Been More Discreet With Communication: 13%
This seems like a no-brainer, but 13 percent of users said they wish they’d been more discreet with how they communicated with their affair partner or partners. Surely that’s the number one rule of having an affair?
4. They Wouldn’t Have Disclosed The Infidelity To Anyone: 10%
Looks like somebody got burned. Ten percent of respondents said they wish they hadn’t told anyone about their affair. Once you tell one person, it’s easy to see how that could spiral out of control.
5. They Would Increase The Frequency They Saw Their Affair Partners: 8%
Not all of the regrets revolved around being more careful or discreet — eight percent of those surveyed said they wish they had spent more time with their affair partner or partners. I guess if you’re going to go for it, you might as well really go for it.
There are so many different reasons people have an affair — but it’s important to remember that, even once you start having one, the affair itself can be pretty complicated, too. Not just in terms of hiding it from a partner, but also in negotiating a separate relationship with your affair partner. It looks like even affairs require work.
Originally posted on Bustle