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What happens when one partner discovers that the other has been cheating on him or herNULL Should an extra-martial affair be forgiven, ignored, or simply not toleratedNULL What is it that drives a married person into the arms of someone elseNULL Whos at faultNULL The straying partner, the spouse or the other woman or manNULL

An affair causes immense pain to everyone involved. It is painful for the betrayed spouse, for the children, and for the parents and extended family of the couple involved. Friends get hurt too as they choose sides and there is invariably a split within the circle. There is a societal outrage within the sphere of the couples life. And what few people realise is that the straying partner and his or her lover also suffer a tremendous amount of pain. So knowing that an extra-marital affair is one of the messiest situations, why do people get into it in the first placeNULL

Regular interaction
Often, married people have affairs with someone they interact with often, either at the workplace or socially, which is why one often hears of men or women having affairs with their spouse's best friends. An affair of this nature causes the greatest amount of marital pain the betrayed spouse will ever possibly experience and is definitely the unkindest cut of all.

When partners start taking each other for granted and conversation centres around mundane matters, one partner may suddenly come across someone he or she really connects with. The married partner may resist the attraction at first, but if circumstances cause them to meet regularly, he or she may cave in and so begins the illicit liaison. Thus, surprisingly, sex is not the main reason for most extra-marital affairs. While sex may be the reason that leads to a few acts of infidelity with no emotional strings attached, an affair is usually caused by a desire to communicate with a particular person, coupled with a strong sense of affection for the person. And sex with such a person naturally turns out to be great.

Of course, an affair can also start out as a one-night stand which just never ended when it should. This happens when the sexual life of the married couple is not satisfactory, either because they hardly ever have sex anymore, or because one partner has ceased to be attractive to the other partner. (Old age, weight gain)

So begins the cycle of lying and guilt. This naturally causes an emotional distance between the married couple, leading to a deepening of the affair, ultimately culminating in either the end of the affair, or of the marriage. If the affair ends, how easy would it be to pick up the broken pieces and start againNULL Someone once said it's impossible to start over, but one can start from now, and make a new ending.

So how do you get over the hurt caused by the cheating of your partnerNULL Will the betrayed spouse ever be able to trust his or her partner againNULL Though it is possible to forgive, it may not be easy to forget, and the cracks in the relationship will always remain. So it's best to try and prevent an affair from occurring. While the unfaithful partner is definitely to blame for breaking his wedding vows, there needs to be more to hold a marriage together than just living together.

Heres what you can do to make sure your partner doesn't stray.

Don't take each other for granted. Do little things for each other, and show your appreciation.

Set time aside to just talk to each other and spend time together. Make it a ritual, and fix a time if necessary. Don't talk about the kids most of your conversation centres around your children anyway. And don't talk about household responsibilities. Talk about problems at work, gossip about your friends and relatives, discuss match-making possibilities.

Have sex regularly. Often, the sex life of couples dwindles. Don't let this happen to you. Set aside a time for sex, and stick to it.

Keep yourself attractive. Don't let your looks go to seed just because you're married and your partner is stuck with you. It will come as a rude shock when you discover that hes/shes not that stuck, after all.

Don't keep silent. If you ever discover that your partner has cheated on you even if it's just a one-night stand, don't keep mum about it. Confront your partner and make sure he or she knows in no uncertain terms that you will not tolerate such behaviour if it ever happens again. Do NOT adopt a wait and watch attitude.

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