As an institution, marriage is meant to bind partners for life. It often does. At the same time, for multiple reasons, people tend to stray from their spouse. Not always is this a conscious decision. It would be out of sheer boredom that in a marriage. It could be the monotony and the seven-year itch as they say, coming into play. Unwittingly, a partner could stray into an extra-marital affair. Very often, the other person could also be married and the underlying assumption on both sides is that they would be mature enough to handle the situation. Not infrequently, we see breakdown of both marriages. We also see that people moving on either to another relationship or head back with full force into their marriage to work on it. In the latter case, spouses tend to realise what they had not been investing into the relationship. This could be in terms of time, feelings or even money.

The dimension which an extra-marital affair brings into a marriage is secretiveness. This in turn, could lead to guilty. What keeps the relationship going, however, could be chemistry and the extra-fizz it brings into one's life which is missing in marriage. Sex comes into play and takes the relationship into uncharted territories. In the process, an extra-marital affair can also make people more vulnerable. how does it help a marriage? It rarely ever does, but on occasion it could help someone discover a side to himself or herself which had been unexplored. It also makes the distinction between love and sex clearer. Almost always, it is more difficult on the woman who may find her emotional needs unfulfilled in both situations at home and with her secret partner.

The shelf life of extra-marital affairs tends to be short, but they can bring a partner back into the marriage with renewed vigour once what is known as the honeymoon phase is over. At this point, one begins to see the more positive facets of one's own spouse. In the final analysis, it is a discovery of the self even in an extra-marital affair.\

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