The Predictable Stages Every Marriage Experiences Before A Cheating Affair

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When an affair happens, it can ruin a marriage in just an instance. The cheater may be filled with regret while their partner is resentful and confused over how this could have happened. After all, how could two people who vowed to love each other for better or for worse, truly believing those words at the moment, suddenly feel nothing but resentment over those same words all of the sudden?

Well, it turns out that an affair in a marriage is more predictable than we thought. After all, predicting it has the power to stop. Here’s what research reveals about why a spouse cheats in order to understand and maybe even stop it.

For more great relationship advice and tips on how to attain the kind of love you deserve, watch this video from expert, Amy North: Click Here To Watch The Full Video.

Why Affairs Happen

Well, it turns out that affairs aren’t just the product of the heat of the moment. They’re actually the last step of the subtle signs of falling out of a marriage. It’s a process that is predictable and can be broken up into 7 steps. It starts with subtle signs but sparks an internal battle that finally leads to the affair.

black and white photo of woman motioning a secret
Kristina Flour / Pexels
Kristina Flour / Pexels

According to researcher John Gottman, Ph.D., and author of The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, the reason affairs happen is according to a sequence known as Gottman-Rusbult-Glass Cascade. Let’s break it down.

Turning Away Bids

Gottman found that affairs in marriages aren’t random. What happens first is that partners make verbal and nonverbal requests for attention and support. He calls these “bids.” This means that a partner might constantly put in the effort to try to have date nights, ask for help with chores or look for affection but is denied.

man and woman sit on bed upset away from each other
Alex Green / Unsplash
Alex Green / Unsplash

Gottman believes that a happy marriage requires for these bids to be answered positively. However, if that key ingredient is missing and the partner is turned away either because of tiredness, laziness, lack of affection or effort, etc, the relationship starts to crumble.

The “Negative Absorbing State.”

The more that a partner feels rejected, neglected, or ignored, the more they will grow resentful. The other person who is denying their bids may not even realize that they’re doing it. They might truly be too tired, busy at work or overwhelmed with life. However, the cause doesn’t matter as much as the effect.

man sits by the water brushing his hair back with his hands
Nathan Cowley / Pexels
Nathan Cowley / Pexels

When the bidding partner is turned away, they will feel hurt, sad, angry, and resentful. They start absorbing these feelings and internalize a negative state. They may however keep their feelings bottled in in fear of starting an argument or being further rejected.

Looking For Greener Grass

The longer the bidding partner is in this negative state, the more their mind starts to wander. They start to fantasize about what life would be like if their spouse finally caved to their bids for attention. Soon enough they lose hope in their partner and start to wonder if the grass might be greener outside of their relationship.

dult-attractive-beautiful-brunette
Pixabay / Pexels
Pixabay / Pexels

All of a sudden the person they fell in love with loses their magic. Keep in mind, however, that at this stage it’s still possible to backtrack and save the marriage. All the bidding partner needs is hope by having their bids answered.

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Trust Goes Out The Window

This stage can take years. It’s a rollercoaster of emotion. The bidding partner doesn’t actually want to give up on their marriage. They keep placing bids, hoping for a sign that it could still be salvaged. They might overcompensate by asking for more, setting higher standards, or going full out themselves with gifts and affection.

hoto-of-people-reaching-each-other-s-hands
Anna Shvets / Pexels
Anna Shvets / Pexels

When their bids still don’t give them the hope and results they need to believe in the relationship, they start to feel like they can’t trust their spouse to care about meeting their needs. They feel neglected and resentful. They feel like their vows have already been broken and they stop trusting that the relationship can survive. They no longer even trust their partner.

Trash Talk

These feelings can be overwhelming. After all, no one wants to see their relationship fail. However, the longer these feelings persist, the more helpless and hopeless the bidding partner feels. They feel as though they can’t single-handedly save their relationship if their partner won’t put in equal effort.

positive-asian-women-chatting-and-having-coffee-in-outdoor-cafe
Sam Lion / Pexels
Sam Lion / Pexels

When action stops working, the bidding partner feels an overwhelming need to vent. Then the bidding spouse begins to talk negatively about the ignoring spouse to anyone who will listen. There is an underlying hope that maybe someone will either have a magical solution or encourage their creeping desire to leave the relationship altogether.

Daydreaming

Once enough time has gone by, the cheating partner stops relying on the spouse to get their needs met. All trust and hope are out the window. They’re replaced with an idealized version of what life could look like if they had a better relationship.

woman with eyes closed and hair blowing
Eli Defaria / Unsplash
Eli Defaria / Unsplash

Their mind shifts from thinking about the good in the relationship to thinking about the bad. They start believing that they would be better off apart and put the relationship down in their mind. They start to crave alternative ways of getting their needs met. Usually, they’re still unable to fully walk out of the relationship at this point for one reason or another.

Crossing The Boundary: The Ultimate Betrayal?

The last step of this process is the most painful. At this point the bidding partner has written off the possibility of their spouse would ever meet their needs. They may be grieving the relationship and feeling vulnerable.

man and woman with engagement ring kiss
Katie Salerno / Pexels
Katie Salerno / Pexels

A third party will notice and make a move. The bidding partner will find themselves in a weak moment where temptation is presented to them. Then eventually a boundary will be crossed. This is when the affair begins. it could just be one encounter or one can justify more, but the damage is the same.

Love Is Hard

Even with this breakdown, affairs can’t be understood in simple terms. They come with complicated feelings on both ends. These steps don’t justify the eventual cheating but may give some clarity about why it happens so that blame isn’t placed in the wrong places.

man and woman facing lake holding each other
Andre Furtado / Pexels
Andre Furtado / Pexels

It’s also an opportunity to save the relationship. The key is to remain attuned to each other’s needs and to never get too comfortable that you take each other for granted and stop putting in the effort.

In any relationship, always look at how you feel and ask yourself: does this person make you love yourself more? Do you want to grow old with them?

Love is more than just kisses and butterflies, it’s much more than that. If you want to know more on what your birth chart reveals about how you love and what you need out of a partner, check out this personalized report based on date of birth.

For more great relationship advice and tips on how to attain the kind of love you deserve, watch this video from expert, Amy North: Click Here To Watch The Full Video.

Aria Misty

Aria Misty is a recent university grad. She did her undergrad in media, information & technoculture with a Master in Journalism & Communications in 2018.

Aria has a particular interest in all things astrology and spirituality. This is driven by her desire to create healing. In fact, Aria went back to school for A master’s in counseling p[…]