20 Tell Tale Signs Your Relationship Is at Risk for an Affair.

How do you know if you’re at risk of having an affair? Are there certain signposts? Do you find yourself considering the possibility? There is no single cause that leads people to infidelity. Each person has his or her own psychology and motivations. What drives one individual into a high risk situation will lead another to seek greater safety. And, relationships are all different, each with their own unique set of expectations and agreements, implicit or explicit. It’s complicated. So how do you know if you’re headed down that slippery slope?

We all know someone who’s had an affair. Statistics show that the impact of social and religious prohibitions on infidelity is minimal. These days it’s so common that research studies report 60% of men and 40% of women cheat at least once during their marriage.

Experts agree that an extramarital affair is not per se an implicit indictment or even a reflection of the quality of a relationship. Many people who admit to infidelity say that they are reasonably content in their relationship. It can happen spontaneously, or when a few drinks and time away loosens inhibitions. Men and women have different motives for extramarital sex. Men are more likely to cheat for sexual reasons, while women seek emotional connection. {Please forgive these generalizations. We understand that these conclusions are research based and may not apply to you.}

While individual differences do exist, there are some precursors which increase the likelihood of infidelity. These precursors create the fertile soil but don’t override free will or good judgment. They indicate a greater vulnerability to temptation. I’ve created a list of these precursors as a kind of check-up for you to gauge how likely you are to have an affair. Read through the list and check any items that resonate with you. Be sure it’s something you feel strongly and not just a random or fleeting feeling or thought.

1. Boredom with relationship (and/or sex with partner).
2. Loneliness or lack of real connection with partner.
3. Overall dissatisfaction with mate.
4. Seeking the thrill of a sexual novelty.
5. Feeling entitled to extramarital sex.
6. Feel neglected by partner.
7. Sexual vanity.
8. Revenge for a partner’s infidelity.
9. Demands of family.
10. Addiction to physical intimacy.
11. Lost sense of fun or excitement.
12. Inability to cope with partner’s preconditions or expectations about sex.
13. Sexual curiosity.
14. Feeling an emotional void in relationship.
15. Desire for new/additional male/female attention.
16. Need to reaffirm desirability.
17. Wanting to recapture feeling of passion or romance.
18. Disappointment that partner has not grown in the same way.
19. Inability to accommodate partner’s needs, interests, or expectations.
20. Lack of motivation or ability to solve problems together.

OK, tally up your results. If you checked three items or less, put yourself on yellow alert. If you checked four or five, you’re on orange alert. More than five―is definitely red alert and you may be a prime candidate for an affair.

Now let’s be clear. Feelings of boredom, dissatisfaction or frustration occur in all relationships. This is to be expected. But when these emotions lead to resentment or restlessness, infidelity frequently occurs. If you’ve checked three or more of these items and you’re not having an affair and you’re feeling intense negative emotions about your partner, you may be moving in that direction.

These intense feelings need to be dealt with so you don’t flirt with infidelity. If you’re invested in your relationship, you can tackle the issues before serious repercussions occur. Here’s a game plan for you. Start by acknowledging the sign posts. Sharpen your awareness of your own needs and wants. For example, perhaps you need more time with your partner, increased sharing of emotional intimacy, and to step-away from hum-drum routine and inject more variety and adventure into your life. Next, share your needs and wants with your partner to give him/her a chance to understand and satisfy them. Most likely you’ll find your partner will step up to the plate {of course, don’t be surprised when your partner gives you his/her own list}. Chances are with some time and effort you’ll re-energize your relationship and stay more awake to the give and take of a dynamic love relationship.


Jerry is a patient, warm-hearted therapist dedicated to guiding couples to breakthroughs. He has counseled individuals and couples for over 40 years, in a variety of settings. He received his Ph.D. in Psychology at Saybrook Institute in San Francisco and a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology at Antioch New England University. Jerry co-authored Relationship Transformation: How to Have Your Cake and Eat It Too with Mary Ellen Goggin — and they were married by chapter 3. Jerry brings a great depth and breadth of expertise to his work, and distills nuanced theories into actionable simplicity. He loves The New Yorker, dew-laden fairways, and dusty delta blues. His revolution: changing the world, one couple at a time. Read more about the retreats


  1. Brittny on August 14, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    When it comes to extramarital relationships, a lot of time and effort is needed to work through the initial inner thoughts. The mental blocks at the start of knowing the affair has to be addressed with lots of maturity and endurance. And to end up making the relationship a lot stronger after the extramarital relationship is possible nevertheless it requires a lot of commitment and energy towards the partner.|Lot of people develop a lot of animosity on the spouse because of the extramarital relationship. And this is hard to overcome if ignored. Dealing with our own emotions is really crucial and understanding the root cause which pushed the spouse or the partner to have the affair should be known. Additionally this gives an improved understanding of the problem.|If you are facing an affair don’t just assume that things may workout on its own. One needs to face these and take care of them. Additionally I think that it’s really important to learn if the partner is actually sorry and feeling terrible about their extramarital relationship or not. Keep the communication going great. Also I found a nice info here how do you end an affair. Thanks for the post & Have a great day.cheers!