Having an affair is a time-consuming, emotional roller coaster ride for a cheating spouse. Due to the intensity and variety of emotions, the cheating spouse unwittingly makes emotional displays that can easily be recognized by others. Witnessing these emotions, the partner of a spouse who is cheating may not make a connection between the changes and the possibility of an affair. Close friends and family members also notice changes and begin to suspect problems. The cheating spouse experiences the entire range of emotions and may move quickly from one extreme to the other.
The cheating spouse experiences feelings of intense joy from their cheating partner. This feeling of euphoria is extremely addicting. For this reason, the spouse who is cheating needs to experience it over and over again. It is this “high” that helps to maintain an affair. The cheating spouse feels “alive” when with the other person. This reinforces the fact something is wrong with the marriage or the spouse who is cheating has emotional or physical needs that cannot be met with the current marriage.
The cheating spouse will have intense feelings of guilt, especially if they are involved in a serious relationship. This guilty feeling is even more intensified if the spouse being cheated on has low self esteem. Both parties know the affair is going on, but neither one can bring the subject out into the open. The cheating spouse does not want to inflict emotional pain on their partner by admitting the affair openly. Due to the feeling of guilt, the cheating spouse may become more generous, encouraging activities that were once sources of conflict such as separate vacations, or spending money on luxury items for their spouse.
Guilt feelings can lead to depression for the spouse who is cheating. They question themselves and experience feelings of low self worth. They are involved in a relationship. Why is that not enough? How can they cheat on the person they love? Is something wrong with them? As the affair continues, the more intense and overwhelming these feelings become. Trying to hide the secret of an affair may lead to emotional and health related problems for the cheating spouse.
The spouse who is cheating lives with anxiety on a day-to-day basis due to constant fear of being discovered. Actions and consequences are questioned by a cheating spouse out of this fear. Did the cheating spouse spend too much time on an errand? Are they about to be caught? Does their spouse know? Mysterious phone calls at odd times, less time spent with family, and abrupt schedule changes add to the stress and anxiety. The spouse who is cheating may not even realize how much they are affecting their own well-being by engaging in an affair.
Cheating spouses often give themselves away by their erratic mood swings. The act of having an affair is one that is emotionally chaotic. Cheating spouses are unable to hide the intense emotions they feel while having an illicit affair. These intense emotions will surface in one manner or another. It is to the benefit of the person who is being cheated on to pay attention to emotional changes in their spouse and not ignore them.