An Accidental Affair: Can It Really Happen? If So, How?

Clearly, there’s nothing “accidental” about choosing to cheat on your spouse. Regardless of the details, the unfaithful party has carried out an act of deception and betrayal. One for which they need to take responsibility.

However, most who end up being unfaithful to their partner had never planned on doing so.

Like so many drivers who get into accidents on the roads, though, they ignored or were unaware of warning signs along the way. If they would have heeded those indications, disaster could have been avoided.

In that sense, yes, an affair can be called “accidental.”

What specific circumstances can lead you to such an unplanned affair? Let’s examine a few.

You may be someone who travels a lot for work.

You’re on the road and feeling overworked. Maybe you’re lonely. Perhaps you venture out to some place to get away from the stress and relax a bit. However, the combination of these circumstances can cause you to let down your guard. You fail to recognize a risky situation for what it is, and suddenly it seems like something more than just relaxation has snuck up on you.

You like to have a drink or two.

The aforementioned situation can be made worse if alcohol is involved. Or perhaps you have a tendency to go out for drinks without your spouse. While you may feel you have the right to some alone time, you must keep in mind that alcohol can quickly impair your judgment. And an impaired judgment in a dark, music-filled setting can be a potent recipe for disaster.

You spend a lot of time flirting online.

Due to today’s technology, the playing field has drastically changed. You may be sitting right next to your spouse on the couch, but that phone in your hand allows you to keep instant contact with anyone. Under the cloak of anonymity, you can say anything you want and things can easily escalate. If you don’t mind the warning signs, it can lead to infidelity in one form or another.

What does infidelity even mean?

Of course, infidelity means having sexual contact with someone other than your partner. But, in reality, it can mean so much more than that.

  • Specific kinds of sexual contact or intimacy. Some couples set aside only specific behavior and sexual acts as off-limits. What you may see as cheating, another person sees as acceptable.
  • Emotional infidelity. Of course, there’s much more to intimacy than sex. You can “accidentally” take a friendship into something far more emotionally connected. This is like treading on thin ice.
  • Virtual cheating. In the era of texts, tweets, and instant messaging, we need many new definitions for infidelity. Each couple must decide where they draw the line.

3 Ways to Prevent an Accidental Affair

1. Don’t put yourself in risky situations

Re-read the above sections on travel, drinking, and flirting. There’s no power in playing dumb. You know when a situation is risky. You know when it’s time to step away. Unless you’re planning to cheat, you’ll make an effort to keep yourself far away from such scenarios.

2. Maintain accountability with your partner

Talk before there’s a potential problem. Plan ahead for possible issues. You may wish that your partner never finds someone else attractive. But it’s best to accept that both of you will sometimes develop a crush. Discuss it and prepare for it.

3. Commit to radically honest communication

Developing a crush gets tricky when you keep it a secret. That’s when trust can break down. The antidote is radically honest communication. You love and trust your spouse. So, act like it! If you find yourself in a situation that makes you feel guilty, that’s the best time to talk. Your relationship will never stop evolving as long as you trust communication.

Relationships can grow unhealthy without steady growth and communication. So, if an “accidental affair” even seems likely in your case, you may have underlying issues to address. Committing to couples counseling is an ideal way to start the dialogue and take a giant step towards accident prevention.