Have you wondered if a long-term affair means love? Maybe you’ve seen affairs play out in books or movies, or maybe it’s happening in your own love life.
In some cases, long-term affairs are “the real deal” – but every relationship is different.
While affairs do sometimes turn into something more, this is not always the case.
There’s a Spanish saying that says, “Donde hay ceniza, hubo fuego,” which translates to “Where there are ashes, it was once fire.”
This means that sometimes the spark can be reignited in a relationship, and the need for an affair ceases to exist.
Keep reading to find out how to tell the difference between a love-fueled affair and a lustful one.
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Why do affairs begin? Often, it’s because one or both people in the relationship are seeking to fill a void they feel with their current partner.
The void can be anything from passion and romance to fun and spontaneity, to a deeper emotional or intellectual bond.
Other times, affairs begin simply because of boredom or guilt. In some cases, one partner is bored of the mundaneness of their relationship and wants something new.
Some people are turned on by the secretiveness of it all, and others confide their guilt in someone new because they’re too ashamed to come clean to their partner.
You may remember that one Grey’s Anatomy episode where three older couples are in a car crash, and one of the husbands is cheating on his wife with his wife’s best friend.
His affair began with her best friend because he’d lost his job and was too scared to tell his wife.
He told her best friend instead, and that secret between them fueled an entire affair.
Whatever the void is that’s being filled through the affair, if it’s really love, the person doing the cheating will find themselves happier, more fulfilled, and more excited with the affair partner than with their spouse or significant other.
In every relationship – even an affair – the “honeymoon phase” wears off and you just get used to each other.
If the cheater still finds themselves wanting more than just an affair with their new love after a few months, there’s a good chance it’s not just lust.
Usually, a serial cheater, so to speak, will go through partners rather quickly. If they don’t do this, then it may lead to something more.
Another sign of whether an affair is something more than a one-time thing is how much effort is put into the relationship.
If, for example, a man is spending more time with his girlfriend than his wife, then chances are he’s actually in love with the girlfriend.
The old adage “actions speak louder than words” certainly speaks volumes in matters of the heart. How are they spending their time?
Which relationship is getting more effort? These are important questions that can help to answer whether an affair is love.
You can also tell if it’s real love by the way the person talks about the future. Do they see themselves building a life together with their new partner?
Do they make plans to leave their current significant other? Are they hoping to introduce you to their family and friends?
Often, these are harder conversations to have and test the strength of the affair-relationship.
The opinions and judgments of a person’s family and friends can be very damaging to the health of an affair’s relationship and is one reason many affairs stay secret for so long.
Financial stability also plays a part in determining the strength of a long-term affair.
If the partner relies on their spouse or significant other for money, it may be harder for them to leave the relationship for their affair partner.
On the other hand, if you are financially independent and have someone willing to leave their spouse or significant other for you, you may want to rethink whether their intentions are pure.
You may even want to bring up the idea of a prenuptial agreement and see how they react.
If the person makes financial codependency a non-negotiable for your future together, run! That is a red flag and a definite sign that the affair is not real love.
There’s also a good chance the cheater involved in the affair is just having an affair and that it’s not love.
The person in love with the cheater may hold out and hope it’s going to turn into something more, but to that person I say, don’t hold your breath!
We’ve all seen movies where the man leaves his wife for the secretary, and they get married and live happily ever after.
Or the woman leaves her terrible jerk husband for the nice guy next door. And yes, those situations do happen in real life too.
However, more often than not, an affair is usually just an affair. Especially if there are children involved.
If the cheater you think you’re in love with seems to get bored easily, never talks about the future, obsesses over your finances (or has no financial stability of their own), then your relationship is probably not love. It’s probably just an affair.
Sorry if this is a hard pill to swallow, but girl, get out while you can! Don’t waste your time on someone who doesn’t truly want to be with you and only you.
If you’re having a hard time accepting that your relationship is just an affair, think about it this way. What if you were the other person? The person being cheated on?
Think about the person being lied to and humiliated without even knowing it. That’s not love.
If the person you think you love is capable of cheating on their long-term partner, then they’re probably capable of cheating on you too.
“But he’s different,” you say. Okay, well, if he were different, then this relationship would be different.
It wouldn’t be hidden in late-night hookups and quickly deleted text messages. It wouldn’t be kept a secret from friends and family.
Instead, if a long-term affair were really love, if it were truly the “real deal,” it would be a healthy relationship fueled by honesty and tender care.
It would be given the time, effort, and attention of a “real” relationship.
If you still aren’t sure whether an affair is love, think about your past relationships.
Do you have a history of being attracted to the same kind of person? One who tends to lie, cheat, and only think of himself first?
Are there deeper issues at play that may need professional help?
Now, look at your future. Where do you see this relationship going? Do you see things changing?
Your gut has already told you the answers to these questions, but you don’t want to face the truth.
If you want to continue in a relationship that is an affair, that is your choice to make.
Unless you see the true signs above that your significant other is in it for the long haul, you may want to rethink your love life.
What do you think some signs are that an affair is actually love? Tell us in the comments!