And why do people keep going back for it.
The obvious difference there is that one is public and usually widely accepted, be it by parents, family, friends, colleagues, general public and also the law, whereas the latter is secretive and usually not known by anyone else, and if known, is usually frown upon.
|Public Relationship/Marriage||Secret Affair|
|Public & common||Secret|
|Widely approved||Frown upon|
|Bound by law & religions||No|
|Right thing to do (ethically)||Morally/ethically wrong but biologically?|
|No longer fun after the first few months usually||Usually more exciting and fun|
|Need to work harder to keep it going||Effort yes but make it even more exciting?|
|Involve more responsibility||Involve less responsibility from both|
|Might be wrong biologically but it’s to keep society going?||Not necessarily polyamory|
The question here is, why do people keep going back for it? I have come across a number of times when people seek help for related issues. Like a recent client Mr Chin, who is married for more than 20 years with 3 almost grown up children, but recently was “dumped” by a girl 18 years his junior and had been together for the past 10 years. Yet according to Mr Chin, they have broken up a few times during the past 2-3 years, as the girl finally thought that she wanted a normal relationship and marriage and a family, then few months later, came back to him, saying that the “normal” relationship didn’t work. Mr Chin was very confused, because the girl knew from the very beginning that he wouldn’t be able to give her anything normal, their affair would always be secretive, why did she come back to him? Each break up took him at least few weeks of sleepless night, and as he was recovering, she’s back asking to be back together. Why?
I told him the answer is pretty simple, she will find no “normal” relationship that’s as rewarding as the one you have given her, and as long as she keeps comparing you with her “new” guy, she would come back to you. Secretive relationship is always more fun and exciting, involving much less responsibility, on top of that, he’s much older and mature, and much more financially stable than most likely any other guy she’s now seeing, it’s not difficult to guess why she comes back to a wiser and more mature and pampering man, right?
Normal, public relationships are mostly boring after the initial few months, we all know it. We have to work (quite hard) on it to keep it exciting and fun. Or we accept that this the normal routine, and we treasure the companionship and family love we have, as we grow old together. But for people who have been through long term secret affair, and are used to the excitement (like the celebrity always dodging the paparazzi, which actually makes the secret affair more exciting, more rewarding and even stronger), and then at some point hope that they can find a normal, public relationship like that, it’s just hard… People need to recognise that, and actively learn to be in normal relationship, and work for normal relationships to work… Or else, it’s hard for it to go beyond the first few months.
Whichever position you are in, speak to a professional someone (relationship/marriage counsellor/therapist, psychotherapist), it’d help! Mr Chin, if the situation permits, would tell you that he’s so glad to have spoken to me and how working together with me helps make sense a lot of things, and saving his marriage and general wellbeing.