To get some insight on how and why affairs happen, we spoke to Dato’ Dr. Arunan Selvaraj, lawyer and author of Saving Your Marriage.
“It’s not just the sex.” Why do people have affairs, and how do you prevent it from happening?
When it comes to divorce, one’s mind immediately strays to the most unforgivable of human sins – did she betray your trust? Did his interest wane when his eyes wandered? The reasons for infidelity vary across genders – but we’ve all read enough self help books and thought provoking articles to know most men are motivated by sexual intent, whereas most women veer towards emotional feelings – or, in this century, vice versa.
According to Dato Dr. Arunan Selvaraj, either party can be responsible for a breakdown in the marriage, be it the husband or wife. Root causes usually include: lack of emotional and sexual pleasure, lack of attention, a breakdown in communication, and the curiousity of ‘what if’ that affairs bring. “Some do not get enough attention at home, so they carry these negative feelings to work. Due to unresolved issues at home, they seek solace in the company of a third party, in most cases someone from work whom they feel would be able to relate to them more compared to their partners at home,” says Dr. Arunan.
This article originally appeared in Marie Claire’s July 2018 issue, available on newsstands now. Check back next month for Dr. Arunan’s column that explores the reasons for divorce and how to deal with it. His book, ‘Saving Your Marriage’ is available at all major bookstores for RM39.90.
Marie Claire What Women Want with Dato Dr. Arunan Selvaraj
“There was this man who was in his late 50’s who lived in Sungai Petani, but had to work in Sabah in a logging factory as a supervisor. He only went home to Sungai Petani twice a year to visit his wife. He was associated with this young, beautiful, Sabahan woman who was also working in the same factory as he was. After a while, she was slowly integrated into his daily routine of his life at home in Sabah. She was taking his shoes off and giving him a massage after he came back from work and doing other acts of care and love that a wife would usually do for her husband. Basically this young woman was giving him more care and attention than what he was getting at home. It came no surprise when they got married soon after.”
Having a work affair is a tale as old as time, but why does it keep happening? It boils down to the beginning – when you decide to get married. It’s extremely important to understand your needs when looking for a lifelong partner. Dr. Arunan shares: “It isn’t just a case of finding the right one that will be with us only for what we want now, but the right one who will be properly suited to us in the long-run.” Your five-week crush on that ex-pat colleague? Reconsider it. “Once the basics and the fundamentals of the relationship are strong and secure, no amount of ‘threat’ or ‘presence’ can shake the relationship and infidelity would be easily avoided.”