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
“A wife was divorced by her husband – his reason was that she was unable to have sex due to a medical condition. The husband was caught having an affair with a famous, voluptuous model, and this had been going on for years. Despite the fact that the wife had gotten treatment and was cured, the husband still continued the affair. This case is not only head-splitting, it was also an emotional roller-coaster for the wife and the people involved in it. The lack of sincerity from the husband, and his many excuses for having the affair caused huge emotional turmoil for his wife and children.”
At what point should you consider a divorce? It’s easy to say ‘file for a clean cut’ when you are a friend doling out relationship advice, but a marriage comprises of so much more (financial, emotional, and familial ties) than a friendship. Dr. Arunan says everyone has their own level of patience and limit when undergoing problems in a relationship. “The breakdown of a marriage would show a similar pattern of gradual increase in the level of seriousness of crisis in a relationship, ranging between different stages of mental, emotional and physical abuse in most cases,” Dr. Arunan says. “The question that remains for couples having issues is, so at which stage will you stop?”