If you want to know how long affairs last, we must first establish what kind of affair it is. There are 3 different types of affairs.

  1. One night stands
  2. Allowed affairs (swinging, wife-swapping)
  3. Relationship affairs (the most common one we deal with, also known as limerence)

Limerence occurs when a person enters into a long-lasting affair characterized by a relationship and feeling “completely in love” with their affair partner. Limerence is discussed in more detail in other articles on the site (open this one and this one in new tabs for more information).

QUESTION: I’ve heard that the only thing that will end limerence is time. Is that correct?

Marriage Recovery

ANSWER: Limerence actually ends in one of three ways. Time is a factor but not the direct cause.

  1. The two wind up together. After that, the fear aspect that makes the passion so strong begins to weaken. (As long as they are not really together – one is still married or something – there is continued fear underlying the limerence.) Therefore, if both are no longer married and they are living together, limerence begins to fade, and with that, the level of intense emotion begins to fade. They begin to lose the “halo effect” and start noticing the other’s flaws. They also may well begin to blame the lover for the things they lost – access to children, respect from people they care about, their marriage, etc.
  2. One of them moves on and no longer reciprocates the affections of the other. In the short-term, that dramatically increases the limerence in the one being abandoned. In the longer term, it fades limerence away.
  3. One of the limerents moves into a limerent state with another person. These folks will move through several relationships over the years, believing that each is the thing they’ve been looking for, only to find that it isn’t and then moving on to someone else.

So what do you do if your spouse is in limerence with someone else?

Remember that people leave what they have only when they believe what they are moving to is better.

When your spouse comes out of limerence, s/he will no longer think that being with the LO is the best place to be. Where will s/he go?

If your spouse sees you as the better place, s/he will very likely try to rekindle things with you.

Therefore, we suggest you always work on the PIES of attraction, always be strong and confident, be as tough as you need to be without being heartless, and demonstrate in many ways that YOU are the best thing for them.

If your spouse is involved in an affair, then the Affair Toolkit can help you navigate

  1. Exactly what happened that led to the affair
  2. How to act to your spouse to get your spouse to come back
  3. How to react to your spouse during conflict about affair
  4. and How to Rescue Your Marriage from the Affair

 

17 thoughts on “How Long Do Affairs Last?

  • April 29, 2016 at 4:14 pm
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    My wife left me. She swore it wasnt for someone else but all points to she is with someone. I don’t know if this happened before or after she left me. I still love her and im in love with her and want to rebuild my marriage

    Reply
  • December 7, 2016 at 3:50 pm
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    My husband had an affair for 5 years. I had no idea. We stayed together and our marriage is great now. We moved to the beach for a fresh start and put everything behind us. The only problem is its been 3 years and I’m still obsessed with the other woman. I just don’t know how to move on. I still think about the affair and have questions 24/7. I don’t brink it up often, but it is just brewing. I know I need to let it go to be happy, I just don’t know how!!!

    Reply
  • December 13, 2016 at 4:13 pm
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    My husband and I had been married for 21 years together, we met very young, one night in July, this year, he told me that it was over and that i was just a friend now, after such a long time together. I never saw it coming at all! No signs at all! No late nights, staying away, no lateness home. Nothing to indicate this affair was taking place.I assumed we were perfectly happy. Sex as normal, even the night before he told me it was over. My husband subsequently left me for an older lady as well. A foreign lady from Czech Republic, who spoke good English.They did not set up home together, instead went off travelling Europe together, they are still travelling now, nearly 6 months later! My husband filled for divorce against me for being a rubbish wife apparently my cleaning wasn’t up to par anymore, this was his main gripe in the petition. They have both been mean, cruel and verbally abusive towards me throughout this process, that I have had to get a no communication banning order against them. I am just wondering if this is a “normal” break-up? this is my first one at the age of 40. We had been together since we were teenagers. So am not sure if this is how a normal break-up should be? Any advice?

    Reply
  • June 30, 2017 at 8:08 am
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    I’ve just been informed that the affair is over & she would like to stay friends. I agreed, however, her desicion came like out of the blue as only the other day we were intimate with each other & she asked me to buy her a little gift that she could look at reminding her if me! This has totally confused me & hit me like a brick in the face cos I’ve still got a strong feelings for her & I believe she has likewise to me! So why all of a sudden come out with the statement saying we need to end this affair? Please advise im heartbroken!!!

    Reply
  • October 23, 2017 at 4:32 pm
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    Husband came home after leaving me for ow 14 months, now after being home 10 mlnths tells me NILWY, 14 months tells me he thinks he still loves her
    I know he doesnt love me, loves her, still lives at home, doesnt want to work on marriage.
    What do I do?

    Reply
  • October 27, 2017 at 8:06 pm
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    My husband left me States it wasn’t for the other woman but after 3 months of do call dating her he moved in with her but still tells me he loves me. I still love my husband very dearly. He tells me he’s not filing for divorce he knows I don’t believe in divorce and that I want to make my marriage work. So confused and hurt.

    Reply
  • March 4, 2018 at 2:06 am
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    My husband of 27 years was working in another state and we (me and teenage kids) were preparing to move there and join him. He has always wanted threesomes and group sex but I don’t. Looking for a one night stand, he met someone thru Craig’s List and now has told our family not to move to the new state, that he’s in love with both me and the other woman, that he can’t decide because he loves and misses our family but this new woman is his “perfect” sex companion. (They go to sex clubs together and have group sex, etc) The affair started about 18 months ago, he told me 14 months ago, moved in with her about 6 months ago, filed for divorce about 5 months ago. But he has done nothing further in the divorce, still flies home twice a month, still tells me he loves me and that he just can’t figure out what he wants. (Actually he tells me he wants both of us and is trying to find a way to “balance” his two lives.) Meanwhile, the other woman is pushing for divorce and marriage— this would be her fourth marriage if she marries him. She would want it to be “open” and is fine if he sleeps with me and expects he would be fine with her still sleeping around. They would of course continue all the sex stuff, eg taking bondage classes together.

    I am 53. First marriage. Sometimes I want to save my marriage, sometimes not, given who he has become. This last year has been hell. 🙁

    Is there any hope in fighting for this marriage and if so, should I try to be confident and kind around him or tell him to leave me alone until he figures it out? Is this limerance? How long do I wait?

    Reply
  • June 28, 2018 at 2:12 pm
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    “If your spouse is involved in an affair, then the Affair Toolkit can help you navigate…”

    Actually this link leads to an article about what to do if your spouse “has had” an affair, not what to do if s/he is having one right now. I think this could be made clearer

    Reply
  • June 29, 2018 at 2:53 am
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    I am a Christian married man who is struggling to keep my marriage. I am having an affair with my coworker and it is difficult to stop. I don’t believe in divorce but at the same times I can’t get the other female out of my head. I am confused as to what to do next as I really don’t want to hurt my wife. I need help asap

    Reply
  • August 17, 2018 at 3:53 pm
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    My wife and I have been married for 3 years but we’ve been living together for about 12 years now. We had 2 daughter, 3 and 1 yrs old. She had been keeping her emotions at me, about how I’ve changed for the worst, for almost a year and recently I’ve found out that she has someone to talks to about my bad habits until that someone became an affair just recently. When I discovered it, she immediately sets up her defenses and stops talking to me for a month since I discovered her affair. She doesn’t even look at me as if it were always cold and depressing in our home. She often told me when I ask her that She was very angry at me and points out all my past mistakes. Then she told me she doesn’t love me anymore. We were still living together and she says I could stay. But I don’t know what to do and How long I could keep my emotions in check.. Currently I’ve been handling it quite alright except for a few apologies and beggings on the first week. But now I did braced myself and tried t understand her. I really need help now coz I don’t know what steps to take next..

    Reply
  • September 25, 2018 at 12:28 am
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    I don’t know where to begin- I’m married w/ children. Been resentful in my marriage towards my husband for years.. won’t get into details but unexpectedly I fell deeply inlove w/a friend who’s also married. Him & I shared some tender moments together. Spoke of the future & we knew without a doubt our circumstance is different. Each time we saw one another we talked abt whether what we are feeling is limerence or real. We both married young, saved ourselves for marriage, but we’re secretly drifting apart in our marriages. We got to the point where our spouses became suspicious of us. We knew once they know he will come for me but instead he became afraid. Didn’t want to lose his job or go down as a cheater as we are both believers. We feel like we must stay in our marriage because that’s what Christ commands and we also don’t want to hurt the children. I believe with all my heart we want to do the right thing and that’s staying with our spouses even though we want to be together so we stopped talking, no closure but I’m constantly thinking and analyzing if he will come for me but I’m getting to the point where I need to let it all go. Accept the past and move on.

    Reply

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