The Psychology of The Affair

The new series of The Affair has started on SKY ATLANTIC. What I value most about this series is how the ‘WHY’ behind Alison and Noah’s affair is depicted. The script writing team is made up of a man and woman so both perspectives are subtly woven into the storyline. Whilst most women pass off a male affair as solely driven by their penis I would actually disagree.

I have known many men over the years; as friends, lovers, boyfriends and everything inbetween. I have also lived through every side of ‘The Affair’, albeit as an unmarried woman. I will never be a man hater (although with my background I probably should be) and I am not sticking up for men or women within this blog. I am simply trying to present an alternative view to affairs. An affair is a symptom of what is going wrong in a relationship, however you want to gloss it over. And each party has a responsibility to define how the story ends.

My last serious boyfriend was unfaithful to me. It destroyed me and I haven’t let anyone close to me since. My bad. My lessons and my BS. One of the women (and there were many) sent me an email the morning of Jewish New Year some years ago sharing intimate details of my sex life with my ex, telling me I was frigid. I might be many things but frigid ‘ain’t one of them’. I actually knew he was having an affair. I chose not to deal with it as we always see what we want to see in a situation. I had a dream/vision of her just a few weeks before she emailed me. I ‘saw’ the witch bouncing up and down (on him) in my dream. Tight curly hair and everything, it was exactly the same person. The same curly hair that was in his bath and on his bathmat. Apparently belonging to ‘his cousin’. Most blokes aren’t good with the detail, LOL. Women are much better at hiding the minutiae… take heed, boys!

I understand men as part of me thinks like a heterosexual man. So here you are ladies**… some tips on how to keep your man interested and also how to spot an affair (and by the way, many women have affairs too… I can blog about female psychology in a separate blog). I will keep it simple by using the same letters as the word A.F.F.A.I.R. You can thank me later.


Yes, men love sex or moreover the idea of sex and fantasy. More importantly, they love attention. And attention, more often than not, leads to sex. If a man is not getting your attention he will seek attention elsewhere (or at least take notice of an interested third party). If an affair doesn’t wake you up and get your attention, nothing will. Men adore fantasy. An affair starts in the mind and travels downwards thereafter. If you can keep your partner stimulated mentally, it affects all organs! Good relationships and great sex don’t just happen: they require input and work to keep them fresh and exciting (just like marketing a business, they require re-invention). Glenn Close never gave up on Michael Douglas and look where it got him? A boiled bunny but lots of the wrong sort of attention!


My dad told me in my teens that a man will not usually stay single for long as he won’t want to masturbate for too long. A big ‘Ouch’ for a 16 year old to hear that. If your partner is not interested in having sex with you, there is USUALLY a reason. Perhaps it is medical and he is embarrassed to share. Perhaps he is having sex with someone else and feels guilty or you have drawn away and he feels rejected. Apart from obvious baby exhaustion, stress such as a bereavement or financial problems, I always say that if the sex goes, everything goes or is about to go. Your sex life is a very harsh mirror of your relationship overall. And whilst some people may enjoy just random sex with A N Other, the buzz rarely lasts long.


Is your partner working late all the time or travelling more? Are they on the internet or constantly checking their phone (hiding their phone)? Are they complaining that you have stopped taking care of yourself or easily starting arguments? Have they started taking more care of their appearance or wearing ‘lucky pants’ that they wouldn’t normally wear with you? If a man is having an affair, his sex drive will usually go up or dwindle altogether. He may be happier with you as he has found something to temporarily ‘blue tack’ the problem. So he wants to have sex with you. Or he just won’t give you the attention you need and crave (and you don’t understand why). Ergo… time for some of you to seek external attention too.


Modern day life has somewhat confused men. If a woman earns more than a man or has a wealthy family (as per in the programme The Affair itself), it can sometimes present issues for a man’s ego. A man needs to feel relevant, accepted and a provider, in most cases anyway (there will always be exceptions). I know myself that being an independent and capable woman is sexy on the packet but the contents still need to be feminine. Most men need to be needed and useful. If they go quiet on us, this doesn’t mean they are having an affair and some women might immediately jump to conclusions. Withdrawal (excuse the pun) more often than not means a man has a problem that he needs to sort out in his head or ‘man cave’. Men also need to stretch the male elastic band of desire in order to miss you. It is an awful thing for a woman and I know this from first hand experience but just as a woman wants to charge in for more, a man needs to detach and then bounce back when the elastic becomes taut. Know the difference between tell tale signs!


I don’t know what Mark Zuckerberg was thinking when he created Facebook but it has caused havoc with many people’s relationships. Seeking out old loves or old ‘friends’, as well as the list of temptations wrapped up in Tinder and the like are dangerous. I know SO many men in relationships who are seeking excitement elsewhere, some of whom have just proposed to their girlfriends: not necessarily physically having sex but definitely sourcing sexual and emotional gratification from outside the confines of their partner. In my book it is actually worse than just sleeping with someone and getting it out of your system. Living with someone other than your partner in your head is a shocker: you are living a lie and what a waste of life?! Sooner or later your relationship with your partner is going to be damaged at some level. Both parties need to be 100% engaged and present in each other.


An affair doesn’t mean the end to a relationship, sometimes it can wake both partners up, over time, towards the road to repair. I know lots of people who have had affairs: some have stayed together and some have parted, as married or otherwise. I don’t judge in the main but as soon as my female friends say to me “He doesn’t have sex with me anymore”… “He is secretive and we are always arguing” I have to be really careful what I say. I usually ask if they want my opinion or for me just to listen. And I respond accordingly. As humans we are very quick to judge situations outside of our own – when it happens to us we have a completely different perspective.

We are all capable of having an affair – yes, all of us. Life is about choice. The path we choose to go down. And as human beings, “of flesh and blood are made…”, as Human League told us in the 80’s. What is imperative is that we each take responsibility for our actions and reactions thereafter. An affair is not the end. It is a wake up call to take you to the next stage of your relationship or via an exit route. And whilst fallout is heart breaking, particularly when children are involved, there is always light at the end of any tunnel with “what now”. My sentiments exactly about this Thursday’s episode of the TV show itself.

And for those of you experiencing any side of the affair fence currently, please don’t be angry with me for simplifying things to ABC level. Life is actually quite simple we just over-complicate it with layers of crap and justification. Whilst the above sentiments are not fool proof or set in stone by any means, a blog is a blog not a thesis and opinion only. I share your pain and anger. I punched my ex both verbally and physically and for years. But that just showed that I cared for him. But that wasn’t enough to keep us together.


**I am not intending to generalise about heterosexual or homosexual men or women. I am simply using my own life experience in relation to a TV series that I enjoy. Please don’t bash me for having an opinion!