An affair—that is, someone who is married or in a committed relationship sleeping with someone who is not their spouse—seems at first to involve only two people. That is part of the fantasy of the affair. Nobody else knows, nobody else will ever find out, nobody else needs to know.
In fact, we all know that an affair will come to affect many people around the two–the spouses, the children, the close family, the extended family, friends, work colleagues and more. Even before the affair actually becomes an affair it is affecting people around the two. Because even pre-affair there is secrecy, lying, tension and discomfort which spread their effects to those around the affair couple. Plus ‘almost-affairs’ which would mean not sleeping together but yet spending too much time together, too much exchange of intimate information, too much communication, too much thinking of the other can have a similar effect.
Understanding affairs means understanding the thoughts, feelings, motivations, actions and reactions of all those involved. Because of the secrecy and all the stories, cover stories, speculations and explanations going around it is hard, at first, for any one person to understand the whole picture and hard to separate fact from fiction.
“You understand one affair, you understand them all” may be a little extreme. But there’s truth to it. Because one misconception that the affair couple frequently have is that, “This is different”.
It’s not different.