A love affair is so intoxicating because infatuation fuels the relationship. Successful marriages migrate from infatuation to a committed love, but affairs fizzle when the infatuation ends.
That intoxicating feeling of being in love blinds each person to the other person’s flaws. Consideration of other people who might be hurt moves to the rear. By its very nature a love affair prolongs those feelings of infatuation.
Lovers in an affair spend little “real” time together. They spend time in a fantasy world free of the acids of daily living that attack marriages. Shared illusions and romantic fantasies sustain the couple in a relationship based on secret and fleeting meetings. The logistics of dirty laundry and stinky garbage seldom intrude on the couple in the pull of illicit love.
Love affairs become as addictive as alcohol or drugs because they create good feelings in the cheater – a kind of chemical high that continues until the relationship is exposed to the realities of day-to-day life.
People in the grip of an affair believe they can’t live without each other in spite of the fact they live the majority of their life away from each other, and they fear emotional collapse if they remove themselves from the affair. They suffer feelings of anxiety, worry or jealousy of the affair partner, and need the partner to meet all their expectations (including changing to meet the other person’s needs).
In married love, two people love each other without conditions, accepting the other person “warts and all.” By comparison, affair love is conditional; it cannot survive the realities of day-to-day life. Married love creates the comfort of loving and acceptance; an affair love “is steeped in fears of loss.”