Lockdown Affairs: Are Extramarital Affairs Surviving, Thriving or Dying?

Recent surveys have revealed that extra marital affairs are on the rise since the lockdown was announced. Several dating websites have released data giving insights into married spouses turning to these websites to stir up their monotonous life. Dr. Rachna Khanna Singh, the HOD of Holistic Medicine and Psychology in Artemis Hospital, Gurgaon joined ETimes Lifestyle on an Instagram live to discuss the nuances of extramarital affairs through lockdown.

First things first, what accounts as cheating? Dr Rachna shares, “With people having easy access to reach out to their exes, have emotional flirtatious conversations with not only their exes but even others of the opposite sex, the very definition of cheating is becoming blurred. However, I define it in a clean and clear way – anything you are doing with someone from the opposite gender consistently, without your partner knowing it is termed as cheating cum betrayal.”

Let’s admit. Present-day relationships are not used to such proximity – where both the spouses are spending so much time together. As a result partners are seeking ways to distract themselves, and not all of them are taking the high morality ground. And so it doesn’t really come as a surprise that extramarital dating app, Gleeden has seen a sudden rise in its subscription in India amidst lockdown. According to Dr Rachna, “I know of couples who create fake profiles on dating websites to break monotony and spice up their life. And this clearly counts as cheating and will create a wedge in your relationship. Since you are spending so much time with your partner, he/she will not take long to figure that something is wrong.” This behavior can put your relationship in danger for something that you are doing just to break monotony.

Adultery websites aside, married couples commonly indulge in discreet affairs. And now that they are locked up with their spouses, you can’t help but wonder if this gives their relationship a chance. “The way extramarital affairs function, it is a pull that a married spouse feels towards someone and mostly it is to fill some void in his/her own marriage that leads to this attraction. People get swayed and once they do, they feel stuck and don’t know how to break away. Even when they realise it could be detrimental to their relationship, they continue because they can’t walk away from the person. And I recommend to all such people that they should give it a good thought – is that external lure good enough to risk your marriage? People slip but it is never a bad idea to go back and work on your relationship with your spouse.”

If partners do happen to get over their discreet affairs, would it be legit to seek easy forgiveness from their partner? Dr Rachna shared, “Whether one should share his dirty past with his partner or not is different for every relationship. The partner who gets cheated on goes through a very traumatizing experience. Most of them get scarred for life and take a lifetime to get over it.” Which brings us to the question if it is easy for a man to forgive his cheating wife or easy for a woman to forgive her cheating husband? “Cheating is not gender specific. Despite extramarital affairs becoming common, forgiveness is not easy for anyone.”

Couples can look at lockdown as an opportunity for partners to not only discover weaknesses but also strengths of their relationship. “Earlier we could run away and had enough distractions but now we don’t have a choice. So sit back and self reflect. Understand the nuances of your relationship and understand your partner. Two core necessities for a strong relationship are trust and communication. So take this as a God-given chance to work on your relationship. Remember that whatever issues your relationship suffered can be mended now. Start with healing yourself and then work on healing your relationship.”

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