'Affairs thrill me because I'd rather be the other woman'
Question: It is not something that many women are willing to admit, but I am most attracted to unavailable men. This has resulted in affairs that make me the other woman.
This dynamic is pretty satisfying for me, thrilling even - I know people would hate me for this but I get just the attention and excitement I want, and don't have to deal with the drudgery of a relationship. I know it is wrong on some levels, but I'm not sure I can convince myself to settle for something more conventional.
Answer: People make the choice to "settle" for healthier paths every day. Gambling, drinking, binge eating, heroin, cheating on taxes: It's not like having affairs is the only thing that humans have ever had to decide to do without, for the betterment of themselves and/or society - and yes, forgoing what they perceive as a thrill in the process.
Ultimately, you'll choose to stop if and when you decide that the costs are worse than the benefits.
It's a calculus that varies by person but ultimately comes down to this: What are your values? Not just ethics, though that's important - but also, what do you value in life?
For most people, the "drudgery" of conventional relationships is outweighed by the trust, stability, emotional intimacy, love and companionship they can provide. There may very well be a reason why these things seem unattractive or unattainable to you - hence their inability to take up major real estate in the "benefits" column.
It's worth exploring, because my guess is that if you truly didn't care about the negatives, you wouldn't have written in.The Washington Post
Bonior, a Washington, DC-area clinical psychologist, writes a weekly relationships advice column in The Washington Post's Express daily tabloid and is author of The Friendship Fix.