8 Stages of Adultery

Adultery is a sensitive topic and you might not even want to read this.  But I encourage you to stay here and spare my thoughts some of your time as I talk about the stages of adultery.  I might just answer some of your questions regarding this sensitive subject. This is is part 1 of the series “Getting in and out of Adultery”

Let me start with a confession: I was an adulteress. I do not deny that.

It started with a simple thought: “Hmm, maybe adultery is worth trying.”

It took me years to admit that I was being trapped in a deadly pit.  I thought everything was fine. I was not aware I was involved in an adulterous relationship. Rather, I refused to admit that I was. When I was in it, I didn’t know how to get out.  It was a serious and dangerous problem.

While I thought cheating is worth the thrill, I discovered the consequences. Right now, I tell you, it’s not worth it!

I will dive into more details about adultery. I’m sure we all know what it is.  What I want to share with you is how adultery is a sin, as the Bible says so.

Exodus 20:14 is very blunt about it: You shall not commit adultery.”

Unfortunately, it has become an addiction since many people are into this.  And if you’re not careful, you can be one of them.

Even the so-called best people end up becoming hypocrites living a dual life. Some are corporate leaders, government officials, and even the so-called “motivational speakers and corporate trainers”. Sadly, this is true in the church too. They pose themselves as honorable leaders, noble followers of Christ, and inspirational people but they are deceivers.   Some people speak bad against adulterers, they judge them badly and even destroy their character. But woe, they themselves have secrets and trying to be hypocrites.

I was one of them. Read my story here.

That life was lonely and exhausting. It created a great hole that nothing could ever satisfy. It was painful yet that left me emotionally numb.

I became a victim of the greatest lies concerning adultery. Some of them are “Most men are doing it, I have no choice but to tolerate him!” or “What’s wrong with it? Everyone is doing it. I can do this in secret anyway!”

How wrong I was.

Vulnerability and Free Will

Most of us are not aware that we are vulnerable to immoral relationships.  One of the factors that affect our decision to commit such immorality is our family. People from dysfunctional and broken families are often victims of a twisted mindset regarding love, lust, and relationships.

When the family fails to fill our “love tank,” there is the emptiness that needs to be filled. Unmet physiological and emotional needs force an individual to look for people to fill their desires. This dysfunctional behavior affects each member of the family and is eventually passed on to the kids. Children copy what they see from their parents. So, the dysfunction will influence how they relate to people, institutions, and circumstances when they become adults.

My father was not as good as I wanted him to be. His lack of attention to me and my siblings left a gaping hole in my chest. As a child, I had unmet desires on affection, attention, and appreciation from him. This developed my desire to be someone better. I also wanted to impress the opposite sex always.  I thought women were weak and that men were much better, which was why I sought mentoring from men often. My high ambition led me to do what it takes to succeed.

All of these were the result of my unmet desire for protection, security, and attention. This was how I coped with my lack of emotional support from my father. But it never really went away. Every day, I still felt empty. Even when I got married, I felt that something was still missing.

That’s how I ended up having an affair.

8 Dangerous Stages to Adultery

Adultery doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time for two people to fall into this sin. They went through stages that eventually trapped them in this dangerous coping mechanism.

1. Uncommunicated and Unresolved Issues with Spouse

My husband and I drifted apart after a few years of marriage. He was too busy dealing with family conflicts and business while I was focused on finding ways to make more money and still keep our household together.  We were so distracted by our individual goals that we lost sight of each other.

Communication is vital to a relationship. Sweeping an issue under the rug does not eliminate the issue. In fact, it could just worsen in the future.

Issues are left unresolved when people refuse to confront them. If you don’t talk about the things that are bothering you, the other person might think that you are okay. Ignoring or concealing the problem will result in another unresolved issue, which creates a barrier in a relationship.

Such issues affect your every word and action. This makes building a relationship with your partner difficult because the issues spill over every discussion. Bottling up negative thoughts and feelings doesn’t give your partner a chance to change their behavior.

Unresolved issues will remain unresolved unless you do something about it. Whether your problems originated from disappointments in past or present relationships, you shouldn’t remain bound to them. It is possible to confront and work through your issues until you reach a satisfactory resolution. Avoiding discussion for whatever excuse will expose both of you and your spouse to danger.

Communication is the key to a healthy marriage. If your spouse has done something that bothers you, don’t harbor anger. Talk to them about it. Consider biblical confrontation as stated in

Galatians 6:1: “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.”

Prayerfully confront your spouse about a certain issue in your marriage. During this discussion, be open to their sentiments. Do not immediately explode in anger. As the verse said, restore them in a spirit of gentleness.

2. Spending more time with the opposite sex alone.

I was working in the bank and I did not mind spending more time with my male clients and male colleagues.  I was not protecting myself from temptation.  I preferred the company of male friends rather than female friends.  Even when I became an entrepreneur, I have the same preference.

Some people might find no harm in spending time with members of the opposite sex “alone”. After all, what is harmful about a simple dinner? Also, a single person spending time alone with the members of the opposite sex who are married is not okay.

If you are single, that could be the case. If you are married, however, it is better to practice caution. You might think, “But there is no malice in that!” It might seem wholesome in the beginning. But if you’re not careful, one thing can lead to another. The attraction is still possible especially if you spend more time with the person. It doesn’t help when your marriage is rocky because the tendency is to see the other person as someone better than your spouse.

As the old saying goes, never play with fire because you will get burned eventually. You might think that your interactions are harmless. If you are not on guard, you might fall to temptation.

“but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” James 1:14-15

3. Allowing outside influences/environments

I exposed myself to temptations a lot. I was a big fan of drinking alone with my male friends, thinking that it was okay anyway. Traveling with them alone is also not a problem. In fact, I enjoyed spending more time with them than with my female office mates.

Avoid external factors such as business parties and private lunches, especially where drinking is involved. Alcohol influences our thinking negatively. It can inhibit our moral compass, which can convince us to do activities that encourage infidelity. Also, never travel alone with the opposite sex. The close quarters can lead to unwanted moments of intimacy.

4. Be Careful When Confiding to the Opposite Sex

I was not cautious when I talked with my male colleagues. I always shared disappointment with my spouse to other male friends, acquaintances, and colleagues.

Refrain from sharing intimate details of your marriage, particularly with the opposite sex. Keep it private. Also, don’t ask for advice about your relationship problems. If you seek an outside opinion, best to get it from friends of the same sex because they know. Also, don’t joke about cheating or getting into a relationship with that person. Remember: jokes are half-meant and the other person might think that you are serious.

5. Inappropriate Thoughts

I used to love entertaining the idea that someday a better man will help me get out of my situation. Someone who is better than my husband.  I thought that someday I would meet a guy who is smarter and more capable than the man I am married to today.

Be careful with your thoughts. Entertaining thoughts concerning a colleague or some other person when you are married is already a form of adultery. When you find yourself longing their attention or wishing they would notice you, stop and clear your thoughts. As mentioned, do not let the temptation become bigger than you can handle.

Thoughts may seem innocent at first, but if you let them linger, they will manipulate your emotions. Eventually, your harmless thoughts transform into sexual fantasies, which may cause you to do something about those dreams. Your desire to be with them will put you in a situation that will cause you to commit adultery.

How can you keep your lustful thoughts from progressing?

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8

Be mindful of what you think. Filter your thoughts. Think of it this way: the momentary desire you get from these fantasies have consequences. Instead of thinking of vile thoughts, think of good thoughts.

6. “Following the Heart”

My extramarital affair was the result of me following my heart — something the media tells us to do. I was so disappointed in my husband and my heart was telling me to follow this other Prince Charming who could offer so much more. I chose him instead of my husband because I believed, with all my heart, that he could be the one.

I was so wrong. 

Trusting your heart too much is the stage where your emotions run wild and you begin to lie to yourself. In my case, I told myself I deserve to be happy, to be taken care of, and to be treated well.

You may start to build emotional bonds with the other person by creating more excuses to spend time together. You may try to impress them and please them.  You want to be compatible with them in many ways. Increase the positive contact and do things to please him or her. On the other hand, you dislike your spouse more and begin to feel emotionally detached. You’ll think that your marriage is a mistake.

Don’t fall for the world’s encouragement of following your heart because the Bible says otherwise.

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? Jeremiah 17:9

Your heart is easily distracted. Instead of just listening to it, listen to what God tells you. Don’t just follow your feelings. Think about it first. Think about the people you will hurt with your decision. Think first before you feel.

7. Flirting

I entertained messages and phone calls in secret. I allowed men to talk more with me behind my husband’s back.

This stage includes verbal and non-verbal flirtations. Sometimes, it starts with responding to a compliment.  Since they noticed the good things about you, you think that they will treat you better. Eventually, you’ll see them as your personal stress reliever. Conversations with them are always the highlight of your day.

Showing signs that communicate desire and attraction can be compared to a magnet: you begin to form an attraction and create an intimate form of communication. This includes whispers, coded words, intimate secrets, and flirty body language. 

The flirting dialogues are always the same: “What if I’m single? “Will you marry me?” “Will you give up this and that for me?”  “I will do everything for you.”   All the sweet talk will then emphasize the “lack” of your spouse. Since this other person is showering you with compliments, you’ll think that your spouse doesn’t even notice these good things about you. You’ll hate them for taking you for granted.

Flirting doesn’t always mean the other person is truly in love with you. The best way to keep away from this form of deceit is to flee.

To preserve you from the evil woman, from the smooth tongue of the adulteress. Do not desire her beauty in your heart, and do not let her capture you with her eyelashes; Proverbs 6:24-25

The same applies to women. Do not desire a man who is not your husband. Refrain from participating in a flirty conversation. Doing so will just start a fire you’ll have difficulty in putting out.

8. Emotional and Physical Adultery

I was weak to stop this. I am ashamed to admit that I let a man be physically and emotionally intimate with me even though I was married.

This stage is where emotional intimacy gets stronger and leads to physical intimacy.  Sexual relationship traps both of you and makes you inseparable. Some people think that only intercourse defines adultery.  I strongly disagree.  Any form of intimate, sensual contact with someone other than your spouse is unfaithfulness and a breach of your marriage vows.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand you.  I know how exciting the forbidden kiss and embrace and touch is. Each romantic caress is electrifying. I get that. Any emotional attachment is already adultery.

BUT I ALSO KNOW HOW COSTLY THEY ARE BECAUSE I ALMOST LOST EVERYTHING, MY MARRIAGE, MY CHILDREN, MY SALVATION — EVERYTHING. This deception and excuses made me walk away from my relationship with Christ as I chose to follow my selfish heart into sin.  But GOD NEVER GAVE UP ON ME.  I came to my senses as I ran back to the LORD and carried my cross after.

The true harm of adultery is betrayal, but this doesn’t mean only the broken promise of faithfulness.  It is also the betrayal of respect since the cheater removes or denies their spouse relevant information about their lives, deceiving them that we are faithful. We make them ignorant.  We put their health to risk.  We manipulate our spouses by keeping them in the dark to protect themselves. 

We also betray our children and cause them unnecessary emotional torture. They will never express their pains and frustrations but believe me, our children are the most badly hit by this weakness.

Instead of giving in to temporary love in the form of adultery, it’s best for us to stop before we progress to the stages. Remember, we are designed for one person only and that is our spouse. If we choose to walk down the adulterous path, it will be pleasurable at first. The consequences, however, will be devastating.

As someone who walked down that path, I urge you to flee from it as early as now.  There’s so much more to this life than giving in to temptation. Believe me. You and your spouse deserve so much more by having faith that the Lord will heal your marriage. Adultery, even if you want to minimize, justify, rationalize it…..IT IS NOT WORTH IT. Stay tuned next week as I write about how to get out of this dangerous adulterous relationship.

Always remember, there is no sin so deep that God cannot reach. There is no past so dark that God cannot forgive. There is no family so broken that God cannot restore. If you need help, you can contact any of my social media accounts. God bless you.