"She had an affair with her gym trainer, and now we're worried about the kids"


If a marriage is strong and the couple meets each other’s emotional needs, the chances of infidelity occuring are lower. Photo: Freepik

When 56-year-old consultant Beng found out that his wife was unfaithful, he was devastated. Beng’s wife, Gwen, 40, is attractive and young-looking and runs an online store part-time. The couple has two sons, aged 10 and 14.

“My wife is very fit and goes to the gym regularly, but I found out that it wasn’t only to exercise. She was having an affair with her gym trainer,” reveals Beng.

“It was devastating and I couldn’t accept it. Till this day, thoughts of them together still haunt me,” he says.

Beng was usually busy and didn’t have time to accompany his wife. He also didn’t like going to the gym. Beng preferred more laidback activities such as golf and drinking with his buddies. He was also usually busy with his work.

“It wasn’t planned,” says Gwen of her affair. “We’ve a lot in common and enjoy similar stuff – both of us love to salsa. I wanted to go dancing but my husband wasn’t able to accompany me and encouraged me to go with my friends instead.

“So I ended up going with my gym trainer. We had so much fun and started spending more time together doing other stuff that we both enjoyed. He’s fun and attractive and there was a lot of chemistry, but it didn’t become physical until much later,” she says.

Beng and Gwen are going through couples therapy. They haven’t decided whether to stay married or get divorced.

At the core of it, it’s still about emotional disconnection and unmet needs that leads to infidelity. Photo: FreepikAt the core of it, it’s still about emotional disconnection and unmet needs that leads to infidelity. Photo: Freepik

“Our main concern is the children and how it’ll impact them,” they say.

“Children are more aware than adults realise: they can feel their parents’ emotions and know when their parents aren’t happy in their marriage. This might translate into a poor academic performance or rebellious behaviour during their teenage years,” says MY Confidential Association of Private Counsellors founder Johana Johari.

“When an extramarital affair occurs, not just the couple is impacted, but also the children because it affects how they see relationships in the future. So it’s important for a couple to seek out a trained and experienced marriage counsellor

“If a daughter sees her father cheating on her mother, she perceives it as him cheating on her too. This affects how she sees men in general, and might impact her future relationships. She is also likely to have difficulties trusting men. Likewise, the opposite is true for a son too, if his mother cheats,” she says.

As for the couple, Marital and Family Therapy Association Malaysia vice-president Bawany Chinapan says that when a couple doesn’t have many interests in common, there’s a chance of them growing apart or connecting with others who might have similar interests.

When either partner in a relationship feels emotionally disconnected, they will fill their heart with someone who can give them that sense of being heard, understood and appreciated. Photo: FreepikWhen either partner in a relationship feels emotionally disconnected, they will fill their heart with someone who can give them that sense of being heard, understood and appreciated. Photo: Freepik

“At the core of it, it’s still about emotional disconnection and unmet needs that leads to infidelity,” says Bawany, a couples and family therapist.

“When either partner in a relationship feels emotionally disconnected, they will fill their heart with someone who can give them that sense of being heard, understood and appreciated. This is where the third party – someone who listens, is there for them and makes them feel good about themselves – comes in,” she says.

But if a marriage is strong and the couple meets each other’s emotional needs, the chances of infidelity occuring are lower. This is why clear communication is extremely important in a marriage, she adds.

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