By Shilpa Raina
New Delhi, Feb 22 (IANS) First ace golfer Tiger Woods and former England footballer captain John Terry scorched the headlines for their extramarital affairs. So what prompts people to seek a relationship outside wedlock, putting their family life and image at stake?
Experts say there is no specific reason - some do it for thrill, some for pleasure, while others get into extramarital affairs to avoid tension at home.
Although Woods has apologised for "irresponsible" behaviour in his first public statement since a November car crash unleashed a storm of revelations about extramarital affairs and stopped his illustrious golfing career in its tracks, he didn't explain why he got into such relationships.
The same is the case with Terry, who was stripped of his captaincy following allegations he had an affair with an England team-mate's ex-girlfriend.
"An extramarital relationship may be just a casual one for fulfilling needs of sex or thrill, or it may be a very intense, emotional bond. Usually, one would get into such a relationship once he or she has given up hope of getting something like love, sex, excitement, understanding, appreciation or respect in marriage," psychiatrist Sanjay Chugh told IANS.
There are no such rules to define why a person gets emotionally or romantically involved after marriage. Samir Parikh, a consultant psychiatrist at Max Healthcare in New Delhi, feels it varies from individual to individual.
"A marriage is a marriage and an affair outside marriage is an affair. It doesn't make any difference whether the partners initially had love or an arranged marriage. A lot depends on the changing individual psyche and it varies from individual to individual," said Parikh.
Twenty-eight-year-old Prashant Dubey (name changed) is looking for an extramarital relationship as tensions back home are increasingly taking a toll on his life and he wants something to divert his attention.
"Over the past few months, fights with my wife have become so frequent and on top of that arguments in the family have increased. I don't feel like going home. So I try to work extra hours in office or hang out with friends, but I can't do that every day. I need someone to talk to, to vent out my thoughts. It is the emotional support that I am looking for," Dubey said.
Like Dubey, there are many men and women, frustrated or tired of their relationships, who are hunting for solace in someone's arms.
There are others who have a healthy and happy married life but are still seeking adventure through an extramarital relationship.
The quest to find the "perfect" partner is one of the major culprits leading people to extramarital relationships.
"Extramarital relationships seem perfect because they are not spending much time together and get to see only the best in each other. The small fights that happen are also brushed aside because they value the relationship too much," explained Chugh.
Chugh also said extramarital relationships are like thrillers.
"There is so much happening, at the same time there is thrill (doing things on the sly, planning secret rendezvous), understanding and mutual guarding of a shared secret, tension (hiding from people), jealousy and anger, longing for each other, and wanting each other. In the limited time that the two get together, they are ready to do anything for each other. This 'thriller' is obviously appealing to any bored soul," maintained Chugh.
So are extramarital relationships really healthy for a person?
"There is nothing right or wrong about such relationships. The only thing one really needs to remember is that at the end of the movie one comes out of the theatre and goes home," explained Chugh.
"These relationships often do a great job of need fulfilment. If handled in a mature manner, the people involved will only grow and let the relationship metamorphose into a great friendship while they lead their individual lives separately. However, such maturity is not very common," he added.