Transitional Relationships And Not Sticking The Landing

One of the great temptations in doing the MAP toward the end of the process, is to use your new attractiveness to create a serious attachment to someone outside your marriage. After years of struggling to get your wife to show you attention, affection and sex, to suddenly have that offered from another woman is near impossible to turn down.
But I think you should think carefully before you start up a relationship triangle between you, your soon to be ex-wife and a girlfriend.
The first thing to know is that anyone you attach to like this, is a transitional person.
Urban Dictionary: A transitional person is the first person you date during and/or after the ugly ending of a long term serious relationship, or possibly a drawn out death of your partner. They comfort you through the pain, self doubt, insecurity and other difficulties. Then, as you heal, they are a reminder of that terrible time and pain, so you gently ease them out of your life.
Only 3% of affairs turn into a new marriage, and those marriages fail at very high rates. So when you have an affair partner during the last year of your marriage, realize that your affair partner will not be part of your life over the long term. Or in plain English, when you leave your wife for another woman in particular, it’s odds on that you will eventually end up with neither one of them.
Should your transitional person actually realize that they are your transitional person at any point, they may end the relationship. Typically this happens at the worse possible moment for you, usually just as you step boldly and bravely out the door leaving your sobbing wife behind, only to hear your girlfriend tell you that she’s going to give it one more try with her husband and she can’t see you anymore.
Failing to make the jump between women like this is called Not Sticking The Landing, and it basically means you are seriously screwed, and all by your own hand.
So in terms of running the MAP, I generally advise not actually getting a girlfriend into the mix or having a full fledged affair. By all means flirt and prove that you can pull female attention – in fact that’s vital. But gaining a transitional person means that you have started to abandon fixing your marriage as a goal, it makes the situation more complex and you abandon the moral high ground.
The moral high ground is important to keep if you have it. It’s one thing to leave a woman with a serious drinking problem that refuses to get help. It’s another thing to have your marriage finally fail because you had an affair in no small part because of her drinking problem. By the time the spin doctors get through with it, she only ever had a drinking problem because of your affairs. And by “spin doctors” I mean her lawyers.
So keep the problem you are trying to fix simple and reasonable. Once the divorce is final (or close to it), then it’s far easier to move forward with a new relationship without the old one dragging behind like a broken anchor. 


  1. Athol, did you really quote Urban Dictionary? LOL

    You're 100% right on, though, about the fact that affairs rarely lead to marriage and, if they do, they usually end in divorce. It's not the foundation to build on for a good marriage.

  2. Miles Anderson says:

    "Only 3% of affairs turn into a new marriage"

    You like this stat (I've seen you quote it before) but it doesn't have any meaning in isolation. What percentages of relationships turn into marriage?

    "By all means flirt and prove that you can pull female attention – in fact that's vital."

    It is easy to say this from a position of strength looking inwards but for the person in a failing relationship who is already weak you are enabling them to make a mistake. I'm understand where this advice is coming from but I'm not convinced the downside isn't larger then the upside.

  3. Anonymous says:

    So easy to get sucked into when you are in a failing relationship. The pain is unbearable at times and an affair can become a very tempting way to self medicate, so to speak.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Here is another take on cheating by Roissy where infidelity by the husband is good for a faltering marriage.

    Tempting, isn't it?

  5. Athol Kay says:

    Miles – Game is a double edged sword. It can be used to advantage the man, and it can be used to get him in all sorts of added difficulty. Can't change that risk.

    Kat – affairs are terrible for marriage.

    Anon – Roissy is woefully wrong on this point. It can only take a single act of sexual disloyalty to completely end a woman's love for you. It's one thing to attract other women, it's another to actually cheat with one. How an individual woman reacts to actual cheating is fairly unpredictable. Some fold up and cry and let it happen, others turn into hardened steel and disembowel you in court for it.

  6. TrophyWife says:

    According to my therapist (who often counsels couples), it's the men who quickly leap into a transitional relationship. He says these transitional relationships fail because the men never take the time to assess the reasons for their previous failed relationships, and are thus doomed to repeat the same mistakes.

    Women, on the other hand, tend to take more time between relationships, and therefore are more likely to learn from their errors (according to him).

    Personally, I doubt he's right about that. I think MOST (not all) people are doomed to repeat their same relationship mistakes over and over again, regardless of gender.

    Most people don't change.

  7. TrophyWife,

    I concur with your skepticism…I doubt there are set gender patterns of who fixes their shit first, except possibly that the first person to mentally give up on the relationship is going to start looking for a new partner on their way out the door. Athol writes a lot about how exasperated wives are easy pickings for another man who gives her a dopamine rush, and a certain pattern of divorces seems to be a flagging relationship where the transitional relationship is simply the excuse to blow up the marriage and not an end in itself.

    It's just not realistic to expect to hop into another relationship soon after or during a breakup and expect it to work out.

  8. This is an article that makes you think “never touhght of that!”

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