As in most relationships nowadays, especially for people who are having affairs, the most common problem is managing expectations of both parties. Most of the time, one or both parties expect too much and that usually is a precursor to a disaster.
The most common problem is rushing into having an affair while expecting everything to work out right away and expectations that are set are just too unrealistic.
So how do you avoid this?
Don't rush into it. Even though it's only an affair, try to scope out the potential partner first before getting down and dirty. Think "Basic Instinct" and what Michael Douglas could have done before jumping into having an affair. This means going through some of the dating rituals you usually do to get an idea about your potential lover's personality, quirks included.
Focus on what you are getting from this relationship, which usually means sex, and that both parties should know that this may not last.
As in any relationship, the sex is amazing and exciting at the start of the affair, also known as the honeymoon phase, but this is not sustainable so enjoy it while it lasts. If you can make it long term without getting bored, then that's a bonus. The bad news is your brain chemistry guarantees that the exhilaration with your affair partner will eventually fade and then you move on with your next relationship.
Try to define your own expectations first and what is important to you. Make sure your affair partner is aware of it and that you are both in agreement with what both of you expect to get from the affair. Remember that the only person you can control is yourself and if you feel that the risks outweigh what you are getting from the affair, cut off the relationship asap and just walk away.
Once expectations are set, be aware that circumstances change and with it, expectations will change too. Is this going to be a long term relationship on the side? Am I at risk of being discovered? Is the sex on the side really worth it? You should always be constantly evaluating every few months or so as you go forward, always ready to execute an exit strategy if you feel that the affair is not working out for you at all.
Treat the affair as any other relationship. If the passion wanes as you get over the honeymoon period, be open with your lover by discussing it. Chances are they might be feeling the same thing and it might be best to terminate the affair at this point. You can then go seek excitement with a new affair partner if you wish. Just make sure that you break off cleanly with the first lover or you might really complicate your life. David Duchovny makes it look so fun and easy in Californication being a serial cheater but real life does not really work that way. For us ordinary folks, we have to work harder to ensure we don't get burned as we have affairs.
As you go through your manage-expectations exercise, you have to look at yourself in the mirror and be honest with yourself and try to get answers to some basic question such as:
a. Why am I doing this? Is this worth it? Can I accept the consequences of people getting hurt if this affair is discovered? Can I afford this affair ?
b. Is this affair improving me as a person or is it just making me more dissatisfied with myself?
c. Am I the type of person that can be guilt-free as I get involved in an affair? Will I have regrets about having this affair not just now but in the future?
d. If things change in your primary relationship such as having children or your spouse changing their ways to improve your marriage, would you still continue having an affair? If this happens to you, the best policy is to be honest and open with your lover about these developments in your life and try to work it out with them if it makes sense to still continue with the affair.
e. Can my lover exercise the same sense of detachment and treat this affair as just a sexual adventure the same way I do? If they can, will they continue treating it that way? For women, it is usually harder to maintain this sense of detachment as you move forward with your affair. Chances are they might get emotionally attached to you and this is when problems start. You need to be aware of this potential change in attitude in your lover and try to address it by re-setting expectations before the situation gets out of control .