The $565 Monthly Cost of Having an Affair

Welcome to Show the Receipts, a new series where we ask interesting people to share exactly how much it costs to get shit done. No matter the task, we're tracking every last dollar from start to finish. Up next: cheating.

Infidelity may be a leading cause of divorce, but Kevin* believes his affair has had the opposite effect on his marriage. "Ever since I found someone that could fill the void, I have been a much better husband and there are way less arguments," he says. "We also function better as a family around our kids."

Kevin began cheating on his wife of eight years in September last year, shortly after he caught her doing the same. In an attempt to "even the playing field," he started using Ashley Madison, an app that connects married people with others seeking affairs. While it's free for anyone to join, members must purchase credits to initiate conversations as well as pay for premium features, like Priority Man status, which increases your visibility in search results.

In his nine months using the service, Kevin has connected with many women, including one he continues to have a relationship with today. They meet as little as once a month or as frequently as once a week. Still, while Kevin now has a "sex partner to keep him occupied" in addition to his wife, the infidelity does not come cheap. Although he admits it's worth the price tag, there are some surprising costs that come from the affair itself, including traveling to and from her home an hour away and gifts like lingerie and flowers.

Here's the full cost breakdown per month.

Task: Having an affair
Occupation: Chemical engineer
Location: Maryland

The Receipts

Gifts: $190
Gas: $100
Activities: $50
Missing work: $200
Ashley Madison credits: $20
Discretion app: $5
Total: $565

How I Did It

Kevin and the woman he is having an affair with do not book hotel rooms when they see each other, a luxury that spares them from additional costs. "We only meet at our own homes — either when we take time away from work or when our partners are away," he says. Even though he saves money this way, it adds a different expense: the time Kevin takes off of work. Because they live an hour apart, Kevin has to leave the office early some days. He also spends close to $100 a month for gas.

Though the two mainly meet for "quality time and playfulness," they don't spend too much money on dinner dates or other activities out in public together. However, Kevin still likes to treat her to nice things. "I enjoy buying her things to wear, as well as sending her flowers at work."

Below, Kevin shares more into what having an affair looks cost-wise.

PS: Is infidelity expensive?

Kevin: It depends on your level of income, but I would say it was costly before I initially found someone who I really connected with. I believe I spent $200 in Ashley Madison credits before finding the right woman.

PS: How do you prevent your wife from seeing the expenses?

Kevin: The money I spend on the affair is money that I set aside in a separate savings account. I do not allow this to affect other parts of my life.

PS: What's the most expensive expense associated with having an affair?

Kevin: The amount of work I need to miss if I want to see the woman I'm having an affair with. I sacrifice about $200 a month in pay due to leaving work early on the days we meet.

PS: What's worth the splurge when it comes to having an affair?

Kevin: Anything that maintains discretion or leads to fun is worth the splurge. So honestly, everything is worth it as long as you find the right person. For example, I pay $5 a month for the Telegram app. It just doesn't show up on my home screens; I can only access it by searching for the app. Even if it's found, it requires a password.

PS: Any other cost considerations?

Kevin: I am fortunate to not need hotel rooms, condoms, lube, STI-testing, or anything of that sort. My partner and I both make time for each other in our homes, and we do not need to worry about pregnancy or STI screening. Trust has been developed, and we are seeing each other exclusively.

(Editor's Note: While being in a long-term, mutually monogamous relationship can reduce the risk of STI transmission, some STIs can remain dormant for years. For this reason, it's still possible to transmit an STI even in monogamous relationships, according to the CDC. Condoms are "highly effective" in preventing HIV and other STIs during sex and 98 percent effective against pregnancy when used correctly.)

Final Thoughts

To Kevin, infidelity isn't so black and white and in many ways "can improve lives for the better," he says. While it can be expensive and vary in cost depending on what you're looking for, he has no regrets. He also has no intention of ending his marriage: "Divorce would be very expensive," he says. That's the one expense he admits wouldn't be worth the money.

Taylor Andrews is a balance editor at POPSUGAR who specializes in topics relating to sex, relationships, dating, sexual health, mental health, and more. In her six years working in editorial, she's written about how semen is digested, why sex aftercare is the move, and how the overturn of Roe killed situationships.