Infidelity is the subjective belief that one’s partner has broken a set of rules or relationship norms, which results in feelings of sexual jealousy and rivalry. The violation can be sexual in nature, such as kissing, sexual fondling, vaginal intercourse, or anal intercourse with someone outside the relationship.
What constitutes an act of infidelity is determined by the relationship’s exclusivity expectations. Exclusivity expectations are commonly assumed in marital relationships, but they are not always met. When they aren’t met, research has shown that people can feel angry and betrayed, lose their sexual and personal confidence, and have problems with their self-image.
What is infidelity?
Infidelity is best defined as any action that violates an implicit or explicit agreement between two people, causing a relationship to suffer. What begins as a friendship or compassionate connection develops into an intimate relationship over time.
Platonic friendships frequently evolve into emotional affairs, and the line between these two types of relationships is extremely thin. When a platonic friendship becomes emotionally intimate and involves some level of secrecy, it becomes an affair. Most of you would categorize infidelity as a physical act, involving only sexual contact with someone other than the person to whom they are committed or married.
Putting it in a “sex” box makes it simple for someone to say, “I didn’t cheat on you; we’re just really close friends.” I’ve never had anything to do with him/her!” And this can be risky and irresponsible. Cheating can be purely sexual or purely emotional in nature. In either case, the person having an affair is giving something away that they had promised to keep only for their partner or spouse.
How common is infidelity in relationships?
Before we get into the obvious causes of infidelity in relationships, let’s take a look at how common infidelity is in committed relationships. Sexual infidelity is undeniably a major threat to the stability of a committed relationship, and it is also one of the most difficult to overcome.
According to one study, one-third of men and one-quarter of women may engage in extradyadic sexual relationships at least once in their lives. As we all know, the concept of infidelity is not limited to physical intimacy; people engage in emotional affairs as well. So we can only speculate on the figures!
In addition, according to research, 70% of all Americans have an affair during their marriage. Using these statistics, we can conclude that infidelity is far more common than we believe. Infidelity has serious consequences for relationships. As a result, it is preferable to be aware of the various causes of infidelity in order to avoid problems in the future.
Surviving infidelity is a process of emotional, mental, and sexual healing for both the individual and the couple. Here are some suggestions for surviving infidelity and keeping your marriage or relationship together.
1. Stop all contact.
The initial step is frequently the most difficult. If the errant spouse wishes to save their marriage, they must stop all contact with their lover. This includes no text messages, social media followers, phone calls, or meetings.
The new lover has a drug problem. As a result, any contact with them will feed the addiction. To discontinue all contact with them, you may need to change jobs, gym memberships, churches, neighborhoods, and even states. They must do whatever it takes to avoid contact with their lover in the future because the risk of an affair is always present.
2. Create all accounts.
Following that, the errant partner must open all accounts and passwords with their betrayed partner in order to demonstrate that they have no further contact with their lover. How else can the betrayed partner believe the errant partner is no longer in contact with their lover? Every new interaction the errant partner has with their lover re-traumatizes the betrayed partner.
Opening all accounts and passwords will also fail if the errant partner does so reluctantly and angrily. How dare you be upset about the need to open your accounts! Take a look at how much you’ve hurt your partner! Right now, you’re completely untrustworthy! To demonstrate that they are willing to go to any length to save the marriage, the errant partner must open all accounts with a positive attitude.
3. Make the affair public.
If the unfaithful partner refuses to end all contact with their lover or refuses to open all accounts to prove they have no further contact, the next step is exposure. When someone is involved in an affair, they are not thinking clearly because they are addicted to the affair’s drugs. An affair creates a false utopia in which the relationship is shielded from everyday stress and problems.
As a result, one of the most effective ways to burst the affair bubble is to expose it by informing everyone about it. Usually, the more people who care about the cheating partner contact them about their infidelity, the more likely they’ll wake up and realize how terrible they’re behaving.
4. Obtain a divorce
If exposure isn’t enough to put enough social pressure on the unfaithful partner to end the affair, the next step is separation. There should be no contact between the betrayed and the errant partner during the separation. If children are involved, a friend or family member could be in charge of carpooling them back and forth for visitation. A separation is advised for two reasons.
For starters, it shields the betrayed partner from the ongoing emotional abuse of the active affair. Second, it allows the errant partner to experience life without their spouse in order to determine if that is truly what they want. If the unfaithful partner still refuses to end the affair after 3-6 months, divorce them!
5. Sincere repentance
If the unfaithful partner discontinues all contact with their lover and willingly opens all accounts, the next step is genuine repentance for their betrayal. While the unfaithful spouse may have been unhappy in the marriage prior to the affair, it was still their decision to have an affair. The repentance must center on their decision to violate their marital vows and betray their partner, regardless of how unhappy they were at the time. For the betrayed partner to begin the healing process, genuine remorse is required. The marriage will not be able to recover unless there is genuine remorse.
6. Controlling Triggers
Triggers play a significant role in surviving infidelity. The betrayed partner may become triggered while watching a movie with an affair scene. They may become triggered while listening to a song about cheating. They are triggered when they see the outfit they wore the day they discovered the affair. Triggering is one of the symptoms of PTSD and occurs frequently after an affair.
The way the triggers are handled is critical. For many couples, triggers are handled poorly, causing the couple to drift apart. When triggered, the betrayed partner usually explodes with rage, while the wayward partner explodes with defensiveness in response. Triggers, on the other hand, can become micro-healing opportunities for the relationship if handled correctly.
7. Lessons Discovered
Understanding what caused the infidelity in the first place is the seventh step to surviving it. The decision to have an affair is entirely the fault of the unfaithful partner; however, the environment in the marriage that increased their susceptibility is usually the fault of both partners. Unpacking this information is therefore critical.
Did the errant partner lack emotional or sexual fulfillment? Did they feel abandoned? Were they constantly chastised? What was it that made them more vulnerable? Understanding this and making the necessary changes is critical for reducing affair risk in the future.
Causes of Infidelity
There are numerous reasons for infidelity, and each case is unique. Some believe it is the result of a loveless marriage, while others believe it is the result of a hasty decision that cannot be reversed. Others believe that infidelity is simply a failure to resolve relationship issues. Having said that, let us look at some of the most common causes of infidelity.
1. Excessive internet usage
The internet has emerged as a major facilitator of infidelity. It is very easy to connect with people and talk to them for hours on end, whether you are at home, work, or in a public place. There are numerous websites where people can meet and begin a new relationship.
2. Lack of problem-solving skills
The inability to deal with problems and run away from them is a major cause of infidelity. There are times when, rather than dealing with the issue at hand, husbands or wives make excuses and try to find another way to open the door to infidelity.
Many cases have been reported in which a spouse reported finding a coworker with whom they could share their problems and feel comfortable, which was the start of the affair. It should come as no surprise that the majority of cases of infidelity occur in workplaces where sympathetic coworkers offer a shoulder to cry on.
3. Addiction to porn
Pornographic content is widely available on the internet, and it is one of the leading causes of infidelity and broken relationships these days. Pornography is widely available on the Internet. You must go online and conduct a Google search. It’s really that simple.
While watching porn may appear harmless at first, the long-term consequences are quite harmful. Porn addiction is thus one of the leading causes of relationship infidelity. If you suspect that you are becoming addicted, keep a close eye on your addiction and try to keep yourself from becoming too engrossed in the habit.
4. Addiction to alcohol or drugs
One of the most common causes of infidelity in relationships is alcohol or drug addiction. Addiction frequently causes people to develop negative habits such as lying, stealing, and even cheating.
People who consume excessive amounts of alcohol or drugs lose their inhibitions and behave irrationally. As a result, people are more likely to succumb to fleeting feelings of infatuation and drift away from their partners.
You might not believe it, but boredom is a major cause of infidelity. People fall into routines that deprive them of the excitement in their lives, including their bedroom lives. When one partner is no longer satisfied in the relationship and seeks something new and exciting, this frequently leads to cheating.
Many people seek excitement in order to escape boredom and try new things, such as taking up new hobbies or socializing with new people. They end up cheating on their partners without even realizing it.
6. Inadequate interpersonal relationships
One of the primary causes of infidelity is a lack of normal or healthy relationships. There are couples who married for a specific reason, or who remain together for specific reasons, such as children or financial issues, but there is no love between them, and they cannot tolerate being with each other for any longer than necessary.
There are also cases where people disregard their spouses. They don’t live like a normal couple, they don’t go out together, they don’t have a passionate relationship, and eventually one or both of them look outside their relationship for someone to be with.
7. The sensation of being unwelcome
Some people try to find love outside of their primary relationship because they believe their partners are no longer interested in them. This frequently occurs when one partner leads a very successful and busy life and does not have time for their spouse. When the other spouse begins to feel as if their opinion and feelings are unimportant, they counteract the strong negative influence of cheating.
This act, they believe, will restore their dignity and self-esteem. They want to demonstrate that they are still present and valuable in the eyes of others. If you notice such an imbalance in your relationship, consider ways to grow closer to each other as equals. Otherwise, you might end up in a mess that you both later regret.
8. Separation for an extended period of time
Although distance is irrelevant in true love, living apart for an extended period of time is one of the most common causes of infidelity. Couples are frequently forced to live apart due to the nature of their jobs and work commitments.
When one partner is absent for an extended period of time, the other partner becomes lonely, and in order to keep themselves occupied, they seek out new activities that may involve interacting with other people, where they become a little too involved with someone.
Couples also drift apart when they spend too much time apart from each other, and they no longer feel as connected or attached as they did previously. They either fall in love with someone else or resort to infidelity to fill the void.
9. Sweet vengeance
What happens when one of the partners in a relationship cheats? There are only two possibilities: either the relationship immediately falls apart, or the sin is forgiven and the couple moves on. But be cautious because this appears to be too good to be true!
The person who was initially hurt may have an affair in order to reclaim their sense of self-worth. After all, there is such a thing as romantic vengeance! As a result, it is possible that the partners will call it even after the transgression. The question is whether this relationship will last any longer!
10. When the partner acts more like a child, this is a red flag.
Assume one of the partners is responsible for everything in the household, including making all critical decisions and managing the family budget. In that case, they may begin to feel more like a parent than a significant other. This is one of the most common reasons for spouses to cheat.
Because they are unable to find the desired balance within their relationship, they subconsciously begin to look for it elsewhere. And, once they find someone who appears to be on the same level as them, they are more likely to cheat in a relationship.
11. Body image and aging issues
People stop chasing their partners after they marry or commit to a relationship. The ‘chasing’ or ‘honeymoon period is relatively short, and as time passes, it is easy to take each other for granted.
This carefree attitude frequently leads to a disregard for how you look and carry yourself. By no means do we advocate physical appearance as a criterion for love. However, there are times when people begin to miss the older, more appealing version of their partners and seek out easy replacements instead.
12. A lack of regard and appreciation
Sometimes partners feel undervalued and unappreciated in the relationship, which contributes to marital discord.
In turn, disgruntled partners frequently try to fill the void by seeking solace in the company of someone else. And, in no time, they may have crossed the line of healthy friendship and turned to infidelity. So, if you want your relationship to last, never forget to include these two ingredients: respect and appreciation.
13. Unsatisfied sexual desires
One of the most obvious causes of infidelity is unsatisfied sexual desire.
According to a study published in The Normal Bar, 52 percent of people who are dissatisfied with their sex lives are more likely to succumb to outside attraction than only 17 percent of those who are sexually satisfied in their primary relationships. It implies that people who do not have a fulfilling sex life are three times more likely to cheat on their partners than those who have pleasurable levels of intimacy.
There are also those who claim, ‘My sex drive is too strong for one person to handle.’ Of course, this is not a valid reason to cheat on your partner. However, in the same study, 46 percent of men and 19 percent of women cited it as a reason for their affair. So, if you’re having problems in your sex life, it might be a good idea to consider sex therapy instead of resorting to infidelity.
14. When a partner tries to destroy a relationship
Cheating in a relationship also occurs when a partner is not only happy in a relationship but also wishes to sabotage it before ending it. This could simply be a case of vengeance when one partner, for whatever reason, wishes to inflict pain on the other before leaving.
At the same time, it’s possible that the person cheating in a relationship wants to end it, but wants the other person to take the first step. In such cases, the cheating partner wants to be discovered and expects the other partner to end the relationship.
15. Losing love with your partner
You can refer to this as falling out of love with your partner or falling in love with someone else. Although this may appear to be a minor reason for infidelity, it is one of the reasons why people cheat.
Often, you won’t be able to figure out why you’ve fallen out of love. However, there have been cases where people grow apart and fall out of love.
Signs of Infidelity
Infidelity can be traumatic and is one of the most difficult problems to deal with in a relationship. While many people are taken aback when they discover their spouse or partner is cheating, others may suspect infidelity because of unusual behavior. The following signs may strongly suggest that your partner is cheating on you.
1. Modifications in Communication
A breakdown in communication is never a good thing. If you can’t get your spouse to communicate (or even fight) with you; if they no longer share their day with you; or if the words “I love you” are no longer spoken, there’s probably a problem.
Stonewalling, which involves refusing to listen to, respond to, or accept what you’re saying, may also indicate infidelity:
- Ignores what you say
- Changes the subject to avoid an awkward topic
- Storms off without saying anything
- Makes excuses for why they can’t talk
- Refuses to answer questions
- Makes accusations rather than discussing the current issue
- Uses dismissive body language, such as rolling their eyes or closing their eyes
- Acts passive-aggressively (stalling or procrastinating to avoid talking)
2. Aesthetics and Hobbies
Taking care of yourself and devoting yourself to new hobbies and passions, or even your work, can certainly be beneficial; however, when combined with other suspicious behaviors, the following changes may be cause for concern.
- Your spouse is dressing more formally or has a sudden interest in their appearance.
- Your partner begins a new hobby that necessitates a few hours of daily dedication. When you express interest in their new hobby, their response is evasive or dismissive.
- Your coworker is putting in increasingly long hours.
3. Attitude Shifts
Your spouse may be under stress at work or in other relationships, which can cause a shift in attitude. The following are possible indicators of infidelity, but they could also indicate other problems.
- Your spouse displays symptoms of low self-esteem.
- Might notice your spouse is perplexed about himself or herself.
- Your spouse appears to seek danger or excitement in their life.
- When your spouse is more negative than before.
- Your spouse starts to be more critical of you.
- He/she appears to be picking fights more frequently.
- Your spouse gets very defensive if you mention infidelity or affairs.
- When you ask for reassurance about cheating, you do not feel satisfied with the response.
4. Deception and Avoidance
Dishonesty in a marriage is a warning sign. These avoidance strategies could indicate that your spouse is cheating on you.
- You have the impression that you are being avoided.
- They no longer want to go places or do things with you.
- You discover that your partner has been lying to you about a variety of issues.
- Your spouse’s friends appear nervous in your presence.
- When your spouse appears to be more secretive.
- He or she abandons his or her religious beliefs.
- Your spouse’s wandering gaze appears to be out of control.
- Your spouse accuses you of infidelity.
Communicate with your spouse if they show apathy or lack of interest in things they used to enjoy to see if there is another reason for the change in engagement. However, if you suspect infidelity, these changes could be further indications of an affair.
- Your spouse appears uninterested in you, your job, your children, your hobbies, or even life in general.
- Either of you has become sluggish, particularly around the house.
- Regardless of what you say, your spouse is not envious of you.
- Your spouse is uninterested in family events such as birthdays and holidays.
6. Modifications to Your Sexual Life
It is not uncommon for the frequency of sex in your marriage to fluctuate. However, these signs may point to the possibility of an affair.
- Your relationship has a lot less intimacy and connection.
- When your sex life is almost non-existent.
- There are many new things in sex that have never been seen before.
- You discover that you have a sexually transmitted infection despite the fact that you have not strayed.
7. Money Problems
Almost all marriages experience some form of financial stress at some point. However, if you notice certain financial issues in your marriage, you should look into them.
- You notice erroneous charges on your credit card statements.
- Money becomes a bigger issue between you two.
- Your spouse discontinues large-purchase planning (such as a trip, buying a house, starting a renovation, etc.)
8. A Shift in Technology Utilization
Infidelity is frequently revealed online, in text messages, or over the phone. These technological advancements may cause concern.
- They become inaccessible at certain times of the day.
- Your spouse has changed or refuses to share their password with you.
- He or she is constantly texting or slipping away to take phone calls.
- You notice that cloud sharing has been turned off on your devices.
- Your spouse discontinues the use of shared devices entirely.
- When your spouse cuts back on their use of social media.
- On the home computer, your partner clears the browser history.
- Your spouse’s fitness tracker records exercise at inconvenient times and hours.
Related Articles: WHY MEN CHEAT: Obvious Reasons Why Men Cheat On Women They Love
Infidelity In Marriage
Is infidelity the result of a chicken or an egg? Is it the result of a loveless marriage or of a marriage partner who refuses to commit and work through problems? The following are some of my thoughts on the causes of marital infidelity.
1. Separation from Your Partner
People grow apart over time. Do you and your spouse now share the same goals? Do you want to ride off into the sunset after the kids have grown up? Is your husband or wife your best friend?
2. Unmarried for the Wrong Reasons
Were you married for the right reasons? Or, better yet, have you evolved into the “right” person for your spouse? Do you share enough interests? If not, you’ll frequently seek that commonality in the arms of someone else.
3. At Home, There Is a Lack of Respect
Is your spouse kind to you? Do you reciprocate by treating your spouse well? I’ve seen many doctors, for example, flee with their nurses or other medical support staff over the years. It’s not surprising that doctors in general are frequently idolized by their coworkers. At home, on the other hand, they are treated with contempt. Is it true that stroking one’s ego leads to affairs? Absolutely. Everyone enjoys receiving compliments; it would be beneficial if spouses found ways to compliment each other on a regular basis.
4. Impressions of Unappreciation
Some people commit adultery because they believe they are unappreciated at home or that they are “doing all of the work” in keeping a marriage and home together. Again, questions to consider include: Am I grateful to my spouse? Is it possible for me to be the “right person” for my spouse? More affairs and divorces could be avoided if more people had a “servant’s” mindset toward their spouses.
5. Issues Relating to Body Image and Aging
Body image and weight gain issues, as well as aging, can, unfortunately, lead to an affair and/or divorce. Some people will “trade-in” an aging spouse in exchange for a “younger” model. The point of this paragraph, of course, has nothing to do with unavoidable medical issues. But, let’s be honest. Over time, many spouses “let themselves go.
“During the “romance” period, both spouses typically try to present themselves in the best possible light in order to win the other spouse’s affection and marriage commitment. Many people believe that once the prize (marriage) is won, “the chase is over.” No, it does not. Marriage is only the starting point. Affairs and divorces could be avoided if people continued to consciously “chase” their spouses.
At the same time, excessive insecurity can be one of the causes of marital infidelity. The constant need for reassurance can lead to an affair, especially if one spouse becomes “too needy” or “too clingy.” It’s a difficult balance to strike, but marriage necessitates complete and undivided commitment.
7. Living apart for long stretches of time
Traveling for work and living apart for extended periods of time almost always results in affairs. Consider the film Up in the Air, starring George Clooney. The female character had an affair with George Clooney’s character there. George fell in love with her only to find out later that she was married and had been cheating on her husband with him.
Infidelity is one of the most terrifying things that can happen to a relationship or marriage, but it is preventable. To avoid it, you’ll need to take a hard and honest look at the current state of your relationship. Look for cracks that could widen over time and lead to emotional and physical disconnection, which are the two primary causes of marital infidelity.
Infidelity will lurk in the shadows once the voids become large enough. Be more deliberate in your connection with your partner. If you believe there is no way to prevent your relationship from deteriorating, seeking professional help from a counselor or therapist can assist you in dealing with your issues in the best way possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between infidelity and adultery?
What Is the Distinction Between Adultery and Infidelity? Adultery is frequently used to describe a physical relationship that occurs outside of marriage. It occurs when one partner engages in sexual activity with another without their partner’s consent. The act of being unfaithful to a committed partner is referred to as infidelity.
Can texting be considered cheating?
The basic rule is, “Flirt as much as you want, but don’t take action.” This is the point at which texting crosses the line and becomes cheating. There are a few other behaviors that could indicate that your partner is cheating on you or that you are going too far. One of them has to do with the time that messages are sent.