Getting married is a big milestone for any couple; tying the knot means they are finally ready to spend the rest of their life with whom they call their one true love. Unfortunately, there is one major marriage wrecker in today’s society that many husbands and wives face—their partner’s infidelity.
What is infidelity? Well, it is when a person in a committed relationship fails to remain faithful to their partner. In other words, it is cheating and committing adultery. The whole idea of infidelity may be hard to grasp at first because of the thought ‘if you truly love the person, why would you cheat?’ but infidelity in marriages is the number one reason why unions end in separation.
Facts about infidelity
In society, staying loyal is the ideal and cheating is considered inappropriate. Although this is the case, a lot of people surprisingly still engage in acts of unfaithfulness despite being in a committed relationship. An article by Psychology Today states that there is an estimate of 20-40% of men and 10-25% of women that cheat on their partners while in a marriage.
Admittedly, long term relationships and marriages can run stale and turn boring through time because of the overfamiliarity with their significant other. This is one of the many reasons why people cheat in the first place. They find it thrilling to re-experience the excitement of something new with a different person.
This is also closely related to what they call ‘cheater’s high’ which is the emotional or psychological satisfaction people feel when they get away with doing something behind their lover’s back. That rush of joy gets so addictive that it is most likely that they will cheat again, hence the saying ‘once a cheater, always a cheater’
Additionally, Doctor Robert Weiss, an expert in adult intimacy disorders, explains that most of his clients who have cheated believe in the saying ‘what you don’t know won’t hurt you’. Essentially, they think that as long as their significant others do not find out, they do not believe they are doing any harm to their sweetheart. Meanwhile, people who are being cheated on are more often oblivious to their spouse’s dishonesty and unfaithfulness.
To get into the specifics, infidelity can be emotional, physical, or both. In a 2013 research published in Evolutionary Psychology, the study revealed that men are more concerned about their partners committing a physically intimate affair rather than their partner falling in love with someone else.
On the other hand, it is the opposite for women as they would get more upset if their partner was emotionally attached or in love with another woman rather than a physical relationship. Although men and women seem to share many differences when it comes to affairs, both genders share an equal stage of being cheaters in the end.
What is the main reason for infidelity?
As humans are creatures of free will, cheating is more of a choice rather than something you do by accident. So with this, what exactly are the infidelity causes and factors that push a person to have an affair? In a ‘Psychology Tomorrow’ magazine article, it discusses how physical and emotional needs are causes of infidelity.
Naturally, skinship and physical intimacy are important in a relationship. When one feels unsatisfied with their physical connection between their significant other, they seek that bodily fulfillment elsewhere. Feeling physically unsatisfied can stem from a lack of action, passion, chemistry, and even excitement. As it borders on fulfilling carnal desires, committing acts of physical infidelity can be as addicting as alcohol and shopping.
A relationship cannot survive on just touch alone. Being emotionally invested in the relationship is crucial for a happy marriage. Once a person feels an emotional disconnection, they may become distant as they feel unneeded, unappreciated, and alone. These negative emotions can even lead to a feeling of bitterness and resentment for their lover. In a HuffPost listing ‘Why Women Cheat’, most reasons are based on lack of communication and emotional fulfillment.
Because of the vulnerability involved in this category, most situations of emotional infidelity are not originally planned out. Usually, it just happens as the person builds a connection with someone else and receives the love and attention they are yearning for.
In most cases, people do not consider it cheating when it does not involve anything in bed, but, relationship experts say this is not the case. The age-old question ‘is flirting cheating?’ along with other questionable acts of infidelity, can be answered by couples through assessing the actions. Relationship expert and author Theresa Smith says that it can be considered cheating when:
- You are hiding it from your partner.
- If you are not okay with your partner doing what you are currently doing.
- You are seeking everything your partner is not or cannot give in another person.
Other reasons for adultery may also be personal such as low self-esteem and commitment issues.
Infidelity signs and what it affects
Couples are usually familiar with the habits and mannerisms of their beloved. Usually, they know them like the back of their hand so it is easy to spot when something seems fishy. Watch out for odd behaviors and things they are doing out of the ordinary. According to a Yahoo article, many signs may indicate disloyalty:
- Taking their phone with them everywhere plus having it password protected.
- Keeping a low-profile of your relationship on social media (hiding photos, no display of public affection).
- In terms of guilt, they start compensating for what they are doing by buying gifts and not wanting nice things done for them.
- They are interacting a lot on a specific person’s post or perhaps texting that person more than necessary.
- He/she starts prioritizing other things and misses out on dates and plans.
- They start often traveling for ‘work’ more than lately.
- He/she starts avoiding specific locations out of the blue.
- They come up with elaborate stories and very detailed excuses for where they have been or who they were with. Opposite of this is not disclosing many things at all.
- He/she seems stressed and picks a fight for the slightest things like they are taking it out on you.
- They are more demanding in bed for no specific reason.
Signs of infidelity can differ from person to person depending on their personality. Additionally, others may be great at faking it until they make it. Although this may not be a complete and concrete list of signs, they are one of the most common according to a variety of experts.
Infidelity effects on marriage
Betrayal weighs heavily on a partnership and although, in some cases, couples are strong enough to get past it, oftentimes it destroys the marriage for good. Once facing adultery issues, the husband and wife go through a difficult situation as everything they have built together is in ruins.
The betrayed can often spiral into overwhelming devastation which is why it is hard to keep a marriage going after incidents of infidelity. This stems from personal aspects such as pain, trauma, self-loathing, anxiety, and even depression. In a marriage, it is not only the pair that is affected by cheating; there are also infidelity effects on family.
Usually, it is the children that bear the burden of this. Children who are affected by their parent’s infidelity often feel emotions of anger, embarrassment, hurt, resentment and disappointment. They also tend to be distrusting and have changed perceptions when it comes to love and relationships. Depending on how well the child copes, going through all that can scar them for life or be a lesson to never follow their parent’s footsteps.
Nowadays, we see infidelity everywhere despite it being socially unacceptable. Movies such as ‘The Other Woman’ and ‘Unfaithful’, along with so much more media content depict cheating as such a normal occurrence in relationships. Social media has become an additional platform where cheaters can frolic, especially on easily accessible dating apps.
In a world where people hurt and get hurt, it is best to thoroughly assess actions before doing something regrettable later on. In the end, let us celebrate healthy relationships and work on building a society that keeps up with its ideals.