What is Infidelity?
What is infidelity? What percentage of people cheat? Is cheating a dealbreaker?
Cheating, or being unfaithful, can be both physical and emotional. It can happen when someone breaks a commitment to be exclusive with their partner, either sexually or emotionally.
People may have different ideas about what counts as cheating, like one person thinking looking at porn is okay while the other thinks it’s not. Some people may only consider it cheating if it’s a sexual act, but others may feel that any emotional connection or intimacy with someone else, whether it’s online or in person, is a betrayal.
Infidelity can be the end of a relationship, but it can also be an opportunity for a couple to work on their issues and rebuild their relationship. Sometimes, it takes ending the old relationship and starting fresh to really make a commitment to each other.
People have a different idea on what constitutes cheating
People have different ideas about what constitutes cheating because people have different values and beliefs about what is acceptable behaviour in a relationship. Some people might consider it cheating if their partner flirts with someone else, while others might not consider it a big deal. Ultimately, what constitutes cheating is often a matter of personal opinion and is influenced by cultural and societal norms.
- Physical Infidelity: A physical or sexual experience or connection with another person. Inclusive of one-night stands, paying for sex, meeting up with people found online, or casual sex.
- Emotional Infidelity: An emotional attachment with another person. Inclusive of speaking regularly with another person of deep and meaningful feelings, issues, life goals, or sharing personal information regularly about your life.
- Cyber Infidelity: An affair than happens entirely online. Inclusive of inappropriately texting, consistent messaging, video calls with sexual content, consistent video calls, using dating apps or using social media to interact or communicate with others.
- Object Infidelity: An attachment to something outside of the relationship can results in infatuation and neglecting the relationship. Inclusive of work, social media, a phone, or even a hobby.
- Financial Infidelity: Being deceitful about finances. Inclusive of how much they earn, how they earn money, owed dept, savings, loans, or hidden accounts or cash.
- Micro-cheating: Crossing clear line within the relationships, or actions that could bother the other person. Inclusive of flirting, with no interest of it becoming anything more.
- Combined Infidelity: A combination of more that one of the above such as both a sexual and emotional connection with another person or developing an emotional attachment to someone you met online.
Myths About Infidelity
There are several myths about infidelity that are commonly believed, but are not necessarily true. Some of these myths include:
- Only men cheat: This is not true. Both men and women can be unfaithful in relationships, and studies have shown that the rate of infidelity is about equal among men and women.
- Infidelity only happens in unhappy relationships: While it is true that dissatisfaction or unhappiness in a relationship can be a factor that leads to infidelity, it is not the only reason. People may cheat for a variety of reasons, including a desire for novelty or excitement, or simply because they have an opportunity to do so.
- People who cheat are morally bankrupt: Infidelity does not necessarily reflect on a person’s moral character. People who cheat may have a lapse in judgment or make a mistake, but it does not necessarily mean they are a bad person.
- Infidelity is always the end of a relationship: While infidelity can certainly be a significant breach of trust and can lead to the end of a relationship, it is not always the case. Some couples are able to work through the pain and betrayal caused by infidelity and come out stronger on the other side.
- Infidelity is only physical: Infidelity can also be emotional, such as forming an intimate connection with someone outside of the relationship or sharing intimate thoughts and feelings with someone other than one’s partner.
What are the main causes of Infidelity?
The causes of infidelity are vast and often extremely personal. The reasons behind infidelity range from common causes to unique circumstances.
Contributing factors can be a lack of sexual satisfaction within the relationship or lack of close and meaningful interactions with your partner. Healthy relationships should hold a balance of affection, communication, safety, stability, and sexual or emotional intimacy. These factors can build the foundation of a fulfilling relationship. When these attributions begin to lessen, the relationship may be at risk of infidelity. Feeling a disconnect or falling out of love will also affect the relationship and invite a bigger risk.
Cultural and family background and mental health can also be a contributing factor to infidelity like for instance being raised within an environment or culture that normalises infidelity. That person may not feel that cheating and / or affairs are that much of a betrayal and that it is expected course of marriage.
Self-esteem, fear of intimacy or commitment, or mental health issue such as anxiety and depression can invite questions such as why is he with me? Does she have an ulterior motive? They are probably cheating on me anyway; I feel pressured in this relationship. These questions and statements can lead into making unconscious decisions that put the relationship at risk or push the other person away. It can also be an ego boost for those who feel low about themselves or unequal in the relationship.
Can You Prevent Infidelity?
To prevent infidelity, it can be helpful to hold in mind that relationships need nurturing, care and attention. It is important to be open and honest with your partner about your expectations and definitions of infidelity and monogamy. By setting clear boundaries and having a good understanding of each other’s needs, you can avoid future issues and make sure that both partners respect each other’s boundaries.
Here are some tips for nurturing and for keeping relationships alive:
- Communicate openly and honestly: Good communication is key to any healthy relationship. Make sure you are open and honest with your partner about your thoughts, feelings, and needs.
- Show appreciation and gratitude: Take time to show your partner that you appreciate and value them. This can be through small gestures like saying “thank you” or writing a note to express your appreciation.
- Practice active listening: When your partner is speaking, make an effort to truly listen and understand what they are saying. This means not just hearing their words, but also paying attention to their body language and nonverbal cues.
- Make time for each other: It’s important to set aside dedicated time for just the two of you to connect and spend quality time together. This could be a date night or simply spending an evening at home cuddled up on the couch.
- Practice forgiveness: No relationship is perfect, and there will be times when you or your partner make mistakes. It’s important to practice forgiveness and let go of grudges in order to move forward and strengthen your bond.
- Keep the romance alive: It’s easy for the romance to fizzle out in long-term relationships, but it’s important to make an effort to keep the spark alive. This could be through small gestures like surprising your partner with a gift or planning a special date.
Therapy can be a great help in rebuilding essential positive and uplifting attributes.
Can We Move Past Infidelity?
Relationships following on from an infidelity can be fragile. There can be overwhelming feelings of confusions, loss, anger, betrayal, and disbelief. This may look like the end for some, but for others it can be important beginning.
Therapists can support couples in discussing fears, rebuilding trust, looking deeper into the causes of infidelity, and the reasons you became a couple, to create a strong, successful, and happy commitment going forward.
Contact Leone Centre to speak to one of our experienced and professional therapists.
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