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Infidelity: Everything You Need To Know

May 29, 2023

11 min read

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Author : United We Care
Infidelity: Everything You Need To Know

 

Introduction 

There are many  TV shows and movies globally that talk about infidelity- the act of cheating while in a relationship. When your partner cheats on you, it can feel like your whole world has come crashing down on you. You might think that trusting and loving your partner, or even another person, again is going to be the most difficult thing you could ever do. However, it is possible to heal yourself. It might take time, patience, and effort, but you can rebuild a bond stronger than ever.

“Cheating and lying aren’t struggles; they’re reasons to break up.” -Patti Callahan Henry [1]

What Is Infidelity?

My first encounter with infidelity was while watching the show ‘Friends,’ where Rachel talks about her fiancé, Barry cheating on her with her best friend, Mindy, before the wedding. As a child, this came as a shock to me because till then, I saw a fairytale world- a world where there is only love and no pain.

The word ‘Infidelity’ was coined around the 14th century. Back then, it meant someone who did not follow Christianity and the religious processes. By the 16th century, the meaning changed and then meant someone who was unfaithful and disloyal in a romantic relationship [2].

Infidelity can take many forms – physical affairs, emotional affairs, and online cheating [2].

Although, when you face infidelity in your relationship, trusting your partner again can be difficult. It might even harm you physically and mentally. You might have to keep a lot of patience and remember the good times rather than the hurt. Remember that it is possible to heal from the event [3].

However, if it is a constant behavior of your partner to ask for forgiveness and then cheat on you again, then you can choose to move out and end it as well. Like Adele asked, “Should I give up, or should I just keep chasing pavements? Even if it leads nowhere,” you don’t have to keep chasing pavements. There is no compulsion, but keep your safety, sanity, and compassion in mind.

What Are The Types Of Infidelity?

I’m sure that when you thought of infidelity, you only thought of it as someone getting involved sexually with a person other than their partner, right? But, there are other ways as well that a person can cheat [4]:

  1. Physical Infidelity: Physical Infidelity involves engaging in sexual activities with someone other than your partner. For example, Barry was physically involved with Mindy in the show ‘Friends,’ even though he was engaged to Rachel.
  2. Emotional Infidelity: Emotional infidelity is when you develop a deep emotional connection or romantic feelings for someone other than your partner without physically getting involved. For example, remember when Ross had strong feelings for Rachel, even when he got married to Emily? Funnily, he even ended up saying Rachel’s name while taking vows instead of Emily’s.
  3. Cyber Infidelity: There are a number of dating apps in the market today. From Tinder to Bumble, finding a partner or a friend has become very easy. Plus, there are so many social media apps and pornography sites that you can use. The use of these sites or apps while you are still in a romantic relationship is called cyber infidelity. You could use these platforms to just flirt with someone. In recent times, Adam Levine, a famous singer, has come to light for using Instagram to text and flirt with different girls, even though he was married with children. I don’t know how true the allegations are. However, if it’s true, then he could be a party to Cyber Infidelity.
  4. Opportunistic Infidelity: If you are a ‘Bridgerton’ show fan like me, Season 3 shows Lady Danbury, a new widow, and Lord Ledger, an already married man, ending up having an affair. What started as an emotional infidelity turned into an opportunistic infidelity. Lord Ledger and Lady Danbury saw the opportunity, and they used it, even if it was for a day.
  5. Serial Infidelity: You are a serial cheater if you have been with multiple partners and displayed a pattern of repeated unfaithfulness. If you remember Matthew McConaughey’s character from ‘Ghosts of the Girlfriends Past,’ he was involved with many girls at the same time. Every day he was with a new girl without actually breaking up with the previous one.
  6. Financial Infidelity: When two people are together romantically, they are together even in terms of finances. But, if you have separate hidden accounts or hidden debts, then you are party to financial infidelity. For example, in the movie ‘Confessions of a Shopaholic,’ Rebecca Bloomwood hid her debt from her boyfriend, Luke Brandon, and lied, saying that the debt collector was her ex-boyfriend.

What Are The Causes Of Infidelity?

I have been a relationship coach for almost eight years now, and I have come across multiple causes for one or both partners to cheat on each other [5]:

  1. Relationship Dissatisfaction: If you are dissatisfied with the current relationship, then the chances of infidelity can increase. Dissatisfaction can emerge if you feel that there is no emotional connection between you and your partner. This emotional disconnect will be visible in the way you both talk and have a conversation and even in your sexual life.
  2. Opportunity: You might come across a lot of opportunities in your life where you can cheat on your partner in one way or another. The opportunities are endless. It can be that an old partner of yours is back in town, you start having feelings for a common friend, or even that your friends take you to a place like Las Vegas. Such opportunities can push you to cheat on your partner.
  3. Individual Personality Traits: People who like getting touched as a gesture of affection, those who have no control over their emotions and actions, or those who think that the world revolves around them are most prone to cheating on their partners. Such people would be serial cheaters.
  4. History of Infidelity: You know how we say ‘like father, like son’ or ‘like mother, like daughter’? We behave very similarly to how we see our parents. Since the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, you might tend to have an affair or cheat on your partner if you saw your family members engaging in infidelity. Moreover, it’s also possible that because you were cheated on once, you would try to punish your other partners for the past hurt you had to deal with.
  5. External Factors: The whole world is dealing with stress these days. Since sex can help you release this stress, it’s possible that you might cheat on your partner if they are not willing to fulfill your sexual desires. Plus, you could have friends who encourage you to go for a one-night stand, saying that your partner will not find out. In fact, even the concept of open relationships might permit you to engage in unfaithful acts.

What Are The Symptoms Of Infidelity?

If you feel that your partner is cheating on you in any way, the chances are that your feelings are true. But, just for you to be sure, you can check for the following signs [6]:

  1. Your partner has started keeping secrets.
  2. They stay away more often.
  3. They get frequent late-night calls where they talk very quietly.
  4. They even changed their phone and email passwords and run toward you quickly if they see you with their phone.
  5. They do not engage in activities you both used to enjoy together.
  6. They feel emotionally disconnected and do not talk or share much.
  7. There is a decline in sexual activities or even a disinterest in sexual advances made by you toward them.
  8. They are being overly sweet with you and giving you more attention, more than usual.
  9. They have suddenly started giving you expensive gifts that you didn’t need or ask for.
  10. You both get into unnecessary and frequent fights, and they keep suggesting that you both should split.

Understanding these signs can help you plan your next steps forward in a better manner.

How To Overcome Infidelity?

Overcoming infidelity in your relationship can be difficult and challenging. But, if you are sure of what you want to do, whether it is to stay and make the relationship better or end things, that’s always your choice. However, if you choose to stay, you can take the following measures [7]:

How To Overcome Infidelity?

  1. Acknowledge and Discuss: You and your partner can begin by accepting the infidelity and how it has impacted you and your relationship with them. Be open about your feelings and concerns. Try understanding what their reason was for indulging in infidelity.
  2. Seek Professional Help: You need to understand that if things have already escalated to the point of infidelity, then the situation is already out of your control. To avoid the situation to arise again, you can go for professional help. A marriage or relationship counselor and therapist can help you by creating a safe space for both of you to talk about your feelings. It’s also possible that a professional can give you tips to help you cope better and rebuild your relationship in a better manner.
  3. Rebuilding Trust: When your partner has been unfaithful toward you, then trusting them again can be very difficult. However, if both of you decide to be transparent and honest with each other about the feelings and issues you both are dealing with, then it’s possible to revive the trust in your relationship. Your partner must also be willing to give an explanation and give reassurance that the act of infidelity will not be repeated again.
  4. Emotional Healing: Healing from infidelity can take getting to know each other once again. For that, you and your partner can try new activities and find new hobbies that you can do together. Doing so can take time, so in the meanwhile, you can focus on yourself and give yourself a chance to understand your emotions by indulging in self-care activities. You can use meditation, spa days, breath control, etc., to understand yourself and your emotions.
  5. Commitment to the Relationship: Getting to know each other once again can even help rebuild your commitment levels, redefine boundaries, and understand your goals as a couple. Understand what works for you and your partner and what doesn’t. Take one day at a time. You don’t have to have everything figured out in one go.

Conclusion

Having to go through an event of infidelity can be heartbreaking and make you question everything in your life. However, with love, effort, and patience, you can work things through. One act is not the end of the world. Give love a chance; give yourself a chance. You and your partner can work toward rebuilding trust and commitment once again. For a lot of couples, when they didn’t allow one act of disloyalty to end the relationship entirely, their relationship got even stronger, and the future looked brighter than ever. Just decide for yourself what works best for you and take a step toward that.

If you face infidelity, you can connect with our expert relationship counselors or explore more content at United We Care! At United We Care, a team of wellness and mental health experts will guide you with the best methods for your well-being.

References

[1]“A quote from Between the Tides,” Quote by Patti Callahan Henry: “Cheating and lying aren’t struggles, they’re re…” https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/260505-cheating-and-lying-aren-t-struggles-they-re-reasons-to-break-up

[2] K. P. Mark, E. Janssen, and R. R. Milhausen, “Infidelity in Heterosexual Couples: Demographic, Interpersonal, and Personality-Related Predictors of Extradyadic Sex,” Archives of Sexual Behavior, vol. 40, no. 5, pp. 971–982, Jun. 2011, doi: 10.1007/s10508-011-9771-z.

[3] W. D. Barta and S. M. Kiene, “Motivations for infidelity in heterosexual dating couples: The roles of gender, personality differences, and sociosexual orientation,” Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, vol. 22, no. 3, pp. 339–360, Jun. 2005, doi: 10.1177/0265407505052440.

[4] A. J. Blow and K. Hartnett, “INFIDELITY IN COMMITTED RELATI0NSHIPS II: A SUBSTANTIVE REVIEW,” Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, vol. 31, no. 2, pp. 217–233, Apr. 2005, doi: 10.1111/j.1752-0606.2005.tb01556.x.

[5] E. S. Allen, D. C. Atkins, D. H. Baucom, D. K. Snyder, K. C. Gordon, and S. P. Glass, “Intrapersonal, Interpersonal, and Contextual Factors in Engaging in and Responding to Extramarital Involvement.,” Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 101–130, 2005, doi: 10.1093/clipsy.bpi014.

[6] M. A. Whisman, A. E. Dixon, and B. Johnson, “Therapists’ perspectives of couple problems and treatment issues in couple therapy.,” Journal of Family Psychology, vol. 11, no. 3, pp. 361–366, Sep. 1997, doi: 10.1037/0893-3200.11.3.361.

[7] Baucom, D. H., Snyder, D. K., and Gordon, K. C., Helping couples get past the affair: A clinician’s guide. Guilford Press, 2011.

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Author : United We Care

Founded in 2020, United We Care (UWC) is providing mental health and wellness services at a global level, UWC utilizes its team of dedicated and focused professionals with expertise in mental healthcare, to solve 2 essential missing components in the market, sustained user engagement and program efficacy/outcomes.

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