Causes and Effects of Infidelity

Have you wondered how infidelity can occur even in the strongest of all marriages? What drives people to cheat of their lovers? Read on to learn the causes and effects of infidelity.
| Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Marriages they say are made in heaven. Even then the responsibility of nurturing and developing this bond is very much in the hands of the two people involved. Very few marriages can actually survive the burden and trauma of infidelity. It is true that most individuals do not consciously decide to destroy their marital vows by cheating on their partners. In some cases the relationship between the two individuals may already be on the verge of breaking and infidelity may just uncover the deep seated problems. Even in such a case the cheating partner cannot be excused for his/her behavior. However there are instances where seemingly the strongest marriages and relationships experience the problems of infidelity. There are some causes of infidelity that can help the involved individuals to perhaps understand what went wrong and why it happened. These causes then can only serve to ensure that they seek help and take important decisions about their relationship and life.

  • Typically when the discovery of an affair is made it can be devastating for the person who is at the receiving end of such an infidelity. Inevitably self blame is the first reaction after the news and the details are understood or then the person automatically wants to understand where he/she faltered in the relationship to make the other person take such a step. However it is important to understand that it is not their fault that makes their partners cheat. Cheating has more to do with how the cheating partners view themselves and how they feel about themselves. Many times it has everything to do with their self image. Someone whose self esteem is in tatters may seek to derive self fulfillment through the relationship. Such an outlook is not a mature way of living life since in the initial phases of the relationship the person may get the approval/attention he/she seeks. But with the passage of time and challenges that life throws up such a person might not be able to adjust. Such people may continue to seek attention and approval and if they find it outside the relationship/marriage they might pursue it to feel good about themselves. Some other individuals who feel they are far superior to their partners may decide to cheat. They might justify their behavior feeling that they deserve to be with someone equal to them.
  • Sometimes perceived/real lack of emotional intimacy is the cause of infidelity. Typically women are more prone to indulging in cheating if they feel they are not validated, accepted, nurtured and loved in their relationship. If the affection is missing or if one of the partners seems less committed or unable to provide time to the relationship this can drive an individual to cheating. Emotional affairs are often the result of lack of emotional intimacy between couples.
  • Sometimes some people may cheat just for the excitement or the adrenaline rush that comes along with doing something that is prohibited or not allowed. It can be because some people want to avoid boredom in life and the predictability of everything. It can be because they enjoy the feeling of living on the edge.  
  • Familiarity can be the cause of infidelity with some people. After some time people know each others partners/spouses very well and this can lead to lack of excitement in the relationship. If such an excitement is found somewhere else then it can drive people to cheating. The element of grass being greener on the other side of the fence is glaringly true in some cases.
  • Sometimes unexpressed anger or desire to get even with the partner/spouse for some perceived pain can drive people to cheat. A new baby may take much of the mother’s attention and if the spouse is not able to adjust to the change or understand it a chance for an affair may be taken by such an individual.  Long standing unresolved issues can also drive a person to cheating.
  • Not every individual is able to deal with aging gracefully. Some people may cheat if they get a chance just to prove that they still can achieve it, that they still have it in them. Sometimes if a person perceives lack of support from his/her spouse when it is most needed and he/she find such a support elsewhere then it can be a cause of infidelity.
  • Children who grow up in an environment where their parents or other family members cheated may think it is perfectly alright to do the same. Particularly young individuals who are taught to believe that monogamy is unnatural may find it acceptable to cheat.
  • Some people are simply in need of different sexual experiences and so end up having affairs. Some others may do it because they have sexual addiction. Some other people feel they have grown out of the relationship or fallen out of love with their partners/spouses. So they simply go out and seek other relationships just to get rid of the present relationship.
  • Other causes may be availability of the opportunity such as proximity at the workplace. So many people hear the excuse from the cheating partner that "it just happened."

Infidelity results in a lot of heartache and problems to both the individuals. Some of the effects of infidelity include:

  • The person who is at the receiving end of the infidelity ends up having a shattered self image/esteem. He/she goes into severe self doubt mode or then tends to indulge in a lot of self blame.
  • Such a person may become extremely depressed and even suicidal. Such an individual may lose complete faith in relationships and also the ability to trust people because of the immense betrayal caused by infidelity.
  • Affairs may lead to a feeling of tremendous insecurity and anger. Without professional help the blame game between the cheating individual and the partner may not cease.
  • Where children are involved, their lives may experience a lot of turmoil and in unfortunate cases they may be used against the cheating partner. The desire to get even with the cheating spouse may be tremendous and this can result in the individual making some irrational decisions.
  • Since infidelity can mean death of the relationship and annihilation of everything trustworthy and sacred, the person at the receiving end of an infidelity may experience a barrage of emotions and may feel like he/she is on some roller coaster ride.
  • Infidelity may result in long drawn out and bitter divorce proceedings and custody battles.
  • Sometimes the effects of infidelity can also be positive. Infidelity in certain cases may force individuals to take a good hard look at themselves and their relationships. It can help them to recognize that they need professional help and if they seek the same it can help them to work through the problems and build an even stronger bond and save the marriage.
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