Infidelity is breaking a promise to remain faithful to a sexual partner, whether that be marriage vows sanctified by the state or privately uttered agreements between lovers. As unthinkable as the notion of breaking such bonds may be at the time, infidelity is all too common. For the cheating partner, infidelity is exciting and seductive, conferring feelings of renewal, rejuvenation and joy. The person betrayed, however, often feels like all the air has been sucked out of the room.
Infidelity occurs when a person is unfaithful to his or her partner or spouse in a relationship where exclusivity is expected. This issue is not just related or limited to physical relationships. Infidelity can happen on different levels including emotional and relational levels and across different mediums including physical, virtual reality and online.
The rate at which both men and women engage in infidelity has increased over the decades. In years past, many more women remained at the home front; today, however, half the workforce is comprised of women. And let’s face it, with co-workers spending hours upon hours together, the workplace is ripe for romance. Still, many committed relationships do survive infidelities.
Forms of Infidelity
The line between innocent, playful flirtation and downright betrayal is elastic. Some people argue that confiding in anyone, other than your partner, can mean betrayal. Secretly reading a text, watching pornography, giving more time to another individual other than your partner could amount to a breach of trust. It all depends on individual perspective. Women, in general, are more concerned with emotional involvement, while men deem sexual interaction as deep duplicity. In reality, any activity that takes place without a partner’s knowledge may lead to problems down the road.
Generally, we can categorize infidelity in marriage as follows:
Relational infidelity: This is the act of creating relationships that are more important than a partner or spouse’s relationship. It involves placing emphasis on taking care of that other relationship and placing their needs above the needs of your partner or spouse.
Object Infidelity: This is the neglect of a relationship to pursue an outside interest. The pursuit may reach a point of near-obsession towards a particular object or an activity.
Cyber Infidelity: This is infidelity committed through sexts and chats. It may stay online and never reach the point of sexual intimacy. This type of affair might also include the viewing of pornography. Some people consider that act itself to be a form of infidelity.
Sexual Infidelity: One partner may have sex outside the relationship. They often do not experience emotional attachment to that person. Studies show men have a harder time forgiving a sexual affair than women do. Women may be more likely to forgive an affair when emotions are not involved.
Emotional affair: This occurs when one partner becomes emotionally attached to someone else. The person is often of the gender to whom they are attracted. A person might spend hours talking on the phone or online to someone other than their partner. An emotional affair can negatively impact a relationship. Someone in an emotional affair may discuss relationship problems with the person outside the relationship. They may also neglect to do this with their partner. Sex is not always part of an emotional affair.
In addition, infidelity might also involve the combination of both sexual and emotional intimacy.