What Is Infidelity?

For the adulterer, 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. What leads to such a dissolution? Relationships are problematic, and require ongoing work, but a dalliance often feels insurmountable. The person with the wandering eye gets thrown into the dog house, and the one who was betrayed feels the relationship is irreparable. 

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. And when it happens, it raises thorny and painful questions. Should you stay? Can trust be rebuilt? Or is there no hope, and no choice but to pack up and move on?

Who Is Having an Affair?

Some 90 percent of the 3,400 participants in a recent survey consider infidelity as unacceptable. Yet among heterosexual married couples, 20 to 40 percent of men and 10 to 25 percent of women stray in their lifetime. Overall, the percentage of both men and women who engage in extramarital sex 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.


Deception, Divorce, Marriage

The Forms of Infidelity

What constitutes actual 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. Even too much interest in another person’s social media postings can amount to a breach of trust. Still, others think that chatting (online or otherwise) approaches a problem. There was no “sex” involved, so what is the issue? 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.


Relationships, Flirting

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