What are Infidelity and Affairs?
Classically defined, infidelity or affairs are “the act or fact of having a romantic or sexual relationship with someone other than one’s husband, wife, or partner.” While an affair or infidelity is broadly talked about as the physical act of illicit sex between two individuals, in reality this is too narrow a scope. Infidelity is any unfaithful relationship that a partner has with someone or something that is not their partner. This includes, but is not limited to, a sexual affair, an emotional affair, financial cheating or a pornography addiction.
Why Do Infidelity and Affairs Occur?
There are many reasons that affairs and infidelity occur. Some people find adultery an exciting distraction from a monotonous life, others an escape from an abusive situation. Sometimes this behaviour occurs in an otherwise happy and healthy relationship. Often no one person is at fault. Infidelity or affairs can be a symptom of a larger problem. This includes an unloving relationship, breakdowns in communication, physical health issues or mental health issues.
How do Infidelity and Affairs Affect People?
When infidelity or affairs are exposed, it tears at the heart of the relationship. Often the partner who has been cheated on is emotionally broken. In a family setting, this can have a detrimental effect as well. Even if the couple stays together, children may pick sides and can carry lasting resentment towards their parents for years after if their concerns are not properly addressed.
What is Infidelity and Affairs Counselling?
While many marriages that experience infidelity and affairs end in divorce, this does not need to be the case. If both parties are committed to work together on their relationship, healing can occur. Marriage counselling is a good place to start. The counsellor acts as a neutral third party to help both sides express their hurt, frustration, and hopes for the future. Freedom Counselling therapists will never force a dead relationship together. If marriage counselling ends with both parties agreeing to part ways, then it can easily transition into divorce counselling to talk about a future apart.
This feed of Psychology Today articles on affairs is a good place to begin to understand the many psychological factors behind infidelity and what can be done moving forward. Click here to learn more.
This article by the esteemed Mayo Clinic is a useful tool in understanding the reasons behind infidelity and how affairs impact those cheated on. Learn more here.