Family Therapist: 7 Reasons Of Infidelity, And Should You Forgive It?
June 11, 2018 17:46 By Fabiosa
There are countless books and movies about infidelity, but only those who faced this betrayal in real life know how much it can hurt. Usually, the family breaks apart as adultery is the most common reason for divorce. But don’t treat all cases alike, because there may be more to it, even if it seems such a no-brainer.
Reasons for infidelity
Nothing ever happens without a cause – each situation, including infidelity, has a cause and effect.
1. Relationship crisis
Getting into a relationship, people establish certain protocols, either verbal or implicit – they agree on the style and norms of behavior, their type of communication, intimate aspects of life, leisure, finances, and the like. With time, as people change, these established agreements also need to be reviewed and amended. Not all couples know about it, which leads to misunderstandings due to avoiding or silencing the problems. In this situation, cheating comes as a way of releasing the accumulated tension.
2. Lack of passion
Scientists claim that passion lasts for 2-3 years – they came to this conclusion by comparing the hormonal profile of newlyweds to those who have lived in marriage for a few years. If the only link was sexual attraction not backed up by deeper feelings, like respect and attachment, one of the partners can start looking for adventures elsewhere.
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3. Lack of intimacy
Intimate relationships become scarcer or cease when there are unsolved or unspoken problems between people. It’s still not better if it becomes purely mechanical, losing its tenderness and desire to please to each other.
Lack of an emotional bond, support, the ability to communicate heart-to-heart, or to be sincere with one another can also make one of the partners fall into someone else’s arms.
Sometimes, we think of jealousy as a way to express love, but in its pathological form, it provokes its object to cheat due to the "forbidden fruit" phenomenon.
6. Psychological problems
Often, the adultery can be caused by deep emotional suffering, possibly linked with unpleasant childhood experiences, relationships with parents, or self-esteem.
Often, an affair results from a mere coincidence, when a person temporarily loses control.
Perhaps, we all know a person whose family was ruined because of an affair. But many people can also recall a couple which got through this difficult moment and continued to build their happy future together. How did they do it?
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Cheating is not all the same
Although every person has their own attitude to infidelity, not all cases of cheating are the same. Every member of a love triangle has mixed feelings and suffers pain. Every affair can have aggravating as well as mitigating factors, which need to be accounted for prior to making a decision to keep living together or break up.
Let’s consider two situations. A woman’s husband has been cheating on her with her close friend for years. When she discovered it, the heart-broken woman broke up with both of them. In another family, a man after having one drink too many at a corporate party, ended up in his colleague’s bed. This was his first affair and as he loved his wife, he came clean and told her everything. Honest confession of an unfaithful spouse allowed the couple to overcome this crisis and move on together. Trust-based communication about unspoken problems, as well as about the incident, helped these people to get even closer and step up their relationship to the next level.
Forgive or not?
After discovering being cheated on, a person is overwhelmed with emotions, including rage, resentment, jealousy, shame, and guilt. A decision to break up is hard, even if there is no attachment between the partners left. It is many times harder when the love is still there.
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First of all, you need to honestly answer the following 4 questions:
- Do I want to save the family (relationship)?
- Is this person dear to me?
- Can I live with this person after what happened?
- Can I stop reproaching, reminding this person about this, not to turn our lives into misery?
The last one is the key question. If the answer is negative, then you shouldn’t keep the relationship. As there is always something behind infidelity, just give it thought – what exactly went wrong in your relationship? Who is responsible and to what extent? If both spouses regret what happened and are ready to try fixing and improving the relationship, chances to get through this are rather high, as neither of them wants to lose the family.
Loving people need to take care of each other, as everything they’ve built together for years can collapse because of someone’s affair. Talk with your partner, discuss any arising problems, be honest – this advice will let you keep on the same page and not to seek for substitutes. Even when it’s terribly hard, don’t give in, consult a family therapist who can help.
Source: Elina Rozina, a practicing psychologist, gestalt therapist, family counselor
The material in this article is for informational purposes only and does not replace the advice of a certified specialist.