The issues raised by infidelity are complex and certainly there is no “cure.” Some people believe that infidelity is hardwired into our DNA, an urge passed down by ancestors who sought to disseminate their genes to future generations. Others say that it’s a moral failing that deserves the strictest punishment, such as certain religions that will punish infidelity with death.
Infidelity can be defined as, “the action or state of being unfaithful to a spouse or other sexual partner”;1 “the act of having a romantic or sexual relationship with someone other than one’s husband, wife or partner.”2
But no simple definition can explain the emotional damage that can occur when a supposedly committed partner cheats, and no one definition can answer questions like: Why do people cheat? Is an ‘emotional affair’ really cheating? Are certain people prone to cheating? My partner had an affair: should I leave?
The following articles should show what others think about this difficult and often hurtful issue.
- What’s An Affair? Defining Infidelity
“This conversation represents the confusion associated with the word affair. I used to reserve the term only for relationships that passed the boundary into sexual intercourse, but that changed after watching a Ted Talk by affair expert Esther Perel called ‘Rethinking Infidelity: A Talk for Anyone Who Has Ever Loved.’
‘Infidelity,’ she explains, ‘includes one or more of these three constitutive elements: secrecy, sexual alchemy, and emotional involvement.’ Perel expounds on the three elements in her bestselling book, The State of Affairs.”
Therese J. Borchard, psychcentral.com, 3/8/2019
- 13 Facts About Cheating That Couples — And Singles — Should Know
“Psychologists and relationship experts have spent years studying the science of infidelity, turning up surprising insights into what different couples consider cheating, how they react to cheating, and how they bounce back after someone strays.”
Shana Lebowitz, businessinsider.com, 3/2/2018
- Should I Stay or Should I Go?: Deciding To Leave Or Remain In A Relationship After Infidelity
“Discovering that your partner is a cheat can be devastating. Along with dealing with the revelation that a partner has been unfaithful, the victim of infidelity must answer a difficult question: ‘Should I stay or should I go?'”
Robert Burriss, PhD, psychologytoday.com, 1/29/2018
- The Reasons Why People Cheat Might Be Much More Complex Than You Think: It’s Not Always A Sign Of A Problem In The Relationship.
“New research sheds light on the motivations behind cheating. Published in The Journal of Sex Research, researchers asked 495 young adults about their cheating past via an internet-based questionnaire.”
Jessica Migala, womenshealthmag.com, 1/9/2018
- The Most Insidious Type Of Cheating Isn’t Physical — Here Are 9 Signs Your Partner Could Be Guilty
“An ’emotional affair’ is hard to define — it can be tricky to know if you’re having one, and perhaps even trickier to figure out if your partner is.”
Shana Lebowitz, businessinsider.com, 12/24/2017
- Are You Having An Emotional Affair? It’s Hard To Define, But Here’s How To Figure It Out.
“Yes, it is possible to cheat on your partner without laying a hand on anyone else.”
Lisa Bonos, washingtonpost.com, 9/21/2017
- 9 Signs You’re Having An Emotional Affair — And What To Do About It
“Read this before sailing off into the sunset with your Jon Snow lookalike from the office.”
Lisa Fogarty, redbookmag.com, 8/31/2017
- Millennials Cheat On Partners For Two Main Reasons, Claims Study
“People often try and make their excuses for infidelity, but according to a study, there are two main reasons millennials cheat on their partners.”
Rachel Hosie, independent.co.uk, 8/8/2017
- “This Surprising Activity May Raise The Risk Of Cheating: New Research Into What Increases Our Risk Of Immoral Behavior.”
“When you think about future plans, do they include travel? The allure of new places is quite real for many of us. A visit to Thailand, Peru, or Paris would expose you to a range of new experiences, but could it also increase your likelihood of cheating?”
Theresa E DiDonato, PhD, psychologytoday.com, 1/14/2017
1. dictionary.com, accessed on 5/5/2018
2. merriam-webster.com, accessed on 5/5/2018