Infidelity is as old as Adam, but how society perceives infidelity has changed. As society has become more civilized, individual rights have played a large part in how infidelity is dealt with inside the marriage relationship.
Infidelity reportedly happens in up to 60 percent of marriages. This estimate is at best an informed guess because many acts of infidelity are unknown.
Humans are capable of long-term, monogamous relationships, but it goes against their physical nature, according to research in biology and reproduction. Fortunately, emotional and even spiritual issues come into play within the marriage and its commitment. The damage of infidelity – the physical act that is – can oftentimes be repaired if an emotional and spiritual commitment remains.
Infidelity often happens when a marriage declines. Communication failures, sexual dissatisfaction, money woes and worries or in-law problems – all can cause a couple to drift apart. A spouse unhappy at home may well be drawn to a stress-free, fun, and relaxing time with someone at the office.
Infidelity carries other risks. Sexual diseases and pregnancy are not uncommon. HIV/AIDS occurs in increasing numbers among married couples, along with syphilis, gonorrhea, herpes and chlamydia.
Two to three percent of fathers are unknowingly raising children who are not biologically their own.
Absent an eye-witness there are no clear-cut ways to be certain that infidelity is happening. Signs of infidelity – or signs of anything – can be misread if seen within a certain context.
Common indicators of infidelity include defensive behavior; change in habits (dress, time at work, money expenditures ); distractedness or aloofness ; silly arguments; and a decreased desire for sex . These indicators, however, may have nothing to do with infidelity; for example, a decreased desire for sex or aloofness can be signs of depression. Longer hours at work may actually me nothing more than the demands of the job.
As of 2003, 25.2 percent of American women report infidelity as the cause of their divorce. Once again, this is most likely a conservative estimate because not all women report infidelity in their marriage.
Sometimes children learn infidelity from their parents as the cycle of divorce and infidelity is passed down from one generation to the next.
Infidelity can, of course, be very distructive of trust. Emotional scarring and damaged self-esteem leave much required healing in its wake.
Infidelity can be either physical or emotional, or both. Acts of infidelity can happen with or without physical relations playing a part. The core of infidelity is the violation of a partner’s trust. Trust can be violated by human interaction – the intent, mood or “edge” inside the interaction is where the potential for infidelity lies.
The perception is where the pain is inflicted. Though our intent may be innocent, a spouse’s perception determines whether a violation of trust has taken place. Assuming both partners have the same definition of infidelity leaves the door wide open for complications to arise.