Infidelity and the Truth About Lovers
Although the definition of infidelity is sometimes controversial, we can understand it as the rupture of a covenant of emotional and sexual exclusivity, in which one of the partners, has another relationship with a third person. The contract, which may or may not have been explicitly stated, is breached. This undermines confidence in the relationship, and causes irreparable damage.
Historically, it hasn’t always been socially rejected and there have even been times when it has been applauded, especially on the male side.
What feeds faithfulness?
Among the elements that have proven to favor fidelity, love stands out as it’s main contributor.
Values such as trust, and beliefs such as: “Relationships are based on loyalty,” “I control my desires”, “I have more to lose than to win,” “I don’t do what I don’t wish done to me,” also seem to be front and center.
Other factors that appear to play a role are the pressures we feel from society or family to remain a faithful person. The rules that we grew up with at home, social pressures, institutions or religious convictions may exercise control over these desires.
In turn, guilt can prevent infidelity, because there frequently arises a fear of not being to stand the feeling of deceiving another.
However, the healthiest cause of fidelity is an acquired commitment to the partner. This becomes more relevant once the infatuation has passed, since the contract has already been established, and affection, friendship and respect are the factors that uphold fidelity.
What’s behind infidelity?
Among the factors that have frequently been associated with a person that decides to commit infidelity, we can highlight:
- Lack of love: situations where the strong sentiment that once existed has been lost. “I like you but I don’t love you.” This may encourage the idea that, by finding someone else, they’re being “true to themselves and what they feel,” despite deceiving the other person.
- Boredom and routine: the lack of stimulation that some experience in the relationship, can support the idea of seeking it out, elsewhere. It’s more common in those who require constant stimulation, and can’t find or don’t promote the motivation needed in their relationships.
- Vanity: the frequent seduction of others can be a key motivation in people with strong narcissistic traits, who measure their self-esteem according to how many people they win over. Feeling attractive and able to attract others may “give you value”, but it may also unintentionally cause you to separate from your partner.
- Beliefs: Some beliefs may favor the idea of certain behaviors, such as: “Just this once,” “Nobody has to know,” “I’m not going to pass up the opportunity,” “Everybody does it”, “I can’t be faithful”, “We men are simply like this,” & “It’s just sex,” as if somehow, these beliefs “justify” the facts.
- Values: a person may have a moral compass that doesn’t punish infidelity or see it as something negative.
- Communication issues: when problems within the couple are hidden rather than faced, this can generate resentment and accumulated differences within the relationship that cause progressive loss of interest in the other person.
- Loneliness: the feeling of loneliness in a relationship is especially difficult. When in a relationship, if one of the partners feels alone, and feels like it’s a distant and disaffected relationship, it can motivate them to seek their “company” in a third party.
- Lack of sexual gratification: when there’s dissatisfaction in the sexual realm of the couple’s relationship, this can favor the idea of trying to find another more compatible partner that does bring them satisfaction.
- Emotional deprivation: when there’s emotional distance, there’s no sense of positive recognition, and the person doesn’t feel valued, causing them to also feel undesired. This causes the person to seek out a third party that will make them feel attractive.
- High expectations of the relationship: highly unrealistic and elevated expectations about what’s expected from the other partner can produce great disappointments. These will create distance between the two, and lead them to look elsewhere for the “ideal” person to fulfill them.
- Traumatic experiences: when there are challenges supporting each other as a couple, along with failures in communication and affection and facing stressful situations, these can increase the distance between the two partners, and promote seeking it out in others.
- Social pressure: a certain amount of pressure at a social level can also increase the temptation to commit infidelity. Some social models “advertise” these facts, such as the male prototype who is attractive because of his multiple partners or sexual encounters.
- Curiosity: seeking out novelty and being curious to try everything can surely cause a person to be unfaithful. It’s possible that personalities that are more suppressed, such as people who are shy, find it easier to meet the desire of novelty, than to ask their partner to change or to try something different.
- A search for adventure: the need for new and exciting emotions can be very common, especially in people who tend to live a very intense and ever-changing lifestyle.
But not all is lost! Both in the case of having these features and detecting them in a couple, it’s possible to work with them. For example through therapy, and by finding alternative ways to build and maintain healthier and more satisfying relationships.