Infidelity is one of the most traumatic experiences a couple canwork through. Even though many people have different definitions of infidelityacts, one must comprehend the reasoning behind these perception distinctions.One of the most reliable data on infidelity originates from the General SocialSurvey; supported by the National Science Foundation who collects the attitudesof Americans about social behaviors since 1972. Based on investigative reports,90% of all divorces involve infidelity (General Social Survey, 2006).
As anoutcome, infidelity is a significant issue in psychological academic research;which invites a lot of responsiveness from scholars. The focal purpose is toencapsulate these findings in detailed sets and illustrate the completeclassification of investigations on this topic. According to the International Encyclopedia of Marriage andFamily, infidelity, also recognized as cheating, “is a breach of trust thatsignifies a lack of faithfulness to a moral obligation to one’s partner.” Asexplained by Blow and Hartnett (2005) infidelity can include actions such as:”Having an affair, extramarital relationship, cheating, sexualintercourse, oral sex, kissing, fondling, emotional connections that are beyondfriendships, long-term relationship, philandering, friendships, internetrelationships and pornography use.
” Infidelity separated into distinct typesinclude internet infidelity, emotional infidelity, sexual infidelity and jointsexual and emotional infidelity (Glass, 1985). Within each general class, there are diverse subsections. Withsexual infidelity, one can pay for sex workers, take part in different sexualactivities or have same-sex partners. Emotional infidelity can happen at aworkplace with co-workers, or in long-distance relationships over the phone orinternet. Mileham (2007) examined a growing method of infidelity; onlineinfidelity, which is where individuals who involve themselves in long-termdevoted relationships pursue computer communications with the opposite orsame-sex member.
Furthermore, Mackenzie (2011) organized infidelity into 3 maintypes: emotional infidelity, sexual infidelity, and complete investmentinfidelity. Mackenzie (2011) stated that sexual infidelity focuses purely onsexual activity with someone outside of a marriage. This insinuates that thereis minimal or no emotional affection within any sexual activity. In Mackenzie’s(2011) analysis, deep passionate kissing or fondling are sexual activities thatstep over the boundaries of sexual gratification. According to Mackenzie (2011), sexual infidelity is more thanjust sexual intercourse. Complete investment infidelity and emotionalinfidelity incorporates no physical interaction, like online sex due or phonesex in which the partner involved in the affair is devoting themselves sexuallyindependent of their marriage. One group of research focuses on sex differencesin reactions to a partner’s conduct of sexual and emotional infidelity(Shackelford & Buss,2002).
According tothe article, men were more upset than women when it came to sexual infidelity.Also, since most marriages have parental responsibilities, women were morelikely upset than men when it came to emotional infidelity because of emotionalinvestment (Shackelford & Buss, 2002). Another group of research focuses on sex differences, and thedifferent rates of couple’s participation with infidelity. Allen and Baucom(2004) convincingly proclaim that men are more likely to involve themselves ininfidelity than women because they have more sexual companions outside theirmain relationship, have non-judgmental positions towards sexual relationsoutside of matrimony and have a strong passion to involve themselves ininfidelity. Nonetheless, Oliver and Hyde (1993) state that both women and men’sfrequency of infidelity is becoming similar in numbers and in behavior. According to Atkins, Baucom, and Jacobson (2001), individualswho attained a higher education were more likely to engage in sexual activitywith non-marital spouses. Their study determined that there is a relationbetween educational attainment and divorce but this finding is onlysignificantly noteworthy for those couples who divorced.
In another study,Forset and Tanfer (1996) determined that education has an association withinfidelity in women who married and have different educational degrees thantheir partner. Even more astonishing is the finding that married women who havea higher educational degree than their partner are more likely to engage inextramarital affairs than women who have a lower educational degree than theirpartner. Altogether, previous statistics from other studies illustrate thatindividuals in general who have high levels of education are more likely totake part in sexual affairs. To this day, genetic determinations of infidelity in humansremain inconclusive. Cherkas, Oelsner, Mak, Valdes, and Spector (2004) statedthat the number of sexual companions and adultery influence genetics mutually.More particularly, the number of sexual companions (38%) and the act ofinfidelity (41%) are hereditary.
Further into the study, they also found thatthe relation between these two variables bond genetically (47%). Distinctenvironmental influences define an individual’s viewpoint of infidelity.Cherkas et al., (2004) did a “genome-wide association study” and found threeregions on chromosomes 3, 7 and 20 that indirectly connected between infidelityand the number of sexual companions. In the end, the heritable findings of thisstudy open the possibilities for future genetic research particularly withsexual infidelity and evolutionary philosophies of sexual human behavior.
Many studies examined infidelity and personality types.According to Kinsey, Pomeroy, Martin, and Gobhard (1953), 25% of married womenand 50% of married men have participated in sexual behavior outside of theirmarriage by the age of 40. Another study, approximately thirty years later, statedthat 40% women similarly participated in sexual activity while 50% of menparticipated in more emotional or sexual activity outside of their marriage(Lawson & Samson, 1988). Furthermore, was the question of how personalitiescan hypothetically predict extramarital infidelities.
Hoyle, Fejfar, and Miller(2000) conducted a meta-analysis of 53 studies to assess personality qualitiesthat are more likely to engage in sexually risky behaviors. Those who have highmeticulousness and high consideration for others correlated to take part inlower sexual risks. Those who have low meticulousness and low consideration forothers correlated to take part in higher sexual risks and potentially havemultiple sexual partners as well as having unprotected sex. Buss (1989), designated marital interaction boundaries withintwo personalities with what is the Five Factors Model (FFM). These fivepersonalities include, “Openness to experience, Conscientiousness(meticulousness), Extraversion, Agreeableness (consideration for others) andNeuroticism.” Agreeing with this finding, another study by Schmitt and Buss(2000) established that individuals with considerations for others andmeticulousness were more likely to be entirely in a relationship without the worryof being in other extramarital relationships. Confirming this theory wasShackelford and Baser (2008) who centered on the FFM model, searched tocalculate the likelihood of individuals participating in sexual activityoutside their marriage.
For this study, 107 legally married couples of oneyear, self-reported their personalities. Out of 214 individual people, thosespouses who have low consideration for others and low meticulousness were morelikely to become involved in sexual activity outside of their marriage withinthe next year.Variables considered for unfaithfulness are educationalattainment, income, religion, culture, race, personality, opportunity,attachment style, employment and marital satisfaction.
Drigotas, Safstorm, andGentilia (1999) used categories of revenge-hostility, social context, sexualitysatisfaction, emotional satisfaction and attitudes-norms as reasons forinfidelity. Other common reasons for infidelity focuses on the need for sexualgratification and the need for extra emotional satisfaction from an outsidesource (Roscoe, Cavanaugh & Kennedy, 1988). Furthermore, open-mindedopinions toward infidelity also become a reason why a partner might engage inextramarital sexual activities (Roscoe, Cavanaugh & Kennedy, 1998). Conclusively,infidelity used as revenge is customarily another shared reason forextramarital affairs among married couples (Drigotas, Safstorm & Gentilia,1999). An uncommon variable of power has shown an increase in researchstudies. According to Lammers, Stoker, Jordan, Pollmann, and Stapen (2011), theneed of power within a relationship indicates a higher probability for engagingin extramarital affairs. Within this realm, increased confidence using poweralso indicates a high probability of affairs and interactions.
Women are not aslikely to engage in sexual relationships outside of marriage for power reasonsas men. This is more likely because of the evolutionary theme of men containingthe dominant image than women and socioeconomic differences between marriedcouples. One hypothesis is that if women were to earn as much as theirpartners, they too will be more likely to engage in extramarital affairsbecause of their new financial independence (Lammers et. al, 2011). Charny and Parnass (1995) stated in their study that marriedcouples who’ve gone through infidelity only have a small chance of saving theirmarriage afterward. With this, not all marriages end in divorce with infidelityinvolved. Within this study, some negative consequences for infidelity includereduced sexual confidence, reduced personal confidence, damage of trustboundaries, rage, increased reasoning for departing from their partner andincreased fear of abandonment (Charney & Parnass, 1995).
In another study, Horwitz (2001) determined that couples whochose to end their marriages because of infidelity issues, by divorcing, wereless likely to experience depression than couples who chose to divorce forother reasons. Also discovered, was that the unfaithful partner who divorcedtheir faithful partner was more likely to develop depression. This difficultoccurrence always questions whether a partner should either forgive theirpartner or end their marriage. Shackelford, LeBlanc, and Drass (2000), discovered that womenand men who have experienced different forms and variations of infidelity dueto evolution have different reactions to their spouse’s act infidelity. Theunderlying finding is that men have more difficulty forgiving their partners’sexual infidelity than emotional infidelity and because of this, they will morelikely end their marriage after the occurring sexual infidelity (Shackelfordet. al, 2000).Treatments for infidelity vary between studies.
According toAtkins et al., (2005) from a clinical perspective, couples understood betrayalduring a longer treatment procedure than a one-time appointment. This clinicaltreatment indicated higher improvement for unfaithful couples than faithfulcouples. For this study, Atkins et al. (2005) used Traditional BehavioralCoupleTherapy (TBCT) andIntegrative Behavioral Couple Therapy to analyze the management of infidelity.The 19 married participants who experienced infidelity had their levels ofdistraught and treatment for infidelity compared to other couples who soughtmarriage therapy for other various reasons. Atkins et al. (2005) determined that at the phase ofpre-treatment, the married couples involved with infidelity were moredistraught than other couples who sought therapy for other reasons but afterthe treatment, the couples involved in infidelity were as equal as couples whodid not involve themselves in infidelity.
Nevertheless, couples who decided tokeep the infidelity a secret from each other were more likely not to have as muchsatisfaction than couples who revealed the infidelity to each other. Alsoconcluded, was that the faithful partner was not as distraught as theunfaithful partner, and they both had comparable improvements in the clinicaltherapy (Atkins et al., 2005). Oppositely, Gordon, Baucom, and Snyder (2004), determined thatthe partner who did not involve themselves in infidelity was more distraughtduring the clinical therapy but achieved more improvements in treatment thanthe partner who involved themselves in infidelity. Using past conclusions oninfidelity and treatments, this study and treatment included the effectivenessof a multiphase forgiveness method to guide married couples to healing afterthe infidelity. The first phase of healing was dealing with the inspiration ofthe act of infidelity. The second phase of healing was going over thesignificance and structure of infidelity and the last phase was supporting thecouple in moving on after the act of infidelity. A positive finding includedthe majority of couples who developed a great amount of forgiveness respondingto the infidelity near the end of the clinical treatment (Gordon et al.
, 2004).Case (2005) examined a treatment example of infidelity thatconcentrated on a multi-phase procedure of forgiveness and apology. Thistreatment has the partner achieve a goal was regaining the trust of theirspouse by completing specific tasks. In conclusion, many couples who dealt withinfidelity were more likely to achieve repairing their marriage and find stabilitywithin their relationship.Examined within scientific studies, through different viewpointsis infidelity.
Like other interpersonal focus research, infidelity also hasmany unanswered inquiries. Because of the importance of relationships formarriage and family counselors, as well as social researchers, moreinvestigations about infidelity are in need. Understanding what infidelity isand how avoiding it in marriages or relationships, can potentially help futurecouples and therapists appreciate the encouragement to heal those exact issues.
A husband who decides to engage in sexual infidelity may sacrifice his devotionto another male partner. The husband of the wife who engaged in infidelity maylose the chance to continue his reproductive lineage for a couple of years dueto the timeline of birthing semesters. Also at risk, is the dedicated time andrevenue spent for other children outside the marriage. Downsides for marriages dealing with infidelity often includecosts to divorce, marriage therapy, and other expenses. One crucial issuewithin infidelity is the difference between couples who experience infidelityand do not divorce versus those who do divorce. Because of this, more researchstudies focused on the difference between married couples can assist in closingthe gaps identified and increase the knowledge of infidelity in the future. Useful research can include personality characteristics that eithercalculate or indicate infidelity and the significance between married couplesexperiencing infidelity who are same-sex couples.
Nevertheless, research onthese topics needs to be accepted in all aspects before investigating due tothe sensitiveness of societal rules and regulations regarding same-sex couples.Research into careers that are more likely to engage in extramarital activitiesas well as the probability those careers influence infidelity can increasecomprehension of societal acceptance among the workforce. Even though infidelity is an everyday issue in our Americanculture, future married couples regardless of gender orientation can becomeaware of the negative effects of infidelity.
With marriage workshops oreducational classes, couples can apply tools and methods of preventing thedestructiveness of infidelity. Therapy specifically designed to guide couplesexperiencing a turbulent relationship due to infidelity can demonstratepositive if both spouses have a shared acknowledgment of wanting to changetheir relationship and include values that will help their relationshipflourish.