Dealing With Infidelity: Understanding Why It Happens

Infidelity is a problem as old as time, and one everyone handles differently. Biologists tell us that humans are not predisposed to monogamy, but the motivation to “mate” for life is strong in people, nonetheless. WebMD cites a 2002 study from the University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Center. It found that approximately 15 percent of women and 22 percent of men admitted to infidelity during their marriages. What are the motivations behind those who do cheat, and how can you recover if it has happened in your relationship?

Are You a Pursuer?

For some who cheat, it can be traced back to a developmental flaw that leaves the person craving affection. This person wants the attention and enjoys the feeling of conquest, but has difficulty returning affection and attention. So their relationships tend to be very one-sided.

Is Something Missing?

Another possibility for what causes an affair is when someone doesn’t realize that something is missing in his or her current relationship. He or she receives an outsider’s attention and responds to it.

Did You Commit Too Young?

The cliché of a mid-life crisis is wrapped in some truth, especially for someone who committed to a monogamous relationship at a young age and may be feeling like they have missed out. These individuals may be compelled to cheat to make up for these perceived “missed experiences.”

What Do You Do If Your Partner Has Been Unfaithful

If you or your partner has been unfaithful, you both first have to decide if you want to work through what caused the cheating and try and rebuild your relationship. If you opt to stay together, the first step is for the unfaithful partner to recommit to the relationship and stop all communications with the other person involved in the affair. Second, you both should engage a counselor to help talk through the issues together, and possibly separately, in a safe and neutral space. Finally, the unfaithful partner needs to be honest about the affair and allow the other partner the space to express their emotions without censor or judgment. Some therapists recommend creating a 10-minute time period each day for the injured partner to be able to vent while the unfaithful partner must listen and accept those emotions.