Would you remain loyal to your partner, no matter what? For many of us, it is hard to even think about cheating on our significant other.
You could be wondering, how do even people think of cheating their partners. Nonetheless, infidelity is one of the main causes of divorce!
So, what are the things that drive people to do what they do?
Before we begin discussing the various causes of infidelity, let us first understand what exactly is infidelity.
What is infidelity?
Infidelity can be best explained as any action that violates an implicit or explicit agreement between two people, thus harming a relationship.
What might begin as friendship or compassionate connection increases over a while and becomes an intimate relationship.
Often, platonic friendships evolve into emotional affairs, and the line between these two types of relationships runs very thin. Platonic friendship turns into an affair when it becomes emotionally intimate and involves some level of secrecy.
Now, most of you would section infidelity into a physical realm, one that only includes sexual contact with someone other than the person they’re committed or married to.
The truth is that an affair can be physical, emotional, or both.
Putting it into a box labeled “sex” makes it easy for someone to say, “I didn’t cheat on you; we’re just really close friends. I’ve never touched him/ her!”
And this can be dangerous and irresponsible. Cheating can be a purely sexual act or even purely at an emotional level. In either case, the one participating in an affair is giving something away that they vowed to reserve only for their partner or spouse.
How common is infidelity in relationships?
Before we discuss the glaring causes of infidelity in relationships, let us look at how common infidelity is in committed relationships.
Sexual infidelity is undoubted a massive threat to the stability of a committed relationship and is indeed one of the hardest ones to overcome.
A research paper suggests that around one-third of men and one-quarter of women might get involved in extradyadic sexual relationships at the minimum once in their lifetime.
As we know, the concept of infidelity is not just restricted to the realms of physical intimacy; people engage in emotional affairs. So, we can only imagine the numbers!
Also, as per research, 70% of all Americans get involved in some kind of affair during their marital life.
By referring to these statistics, we can infer that infidelity is way too common than we perceive it to be.
The implications of infidelity on relationships are severe. So, it is better to be aware of the various causes of infidelity to avert the problems well in advance.
15 causes of infidelity in relationships
‘Marriage and infidelity’ is an extremely distressing combination. But, what causes infidelity in marriage?
According to experts, one of the most common causes of infidelity is a sense of emotional disconnection from your partner.
The person who has committed adultery complains of feeling unappreciated, unloved, ignored, and overall sadness or feeling of insecurity, leading them to cheat on their partner.
However, there have also been cases where only the thrill of doing something secretive and tasting the forbidden fruit lead to infidelity.
There are numerous causes of infidelity, and each case is different from the other.
While some believe that it is the result of a loveless marriage, others believe that it results from a hasty decision that cannot be undone. Others believe that infidelity is nothing but a failure to work out relationship problems.
Having said that, let us have a look at some of the commonly observed causes of infidelity.
1. Excessive use of the internet
The internet has become one of the significant facilitators of infidelity.
It is very easy to get connected with people and continue talking to them for hours at length whether you are at home, work, or even in some public place.
There are many websites where people can meet up, leading to the beginning of a new relationship.
2. Inability to deal with problems
Running away from problems and the inability to deal with them is a major cause of infidelity. There are times when instead of dealing with the problem at hand, husbands or wives end up making excuses and try to find some other way that opens the door to infidelity.
There have been many examples where a spouse reported that they found a coworker with whom they could share their problems and feel comfortable, which was the beginning of the affair.
It comes as no surprise that most infidelity cases occur in workplaces where sympathetic coworkers offered a shoulder to lean on.
3. Porn addiction
Porn content is very readily available on the internet, and this is one of the major causes of infidelity and destroyed relationships these days.
The Internet makes pornography widely available. You have to go online and type in a search in Google. It’s that easy.
Watching porn from time to time can seem innocent, but the long-term effects are rather harmful. Porn addiction is thus one of the top reasons for infidelity in relationships.
If you feel that you are getting addicted, make sure that you monitor your addiction and dissuade yourself from getting too much into the habit.
4. Alcohol or drug addiction
Alcohol or drug addiction is also one of the common causes of infidelity in relationships. Often addiction makes a person get into detrimental habits like lying, stealing, and even cheating.
Overconsumption of alcohol or drugs causes people to lose their inhibitions and behave irrationally. In turn, people can easily give in to temporary feelings of infatuation and drift away from their partners.
You might not believe it, but boredom is one of the leading causes of infidelity. People fall into routines that take the excitement from their lives, including their bedroom lives.
Many people look for excitement to escape boredom and experiment with various things like adopting new hobbies or hanging out with different people. They end up cheating their partners even without meaning to do so.
6. Lack of healthy relations
Lack of normal or healthy relations is also one of the key causes of infidelity.
There are couples who have married for a certain reason, or they are staying together for certain motives like children or financial issues, but there is no love between them, and they cannot tolerate being with each other more than needed.
There are also situations where people ignore their spouses. They don’t live like a normal couple, go out together, have a passionate relationship, and ultimately one or both of them look outside their relationship for someone whom they want to be with.
7. The feeling of being unwanted
Some people try to seek love out of their primary relationship because they feel that their partners no longer want them.
When the other spouse starts feeling like their opinion and feelings don’t matter, they counteract the strong undesired influence of cheating.
In their heads, this act will bring back their dignity and self-esteem. They want to show that they’re still there and they’re still worth it in somebody else’s eyes.
If you notice such a disbalance in your relationship, try to think of ways to grow towards each other as equals. Otherwise, you might end up in a mess that you both regret later on.
8. Living apart for a long time
Although distance doesn’t matter in true love, living apart for a long time is one of the most common causes of infidelity.
Often, couples are forced to stay apart from each other due to their job’s nature and work commitments.
When one partner is absent for a long time, the other partner is lonely, and to keep themselves busy, they find new activities that might involve interacting with other people where they get a little too involved with someone.
Couples also drift apart when they spend too much time away from each other, and they no longer feel connected or attached as before. They either fall in love with someone else or simply resort to infidelity to make up for the emptiness.
9. Sweet revenge
What happens when one of the partners resorts to cheating in a relationship?
There are precisely two scenarios– either the relationship falls apart immediately, or the sin is forgiven, and the couple moves on. But you’ve got to be careful as this sounds too good to be true!
Often one claims to have forgiven, but they’ll never forget cheating in a relationship.
The person who was initially hurt might have an affair only to reclaim their own sense of value. After all, romantic revenge does exist!
So, after the transgression, it is even possible that the partners call it even. A different matter is whether this relationship will last any longer!
10. When the partner behaves more like a child
Suppose one of the partners has to take care of everything in the household, make all the critical decisions, or provide the family budget. In that case, they might start feeling as they’re a parent instead of a significant other.
This is one of the primary reasons why spouses cheat.
As they cannot find the desired balance within their relationship, they subconsciously start looking for it somewhere else. And, as soon as they find somebody who appears to be their equal, they’ll be prone to cheating in a relationship.
11. Issues involving body image/ Aging
People stop chasing their partners after getting married or getting committed in a relationship.
The ‘chasing’ or the ‘honeymoon’ period is pretty brief, and as time progresses, it becomes easy to take each other for granted.
Often this lackadaisical approach leads you to neglect how you look and carry yourself. By no means, we endorse physical appearance as a parameter to be loved.
But, unfortunately, there are times when people start missing the older, appealing version of their partners and look for easy replacements instead.
In turn, the disgruntled partners often try to fill the void by seeking solace in some other person’s company. And, in no time, they might crossover the boundaries of healthy friendship and resort to infidelity.
So, never miss out on these two ingredients- respect and appreciation, if you wish to see your relationship going a long way.
13. Unfulfilled sexual desires
Unfulfilled sexual desire is one of the glaring causes of infidelity.
As per a study published in The Normal Bar, 52% of people who were dissatisfied with their sex lives are more likely to give in to the outside attraction as compared to only 17% of those who were sexually satisfied in their primary relationships.
It implies that people who do not have a fulfilling sex life are three times as likely to cheat on their partners as compared to those with pleasurable intimacy levels.
Also, there are people who claim that ‘My sex drive is too high to be handled by one person.’ Of course, by no means is this a legitimate reason for cheating your partner.
But, in the same study as mentioned above, 46% of men and 19% of women cited it as a reason for their affair.
So, if you find yourself grappling with issues in your sex life, it would be best if you could try considering sex therapy instead of opting for infidelity.
14. When a partner wants to sabotage a relationship
Cheating in a relationship also occurs when a partner is not just happy in a relationship but also wants to sabotage it before breaking up.
This could be a sheer case of vengeance when a partner, for some reason, wishes to inflict pain on the other before leaving.
At the same time, it’s also possible that the person resorting to cheating in a relationship wants to end it but wanting the other person to initiate. In such cases, the cheating partner wants to get caught and expects the other partner to break up with them.
Infidelity is also one of the legal grounds for divorce, besides living separately for more than a year and subjecting your partner to cruelty (either mental or physical).
Of course, there are people who forgive their spouses and continue living their marriage, maybe for the sake of children or their dependency on their partners.
But, not everybody is able to get over the hurt caused by their cheating partner.
There are many people who are unwilling to give a second chance to their partner. This situation inevitably leads to legal separation.
Infidelity is one of the scariest things that could happen to a relationship or marriage, but know that it can be prevented.
In order to prevent it, you’re going to need to take a hard and honest look at the current state of your relationship. Look for the cracks that could widen over time and lead to emotional and physical disconnection, the two primary causes of infidelity in marriage.
Once the voids grow large enough, infidelity will lurk in the shadows. Be more intentional with your connection to your partner.
If you feel there’s no way you can stop your relationship from going downhill, seeking professional help from a counselor or a therapist can help you handle your issues in the best possible way.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.