Prepare yourself ...
Sexual fidelity is one of the most important elements of committed relationships — especially marriage. Yet a large number of couples face infidelity, bringing great pain and challenges into the relationship.
Even when couples are able to overcome this difficult experience, cheating violates trust and shakes the relationship's foundation.
Infidelity leaves the betrayed partner feeling unloved, unappreciated and replaced — and likely depressed and angry for months to come.
It may even terminate your marriage.
Whether we are directly affected by infidelity or not, it is important we understand more about it in order to deal with it should the need arise.
To begin, here are 4 issues that commonly lead to infidelity:
1. The never-ending "battle" between lust and love.
Many individuals in committed relationships say they love their partner but still lust after other people. Illogical? Well, not exactly.
The intensity of lust tends to exceed the intensity of love, but it is also short lived. Love is powerful when it comes to co-existence, care and emotional stability. It is love that keeps us together for the long run. But desire, passion, novelty, the unknown ... these are the feelings that make us feel young, desirable and alive.
Lust is an altered state of consciousness programmed by the primal urge to procreate. А marriage that doesn't have passion becomes limited — and to some people may even feel like a prison. Infidelity often happens when one partner (or both) enjoys some elements of the relationship, such as security and comfort, but no longer wants the other partner sexually. Falling into the monotony of everyday life, they forget to maintain the level of passion and connection that prevents them from looking outside their own relationship.
2. We don’t want what we think we desire.
We all know the idiom: “Be careful what you wish for.”
While we want to experience safety, stability, and routine, it may also lead to monotony and boredom. Nothing dilutes passion more than monotony.
The dull life you experience may become overwhelming, making you wonder about the possibilities of a more exciting life. You find yourself wondering about someone who will cherish you, and at the same time be passionately crazy about you and who will make you feel “butterflies” in your stomach.
So, while you want to secretly eat from the "forbidden apple," you don't want to leave your spouse for an adventure of this kind. Deep down you know that your illusion will crash as soon as you end your current relationship — that the moment your former partner is gone, you will realize the one you idealized isn't so perfect after all.
To avoid infidelity, always aim to have an interesting and fun relationship with your partner, filled with action and passion. Learn to appreciate what you have and what your partner brings into your life.
3. Low self-esteem means a greater likelihood of cheating.
One myth about infidelity is the saying that people who cheat must be handsome, wealthy and self-confident, and thus never satisfied with only one partner.
If there is a fact you should know about adultery, it is that many people who cheat are not like that at all. Cheaters actually come in many forms, and a large number of them have low self-esteem and lack maturity. No matter how much love they receive from their partner, it is never enough.
The insecure individual who engages in infidelity is driven by a powerful desire to conquer new people in order to feel loved. They crave others' reassurance of their self-value. However, while the cheating provides an immediate lift to their self-image, this boost is temporary, leading to even deeper feelings of emptiness and misery.
This is why, in addition to investing in the relationship, each partner must continually work on building their self esteem and aspiring to be the best person they can. At the same time, each individual must appreciate their partner and the wonderful things their relationship brings.
4. A lack of respect and mutual support of each other's differences.
The well-known saying that opposites attract is true — and it's not.
This idea is often confusing and leads to misunderstandings. Many happy couples don’t have much in common, and others who are very much alike have problematic relationships.
The key to success is less about shared interests, which is clearly important, and more about the respect, interest and support you show for each other's differences. You can support each other and love spending quality time together while also taking time to do your own thing.
If you are totally uninterested in your partner’s lifestyle and yawn whenever they speak about something important to them, you are both ignoring and dismissing them. Disrespecting their hobbies and ideas may lead them to feel unloved, increasing their interest in an affair with someone who shows even a little bit of interest in their world. If you continue to act as you did when you first started dating, the relationship is far more likely to stay respectful, interesting and fulfilling.
Cheating becomes a way to deal with limited choices.
It is typically how one person tries to meet those needs they feel are left unaddressed within the relationship — or within their own psychological makeup.
To bring back that magical spark in your relationship, you both need to continually put effort into it. Re-explore the romantic and sexual elements that define the basic core of your relationship, as well as the basic core of your own self.
It is important to be present in the relationship, not only physically but also mentally. Pay attention to your partner — there will always be something new to learn.
Once you realize what things your partner longs for and support them, you will build a deeper connection and adultery will be the last thing to enter their mind.
Moshe Ratson is an affair therapist in Midtown Manhattan in NYC. He assists couples overcome the traumatic experience of the affair, rebuild their trust and ultimately emerge stronger and happier. If you need guidance in dealing with infidelity in New York City, contact Moshe Ratson, who is a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist (LMFT) and infidelity expert.