When it comes to infidelity, most would agree that it simply sucks. The hurt, the sense of betrayal, the loss of trust, the experience of no longer being THE ONE, and feeling that life has been pulled from underneath you can be extremely painful and overwhelming. Well, know that you are not alone. Recent (2016) infidelity statistics in the United-States suggest that over 41% of marriages report that one or both partners admit to cheating.1 For some this may be a startling statistic, yet infidelity has prevailed our societies for centuries, dating back to classical Greeks and Romans, and as far back as our primitive relatives the chimpanzees. According to anthropologists Fisher & Aron (2010), polygamy is permitted in 84% of human societies. So why is infidelity so taboo in our Western culture? What draws people outside the boundaries of commitment? Do affairs go beyond acts of lust? Why do affairs hurt so much? And, can we move beyond them?
Having experienced both sides of infidelity first-hand, and having worked with numerous couples in similar situations, the reasons for infidelity are countless. Sometimes they result from couples growing apart or due to the loss of an emotional flame. Other reasons include the lack of sexual or physical connection, a desire to feel alive again, or simply due to a spouse feeling neglected or unappreciated. This said, we may also want to look at our natural instincts for further clues. According to O’Sullivan (2015), who conducted a groundbreaking research on infidelity state, “Monogamy fights our natural instincts. We’re drawn to people who are pretty… our brain lights up.”
O’Sullivan’s research also points that many affairs may not even be cause by unhappy marriages. Her study showed that happily married people cheat too and affairs are often situational. Despite these numerous reasons, they often point to a common source: a fundamental need for bonding and connection. When bonding and connection begins to fail in a couple, and circumstances permit, individuals look outside their relationship for external validation, excitement, as well as for physical and emotional comfort.
For those individuals looking to go beyond infidelity, there is hope. The first step starts by getting the proper tools and support needed to move beyond the pain or status-quo of infidelity and into taking your love to the next level. With proper coaching, the healing process can be reduced to months rather than years. By helping to re-establishing trust and connection through the process of honoring one’s pain, of standing in non-judgement and understanding, of inviting authentic communication, and of stepping into forgiveness, a new world is opened, where a renewed and empowered relationship is not only possibility, it becomes a reality. Why not re-build yours today?
Associated Press – Journal of Marital and Family Therapy – September 7, 2016