refers to situation where a married person engages in an extramarital affair. According to Brennan (2013), more than 25 percent ofmarried couples admit to having an extramarital affair. A recentresearch indicates that 20 percent of men and 14 percent of womenadmitted to having an extra marital affair. The discovery that apartner has an extra marital affair is painful and can lead to adivorce or a stressful marriage. It is difficult for the partner whohas been cheated on to maintain a trustful relationship or evenforgive his/her partner. Although many define infidelity as havingsex outside marriage, contemporary researchers claim that infidelitygoes beyond physical or sexual affair to include emotionalattachments outside marriage. Oblivious of the fact that infidelityis venom to marriages, it is critical to seek counseling to overcomeinfidelity and build a successful marriage once more. It is alsoessential to understand how infidelity starts in order to avoid it atall costs. Despite many views on infidelity, partners can come backto their senses and move towards making marriage work rather thanignoring the act or separating.
Often,an emotional relationship is the beginning of infidelity even thoughit may not initially lead to physical involvement. Sometimes itstarts with an innocent conversation in the internet or in a workplace. The emotional attachment extends further when people feel thattheir friends understand them better than their spouses. This type offriendship may seem harmless at first until the involved peopleventure into a dangerous territory. It is worth noting that mostpeople who engage into extra marital affairs never intended to in thefirst place. They begin having a more caring and understanding friendleading to a harmless romance that eventually becomes dangerous.Platonic friendships leads to infidelity when these elements arepresent emotional intimacy, sexual chemistry, and secrecy anddeception. Emotional intimacy occurs when people start sharing theirmarriage dissatisfaction with their friends. On the other hand,Secrecy and deception occurs when one does not have the courage toadmit that they are having some good times with their friends.Sometimes two close people may be sexually attracted to each othereven though they do not work towards it. This is what is calledsexual chemistry. Research indicates that twenty percent of marriedcouples have been negatively impacted by emotional infidelity(Peterson, 2003).
Thereare other several factors of infidelity that increase the propensityfor infidelity. One of these patterns is family patterns wherebychildren brought up by unfaithful parents tends to acceptunfaithfulness as normal. Likewise, bio-chemical cravings during anaffair tend to make spouses vulnerable to infidelity to a point ofbecoming addictive. Researchers also indicate that increasingpremarital sex activity increases the chances for premarital affairs.It has also been noted that child centered marriages have increasedcases of infidelity (Peterson, 2003). Women who have great careershave little time for their husbands and only agree to stay inmarriage for the sake of children. In such cases, a husband looks forconsolation elsewhere, something that leads to infidelity. Suchmarriages only thrive because of children or the society while deepinside the involved couple does not feel happy. This is a majorreason why people engage in extra marital affair in order to find theconsolation and care that they lack back at home.
Thepopularity and ease accessibility to internet is another majorcontributor of infidelity. Unlike in the past where only workplacesprovided room for extra marital affairs, today, however, online chatrooms have opened gates for romantic affairs. What starts as a simplechat ends up into a dangerous affair that can have devastatingeffects on marriages. It all starts when people share emotionalproblems with strangers who eventually become close friends. Theinternet is convenient and users can enter chat rooms anonymously. Itgives people an opportunity to escape their daily stresses and sharetheir feelings with other internet users who are willing to sharetheir problems. Without knowing it, people develop feelings for theironce platonic friends, which lead to infidelity. Internet is a majorcontributor of today’s marital problems. This is because it iseasier to make new friends through internet than it is to meet newfriends in the outside world. Further, chat rooms have so many peoplewith similar interests. This has made emotional infidelity easy morethan ever before. People spend time grooved to their phones orcomputers and alienate themselves from their families. It has becomea common phenomenon for people to engage in an emotional affair withpeople overseas through chatting even without meeting themphysically. People log in to chat rooms to get acquainted with newpeople only to get attached to their anonymous friends. A simplehello can result to a person sharing his/her personal experienceswith a person and with time share an intimate bond.
Itis crucial for married couples to be on the watch out on things thatcan lead them to having an extra marital affair. Lewis (2006)discusses the below factors as a sign that one is having or is aboutto have an extra marital affair:
Sharing of personal stories and thoughts with a friend of the opposite sex.
Comparing one’s friend of the opposite sex with one’s spouse. This makes a person to feel that their partner is not worth them.
Feeling a greater feeling of intimacy with a friend of the opposite sex more than one’s spouse.
Longing and looking forward to the next meeting with a person of the opposite sex.
People start changing their normal duties to make time for their new found friends.
The urge to keep one’s friend a secret from a spouse.
Spending a lot of time alone
Fantasizing about spending time with the friend and sharing personal feelings with them.
Theabove are signs that one is having an emotional extra marital affair.These signs are dangerous and are a pathway that can even lead tosexual affair. If people start having such feelings, it is time toput off lest they become unfaithful to their spouses.
Spousesthat engage in extra marital affair are likely to develop a coldheart towards their spouses. This leads to disaffection, which canruin a marriage if further intervention is not sought. Jarell (2008)confirms that when she engaged in an extra marital affair, shedeveloped a cold heart towards her husband. She felt as if she couldnot live with her husband for the rest of her life. She was at apoint of making her marriage end before her husband found a mentorwho helped them to come back together and make their marriage work.When the truth came out, she was able to confront her fears and talkover with her husband. After consultation with her husband, she wasable to end the affair with the other man for good. Brennan (2013)stipulates that the first thing that a couple should do afterinfidelity is to end the affair with the other man or womancompletely. Both partners should end up the break up together. Thiswill assure the cheated partner that his/her spouse has ended therelationship for good and is willing to go back on track. Thisimplies that when people are caught with infidelity issues, it is notthe end of the road for the couples involved. Likewise, couplesshould not ignore cheating or opt for separation immediately withoutseeking an alternative to save their marriages. In any case, coupleswho are willing to work out their differences after being caught upwith infidelity comes out stronger and happier than before. Marriagecounselors can be of great help whenever a couple is willing to makethings work. The recovery process varies for couples depending on theseverity of the damage and the willingness for both couples to comeout honest and make their marriages work.
Accordingto Clinton & Trent (2009), couples who are at the verge ofbreaking up should identify the series of problems that brought themto their current state. They should handle things gently and step bystep. Sometimes it happens that one of the spouses is more willing towork out more than the other. In such a situation, it is the duty ofthat partner to be supportive and loving to make the other realizethe importance of making marriage successful. However, that does notmean that the supportive partners should be abused or manipulated.This process requires couples to commit their time and attention totheir spouses. In addition, the supportive partner should committowards building a new intimacy emotionally and start dating all overagain. At this point, it is critical to avoid negative comments andblame games. Both couples should try to adopt a positive attitudetowards each other. Communication is blood life at this stage. Whilethis is so, it is vital to extend a caring hand by praising eachother and doing what is right to keep each other happy. The otherimportant aspect is to respect and maintain spouse’s zone ofsafety. This means that in case of a fight, one should back off earlyand try to apologize immediately in case of a harmful deed. It isessential to give each other some time to repair before coming backto the problematic issue (Brennan, 2013).
Likewise,it is vital for couples recovering from infidelity complications tobe transparent to each other. In many occasions, the other woman orman may try to come back. At this point, spouses should betransparent to each other in order to build trust and avoid one ofthe partners going back to their lovers. Spouses should let theirpartners access their phones, E-mails, and other relevant details.Although this may sound intrusive, it is one of the best ways toinstill trust among couples. However, it should be noted that this isnot investigative rather, a way of working together. Therefore, ifspouses receive a message from their ex lovers, they should not rushto accuse them. Instead, they need to talk about it and find means tostop the ex lover from coming in between them.
Takinga break together is essential for couples recovering from infidelity.Spouses can take a holiday or a trip together similar to a honeymoon.Marriage counselors’ advice couples to take a trip that does notinvolve much wandering. The ideal trip should be such that it givesspouses adequate and ample time together. Here, they can enjoy eachother’s company without interferences. It is also advisable toavoid hanging around with other couples as this may reduce the time acouple spends together. Both spouses should try as much as possibleto make the trip romantic and bring the marriage back on track. Thiswould make the spouses enjoy and reconnect physically and emotionallywith each other by the time the vacation is over (Brennan, 2013).
Couplesshould avoid going back to what they used to do before the vacation.Sometimes partners engage in extra marital affairs because theirmarriages are predictable and routine, something that makes it veryboring. As such, couples should try something new and avoid the oldroutine. Giving each other more time and doing activities togethercan spark the once lost passion. Surprising each other with gifts canalso help in building up a relationship and connecting with eachother physically and emotionally. Couples should also consider doingthings they like together such as playing games or watching moviestogether. They may also consider checking out in new restaurants andtaking walks together. Avoid as much as possible having a normalboring routine that used to be before the vacation. They should alsoconsider spending weekends together or having a romantic getaway.Couples at this stage are less likely to go back to infidelitybecause both spouses are willing to cater for the needs of theirpartners both emotionally and physically.
Manypeople and marriage experts admit that at some point even the moststable couples undergo dark moments in marriage. Thus, it is crucialfor couples undergoing a dark moment to seek mentors with anexperience. Mentors can be of great help and can help a couple tofight the hardships they face in their marriage. Professionalmarriage counselors can be of great help. These professionals listento all the problems that a couple may be going through before tryingto solve them (Parrot & parrot, 2005). Marriage counselors andmentors should try to understand of their troubled collogues and workwith them hand in hand. They should be sensitive to the needs of thetroubled couple so that they can make an impact in their lives.Mentors are likely to understand the problems couples go throughbecause they have prior experience. Couples seeking the advice ofmentors should be honest enough to allow them to solve their problemsadequately. As such, troubled couples should not shy away fromgetting advice from experienced mentors because this could be theonly gateway to a successful marriage. Divorce is a painful processand couples need to be sure they can work on their relationshipbefore embarking on it.
However,Oppenheimer (2011) is skeptical about monogamy. In his article, heclaims that monogamous marriages are predictable and boring to anextent that they send one or both of the partners to seek a loveroutside marriage. Some people need to have multiple partners just asothers need flirting. There those who cannot help their urges butconstantly lie to their partners. People stereotype men as beingpolygamous in nature. Since time memorial, men had mistresses,concubines, and had access to prostitutes until the society imposedmonogamy marriage. It is women who were confined to one man but astime progressed, feminist revolution deemed it necessary for men tostick to one woman forever. According to some, this was the beginningof disasters in marriage. Men were reaped off their freedom andrights to have as many women as they want the reason why infidelityis common and produces disastrous effects in marriage. Oppenheimerclaims that marriages should allow occasional infidelities and shouldbe honest about them.
Conversely,the claim that men should be given a chance to practice a littleinfidelity is misleading. makes married partners to driftfrom each other emotionally and physically. Further, it is riskybecause of sexually transmitted diseases inherent when people havemultiple sexual partners. These diseases may be passed on to thefaithful partner who had no idea that his/her spouse was having anextra marital affair. It is imperative to fight infidelity at allcosts for the love of one’s family and God. The societal idealsthat men are polygamous in nature are only promoting infidelity andmarriage break ups. Whenever a person is cheated on, he/she feelsbetrayed and may choose to end an institution that is blessed by Godand plays an essential role in the society. Divorce is painful forboth the partner that is involved in infidelity and the innocent one.As such, it is prudent to avoid it at all costs.
is a common problem in many marriages. At least 25% of marriedcouples have had a sexual affair outside marriage. Many try to keepit as a secret because they know the disastrous effects it may havein marriages. It is usually difficult to have a sound relationshipwhen one of the partners is found cheating. This is why many peopleopt for separation even though it hurts a lot. Others may opt to stayin a marriage for the sake of their children and the views of thesociety. In such a situation, couples should work together to maketheir marriages work or separate to avoid further emotional damage.Many marriage experts believe that infidelity should not be enough areason to allow couples to divorce. As painful as it is, couplesshould try to remedy their relationships for their own sake. Let themwork together to make their sacred institution to work by reviewingtheir lives. As long as both partners are willing to make it work,nothing can stop them. However, if one of the spouses refusescompletely to make their marriages work, it is in order to separate.No one should stay in a marriage that is abusive for the sake of it.Marriage is an institution build by two willing people and not asingle person. Society and children should not be a reason forstaying in a marriage with a promiscuous partner.
Brennan,F. (2013, October, 29). The Steps to Surviving . Women’sHealth. Retrieved fromhttp://www.womenshealthmag.com/sex-and-relationships/infidelity
Clinton,T. & Trent J. (2009). The Quick Reference guide to Marriage andFamily Counseling. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
Jarrell,L. (2008). The Unmasking of an Online Affair. FamilyLife. Retrievedfromhttp://www.familylife.com/articles/topics/marriage/troubled-marriage/infidelity/the-unmasking-of-an-online-affair#.VCmvd2NrPhA
Lewis,M. (2006, January 26). The Truth about Emotional Affairs. Focuson Family.Retrieved fromhttp://www.focusonthefamily.com/marriage/divorce_and_infidelity/affairs_and_adultery/truth_about_emotional_affairs.aspx
Oppenheimer,M. (2011, June 30). Married, with Infidelty. TheNew York Times.Retrieved fromhttp://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/03/magazine/infidelity-will-keep-us-together.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
Parrott,L. & Parrott, L. (2005). The Complete guide to MarriageMentoring. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
Peterson,S. K. (2003, January, 8). Reaches beyond having Sex. USAToday.Retrieved fromhttp://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/2003-01-08-workplace-usat_x.htm