Being married means vows were made, many associated with loyalty and fidelity. For many people, the thought of cheating on the person they love is painful. And if you love someone, you don’t plan on hurting them. Yet, infidelity does happen. Why are people driven to it? What leads to disloyalty in a marriage?
Understanding the reasons behind affairs can help you stop it from ever happening—and save your marriage. Ready to get started?
What is Infidelity?
Infidelity is the breaking of trust or a promise to remain faithful to a specific romantic partner, most often one’s spouse. Any action that violates an agreement between two people and harms their relationship is also infidelity.
Does that mean that infidelity is purely physical? No. Sexual acts are not the only form of infidelity out there. Cheating can be sexual, physical, and emotional all at the same time.
If it breaks a promise to a partner or spouse, it’s a breach of trust.
What Leads to Infidelity in a Marriage?
Like a recovered alcoholic who runs back to the bottle when they hit rock bottom, people cheat because of their emotions. Emotional mood states often lead people in a relationship to be unfaithful. When you feel that your needs aren’t being met, you go looking for ways to satisfy them.
Emotions aren’t a way to absolve anyone of the trauma they caused by having an affair, but emotions do help us understand the why of the situation better. There are four main emotions associated with infidelity that are referred to by HALT:
Let’s have a look at what contributes to HALT:
1. Internet Use
One of the biggest contributors to infidelity is the internet. Forming connections and relationships over social media is easier than ever; you can spend hours talking to people online. And you can do it anywhere.
People who are lonely, tired, angry, or hungry for something new might find themselves looking for pornography, signing up for Tinder, or seeking out events where they can meet people with similar interests. All of this can lead to emotional or physical affairs.
2. Inability to Deal With Problems
Communication is everything, but it’s also overlooked and underestimated. How many times have you disregarded your emotions when your spouse upset you and you kept quiet about it? How many times do you argue, resolve nothing, and go bed angry?
This lack of communication and understanding often leads people to seek out others who will listen. The sympathetic coworker. The gym buddy. There are many examples of people who found coworkers they were comfortable with and confided in, thus beginning an emotional affair.
If you want to preserve your relationship, speak to one another. Talking things through will help you both combat the loneliness and anger, and it can stop the desire to cheat before it begins.
3. Boredom and Repetition
Remember when you were a kid and you would listen to a new song or eat a new snack until you were bored of it? Married life can feel like those moments; for some, that predictability is uncomfortable.
Unfortunately, “an idle mind is an evil mind.” Although it’s a terrible thing, some partners seek out a change in routine by cheating.
4. Drug Addiction
Again, we have an instance where people with a negative mindset. During these stressful times, they might reach for alcohol or drugs. Addiction leads to all kinds of terrible habits, such as stealing, cheating, and lying.
Drugs and alcohol also degrade your integrity. With loosened inhibitions, tired, lonely, and stressed individuals might engage in sexual contact more easily.
5. Feeling Unwanted or Unappreciated
Relationships and marriages become strained for multiple reasons. People separate when the love dies or when they begin to feel unwanted and undervalued. A marriage that has gone stale, where the chemistry is cold, could drive some people to cheat.
Absence because of work, for instance, can also lead to spouses feeling like they don’t matter. Like they are undesirable. In the end, this need to feel wanted and love influences their disloyalty.
Have you noticed this kind of absence in your marriage? That you’ve grown apart? That distance can be difficult, heart-wrenching even, but it’s important to reconnect somehow. Even if it isn’t over sex, try to rekindle the spark that got you two together. And most of all? Listen to one another.
6. Emotional Entanglement
Whenever you are separated from your spouse throughout the day, you are meeting and engaging with others. At work, while shopping, or at the gym, the likelihood of meeting someone is high. The chance of forming a relationship—or a transactional connection between two people—that leads to an emotional attachment can also happen.
You realize you like this person a lot and start to think of them more often, even when they’re not around. This kind of attachment can lead to what is called an emotional affair. Usually, such emotional entanglements can cause people to initiate flirtation or sex.
Anger. Being angry and seeking revenge is another reason people cheat and have affairs. This goes beyond someone cheating because their partner cheated, too. When you’re angry at your partner for how they behave or for something they did or didn’t do, it’s important to get it off your chest. Otherwise, it could poison everything.
8. Unfulfilled Sexual Desires
Chemistry in the bedroom is so important in a relationship. When needs are unmet, or when a partner can’t voice their sexual desires comfortably, it can lead to disconnect. That dissatisfaction may entice people to stray to another bed.
There are healthier options than infidelity, such as sex therapy or couples therapy. Voicing your needs in the bedroom is another important piece of communication.
Ready to Turn Your Marriage Around?
You now know that Hunger, Anger, Loneliness, and Tiredness (HALT) may lead to an affair or cheating. These emotions can take shape any number of ways, and people may act out differently. But this doesn’t have to be the reality of your marriage. You can save it.
Couples Academy is a unique form of relationship coaching created by an infidelity recovery specialist that puts you and your spouse on the right track to fulfillment. Get the lasting changes you desire. Give us a call today or fill out the contact form to learn more.