Successful relationships are built on the twin foundations of trust and love. If one fails, the entire structure crumbles. When infidelity occurs, it strips away the basic tenets on which the foundations of the relationship were established.
This unfaithfulness creates a strain on the bond that can lead to devastating and irreversible consequences. The people involved are changed forever, and both will have to deal with the trauma caused. Some individuals may incur serious mental health issues; others may want to end the relationship, while others may opt to repair it.
Whatever the outcome that prevails, this experience has to be treated and processed properly. So, how do you deal with infidelity? How do you move on from it? Here’s what you can do:
Acts of infidelity can vary from one person to another. What may come across as cheating for someone may be tolerable for others. Some people may consider watching porn as cheating while others say it’s cheating only if it involves another person. Whatever the situation, it all ends up with one party inflicting pain on the other. Once caught, it may make the aggrieved party feel inadequate or unworthy.
Now, whatever you define it to be, it’s important to talk to your partner about these things first. Both parties should discuss their boundaries and individual perspectives on infidelity and cheating. This way, the line on which cheating begins is more clearly defined, and possible strains on the relationship can be avoided.
Roots of Infidelity
Monogamy is currently the most common type of relationship around the world today, with a select few cultures practicing polygamy due to religious beliefs. However, wherever you belong on the spectrum of relationship flexibility, infidelity can still occur. Cheating is defined as the violation of the boundaries set by the involved parties through the addition of new partners. And, according to experts in affair counselling in Windsor, affairs are rooted in reasons like:
- Lack of mutual satisfaction
- Personal discontent
- Desire to explore other sexual experiences
- Need for emotional intimacy
- Boost one’s confidence
- Addiction to sex
- To escape personal and relationship problems
- Undealt insecurities
- Lack of attention from the partner
- Power imbalances
Mediums of Infidelity
The definition of cheating varies depending on the context and situation. Not every instance of infidelity will be as blatant and brazen as you might expect. It can be done in different ways and you need to be wary in identifying it in your own and your partner’s actions. Listed below are the common instances in how cheating is done and dealt with in the real world:
Open relationships that agree on having multiple sexual partners are often stigmatized for being more prone to cheating. However, the likelihood of sexual affairs is the same with strict monogamous relationships as well.
Sexual affairs are often rooted in the need for physical intimacy and to sate sexual desire. Despite the vulnerability that this sexual act incurs, emotional attachment is rarely a factor. Statistics show that women tend to be more forgiving towards men in this type of affair especially when emotions are not involved.
Cyber communication has made it easier to make new connections with other people. This, however, poses a threat to vulnerable relationships as it serves as a temptation for untraceable and unknown affairs.
The cheater may even be under the state of delusion thinking that this type of cheating is okay because no physical contact has been made. However, the mere investment of emotion and time towards the third party with sexting, nudes, video calls, and more is enough to damage a relationship.
Infidelity can also be seen outside the realms of sexual contact. Emotional cheating can also be a form of disloyalty when your partner is no longer invested in your relationship.
When the cheating party is more romantically and emotionally engaged with another person, it can cause a heavier level of pain and harm. Since the act of cheating has an emotional and rational connection, it can no longer be excused as the simple pulls of passion.
Personal obsessions and addictions can cause disruptions to both the individual and partner’s life. By being overly focused on objects and other activities, can lead to relationship neglect or lack of bonding time with your partner.
Even without an actual person involved as a third party, this can still be seen as a type of infidelity in the relationship. Fortunately, object affairs tend to be connected to mental health issues, which can be treated.
Consequences of Infidelity
Infidelity can harm both sides of the relationship and may even affect the children. Be it mentally or emotionally, its effects are diverse and not always physically seen. To be more aware of its consequences on a person’s psyche, here is a short breakdown:
Partner Who’s Been Cheated On
On the side that’s been cheated on, a person can incur negative effects on their mental health ranging from anxiety, distress, low self-esteem, shame, rage, trauma, and depression.
Studies also show that they exhibit more high-risk behaviours when they learn about the affair such as having multiple unprotected sex encounters, drug abuse, over and under-eating, and even suicide.
They may even have less trust towards future partners due to the trauma that they had experienced. This is called projecting, which serves as unhealthy self-defence and a coping mechanism that needs to be processed and treated.
Partner Who Cheated
Affairs can be kept hidden for years, even decades by the cheater. The partner who has cheated may feel and experience immense guilt, financial stress, unplanned pregnancies, contracted STDs, acts of physical violence, anxiety, and depression.
Given that they don’t want to get caught, these negative effects on their mental and physical health may worsen as they delay their confessions.
Mental Illness and Recovery
People who have had to deal with infidelity, be it the couple, the children, or the third party, can undergo plenty of trauma during and after the affair. The mere emotional stress and turmoil can trigger conditions like depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, rage, and more.
If left untreated, these conditions could get worse and develop a distrusting behaviour in individuals, affecting their current and future relationships.
However, all these negative impacts can be alleviated by contacting the nearest mental health services in San Francisco and asking for their help. By taking the first step towards improving mental health, you are beginning your road towards recovery and moving on from the pains of infidelity.
Affairs are not always about sex. The time you spent with the third party that leads to the neglect of your current partner, even through conversations, dates, and talks can be considered cheating.
This emotional attachment can sometimes be confused with platonic friendships, but when the bond oversteps the boundaries of your romantic relationship, it becomes a problem.
Once cheating is committed in a relationship, everything about it is changed. Both parties will have to deal with it. However, you don’t have to recover from it on your own. You can always move on with the help of mental health professionals to process the trauma.