Marriage and Infidelity

Marriage and Infidelity


This research paper draws attention on infidelity. It commences by defining it as the breaching of expectations within sexual exclusivity. The paper further highlights the activities entailed in infidelity thus agreeing that it is the major causes of divorce in the contemporary society. Additionally, the paper highlights diverse aspects of infidelity noting that it involve both sexual and emotion relationships. The paper also explores the connection between gender and relationship by observing that men have high tendency of getting upset than women after identifying actions of infidelity with their partners. The study also identifies that the society tends to tolerate disloyalty actions committed by men and they are more likely to practice infidelity. Furthermore, the paper highlights the links between education and infidelity, the effects of genetic on infidelity and personality and infidelity. Notably, it also discusses the major causes of infidelity, issues of infidelity in the bible as well as its consequences.

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Marriage and infidelity


Infidelity entails breaching the expectations within sexual exclusivity. This encompasses diverse activities such as having an affair, extramarital relationship, and sexual intercourse. In essence, infidelity regards to the aspect of being unfaithful where one is unreliable and cheats on his or her partner after showing commitment to exclusiveness. According to Knox & Schacht (2010), the infidelity that happens among sexual partners is called philander, adultery or an affair. Infidelity may vary with factors such as culture and the people’s interaction since it often happens in an open relationship. In the contemporary society, infidelity is the major cause of many divorces. According to a research by the General Social Survey, more than 90% of the total divorces involve infidelity. The report shows that in a year, more than 10% of the married couple engages in sex outside their marriages (Subotnik & Harris, 2005). This affirms that infidelity is a sensitive topic that demands critical evaluation. The paper engages various studies with the intention of investigating infidelity from diverse perspectives such as the causes, types, cues, effects, gender differences and the personality of spouses among others in order to develop knowledge of the subject.

Types of infidelity

Infidelity assumes diverse dimensions that vary from simple to intimate association with individuals outside the marriage. According to Dupree, White, Olsen & Lafleur (2007), infidelity is primarily categorized into two major forms that include sexual and emotional affairs. Aspects such as the work environment and long-term distances may argument cases and extent of infidelity.  Essentially, sexual infidelity happens when one engages into sexual affairs with individuals outside the marriage (Atkins, Eldridg, Bauco & Christense, 2005). Furthermore, emotional infidelity is characterized with the idea of having feelings or a desire of establishing relationship against nuptial bond.  In some instances, infidelity includes relationship that does not necessary encompass physical contact or doing the actual action of sex (Knox & Schacht, 2010).

Gender difference in infidelity

Examining the sex dissimilarity in response towards infidelity and the diverse rate at which men and women involve in infidelity is essential. Initially, the sex divergence toward the partners’ infidelity presents adaptive problems. Following these adaptive problems that originates from parental uncertainty, men tend to get more upset compared to women by infidelity committed by a partner. According to Atkins, Eldridg, Bauco & Christense (2005) emotional infidelity is so annoying among women than in their counterparts. Additionally, the rate at which both men and women involve in sexual infidelity differs. This is because research reveals that men are associated with higher cases of betrayal, and most have extra sexual partners outside their relationship. Additionally, men tend to have lenient feelings regarding sex outside their marriages and their aspiration to engage in disloyalty is high. On the contrary, the recently conducted study revealed that men and women’s rate of infidelity are increasingly becoming similar since they are not differing behavior wise (Subotnik & Harris, 2005).

Education level and infidelity

Educational levels of individuals have impacts on the rate of infidelity where highly educated individuals have high chances of engaging in illegitimate relationships. There is also a high correlation amid divorce and one’s competency. The connection between these two facets is high among the divorced couples. For example, it clear that a female with higher education than her colleague has increased chances of being unfaithful in marriage as compared to a woman with minimal education (Knox & Schacht, 2010). Therefore, there is a strong relationship between education and infidelity because there is a high rate of infidelity among highly educated individuals (Atkins, Eldridg, Bauco & Christense, 2005).

Genetic effect on infidelity

According to Neuman (2009), genetic has an impact on the degree and frequency of infidelity. This is because they believe that 41% of infidelity and 38% of many numbers of sexual partners are inherited. On the contrary, Knox & Schacht (2010), argued that the correlation between genetic and infidelity is strongly opposite. They assert that infidelity results from collective and exceptional environmental exposure. Therefore, there research indicates that the relationship between genetic and infidelity is zero (Atkins, Eldridg, Bauco & Christense, 2005).

Personality and infidelity

Various scholars have evaluated the personality aspect of infidelity. Most studies indicate that by the age of 40, 50% of married men and more than 25% of married women have engaged in illegitimate sexual habits. However, after 30 years, over 50% of men still go on with sexual or emotional sexual behaviors while 40% of women participate in similar relationships (Hirsch, Higgins, Bentley & Nathanson, 2002). Therefore, the research concludes that the major cause of these behaviors among married people is lack of marital interactions. However, it is also true that personalities of married couples are likely to predict different marital infidelities. This is because there are personality aspects that underlie peril behaviors in situations where agreeable and consciousness leads to lower sexual risk-taking. On the contrary, low agreement and consciousness among couples leads to greater sexual risk taking including having multiple sexual partners and unprotected sex among others. Research also revealed that couples with a high cordiality and awareness concentrate in relationship making them have reduced chances for unfaithfulness (Atkins, Eldridg, Bauco & Christense, 2005).

Factors that encourage infidelity

Infidelity in marriages emanate from diverse aspects. Initially, there are the psychological and relationship factors that lead to increased level of infidelity in the contemporary society. The most common psychological factor that fuel infidelity in the society is the level of satisfaction within a relationship. According to different conducted research, it is true that over 50% of extramarital sex is mostly associated with the aspect of relationship satisfaction. This entail the level at which the association turns out to be fulfilling including whether partners meet the personal needs, the level of love they feel for the primary partner (Solomon & Teagno, 2006). Additionally, satisfaction also depends with the frequency and quality of sex encounter with the primary partner as well as the marriage period. In addition to that, boredom and inadequate emotional support can also increase the rate of infidelity in marriage. This is because when marriage starts being boring, either one partner or both will seek means of entertaining themselves and this might lead to disloyalty. One spouse might decide to cheat in marriage in order to get the emotional support that he or she does not get from the husband or wife. Therefore, this implies that it is essential in for partners to take a positive step in case they realize incidences of boredom or lack of emotional support in their marriage. They can do this by visiting guiding and counseling, seeking advice from their partners, talking among themselves or seeking help from their friend (Hirsch, Higgins, Bentley & Nathanson, 2002).

Furthermore, infidelity in marriage can be because of poor communication and partners that engage themselves in fewer positive talks and more interactions that are negative. Lack of communication in a relationship, can result into misunderstandings thus encouraging partners to cheat on each other. Consequently, this implies that communication is a vital factor in every relationship and partners should willing to communicate in case of any problem in order to come with a wise decision. Partners should also know that in every relationship, communication play varying functions including terminating, maintaining or repairing (Solomon & Teagno, 2006). Additionally, infidelity is also common among partners who are unhappy in their marriages. However, such individuals anticipate engaging in infidelity at any given time and they expect their partners to do so. Unhappy partners encounter high rates of marital dissatisfaction, thus unfolding predisposing behaviors. It is also true those husbands who engage in infidelity have less possibilities of satisfying their wives. On the contrary, wives engaging in infidelity do not show high rates of dissatisfaction primary nuptials. The level of investment partners have in the primary relationship and the perceived quality of their alternative plays a significant role in infidelity (Nacho, 2010).

Remarkable, research has shown that there is a high liaison between infidelity and the attachment model. The model asserts that the attachment style that children develop depends on the treatment that they got from their caregiver while growing up. For example, if a caregiver avoids showing concern to the distress of the child, then such child grows up developing a negative model of self and others referred to as fearful avoidant attachment.  On the contrary, other children grow up with positive feelings of self but negative concept to others, called the dismissive avoidant attachment. However, there are those that develop a preoccupied attachment style where they develop a negative concept on self but have a positive one towards others. Most of the children who encounter this received a lot of attention and care during their childhood thus enabling them to develop a secure attachment style as well as a positive concept of themselves and others (Patterson, 2008). The attachment concept remains effective in entire life course and it serves a foundation for attachment that exists among spouses. For example, secure attachment in childhood leads to a more stable relationship and less infidelity in adulthood where as insecure attachment in childhood leads to unhealthy relationship with high incidences of infidelity. Research revealed that men with trivializing style and women with preoccupied style have present high rates of unfaithfulness. Individuals with anxious attachment especially women have high chances of engaging in sexual infidelity (Solomon & Teagno, 2006).

Researchers observe that there exists a high connection between betrayal and personality traits, which include aspects such as experience, agreeableness and neuroticism among others (Shellenbarger, 2008). Therefore, the research asserted that individuals who are open to new experiences present high cases of infidelity compared to their partners who are not. There is a high association amid betrayal and low agreeableness because such people lack constructive psychological regulation, thus experiencing high levels of infidelity. On the contrary, relationships where both partners have the same rate of agreeableness, conscientiousness and openness to experience are likely to be more faithful compared to those who differ (Patterson, 2008). Additionally, aspects such as culture may affect the incidences of infidelity considerably.  This is because research indicates that groups such as Hispanic and African Americans are more likely to engage in infidelity compared to whites. Consequently, the research supported this by claiming that high rates of infidelity among the African American men might be due to shortage of single men within the African American community. Therefore, this raises the opportunities for the married black men to engage in infidelity with the single black women. Notably, there are high rates of extramarital affairs among the African countries compared to the Asian countries (Shellenbarger, 2008).

The Bible on infidelity

The bible refers to marital infidelity as adultery. However, many verses in the bible condemn adultery. For example, Galatians 5 refers to adultery as the “work of the flesh opposing to the fruit of the spirit.” In the Old Testament, the prophets compared the incidence of Israel’s following the idols instead of God to be adultery of infidelity. This is because they were being unfaithful to God just the same way a husband can be unfaithful to his wife. According to the bibles’ view on infidelity, it is essential to forgive any form of infidelity. In the bible, God was against the acts of infidelity hence using the word adultery 15 times in Old Testament and 18 times in New Testament. In proverbs, the bible states that any person that engages in infidelity lacks understanding and ought to perish eventually. According to the law of Jewish, anybody involved in adultery was stoned to death, which indicates strongly the feeling of God towards marital infidelity (Shriver & Shriver, 2009).

Consequences of infidelity

Researchers have indicated that only a small percentage of the couples who experience infidelity are likely to save their marriages after an affair. On the contrary, they also claim that not all marriages with infidelity end up divorcing. Therefore, this implies that infidelity has other impacts apart from divorce. These include rage, losing trust to the cheating partner, reduced personal and sexual confidence, affects the self-esteem of an individual and fear of abandonment among others. The research also claimed that spouses who end up divorcing due to infidelity experience low level of depression compared those who stick in marriage due to some reasons. Depression is high among the faithful spouse. It is also true that men rarely forgive the cheating spouse while most of the time, women forgives the cheating spouses. Infidelity makes some people fail to realize that faith is fundamental in building marital relationship and might lead to traumatic stress disorders among others (Patterson, 2008).



Researchers have drawn attention of the issue of infidelity but it is not enough because the issue has many questions, which still needs some answers. However, the issue needs more research because it is imperative to the couple therapist and social psychologist so that they can increase their knowledge regarding infidelity and avoid destroying the marriage problems. Additionally, because of the great role that infidelity plays in breaking marriages, research should also consider focusing on areas that relate to the probability of infidelity. Such research should focus on the differences among individuals exposed to infidelity and those that do not engage in infidelity. Furthermore, there should be more studies regarding the cues of infidelity, types of infidelity and methods of coping with varying infidelity such as work, emotional or sexual infidelity. Finally, it is imperative to conduct research on whether opportunities that enhance unfaithful amid both sexes differ or they are same.


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Subotnik & Harris, (2005). Emotional infidelity: How to affair-proof your marriage and ten other secrets to a great relationship. New York: Three Rivers Press.

Subotnik, R., & Harris, G. G. (2005). Surviving infidelity: Making decisions, recovering from the pain. Avon, Mass: Adams Media.

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