What exactly defines infidelity? Most of us believe that infidelity is the act of intercourse occurring with an external person outside a relationship. Interestingly, feelings of hurt and betrayal can be equally intense on discovering that your partner has been having secret regular coffee dates with a work colleague. People Magazine asked readers to define an extra-marital affair, with this result.

  1. 21% thinking about an involvement
  2. 21% dinner and drinks
  3. 24% kissing and petting
  4. 26% sexual intercourse
  5. 8% n/a

Whilst the definition of infidelity varies, many people describe the aftermath as worse than losing their partner through death. This is because relationships survive after death, but do not always survive after infidelity. When a partner dies, he or she is remembered fondly and despite sadness and loneliness, love continues through memories and photographs. After infidelity, the relationship becomes unstable, and research shows that one of three things occur.

  1. The affair is ignored and may continue or is repeated but nothing changes in the relationship.
  2. The relationship ends.
  3. The affair stops. The old relationship discontinues and a new relationship begins.

Before we examine what may lie in the future, let’s look at where you are now. The discovery of an affair can sometimes be catastrophic. Feelings such as denial, anger and betrayal can trigger behaviours such as excessive drinking, eating and smoking which can affect our thought processes, sleeping patterns and general functioning.

In previous posts we’ve discussed relationship breakdown. Next we analyse one of the most sensitive and undesired situations in a relationship: infidelity.

Follow-Up Posts:

  1. Infidelity: Other Losses
  2. Infidelity: Do’s and Don’ts
  3. Infidelity: But Why?
  4. Types of Affairs
  5. Infidelity Demographics
  6. Consequences of Infidelity
  7. Infidelity: Stages of Grief
  8. Infidelity: Getting Through It
  9. Infidelity: Making a Decision

Related Series: Coping with Relationship Breakdown, Pre-Marriage Counselling, Anger Management — Series