Males seem to be more upset by sexual infidelity, females by emotional infidelity. That is, males are made more insecure and angry when their partners have sexual relationship with someone else. Females are made more insecure and angry when their partners become emotionally attached to someone else.


Infidelity is a leading presenting problem in relationship therapy. Discovery or disclosure of infidelity precipitates a crisis for the couple because previously held beliefs about fidelity, trust and love are destabilized. Typically, the couple begins treatment in a state of shock, disbelief, anger, and denial, accompanied by feelings of skepticism and pessimism as the partners question if the relationship is irreparably damaged.

An unwavering reality is that infidelity damages individuals and relationships where by the discovery can evoke anger, jealousy even shame. Feelings of inadequacy and doubts about one’s attractiveness and desirability may surface. In addition to the psychological impacts of infidelity, the physiological consequences of stress, exhaustion, and chronic agitation are considerable.

Although infidelity might manifest itself physically, emotionally, or virtually, the bottom line is the amount of shared time between one partner and another individual outside of the marriage or relationship.

Issues that becomes problematic for the couple:

  • The time, energy and resources that are spent to maintain another relationship.
  • Suffering caused by depriving the primary relationship of attention, intimacy and energy.

Issues that may create infidelity:

  • Diagnosed or insidious psychiatric conditions, such as depression, can affect the way couples relate to each other and resolve problems.
  • Mediating variables such as physical illness, life stage, or age can be contributing factors in one’s decision-making processes, reactions, impulsivity, and other emotional processes.
  • Dissatisfaction within the relationship and or sexuality.

If a person has an affair because the marriage is deeply troubled, the affair may be one more factor that speeds its dissolution. The effects on the marriage or relationship may depend on the nature of the affair. It may be easier to understand that a spouse has fallen prey to an isolated, unplanned encounter than to accept an extended affair. In some cases the discovery of infidelity stimulates the couple to work to improve their relationship.

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