Infidelity, an Act that Leaves a Great Emotional Wound

BY: Neighbors’ Consejo|

There are many rules for couples, but the strongest is not to be unfaithful. “Infidelity or cheating is the act of being unfaithful to a spouse or a partner. It typically means engaging in sexual or romantic relations with a person other than one’s significant other, breaking a commitment or promise in the act [1] .” This situation brings physical, emotional and mental pain, which leave wounds even for life.

Tristan McBain, PhD. and Kristen Fuller, MD, in the Choosing Therapy website [2] , affirm, “Infidelity falls under unethical non-monogamy, because in these situations one partner is neither informed about nor consents to the extra-marital relationship.” These two experts consider some of the causes of infidelity are lack of affection, feeling deprived or neglected by the partner, fear of intimacy, avoidance of conflict, seeking change or variety, falling out of love, and low commitment to the relationship, among others.

This same source also points out seven types of infidelities:

  1. Physical infidelity: Also called sexual affair, “is when one has sexual relations or intercourse outside the marriage, experiencing no deep emotional attachment to their sexual partner [3] .”
  2. Emotional infidelity: Also called emotional cheating, “generally starts innocently enough as a friendship. But when the person invests significant emotional energy and time in a close friendship outside of the marriage, it is possible for their friendship to form an emotional bond that ultimately threatens and hurts the person’s intimacy with their spouse or partner [4] .”
  3. Cyber infidelity: “Some digital communication method, whether text, email, social media or anything else. This cyber-affair could be solely emotional, or they may exchange sensual messages which can simulate a physical affair [5] .”
  4. Object infidelity: “Pursuing an outside interest that may reach a point of near obsession, where the interest leads to neglecting one’s relationship [6] ”.
  5. Financial infidelity: “Is when couples with combined finances lie to each other about money [7] ”.
  6. Micro-cheating: “Behaviors that aren’t traditionally considered true infidelity, but that have some features of infidelity, like dishonesty and secrecy while in a committed relationship [8] ”.
  7. Combined infidelity: Simply, when the infidelity includes more than one type of infidelity [9] .

Regardless of which of these seven types of infidelity is committed, in the short, medium and long-term we will suffer or cause suffering. According to PsychCentral [10]  “infidelity can have lasting impacts on partners and children, the couple may have grief, brain changes, behaviors down the road, and mental health conditions such as anxiety, chronic stress and depression can result.”

Additionally, the rejection caused by infidelity can cause “several changes in the brain pathways similar to withdrawal in substance use disorder. Rejection can cause short-and-long-term consequences to your brain chemistry”, this is what Adam Bone and Geoff Kushnick state in their article “Proximate and Ultimate Perspectives in Romantic Love [11] ”.

It is important to highlight that according to Tarra Bates-Duford, PhD [12] ., infidelity can cause mental illness can cause symptoms similar to post-traumatic stress from the relationship breach that were not previously present before an affair. Some common symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares, and obsessions about the event.

However, infidelity is not the end of the world. There are many ways to overcome this bitter situation [13] : Make sure there is remorse, be honest about why it happened, remove temptations to re-engage with the affair, move forward with brutal honesty and care, be selective about who you tell, and consider working with a licensed therapist.

Additionally, reading is a good strategy to take comfort in the stories of others who have sought to support the person who was the victim of an infidelity, some recommended are [14] :

  • Healing from Infidelity, by Michele Weiner-Davis
  • Infidelity, by Kenneth Paul Rosenberg
  • Out of the Doghouse, by Robert Weiss  
  • The State of Affairs, by Esther Perel
  • Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life, by Tracy Schorn  
  • When You’re The One Who Cheats, by Tammy Nelson
  • Conscious Uncoupling, by Katherine Woodward Thomas
  • Infidelity, by Talal H Alsaleem
  • The Road to Reconciliation, by Keith R Wilson
  • Anatomy of an Affair, by Dave Carder
















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