Has infidelity become an epidemic?
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Coping with Infidelity Relationship recovery from the destructiveness of infidelity.

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Old 10-29-2010, 10:03 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Has infidelity become an epidemic?

I don't know if it is just me noticing this or has infidelity become an epidemic out there? Almost not a day goes by without hearing so and so, famous and not famous having an affair or people divorcing over one.

I just recently joined a single parents group here in Canada, and we had a get together few weeks ago for the adults only. There were quite a few people more or less with the same story: ages mid 30'to mid 40's, married anywhere around 5-7 years, with kid(s) around the age of 2-5 years old, spouse cheated(both men and women).
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Old 10-30-2010, 01:43 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Has infidelity become an epidemic?

Always was. The difference now is that through the wonders of technology, email, text, phone call history - discovery is easier.

I believe the rate for infidelity between men and women is nearly at parity - approaching 50%. In nearly half of the marriages that you are aware of, one or both partners have been unfaithful.

Makes you wonder which is the dumber idea, presuming that you can be faithful for a lifetime, or cheating.
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Old 10-30-2010, 03:01 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Has infidelity become an epidemic?

It is *definitely* an epidemic out there, and I believe that some social media like FB make it easier to slip down the slippery slope by finding "old flames." Now I personally believe a person should have the personal responsibility to have protection against their own weakness, so I'm not blaming FB, cell phones, etc. but it makes connecting a little easier.

AND the epidemic you see is among married people, notreadytoquit. Yes, the divorce rate for those who do marry has stayed around 50%, but more and more people are choosing to "live together" first--for a couple years even after kids--and the estimate is that 75% OR MORE of those relationship hit about year 5 and a family (dad-mom-2 or more kids) is torn apart due to infidelity. They just didn't bother to "make it legal" so it's not counted in the figures!
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Old 10-30-2010, 03:06 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Has infidelity become an epidemic?

Deejo -- I have wondered the same thing spending so many hours obsessively reading all these accounts of infidelity. Was our species never meant to biologically be monogamous but rather was it a social push as humans became civilized??

I have read that an important aspect of successful long-term marriages is having the mentality that the marriage will be fought for and worked on at all costs. This versus the thought that - Eh well if it doesn't work out we can always get divorced. And I think the latter sentiment is an epidemic as well.

And at least amongst other persons my age, it seems that once that spark of lust and new-love fuzzies wears off, it's a countdown until the cheating or the break-up is announced. The value and love that must develop over loving and being faithful to someone for a lifetime is apparently very difficult to imagine when another newer, more attentive and exciting person comes along to distract us from the goal.
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Old 10-30-2010, 09:33 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Has infidelity become an epidemic?

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Deejo -- I have wondered the same thing spending so many hours obsessively reading all these accounts of infidelity. Was our species never meant to biologically be monogamous but rather was it a social push as humans became civilized??
You should read "The Myth of Monogamy". DNA testing has shown that many of the animals that we thought were monogamous, including humans, are not. I am in no doubt that humans, male and female, are naturally promiscuous, like our closest cousins the Bonobos, and that we have developed marriage etc in order to control our natural tendencies.
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Old 10-30-2010, 09:48 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Has infidelity become an epidemic?

It is sad what is going on overall, it seems like all those honest and faithful spouses end up hanging around forums like this. And the biggest losers in all these are the kids.

Right now I have lots of problems trusting people in general especially men so I don't even think about dating and all that jazz. But I will post in a separate thread how I am coping with all this. Just trying to find the time to write that lenghty thread.
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Old 10-30-2010, 11:20 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Has infidelity become an epidemic?

I have often wondered how they actually come up with the numbers for divorce rate and infidelity rate!! Alot if not most affairs are not found out especially by men who do so without emotional attachments. Long-term marriages have to be on the decline at the very least versus our grandparents era. Are they just using courthouse records???
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Old 10-30-2010, 12:05 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Has infidelity become an epidemic?

You know what? Just hearing on a daily basis about people getting divorced(mostly because of some infidelity) is enough of an indicator of how high is that percentage. You don't even know research to do the statistic. It would be interesting to run a poll alone on this forum.

But I also think, making it easy to actually get a divorce and with all this no fault rules, people often pick that instead of putting some effort to make the marriage work(my now ex is prime example of that). I am in Canada and here at least you have to be separated for a year before filing for divorce. In most states you can get one in 90 days whether you live under the same roof or not or as I say: it is faster to get a divorce than go through a drivethru sometimes.
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Old 10-30-2010, 02:33 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Has infidelity become an epidemic?

I will say that neither myself nor my ex, EVER had the attitude of, 'meh, it isn't working let's just divorce.' Nobody was excited, nobody was dismissive. It was painful, excruciatingly painful for both of us. And importantly, we hit the point where it became necessary. There were no fewer than 6-10 attempts at reconciliation, not one of them lasted for more than a few weeks. The marriage needed to be put down, and yes, infidelity was a factor.

It's a catch 22. Society wants to encourage marriage as a social foundation for raising the next generation of citizens in a stable environment - makes sense. But that is simply no longer the norm.

I think people would benefit at both ends, make marriage more labor intensive as well as divorcing.
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Old 10-30-2010, 04:28 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Has infidelity become an epidemic?

I don't think it is I do think society's viewpoint in marriage at least in America has changed profoundly in the last 20-30 years.

Divorce rates have leveled off at 50% it seems if you make it past 10yrs you're pretty golden statistically speaking.

As far as hollywood "Who cares?" if I had millions upon millions an was in that scene who knows I might not be faithful either. I can't imagine and even act like I could imagine what many of their lives are like. I would love to say "No way not me", but I'm not naive to what it must be like on both sides of the fence.

It really doesn't matter though because none of those people have anything to do with my marriage or yours and that's all that matters.
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Old 10-30-2010, 05:01 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Has infidelity become an epidemic?

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Originally Posted by ShootMePlz! View Post
I have often wondered how they actually come up with the numbers for divorce rate and infidelity rate!! Alot if not most affairs are not found out especially by men who do so without emotional attachments. Long-term marriages have to be on the decline at the very least versus our grandparents era. Are they just using courthouse records???
I know the divorce rate one is not too hard to tell, neither is the marriage rate one. You just go by the "marriage licenses" at the courthouse and likewise the finalized divorces in the court. I also believe the census compiles some data of those who "report themselves" married or divorced. However the census figures would count those who are common-law married who also file jointly as "married" whereas the courthouse may or may not.

For infidelity figures, that's kind of more difficult. We can look at the divorces that are filed and look for a reason indicating an affair, but even so a lot of states only have the "irreconcilable differences" with no place to indicate a reason. Of those who do file, there has been a huge increase of people indicating that Facebook was directly involved in ending their marriage, so that's a significant trend. Otherwise, infidelity figures are found by researches (like university psychology departments) but even there it's tough because you're asking a person who's been lying to cover their activity to tell the truth "for the research." That's why the statistics vary so much--the research itself asks questions like: "On a scale of 1=never, ever happens, 2=might happen once or twice, 3=neutral, 4=happens several times, and 5=happens many, many times How often have you cheated on your spouse?" Some say "Oh only 5% of all males cheat" and others say "As many as 60% of all males cheat" (just an example--not real statistics!) and the low side would be those taking only those who absolutely confirmed it, the high side would be those taking all who said anything other than 100% absolute faithfulness.
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Old 10-30-2010, 05:18 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Has infidelity become an epidemic?

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I have read that an important aspect of successful long-term marriages is having the mentality that the marriage will be fought for and worked on at all costs. This versus the thought that - Eh well if it doesn't work out we can always get divorced. And I think the latter sentiment is an epidemic as well.

And at least amongst other persons my age, it seems that once that spark of lust and new-love fuzzies wears off, it's a countdown until the cheating or the break-up is announced. The value and love that must develop over loving and being faithful to someone for a lifetime is apparently very difficult to imagine when another newer, more attentive and exciting person comes along to distract us from the goal.
This is my personal opinion only, but I think there are several important aspects to successful long-term marriages that are basically no longer taught to kids as they grow up:

1) The marriage will be fought for and worked on, as if today is the last day you'll spend with your spouse and they could choose to walk out any day. So often I've seen people who get married, think "Well it'll last forever now", and then proceed to let other parts of life distract them from putting effort into the intimate knowledge of their spouse--physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. It does not keep the 'zing' of lust/new love in the relationship forever, but if you think of each day as the last day (tomorrow they're walking out and giving up), then each day is absolutely a GIFT and each day is the day you'll make the effort!

2) I think it is against our "nature" to be monogamous and faithful to one person, but it's also against some people's nature to be loving or be kind. It's against some people's nature to not kill! That doesn't mean we should strive to be "more than our nature." Avoiding theological reasons for now, society values monogamy and faithfulness because it makes the family unit stable. Spouses know who will be there for them, who will provide, who will raise children, who will care for them as they age. Children know who will give them food, shelter, and education. When families are torn apart, it makes the people in the family unstable...which is like a big ripple effect making the society built on family-units unstable.

3) The biggest thing that doesn't seem to be really deeply taught anymore that I can see, that would probably address a bunch of this is commitment. In the 60's the revolution was "free love with no consequences." In the 70's the divorce revolution began and it was kind of cool to be divorced. But back in the 60's and 70's somewhere we dropped the lesson that commitment was valuable and something worth pursuing, and instead picked up "happiness." Whatever made you happy was cool; if you weren't "happy" it was okay to hurt people and leave your family and tear people apart. Well, this is sincerely my personal opinion but that's silly! First, our "happiness" is from within, meaning that other people don't "make" us happy. But second, that just puts the responsibility for "happiness" on someone else and ditches commitment! Okay, commitment and responsibility are not necessarily "thrilling" and don't generate the 'zing' of infatuation, but chasing that 'zing' is not love and it throws commitment out the window!
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Old 10-30-2010, 06:16 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Has infidelity become an epidemic?

My answer is slightly different...

The answer is that marriage is no longer the finishing line for the sexual marketplace. Once upon a time being married essentially was extremely clear that you were being joined together as sexual partners and no one else was allowed in. Men and women all jostled for position to nab the best member of the opposite sex they could, and then settled down for a long life together fairly secure in the idea of being faithful to each other.

Thanks to the copious and serious changes to marriage and divorce law, the current legal definition of marriage is utterly different than the historical one. It's not even clear if there can even be "infidelity" as there's usually no mention of sexual rights or agreements in the marriage / divorce / adultery laws in most States. There's usually no defintion of sexual "fidelity" in the marriage contact to even fail at. Most people just assume sexual fidelity is a requirement of marriage simply because it used to be. It may be the spirit of the agreement, but it's not the actual legal agreement.

Likewise most people just assume that marriage is intended to permanent. It's clearly not intended to be permanent thanks to no fault divorce law, it just may be permanent. Permanency may be the spirit of the agreement, but it's not the actual legal agreement being made.

In short nothing your partner says to you either verbally or by wedding vows actually matters in terms of something they can be held to. As we all know on this board, spouses can do utterly heartless cruel things against the intended spirit of their marriage... and it's all completely legal.

So in our brave new world, the sexual market place never ends. Marriage is merely the beginning of a long round of courtship where both partners need to continue to attract, satisify, please and actively court the other. Meanwhile others outside the marriage have minimal qualms about jostling their way in, or jostling you totally out.

I'm not saying it can't be done, just that it's more work than most people expect. Marriage is always an active committment.
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Old 10-30-2010, 06:58 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Has infidelity become an epidemic?

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...Thanks to the copious and serious changes to marriage and divorce law, the current legal definition of marriage is utterly different than the historical one. It's not even clear if there can even be "infidelity" as there's usually no mention of sexual rights or agreements in the marriage / divorce / adultery laws in most States. There's usually no defintion of sexual "fidelity" in the marriage contact to even fail at. Most people just assume sexual fidelity is a requirement of marriage simply because it used to be. It may be the spirit of the agreement, but it's not the actual legal agreement.

Likewise most people just assume that marriage is intended to permanent. It's clearly not intended to be permanent thanks to no fault divorce law, it just may be permanent. Permanency may be the spirit of the agreement, but it's not the actual legal agreement being made.

In short nothing your partner says to you either verbally or by wedding vows actually matters in terms of something they can be held to.
And this is EXACTLY the reason that I personally wish that marriage was legally treated as if it were a business contract. From a legal point of view, both parties say "In exchange for A, B and C, I promise to give to you X, Y and Z" (It's a little crude but usually "In exchange for monogamous sex and financial support, I promise to stay with you in all the circumstances of life and raise kids and purchase property together." Again...there's much more to it but that's the very basic agreement.) Thus, if the two parties agree to this, it is a contract. And just like a business contract, one of the two parties is able to break the contract--that *is* a choice that they can make! However, if a party breaks a business contract, usually there is some cost to them such as restitution or not getting the service they contracted for. I wish it was the same for marriage. We have the basic contract, and then if one party breaks the contract they are free to do so, but there are costs to breaking it. For example, if you break the "monogamous sex" part, you lose the kids and purchased property part. If you break the "financial support" part, you lose the property and kids part. In simple terms--break the "responsibility" part results in losing the "benefits" part just like any business contract.
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Old 10-30-2010, 07:21 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Has infidelity become an epidemic?

I think infidelity has always been there. What’s missing now is the “stigma” of being a divorcee and people would stay together not to be labelled as such. Look at what the RC Church thinks about divorce and look at the attendances of the Churches. It just doesn’t count so much anymore in people’s belief system. There’s no longer any shame in being a divorced person. Rightly so as well.

There was one divorce in the generation before me and relatively many in my generation, brother, sister, cousins and now me.

What’s the difference? The failure of the Church to modernise and keep pace with changes, still singing the same old tunes? The bad press Churches now get with paedophilia, driving even devout people away? Sex education in schools at such a young age without any moral leadership or conscience?

None of those things were applicable to me. I had a choice and my choice was out. It wasn't through infidelity.

There’s so little education of what marriage is all about. The only education we get is the example we’re set by our parents and we go into marriage with set expectations. At the ceremony it’s all pomp and circumstance. How many people to invite, what’s on the menu, where’s the venue, what church, how many bridesmaids etc. etc.? But where’s the “handbook on marriage”.

And what about anniversaries? How many of us buy a present, a card and go out for a meal and that’s it? Anniversaries could be used for so much more. To make objectives and plans for the next year. To review the objectives and plans of the last year for the marriage and see how we did. To see if there’s any offences that haven’t been resolved to keep bitterness and resentment at bay. To have a 5 year plan and see how we’re doing with that plan. To review the finances and see if we’re financially healthy or not. One couple I know use their anniversary to date to see if they could save money by switching mortgages. Another, a couple in their 60s have made five year plans all their married life. Maybe there should be a handbook given out at the wedding with suggestions of what to do on anniversaries.

Bob

Last edited by AFEH; 10-30-2010 at 08:04 PM.
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