Thank you for the responses thus far. Some of your thoughts highlight the reason for why this thread was created. My intentions are to enable individuals to make their decisions and be happier about them, regardless of what they are. If one wishes to dispute the information I present, I only ask that they include an explanation with a positive claim as to what "is" correct then.
A.) Why individuals cheat (there will be future additions to the various aspects of the UAP, especially part A)
To understand what pre-empts this most traumatic instance (or series of), one must step into the mind (cognitive and emotional) of the distressed partner, not to say that only distressed partners seek extradyadic activity. In fact, one of the studies I will present today discusses surveyed reasonings and mindsets that foster adultery. So, for me to tell you to empathize with the unfaithful does not mean that you must feel for them, or that you are validating their behavior. Empathy is a basic component to Emotional Intelligence, something necessary for a successful life, at work and at home. What is empathy, then (1)?
Recognizing emotions in others. Empathy, another ability that builds on emotional self-awareness, is the fundamental "people skill.".... People who are empathic are more attuned to the subtle social signals that indicate what others need or want.
To fail to empathize in this situation is analogous to not attempting to understand what cancer is and how it works. That said, one will be confronted with feelings and cognitions that are not necessarily commendable or resembling any reasonable amount of logic. But, the truth exists and it begs to be discovered so that workable solutions may be derived. In working with infidelity, one must look it as a symptom of the underlying relational dysfunction (2), that is, that disconnection, marital dissatisfaction and unmet relational needs are the reasons individuals fall prey to committing adulterous (extra-dyadic) behavior (additional contributions will be discussed, based on various published studies). Understanding this reality greatly enables individuals to heal from affairs, re-create a viable relationship, address the character flaws that allowed for adulterous behavior and to prevent any future infidelity. As such, an individual may impart great relational gains upon their relationship by understanding the various dynamics at play with infidelity.(3)
Sexual infidelity occurs when the sexual and/or intimacy needs of one or both members of a couple are not being satisfied in that relationship and when the constraints against infidelity are either weak or nonexistent.
Let me finish today's addition by discussing boundaries, which will imply joint-responsibility for the "underlying relational dysfunction". Often, a young couple will seek out pre-marital counseling in an effort to ensure their long-term success is prepared for. Individuals may not clearly understand what they are getting into when they say "I do". Those that are still in the infatuation stage might take it for granted, not realizing that the rush of dopamine will soon end, leaving the actual relationship work in the hands of clear(er)-headed indviduals with different opinions. Boundaries tend to be under-established or over-established, depending on various factors related to backgrounds and the established power structure of the relationship. Understanding that we humans are fallible and tend to be more irrational than rational, it only makes sense that boundaries are established to police one another so that grievous mistakes aren't made. Too few boundaries leave potentially dangerous behavior to be viable. Too many boundaries might sabotage the relational connection, literally creating the basis for the desire to seek connection..... elsewhere. That explains the need for some type of pre-marital counseling so that boundaries are joint established, making them voluntary and the reason for the arrangement entirely voluntary.
Boundaries are necessary because individuals have weaknesses, and I am not different, regardless of what I know or how much I train my E-IQ. Individuals think that they will always have the ability to say yes or now with ease, not adequately planning for positive and negative emotional hijackings that drastically undermine this cause. When we confide (emotionally) with others, we form bonds with them. Think of this like the roots of a tree. When the roots of a bond are established, the activity of exploring the connection become rewarding, which encourages the thoughts and actions that back the behavior. One can be receptive to the roots of another individual, and vice-versa, even if the primary relationship is fundamentally healthy; That is where boundaries come in. Boundaries are self and jointly enforced, meaning that it requires a mindful approach to protect the relationship.
I don't blame the injured partner for the actions of their partner, but one should not be surprised due to the statistical realities of infidelity. Further, if we properly diagnose the symptoms to the relational dysfunction, then it implies that the relationship truly can be saved. If the assumed cause of the adultery was because "their spouse is just a bad person", then we leave no room for any forward movement to take place. That leads us to one prompt that we have for the injured partner, were you not enforcing the boundaries of the relationship, leaving your partners vulnerabilities to be exploited, assuming their self-enforcement mechanism failed? This could lead one to realize that their spouse might have had employment that imposed risks to their marriage, such as travel, work around members of the opposite sex, work with many single individuals, etc. There also could be instances where the spouse was often allowed to go off and do their own thing, like guy's or girl's night out. It is important to qualify what constitutes time spent away from the primary romantic partner. In that light, one should consider the opportunities that are not acted upon to maintain or build upon the primary connection. If one hangs out with their friends three times per week, then we are witnessing behavior that could impose risks of immediate adulterous behavior or long-term disconnection. Did your roots dwindle somewhat from your partner, as they established new ones with someone else? Have you considered the amplification of hormones in a newly-established relationship? Were you complacent? If you were the adulterer, how did you let the connection build to this new man/woman? Do you remember when it no longer became easy to say no but became easy to say yes?
In regards to boundaries, one must understand that they must be proactive while they still have full access to their rational portion of their brain. This implies to plan ahead before any emotional weakness is imposed on them. Putting a relationship back together after an affair requires much discussion about boundaries, but also to ensure that partners are actively working to build and maintain the underlying connection. If disconnection breeds adultery, then connection (primary) can be seen to make adultery easy to mitigate.
1. Goleman, D. (1995). Emotional intelligence (1st ed., p. 43). New York: Bantam Books.
2. Cheour, M. (2016). Affair Recovery (1st ed.). Zenith Miami Counseling and Coaching Center.
3. Peluso, P. R. (2007). Infidelity : A Practitioner’s Guide to Working with Couples in Crisis. New York: Routledge.