Perhaps the aspect that generates the most controversy in relation to the couple is that of infidelity, ranging from gossip between neighbors to magazine covers. Thousands of songs, poems, and letters have been filled with love disappointments. Infidelity has been debated, even legislated. There are affairs in all societies, cultures, and countries, which makes us ask ourselves a fundamental question: if infidelity wreaks havoc on the couple, why is it such a widespread phenomenon? In this Bigmatrimonial article: I cheated and I regret it, we tell you
Infidelity in marriage: differences between men and women
Traditionally, sexual infidelity, that is, one in which physical contact and sexual excitement predominates, has been associated with male infidelity; and the emotional one, in which affective bonds would prevail, to the woman’s infidelity. In fact, this could be really so in most cases, since men and women are and think differently. This would also apply to adventures, so male infidelity would tend to take different forms from female infidelity.
Generally, men tend not to plan an adventure and it just happens. They tend to differentiate between sex and emotional ties, and both don’t have to happen at the same time. On the other hand, women are more likely to embark on an adventure when they have spent time meditating on it and there is a certain emotional bond with the third person.
It is also important to note that the number of women having an affair is less than that of men, and young women tend to have more adventures than older ones. We found a possible explanation in hormonal aspects, since men have higher levels of testosterone, a hormone related to sex drive. On the other hand, in women there are higher levels of oxytocin, a hormone related to childbirth, maternal behavior, breastfeeding and attachment. Another explanation would be found in the ways of raising and education differentiated that men and women receive from childhood, through which bravery and stoicity would be rewarded in men, and tenderness and emotionality would be reinforced in women, which would contribute to direct both of them along such paths.
Causes of infidelity
Popular opinion often attributes infidelity to the personality of the infidel or to a deficit in the relationship. According to these widely held beliefs, people would deceive because they are selfish or weak and would be tempted; they would be unfair to their respective partners because their relationship would be damaged, stagnant, or unsatisfactory. Often these explanations have some basis of reality. However, some people are reasonably emotionally healthy and in a happy and satisfying relationship , and still commit infidelity. Why are happy people in their marriage duped by an affair ?
Perel proposes four causes of infidelity, four possible reasons why men and women around the world are unfaithful, risking their marriage, their home, their family, mutual friends, and in some cases, even their reputation:
- Self-examination. It is a recurring theme among infidels, for whom adventure would be reformulated in terms of self-discovery: through adventure they seek a lost identity, which remained in the past; or a new one, that is to say, what they never were and that, for the first time, they have the opportunity to be. For these people, infidelity is less likely to result from a troubled relationship and would become a way to inquire about parts of the self.never experienced or suppressed for long. Curiously, they do not usually want to change who they are, they simply want to escape from those limitations of daily life for a short period of time: how long the encounters with their lover last. Feeling young again, freeing yourself from certain family or work “burdens”, exploring and experiencing new roles, plunging underground. They do not look for another person, they look for themselves, or at least, certain aspects lost or ignored.
- The seductive nature of transgression. Sometimes happy people who are unfaithful report that they feel like teenagers. An adventure is forbidden, and this gives it a great activating component. Thus, acts of transgression give an almost irresistible character to adventures for some people, who decide to embark on them.
- The illusion of lives not lived. In this case, it is the lost opportunities that would act as gasoline on the fire. Often these are people who remained faithful to their partners for long periods of time, until they begin to wonder what their life might have been like . As a consequence, they may feel confined by the path and relationship they chose or had to live, despite even reporting happiness in it. Thus, infidelity would become a way of exploring what could be, and never was.
- Feeling new or banished emotions. Finally, happy people having an affair can do it to experience new or repressed feelings for a long time. Again, this is a form of self-exploration. Men are especially vulnerable to this reason, because culturally they tend to be taught to repress and not express their emotions. Unfortunately, in doing so, they often mitigate joy and pain, pleasure and suffering; all of them emotions inherent in life. In this case, infidelity would act more like an emotional release than a sexual release.
Why is unfaithful when you love
Adventures have a lot to say about relationships, but deep down, about ourselves. When a person is unfaithful to her partner, she opens a crack for us in her world of attitudes, beliefs and values; your thoughts and emotions; your hopes, expectations; and what you feel you have the right to do.
Why are you unfaithful when you love? The adventures, at bottom, reflect the desire and need for external validation of those who seek them. That they admire your beauty, value your charisma, look at your perfume or your new haircut, long for your company… they can come in many forms. Many people who never thought they could become unfaithful were. Their stories are diverse, their personalities unique. But we can establish some recurring themes that occur in most infidelities . In many cases, extramarital affairs are not so motivated by falling in love with someone else. What they really fall in love with is this new and fresh image of themselves, of the personal rediscovery that supposes to find admiration after several disappointments, perhaps failures. In the previous section we explained this desire, self-exploration. Thus, sometimes, when we look at another person, it is not our partner that we are moving away from, but who we have become.
To all of the above, it must be added that adventures have another characteristic in particular that encourages them to be almost irresistible to those who immerse themselves in them. Conditions of partial satisfaction function as fuel for the one who longs, so that each encounter with the lover contributes to anticipating, and therefore, desiring more strongly the next encounter . This is because these encounters are often kept underground, so there is never a complete union with the lover. Thus, the brain is flooded with dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is also activated when we carry out addictive behaviors, such as using nicotine or cocaine. This would explain the recurrence that occurs in some infidels, sometimes even running the risk of being discovered.
I was unfaithful to my boyfriend or girlfriend
Infidelity is one of the hardest mishaps that a couple goes through, and what happens immediately after its disclosure is very volatile: it is loaded with emotions, perplexity, confusion, frustration . A chill runs through our bodies, we feel that we do not know the person with whom we have shared the last months, years, with whom we have married, raised children. It is what is known as the “crisis phase”, in which the responsibility falls mainly on the person who has had the adventure. To resolve it, it is important that the person who has had an affair adopt an empathetic position with his partner.
It is essential not to try to minimize slip and pain caused. For this objective, it is important to carry out acts of reparation , in which, in addition to recognizing the damage, active efforts are made to gradually recover the trust of our partner. An infidelity can lead to the end of a relationship, but it can also give way to a new stage full of positive changes and renewed energy. In the next section we tell you how.
I was unfaithful and I regret
After pronouncing ” I was unfaithful and I am sorry “, come the acts of reparation of which we spoke in the previous section. These go beyond counting an infidelity : they are conscious efforts aimed at repairing the damage caused. Here are 5 tips to try to recover your relationship and your partner:
- Give your partner time and space to express their emotions. All of them have their function, and your partner needs time to heal and assimilate what has happened. It is understandable to want to alleviate the pain, but it is important not to rush or burn stages, all of them have their function, and if you go to the next without completing the previous one, we run the risk of accumulating errors.
- Be responsible. It is very important to take responsibility for the acts carried out and show repentance. Likewise, the disposition not to be unfaithful again is fundamental.
- Be sincere. Explain to your partner what were the reasons for the adventure. You don’t need to elaborate on the details, especially when it comes to intimate acts with the third person, but for there to be real reparation and you can move on, your partner needs to understand why it happened. Poor communication, unmet needs, and emotional difficulties are often the most common causes.
- It cuts at the root with everything related to infidelity. If you really don’t want to continue with the third person, it is very important that you cut off any communication with them. This is especially important for your partner’s recovery process, and for them to trust you again.
- Be consistent with your partner. Call when you said you would call, come home at the time you should have arrived.
This article is merely informative, in Bigmatrimonial we do not have the power to make a diagnosis or recommend a treatment. We invite you to go to a psychologist to treat your particular case.