Infidelity. A five syllabic word specifically used in the context of relationships and marriage, also known as marital infidelity. It can be directly translated in a general notion to another word: cheating. In lay-man’s terms it can simply be said as cheating on one’s spouse/partner.
Oxford (2010), defines infidelity as the act of not being faithful to your wife, husband or partner by having sex with somebody else.
Longman (2009), explains it as a situation whereby someone has sex with a person who is not their wife husband or partner.
A virus is known to attack a living host and rapidly multiply, breaking down defenses as well as creating an avenue for the possibility of other infections and diseases. Infidelity in a relationship is akin to this.
It is one of those actions that has nothing positive attached and for good reason. All accounts indicate that all incidences of infidelity serve as a doorway for an inflow of more negative situations with the most negative being separation and divorce. The irony exists in the fact that despite this being known it appears that the rate of infidelity is on the rise, aided by social media and easy access to communications via instant messaging applications.
Multiple statistics complied show that up to 25% of marriages experiences at least one event of infidelity: this means that out of every 100 marriages, 20 will experience at least one case of infidelity while going through the course of their married life.
Although each existing individual is unique in their genetic makeup the driving force behind infidelity remains the same, falling in a range that stays constant: physical to emotion.
The lack of love and the desire to seek it. In an instance where a partner has a feeling of less love reciprocated or unrequited love in a relationship or marriage, he or she will be tempted to seek other ways of getting said love and more often than none consider external sexual activities as the next available means. Misplaced priorities about love and sex also play a role here, the notion of “love is not sex and sex is not love” is rendered useless and said notion becomes blurred.
Feelings of neglect alongside insecurity. Every Individual has needs, whether they be emotional, physical, economical or otherwise. The idea of not getting said needs fulfilled in a union stirs up uncomfortable thoughts and feelings that more often than none leads to a state of unrest from said individual. Working hand-in-hand with this is the feeling of insecurity of the fulfillment of those needs in said relationship or marriage, a person can resort to attaining a means of “security and stability” via infidelity. This acts as a means of chasing away the thoughts and feelings of neglect and lays a means to an attempt to feel a sense of security about themselves.
Sexual addictions and a lack of discipline. The chances that an individual who is addicted to sex won’t stop on the basis of being in a relationship with another is likely to be higher than the opposite scenario. High chances also exist that said person will be entangled in infidelity. The ability to control one’s self stems from discipline of the mind and body, an individual who lacks discipline and is not ready to discipline themselves will constantly fall into situations that arise due to the absence of said discipline.
The absence of commitment in a relationship. It is said that anything that is worth doing is worth doing well, this speaks directly of hard work and commitment. A person who owns a car and does not pay attention to the state of the car will end up with a broken down car sooner or later. In an existing marriage, if the dedication and work is not put in to the extent it should the outcome will not be a good one.
Issues arising from aging and body image. In our digitalized world of today social media has created an image and a “standard”, falling short of those standards indirectly means lacking an appealing state which in turn means not being considered worthy of attention or devotion. This in turn affects the mentalities of people in relationships to seek for “the better appeal” which in turn leads to issues of infidelity.
The exposure to infidelity at a young age. The human nature is crafted in such that the young, until they reach a certain age of maturity adapt a “copy and paste” pattern from the things they see, hear and feel. A high probability exists that a person who was exposed to a cheating parent during their childhood years will turn out to be involved in infidelity when they finally go into a relationship.
The lack of respect in a relationship. Some say respect is reciprocal and some say respect is earned. Despite individual preferred mentality towards the matter of respect the simple truth exists that when respect is absent in a relationship chaos ensues. The one who lacks the respect views the other as worthless and the one not receiving the respect will long to be respected.
Abiding by a basic fact that evey action taken has its own form of consequence, the effects of infidelity in a relationship are as negative as they come.
Feelings of betrayal and the loss of trust. Going hand-in-hand with each other the first effects of infidelity is the feeling of abuse of trust which is termed as betrayal. An adage goes along the lines of “fool me once, it is not my fault but fool me twice and it is my fault”. The notion of being used will not sit well and as such a complete loss of trust will occur in said relationship.
High chances of illnesses. The act of having multiple sexual partners gives a high risk of contracting veneral diseases such as gonorrhea and HIV. This can be transmitted to the infidels actual partner/spouse if they are sexually active between themselves while one of them is cheating.
Damage to self esteem and emotional instability. Feelings of worthlessness, constant indecision, not knowing what steps to take. These are outcomes from a lowered self esteem and being in a weak emotional state. Living in doubt about one’s life and choices could stem from being a victim of infidelity from a partner.
The end of a relationship and divorce. Acting as the final nail on the coffin infidelity can lead to separation of partners/spouses. Despite there being other reasons, infidelity appears to be the highest ranking reason for most of the divorces occurring, especially in our present times.
Although it is not a desirable value to be running rampant in society, it would seem that absolute eradication of infidelity will be impossible, rather sensitization working hand-in-hand with self discipline could be used as a tool to reduce the rate of infidelity in relationships.
Mercy Ofem wrote in from firstname.lastname@example.org