What Is Infidelity?

Why this resource is helpful:

Betrayal - the fact that you were deceived and lied to - is what hurts.
Quoted From: https://www.garciawestberg.com/infidelity/

"It is easy to get lost in trying to define infidelity. When it comes down to it, most people say that it wasn"t the behavior that was painful (whether they had sex or just talked). Betrayal the fact that you were deceived and lied to is what hurts. Instead of getting into an argument about whether or not something should be considered as an infidelity, focus on the fact that being lied to and betrayed is what hurts. People that have cheated will often say that the reason they did it was that they were unhappy sexually. Yes, it sucks to be sexually dissatisfied but you have two choices: tell your partner about your dissatisfaction and come to a new agreement or cheat. The person that was unfaithful entered into a contract stating that he/she would be faithful. If they find they cannot abide by that contract, then they should re-contract.

Why do people cheat?
After talking to many people that cheat, a few things are common:

Looking for validation
Looking to feel alive
Numbing/avoidance of emotional wounding
Cultural expectations/opportunities
Sexual frustration
Most of the time it has nothing to do with the person who has been cheated on. People that have been cheated on suffer because they feel like they have done something wrong or that they are wrong. They see the "other" person as being better.

Looking for Validation
We believe our sense of value comes from other people believing we are valuable and being sexually desired is currently one of the most important values in people"s lives. However, how much validation we need is not solely dependent on other people. It also comes from our internal sense of value. Our internal sense of value is determined by our history. For example, if we spent many years feeling undesirable because no one asked us out, or no one wanted to sleep with us, it is difficult to believe that someone finds us sexually appetizing. Or, if we are told throughout our childhood that we are ugly and someone comes along that thinks we are beautiful, it doesn"t get rid of the internal feeling that we are ugly. Feeling worthy, valuable, competent is a tricky process because it involves our current relationships with others and whether they find us valuable as well as our history with others. I"m sure you have been in a relationship with someone that, for example, thinks they are ugly and it doesn"t matter how many times you tell them they are beautiful, they continue to feel ugly.

Looking to Feel Alive
It"s interesting to me that people who have experienced the death of loved ones will look to things that make them feel alive. It seems that the close experience with death, presents an existential challenge. They start to ask if their life is happy and exciting. They fear death. Or maybe cheating is a way to cover up the pain. Regardless, people say that they cheated because it made them feel alive leading one to believe that they were feeling dead before the affair. Having affairs with younger people often makes you feel young again.

Numbing/Avoidance of Emotional Pain
When we hurt emotionally, we try and make ourselves feel better because we can"t tolerate the pain. Sometimes we don"t even know we are in pain because we have spent so many years running away from it or covering it up. When we run away or cover up emotional pain, we do more damage than good because our "cover-ups" bring us more problems than the pain they are trying to avoid. Engaging in compulsive and addictive behaviors and impulsive risk-taking are favorite coping mechanisms for emotional pain. No one feels emotional pain when they are at a party with their friends and there is music, dancing, drugs, and sex. You may feel it the next morning, but probably not during the party. Sex is a way to numb pain for sure. People who are in emotional pain will pay for phone sex in a compulsive, secretive, and uncontrollable way, for example. We want to think people cheat because they are dissatisfied with their partner but it is more about their pain."

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