Infidelity (also referred to as cheating, adultery, or having an affair) is the subjective feeling that one’s partner has violated a set of rules or relationship norms and this violation results in feelings of sexual jealousy and rivalry (Leeker & Carlozzi, 2012). Infidelity is a violation of a couple’s assumed or stated contract regarding emotional and/or sexual exclusivity (Weeks et al., 2003, p. ix).
What constitutes an act of infidelity is dependent upon the exclusivity expectations within the relationship (Barta & Kiene, 2005). In marital relationships, exclusivity expectations are commonly assumed although they are not always met. When they are not met, research has found that particular psychological damage including feelings of rage and betrayal, lowering of sexual and personal confidence, and damage to self-image can occur (Leeker et al., 2012). Depending on the context, men and women can experience social consequences if their act of infidelity becomes public. The form and extent of these consequences are often dependent on the gender of the unfaithful person.
After the Kinsey Reports came out in the early 1950s, findings suggested that historically and cross-culturally, extra-marital sex has been a matter of regulation more than sex before marriage (Christensen, 1962). The Kinsey Reports asserted that about one half of men and a quarter of women had committed adultery (Greely, 1991). The Janus Report on Sexual Behavior in America also reported that one third of married men and a quarter of women have had an extramarital affair (Greeley, 1991).
According to The New York Times, the most consistent data on infidelity comes from the University of Chicago’s General Social Survey (GSS). Large-scale interviews conducted since 1972 by the GSS of people in monogamous relationships reveals that the number of men admitting to extramarital affairs is 12 percent and for women, 7 percent. Results, however, can be variable depending on the year data is gathered, and also based on the age groups surveyed. For example, one study conducted by the University of Washington, Seattle found slightly, or significantly higher rates of infidelity for populations under 35, or older than 60. In that study which involved 19,065 people during a 15 year period, rates of infidelity among men were found to have risen from 20 to 28%, and rates for women, 5% to 15%. In more recent nationwide surveys, several researchers found that about twice as many men as women reported having an extramarital affair (Wiederman, 1997). A survey conducted by Choi, Catania, and Dolcini in 1990 found 2.2% of married participants reported having more than one partner during the past year. In general, national surveys conducted in the early 1990s reported that between 15-25% of married Americans reported having extramarital affairs. Treas and Giesen (2000) found that the likelihood of sexual infidelity was higher for those who had stronger sexual interests, more permissive sexual values, lower subjective satisfaction with their partner, weaker network ties to their partner, and greater sexual opportunities. Studies suggest around 30–40% of unmarried relationships and 18–20% of marriages see at least one incident of sexual infidelity. Men are more likely than women to have a sexual affair, regardless of whether or not they are in a married or unmarried relationship.
Rates for females are thought to increase with age, and in one study by Blow, rates were higher in more recent marriages, compared with previous generations (Blow & Hartnett, 2005). In Blow’s data set, men were found to be only “somewhat” more likely than women to engage in infidelity, with rates for both sexes becoming increasingly similar (Blow & Harnett, 2005). A study done by Liu (2000) found that the likelihood for women to be involved in some type of infidelity reached a peak in the seventh year of their marriage and then declined afterwards; whereas for married men, the longer they are in relationships the less likely they are to engage in infidelity, except during a critical point in the eighteenth year of marriage where at that point the chance that men will engage in infidelity increases.
In terms of gender differences in explanations as to why individuals partake in infidelity, studies have reported that men are more likely to engage in extramarital sex if they are unsatisfied sexually, while women are more likely to engage in sex if they are unsatisfied emotionally (Sheppard, Nelso, & Andreoli-Mathie, 1995). Kimmel and Van Der Veen (1974) found that sexual satisfaction may be more important to husbands and that wives are more concerned with compatibility with their partners (Sheppard et al.,1995). Studies suggest that individuals who can separate concepts of sex and love are more likely to accept situations where infidelity occurs (Sheppard et al., 1995). One study done by Roscoe, Cavanaugh, & Kennedy (1988) found that women indicated relationship dissatisfaction as the number one reason for infidelity, whereas men reported a lack of communication, understanding, and sexual incompatibility. Glass & Wright (1992) also found that men and women who are involved in both sexual and emotional infidelities reported being the most dissatisfied in their relationships than those who engaged in either sexual or emotional infidelity alone. In general, marital dissatisfaction overall is the number one reason often reported for infidelity for both sexes (Sheppard et al., 1995). It is important to note that there are many other factors that increase the likelihood of anyone engaging in infidelity. Individuals exhibiting sexually permissive attitudes and those who have had a high number of past sexual relationships are also more likely to engage in infidelity (Feldman & Cauffman, 1999). Other factors such as being well educated, living in an urban centre, being less religious, having a liberal ideology and values, having more opportunities to meet potential partners, and being older affected the likelihood of one being involved in an extramarital affair (Blow & Hartnett, 2005).
Each case of infidelity serves a different purpose. Being able to justify the behavior of a spouse and define it will lessen some of the confusion. There are five categories of infidelity:
1. opportunistic infidelity:
2. obligatory infidelity
3. romantic infidelity
4. conflicted romantic infidelity, and
5. commemorative infidelity
Opportunistic infidelity occurs when a partner is in love and attached to a partner, but surrenders to their sexual desire for someone else. The opportunistic infidelity is driven by irrepressible lust, situational circumstances and/or opportunity, and sometimes, pure risk-taking behavior.
Obligatory infidelity is based on fear that refraining from someone’s sexual advances will result in rejection, and being unwilling to handle such rejection, resulting in surrender to them. Some people end up cheating solely on the need for approval from somebody, even though they still hold a strong attraction to their committed partner.
Romantic infidelity occurs when the cheater is in the process of “falling out of love” with his/her partner. The person’s self-perceived obligatory commitment to the relationship’s tenets and overall life-meaning is likely the only thing still keeping them with their partner in this example.
Conflicted romantic infidelity takes place when a person both falls in love with and has a strong sexual desire for multiple people at one time, even though s/he may already be committed to a partner. In this circumstance the person feels s/he cannot tell his/her committed partner about what has happened, but is nevertheless unable to resist the compulsion; this lack of open discussion is usually what separates conflicted romantic infidelity from things like a well-defined open relationship or polyamory.
Commemorative infidelity occurs when a person has completely fallen out of love with their spouse, but is still in a committed relationship with them.
this is a very bad sin and i advice all to refrain from it as it is not a good school of thought to follow.remember, do unto others what you want them to do to you.

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