Top 3 Myths about Infidelity

Learn the top three myths about infidelity from couples counselor Victoria Wilson, Ph.D. in this Howcast video.

Transcript

Well here are the top three myth about affairs or infidelity. Number one, only unhappily married or unhappy people cheat. The truth is as many people who are otherwise consider themselves happily married or engaged in a happy relationship do succumb to infidelity. We're human beings and often we simply make mistakes. We succumb to temptation. So just because your partner cheated doesn't mean that he or she is not in love with you or that she's not happy in this relationship. Somebody could be very happy in their relationship and still make a mistake, engage in a one stand or have an affair. So that would be the number one myth.

The number two myth is that the person you partner is having an affair with or engaging in infidelity with is better looking than you are younger, better looking richer or in some ways better than you are. The truth is, most partners that your partner is cheating with are not better looking in many ways. Sometimes they're simply different from you in some ways. Something different, unusual, or what I've heard one patient say, it was simply creating strange. That was the expression he used. Creating something entirely different from his spouse. Something novel, some sort of a variety. Do not assume that the lover of your partner is somehow better than you are or better looking. Do not personalize this. This is not about you at all.

And the third most common myth is that most relationships won't survive an affair. The truth is, 50% of relationships or more survive an affair and thrive afterwards. The number one reason why people break up is actually not infidelity. It is miscommunication or distancing. Feeling misunderstood, feeling inability to communicate with your partner. As awful as an affair could be, it can also be a catalyst in many relationships. It may make people realize that they need to start dating again, that they need to make more of an effort to pay attention to their partner to not take them for granted. So an affair is not always a horrible thing. It can also be a positive thing in the long run as painful as it feels in the moment.

What are other myths about cheating or infidelity? Another myth is that affairs or infidelity is all about sex. For many people it is not only about sex and sometimes not about sex at all. It is about being affirmed, being understood, being paid attention to. A number of variables, communication, trust, sometimes it could be revenge on your partner. So affairs are motivated by a number of variables and sex is not always a central variable there.

And a final most common myth is that the cheating partner is 100% to blame for an affair. When it comes to an affair it is important to look at it as not blame but contribution. What was contribution to your partners affair? Perhaps your contribution was only 1% and he's 99% to blame or maybe your contribution was 10%. That's when you look at variables such as, was I paying attention to your partner, was I denying him or her sex, was I mean or abusive or taking this person for granted. All sorts of variables can contribute to a relationship and when you're looking at relationship survival it is important to also look at your own contribution. How could my behavior have contributed to this person looking for an affair?

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