Adultery has three victims: The person betrayed, the cheater, and bystanders.
Infidelity has many victims!
Relationships have rules
The most important rule in any marriage or committed relationship is to share your intimacy exclusively with your partner.
In other words, you only share your privacy, your deep emotional feelings, and your sexuality with your legitimate partner and no one else — this was your commitment to him or her when you agreed to live together.
People who cheat on their partner do so for many reasons. Sometimes they hate their partner, sometimes they love their partner, and sometimes they have other feelings.
Cheating may or may not imply something about the current state of your marriage or committed relationship.
Regardless of the reason a cheater gives to justify his or her affair, there is no such thing as legitimate cheating.
Let's identify 7 reasons infidelity hurts everyone. There are other reasons as well. However, these 7 reasons cheating injures others are the most common.
1. Adultery causes anxiety and depression
When a partner discovers he or she has been betrayed, he or she will experience intense anxiety, worry, and sadness.
A cheater being discovered by his or her partner creates a relationship tsunami that destroys everything in its path.
Knowledge of the cheating will leave the betrayed partner devastated and bewildered. Recovery may take the betrayed partner years. And even once that happens, they often never regain the innocence and trust they once had.
For many betrayed people, sadly depression, anxiety, and anger become the new norm.
Should you cheat, your devastated partner will simultaneously explode and implode!
Your betrayed partner's personality may transition into something that is entirely at odds with the way you knew him or her prior to their discovery of your cheating.
No matter how many times you apologize, exhibit remorse, or attend therapy sessions, putting the pieces of your shattered relationship back together is at best extremely difficult, and at worst impossible.
2. Cheating causes relationship conflict
Should you cheat and your partner finds out, all hell will break out.
Typically your betrayed partner will argue and fight with you, then cry and withdraw. This emotional volatility will occur in quick cycles that will continue over the span of many months.
Sexual activity may come to a standstill, or it may reach a heightened necessity that will leave you bewildered. Should you cheat, it is unpredictable what will happen to your romantic life with your partner.
Regardless of what your relationship was like before your cheating became known, after having been exposed your relationship will become infinitely worse.
If you have children, your relationship with them will also be negatively impacted.
Often, children reject the philanderer and refuse to talk to him or her or in some extreme situations, even want them out of the house.
For many cheaters, being rejected by their children comes as a complete surprise. One of the delusions of infidelity is that it is a victimless crime — which it is not.
3. Cheating can lead to revenge
If you cheat, your betrayed partner may want to take revenge upon you.
This may take many forms including, divorcing you, ruining your business, taking your money, telling everybody about your flawed character, shaming, and embarrassing you before others.
If you cheat, your betrayed partner may want to punish you. This means for many individuals, no love, no sex, no care, no help, and no future good times together.
Another direction your betrayed partner may take is to cheat on you to level the playing field — to get even and teach you what it feels like to be betrayed.
4. Infidelity will lead to loss of trust
After the affair has been discovered, trust is on of the greatest casualties
If you cheat, having carried on secretly with a person outside of your legitimate relationship, and having covered your bad behaviour with a great deal of lying, you will no longer be trusted or believed by your partner.
If you cheat, after you have been discovered, and should you decide to reconcile with your partner, he or she will likely never completely trust you, and will forever be questioning everything you do. This may drive you insane?
However, it is your own fault — you are the one that cheated.
Can you blame him or her for forever being suspicious of whatever you do?
By cheating, you have forfeited the right to be believed — even when you are telling the truth!
And consider this: Even if your marriage or committed relationship falls apart and you take up with your paramour and make it into a committed relationship, your new relationship will also be infused with mistrust.
Since you cheated on your first partner, now your new partner thinks, "Perhaps you are going to cheat on me as well."
Ironically, even your paramour won't trust you!
It is quite possible that you'll be treated like a relationship pariah for the rest of your life.
5. Having an affair gives the cheater a bad reputation
Should you cheat and get caught, everyone who ever heard about your cheating will always think about you differently.
Your reputation will never be the same. You are now branded as a 'cheater,' and that will never change.
Most people will never say anything to you about your affair. However, their thoughts about you will always include the undeniable fact that you, so to speak, 'stabbed your partner in the back' and that you are not to be trusted.
6. After the affair has been discovered, the cheater may end up divorced
If you cheat, the decision to do so was yours and yours alone.
In the very beginning of your affair, you had a choice to engage or disengage with this person outside of your legitimate relationship.
Before an affair begins you are in control.
However, once your cheating is discovered, you are no longer in control.
Your partner will now determine your fate.
Should you divorce, you will lose money, dignity, self-determination, a peaceful life, and you will have to deal with lawyers. Worst of all, in some cases you will lose partial or complete access to your children.
The way divorce negatively impacts upon a family with children cannot be overstated.
Divorce injures family members regardless of their age or position in the family.
7. Cheating hurts many people
Infidelity is not a victimless crime.
Should you cheat, you and your partner are the obvious victims; the injured parties.
As well, your children are also injured. So too your parents, your partner's parents, siblings, other family members, and friends.
Family and friends are hurt. They have invested in you and wish you well. It is painful for them to watch you and other loved ones in a free-fall.
Family members and friends watch you and your partner struggle with either rebuilding your relationship or ending it.
As they wait for a final decision, they suffer from stress, uncertainty, and fear knowing that the people they love and care about are being injured, and that their future may even become worse.
Regarding your children, they will feel as if their life has collapsed. Depending on their ages and how much they know will determine how far they fall and whether or not they will be able to get back-up.
If you and your partner separate, the affair will impact upon your children the rest of their lives.
As well, there may be some very horrible consequences that will be imposed upon innocent bystanders. For example, grandparents may no longer have access to their beloved grandchildren.
Depending on the work you do, people may be negatively impact there as well. For example, a person having an affair with a business partner or a business associate can cause a loss of many friendly relationships with others in the business as well as the loss of monetary opportunities.
Infidelity is not a victimless crime. More people than you could imagine will be harmed should you cheat.
Think before you act on an impulse to cheat
The next time you are tempted to cheat, consider all the above before entering the path of infidelity.
Like any addiction, infidelity can become habit-forming. Once this happens, it may be almost impossible to exit.
There is a saying, "What happens in Las Vegas stays in Las Vegas." Know that this sentiment is a lie!
The truth: Rarely does the cheating, "Stay in Las Vegas" — usually the cheating is discovered.
This lie is similar to the lies perpetrated by deceptive relationship sites like Ashley Madison that cheating helps a marriage!
Many people such as the villains at Ashley Madison are willing for selfish reasons to mislead and take advantage of you. Don't allow yourself to be their fool.
No relationship has ever improved because one individual cheated on his or her partner — your relationship will be no different.
Realistically, the only question is, 'When will you be discovered and exposed?'
If you really cannot stand your partner, then get a divorce!
Getting divorced is far less painful than ruining your marriage or committed relationship, being branded with the scar of having been a cheater, and everyone knowing that this is the reason your family 'fell apart.'
As well, ending a relationship properly with a formal divorce is the moral and ethical thing to do. Your partner may not like your decision, but at least it is a respectful and honest way to proceed.
However, before you call it quits, I suggest you find a caring and competent relationship professional to help you build a healthy, loving, and peaceful marriage or committed relationship.
With the right help, most relationship problems can be solved.
Almost everyone that is caught cheating regrets having done so
All of the individuals involved in the adultery crisis would jump at the opportunity to turn the clock back to before the cheating occurred and completely avoid this relationship crisis they are currently enduring.
There is nothing worse than a self-inflicted wound that could have been prevented — cheating is just such an injury!
If you are currently cheating, stop. Each day that you continue creates more risk and injury.
If you have cheated in the past, prove that experience has taught you something and never do it again.
If you have never cheated, good for you. Still, take sensible precautions to make sure you are never in a risky situation that could lead to the intentional or unintentional future betrayal of your partner and family.
Cheating has many victims, including the perpetrator.
In the moment of a fling-of-passion, life seems perfect.
However, as gravity never abates, so too, the weight of reality will eventually come crashing down upon the cheater. When this happens, everyone will suffer for a very long time.
In many ways, cheating is not that much different than injecting heroin: A momentary high and then the inevitable crash that leaves the depleted addict groveling in the gutter.
How to avoid Infidelity
The best way to prevent having an affair is to avoid getting involved with a person outside your legitimate relationship.
This infographic is a practical guide as to how to prevent infidelity:
The following are comments from individuals who viewed the above, 10 Safeguards to Prevent Infidelity:
I agree with your 10 rules completely. I could add a few others from personal experience, my husband chose to forgive me, and I felt true grace for the first time.
Young women can turn away from extramarital attention, tell a trusted friend what's going on, and turn the other way. I highly recommend it.
I agree. Married for 28 years. A Perfect Storm of events and one unique situation with an individual and I had committed adultery. Tore my family apart.
Very hard on my adult children. Now I am in a new marriage but will always regret what I did.
It can turn into a genuine obsession where you absolutely can’t stop thinking of the other, how we can meet up and where.
When Clinton had his thing with Monica, I thought this is scary because this guy is supposed to be running the country and he may very well be unable to get her off his mind .
My friend said the sex is always great, but you will go crazy and he was right.
The Dr. said time and distance is the only cure. It can take a couple years to regain your sanity.
Professional infidelity help
Often the assistance of a relationship professional who specializes in infidelity is required to help you survive infidelity.
Below are sources where you can find qualified therapists. Professionals to help you survive infidelity:
Watch this video on the 11 Reasons Why People Cheat:
About the author
Abe Kass, M.A., R.S.W., R.M.F.T., is a Registered Social Worker, Registered Couple and Family Therapist, Certified Hypnotherapist, and award-winning Educator. He has a busy clinical practice in Toronto, Canada.
After many years of clinical practice and research, Abe concluded that practical solutions requiring a focused effort of no more than a few minutes a day for very specific relationship problems were critically needed. GoSmartLife Publishing House has been created to fill this need.