Adultery is a relationship crime. It creates three categories of victims: The person betrayed; The perpetrator; and Bystanders.
Committed relationships have rules. The most important rule 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, and sometimes they love their partner.
Teaching aid: See my infographic below on how to Prevent Infidelity!
Cheating 'may or may not' imply something about the current state of your marriage or committed relationship.
Regardless of the 'reason' you give to justify your affair, there is no such thing as legitimate cheating! Let's delve into the reasons infidelity hurts everyone.
The relationship crime that victimizes the person betrayed
1. Infidelity betrayal causes anxiety and depression
When your partner discovers that you have cheated, he or she will experience intense anxiety, worry and depression having been broadsided by a relationship tsunami.
Exposure of infidelity will leave a betrayed partner devastated and bewildered, and it may take him or her years to get back up on their own two feet. And even once that happens, they will never have the same innocence and trust in others that they had prior to having been betrayed.
For many people, depression and anger go hand in hand. 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.
The perpetrator of the relationship crimeWe have discussed how cheating will impact upon your partner. After your cheating has been discovered what will happen to you, the person who cheated?
2. Relationship misery
Should you cheat and your partner finds out all hell will break out.
Your devastated partner will simultaneously explode and implode!
Typically your betrayed partner will argue and fight with you, then cry and withdraw. This will occur in quick cycles that will continue over the span of many months.
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 can also be impacted. It is important to know how and when to speak to your children about the infidelity.
If that isn't enough, your betrayed partner may want to take revenge upon you. This may take many forms including divorcing you and taking a lot of your money, telling everybody about your flawed character, shaming and embarrassing you in public.
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.
Since for obvious reasons your betrayed partner can no longer feel safe with you he or she will likely withdraw. This means for many individuals, no love, no sex, no care, and no future good times together.
4. Loss of trust
For obvious reasons which include having carried on secretly with a person outside of your legitimate relationship and a great deal of lying to cover it over you will no longer be trusted by your partner.
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." Even your paramour won't trust you!
It is quite possible that you'll be treated like a relationship pariah the rest of your life.
Everyone who ever heard about your cheating will always think of 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. Divorce and separation
The decision to cheat was yours and yours alone. However, once your cheating is discovered, you are no longer in control of the situation.
Your partner will now determine your fate. Should you divorce, there will be a loss of money, dignity, self-determination, a peaceful life, and you will have to deal with lawyers. Worst of all, in some cases you will lose access to your children.
The way divorce negatively impacts upon a family cannot be overstated.
Divorce injures family members regardless of their age or position in the family.
Innocent bystanders are collateral damage!
7. Uncertainty and fear
Bystanders include first and foremost your children. After that, they include your parents, siblings, other family members, and friends.
As the bystanders watch you and your partner struggle with either rebuilding your relationship or ending it, they will also suffer from the stress, uncertainty, and fear of what their future may be.
Infidelity is not a victimless crime. More people than you could imagine will be harmed.
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.
Family and friends will also be 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. As well, there may be some very negative realities that will be imposed upon the bystanders. For example, grandparents may no longer have access to their beloved grandchildren.
Think before you act
The next time you are tempted to cheat consider all the above before acting.
There is a saying, "What happens in Las Vegas, stays in Las Vegas." This is a lie! Just like the lie perpetrated by the deceptive relationship site Ashley Madison that cheating helps a marriage!
The truth: Rarely does the cheating "stay in Las Vegas" — usually it is discovered; the question is only 'when you will be exposed.' As well, no relationship has ever improved because one individual cheated on his or her partner — your relationship will be no different.
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.
If you really cannot stand your partner, then get a divorce! It'll be far less painful than being branded with the scar of having been a cheater and everyone knowing this is the reason your family 'fell apart.' However, before you call it quits I suggest you find a caring and competent relationship professional to help you try to recover from infidelity and build a healthy, loving, and peaceful marriage or committed relationship.
If you love your partner and enjoy being with him or her — don't, so to speak, kill him or her by cheating.
I have worked with so many wonderful people who have been afflicted and entrapped by infidelity. After the affair is over, and the legitimate partners want to stay together, 'surviving infidelity' becomes their battle cry! They sincerely want to leave the adultery and the ensuing relationship crisis in the past. However, doing so is exceedingly difficult.
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 experiencing.
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 grovelling in the gutter.
The best protection to prevent having an affair is to avoid getting involved with a person outside your relationship. Here is how:
Here are comments from a few individuals who viewed the 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.
Most 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. See below.
Find professionals to help you survive infidelity:
The American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists
The Canadian Association of Marriage and Family Therapists
Surviving Infidelity Recovery Specialist
Learn how to Survive Infidelity with my best self-help books, available on Amazon.