Deciding when to walk away after infidelity by either partner in a relationship might be difficult, but it could be the best decision.
Before you continue reading, check out this video by Marriage Helper on dependable ways to help you decide when to walk away after infidelity or even take a break in your relationship.
Infidelity or cheating in relationships and marriages is widespread and no one wishes to be a victim because of the emotional burden that accompanies it.
It practically renders a person, both men and women almost miserable for days and can take a toll on the person’s mental health and overall performance.
What is infidelity and how does it wield so much power to crumble even people we perceive as emotionally fortified?
This post will dissect infidelity inside and out and at the end give reasons why one might decide when to walk away after infidelity.
Read how to listen to your intuition in relationships to make better decisions.
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What is infidelity?
Infidelity is any action that violates agreements or promises of relationships.
It’s the act of being unfaithful to a partner, especially romantic or sexual relations with another person who is not a partner.
Every case of infidelity is different as it serves a particular individual need. But whatever reasons why cheating takes place does not lessen the effect it has on the victim.
However, knowing why the infidelity happened could give the victim some rationalization to clear the confusion and the confidence to move on.
Cheating is an agelong behaviour and frowned upon by everyone when it is perpetrated against them.
It in marriage is slightly different from that of ordinary dating, even though both can be emotionally devastating.
Marriage is official and recognized while dating is still under consideration and both partners can go their separate ways without much ado.
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But in marriage, many factors come into play, especially if there are kids to consider.
Although infidelity is extremely painful emotionally, having an affair need not spell the end of your marriage.
Some couples might be able to work it out after a cheating incident while others might struggle with it until it becomes irreparable.
Infidelity, which threatens to destroy the foundation of marriage itself, is one of the marital issues that cause the most pain and destruction.
Why would a partner want to cheat on his or her partner? Let’s examine some causes of cheating in a relationship.
Causes of infidelity
One of the most frequent reasons for cheating, according to experts, is feeling emotionally distant from a partner.
35%of women and 45% percent of men, according to studies from the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, have had emotional affairs outside of their primary relationships.
The adulterer laments a lack of appreciation, love, attention, and general misery or sense of insecurity, which motivates them to cheat on their relationship.
There have been instances where adultery was caused just by the thrill of doing something covert and partaking of the forbidden fruit.
There are many reasons for infidelity, and every one is unique.
Some people think it’s because of a loveless marriage, while others think it’s because of a hasty decision that can’t be changed.
Others feel that this anomaly arises as a result of the inability to resolve interpersonal issues.
Here are some obvious causes of infidelity in relationships
1. Too much use of the internet
One of the main channels for cheating is now the internet. The Internet has made it so simple to connect with individuals and establish relationships.
Social media and smart phones are making people to lie more and make it easier to start secret relationships.
There are chat and relationship platforms on the internet where lonely and willing people converge for the purpose of starting relationships.
These platforms are tricky because someone who is not looking to start a relationship might stumble on them and decides to look in and get hooked immediately.
2. Loneliness and boredom
Boredom and loneliness are other reasons why people cheat. One of the reasons for being in a relationship or marriage is companionship.
When there is no companionship in a relationship, it opens a window for a third party to fill up the void.
Humans are wired to interact with each other because we are social beings.
An isolated person can become bored pretty soon and yearn for a company that can come in the form of a romantic relationship.
When there is a willing person who is good enough, it could culminate into a romance quickly especially when the other person has been yearning for such.
3. Feeling of unwantedness
A lot of people feel unwanted in their relationships because the other party has lost interest because of whatever reasons.
As hurtful as it could be, people who are victims of this treatment could be faithful people who have no reasons to pass through such.
They might decide to find love elsewhere where they are appreciated because they believe their partner is no longer interested in them.
4. Long-distance relationships
Even though the distance is irrelevant in pure love, long-term separation is one of the leading factors in infidelity.
Couples are frequently compelled by the demands of their jobs to maintain their distance from one another.
When one partner is gone for an extended period of time, the other partner feels lonely and searches for new hobbies that may involve socializing with others where they may become a little bit overly connected with someone.
When a couple spends too much time apart from one another, they begin to feel less connected and attached than they once did.
They either fall in love with someone else or turn to adultery to feel human.
There are people who believe in tit for tat. A partner could decide to avenge a cheating partner by also going out to cheat.
This usually happens when there are already underlying relationship issues or when the other partner is a serial cheater and nobody wants to leave.
Often, some partners say they have forgiven a cheating partner but they never did and will go ahead to revenge.
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6. Issues relating to aging and body image
After being married or committing to a relationship, people stop chasing their spouses.
Since the “chase” or “honeymoon” phase is very brief, it is simple to take each other for granted as time goes on.
This carefree attitude frequently causes partners to disregard their appearances and manner.
By no means is it proper to use physical appearance as a parameter to be loved.
Unfortunately, there are instances when people begin to miss the more attractive, older version of their relationships and search for quick substitutes in their place.
7. Unmet sexual expectations
One of the most obvious reasons for adultery is unfulfilled sexual desires.
According to a study in The Normal Bar, only17% of persons who reported being sexually pleased in their primary relationships and 52% of those who reported being unsatisfied with their sex lives were more likely to succumb to the outside attraction.
It suggests that those who don’t enjoy their sexual relationships are three times more likely to cheat on their partners than those who do.
Types of infidelity
When infidelity occurs in a relationship, it usually falls under one of these categories or types:
1. Emotional infidelity/emotional cheating
This is the type of cheating that happens on an emotional level and can have as many consequences as physical infidelity.
Having a crush on someone else falls under this category. Sometimes it might not just be the ordinary crush everybody knows; it might go deep that the person seeks physical contact.
2. Financial infidelity
Many relationships can become strained over money. If it gets to the extent of financial infidelity, one partner may lie about their income, their sources of income, their debt, and their spending or borrowing habits.
Even if their partner is unaware of it, they can have money stashed away in cash or other bank accounts.
3. Opportunistic infidelity
When someone is in love and emotionally attached to their partner, yet gives in to their sexual desire for someone else, this is called opportunistic adultery.
This kind of cheating is frequently motivated by chance or environmental factors, risk-taking behavior, and drug or alcohol usage.
4. Obligatory infidelity
This kind of infidelity is motivated by the worry that rejecting someone’s sexual advances will lead to rejection or loss of goodwill or benefits from the person.
People in this category may have a good relationship with their partners but the need for approval will lead them to cheat on their partners.
5. Romantic infidelity
There are partners who are just out to have affairs outside because it’s a hobby.
Despite their dedication to their marriage or relationship and desire to make it work, they yearn for a passionate, loving relationship with another person.
They will probably never leave their spouse because of their devotion to the union.
6. Social media infidelity/virtual infidelity
People can now more easily participate in online communications, chats, forums, or groups that contain sexual content thanks to social media.
In addition to watching erotic content, such as pornography, there are other forms of cyber infidelity.
7. Sexual infidelity
As the name suggests, this has to do with having a sexual relationship outside one’s relationship or marriage.
This is the most hurtful of the infidelity types and cut deeper than can be imagined.
Most people don’t forgive this kind of cheating and if they do, the hurt is always tucked away somewhere in their hearts.
Falling out of love after infidelity
Being hurt in a relationship and getting through such a trying moment takes a lot of work and effort to forgive.
It’s also possible that you’re losing interest in someone following an affair, which is a very natural feeling to experience.
Some relationships can never be repaired after infidelity as cheating could be the dealbreaker for some people in any relationship.
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One might pretend to still forgive or remain in love, but deep down, the bond has been severed and no amount of goodwill or deed will bring things back to normal.
However, remaining together doesn’t make sense if you and your spouse are no longer in love.
The pain of cheating never goes away
No matter how a victim of infidelity is pacified, the pain never goes away. Not anytime soon.
It’s a form of heartbreak that cuts deep into the hearts of victims. It would take a shorter time to recover after infidelity if the partners separated than when they are together.
For a man, he would look foolish and used to staying in a relationship where he was cheated on.
This is because men are egoistic and would rather take a harsher decision than still be loyal to a partner that cheated.
For the woman, she might stay back and count on time to heal.
After infidelity, healing happens gradually. It is unquestionably not an immediate, or simple process.
You already know this, if you found out your partner was having an affair.
And you’re probably flitting back and forth between denial, unspeakable despair, mostly expressible and often fury, and uncontrollable rage.
It’s a precarious situation, but you can snap out of it if you still have some love retained for your partner.
How to get over infidelity pain
Remember that even if you may read books on the subject, it may be wiser to trust a therapist rather than a book.
However, for the most useful information, look for books or articles published by psychologists or well-known relationship specialists if you do decide to read up on the issue.
The primary objective of the stages of cheating recovery is to progress toward forgiveness.
However, forgiveness does not guarantee that the marriage will survive. It’s possible to forgive both your spouse and yourself.
When possible, it’s crucial to complete each level. Below are the stages of healing from an affair.
Stages of recovery from infidelity
Here are the stages you can go through to recover from a cheating situation with a partner:
1. The discovery stage
The discovery stage is the period the cheating is discovered and could be the hardest period of the trying times.
It is characterized by intense emotions of anger, despair, frustration, and hatred for the partner.
This is not the best time to make any decision concerning the situation as one could really make terrible mistakes.
Also Read: How To Listen To Your Intuition In Relationships And Make Better Decisions
Victims of infidelity usually must have been having gut feelings but were not sure their partner was cheating.
They might have even confronted them to dissuade them to desist. This is because, cheating mostly takes a long time to happen, though not all.
However, none of these gets you prepared for the turbulent emotional burden to be experienced after your partner cheated.
2. The grieving stage
The discovery stage is accompanied by the grieving stage which is characterized by maybe crying, and moody reflections on why their partner could actually cheat on them.
Grieving is a very necessary part of healing as one needs to let out all the emotions to feel better.
You need to experience all of your sadness and get things through, so don’t hold back. Cry, shout, sleep, and cry some more.
If you can, seek out support from your friends and family or online.
Grieving can particularly take a long time, sometimes years for the next stage to set in, and about 65% percent of couples do not get it right after infidelity.
3. The acceptance stage
As described above, it could take years to recover from being cheated on.
This is important to note because many cheated partners truncate their healing process by wanting a speedy recovery either because the cheating partner inundates them with affection to buy them over.
You will eventually begin to accept what happened once you would have overcome all of your sadness and fury.
Usually, new commitments and reassurance are made but this does not imply that the victim has automatically pardoned the cheating companion.
A cheated partner should give themselves enough time to be ready for the next stage.
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4. Reconnection stage
After recovery, reconnection is the next stage for partners that decide to stay together to work on their relationship.
It does not take much time between acceptance and recovery as proper healing has already taken place.
In some relationships, the reconnection stage is a new dawn, a reset of the relationship to the default and they usually come back stronger and better, especially if the victim of infidelity is the cause of the incident by negligence or attention starvation.
Here is another video from by Affair recovery on moving forward after infidelity:
Virtual infidelity a ground for divorce
In recent times, we have seen the quick rise of the smartphone and social media and how it has enhanced life making everything easy for humans including, business, adverts, meetings, and even have become the workplace.
It didn’t come without a flip side that hurts so bad though. It is a perfect tool for people to cheat comfortably.
Virtual dating has been on the rise and people arrange to see after many days, weeks, months or years of chatting and relating virtually.
Statistics show that more people both men are women are cheating with ease on their phones.
Over 60% of divorce filings featured one spouse having an online affair, according to a recent study of 4000 adults.
In many of these situations, the internet relationship was not detected for months or even years after it began. These more figures demonstrate:
- In contrast to their partners, 80% of males and 60% of women admitted to using sexting.
- Of those, 66% were engaged in stable relationships.
- In contrast to their partners, 50% of women and 80% of men acknowledged having sexual fantasies about other people.
- 40% of women and 80% of men admitted to flirting with people other than their relationships online.
- 60% of those individuals were in stable relationships.
Signs of infidelity in a relationship
How can you tell if your husband or boyfriend is cheating on you, and what warning signs should you watch out for?
Most infidelities don’t take long to cease to be a secret as there would be clues here and there for your gut feeling to pick it up.
Here are signs of infidelity in men:
1. New hobbies
If your husband or boyfriend’s work routine or hours change and probably begin to work longer hours, you should be alert.
He would begin to attend more meetings, stays late without being worried and seems to have more work to do.
All these could be charades to get your mind off his cheating radar.
2. They select defenses
Does your partner yell at you for things that are relatively little or even unreasonable lately?
They can simply be making you seem to be the aggressor in other to allay their own feelings of guilt.
Cheaters frequently experience intense guilt. Your partner can easily make you feel bad about yourself by taking out this anger on you.
3. They removed traces of their partner from social media
Some people no longer add their marital status on Facebook. However, it’s still very simple to determine if someone is married.
When a partner deletes photos that should indicate they are in a relationship, that’s a good sign they are cheating.
4. They are apprehensive when their partner handles their phone
I am not in the school of thought that supports a partner to stay away from their partner’s phone.
It is weird to me that a partner would actually keep his phone away from his spouse or partner.
However, when a partner becomes overly apprehensive when the other handle their phone, it’s a sign.
5. They don’t take certain calls when they are with their partner
When a partner begins to select calls when they take in the presence of their partner, that’s a clear sign they are having an affair.
Cheats always have techniques to avoid calls from their cheating partners when they are at home.
I know of a guy who would silence his phone and always had it facing down when home.
This way, the phone won’t attract attention when a call comes in and he would always return innocent calls later.
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Reasons that determine when to walk away after infidelity
Most times, people get back to normal together after a partner has an affair whereas other times, the affair might actually make the other partner a reason to reconsider the relationship.
There are signs that would show that a partner is not needed anymore or should not consider staying back in the relationship.
Here they are:
1. They are chronic liars
I do not want to subscribe to the agelong saying that ‘a cheat is a cheat forever.’
But when your partner continues to lie about issues, especially after an infidelity incident, then you should consider if you want to stay in the relationship.
It doesn’t matter if it is marriage. Chances are you will continue to deal with the same issue over again.
The worst for a person to be cheated on repeatedly, unless they have developed a thick skin and don’t care about whatever their partner does.
Of course, I know couples who live together for the sake of living as husband and wife but without any intimacy and both are okay with it.
2. When there is no intimacy anymore
Just as described above, there are couples who go numb after their partner cheats on them.
They don’t have any feelings anymore for them. Instead of punishing the other partner, it would be time to leave and find love elsewhere.
3. When you are in the union because of children
When there are children present, it might be difficult to decide when to end a marriage after an affair.
You are apprehensive if you are able to raise the kids on your own.
But sometimes, it’s better to leave the marriage or relationship if you can’t bear the emotional burden and your gut feeling tells you so.
4. When your partner is aloof
When a partner is aloof and leaves all the emotional work for one person after infidelity is a bad sign.
No human should leave his or her life trying to expect reciprocity from another in a relationship.
There should be mutual interest and effort in getting back together. When one partner is not showing interest, it’s time for the other partner to take the hard decision.
5. When domestic violence begins to creep in
A lot of relationships are characterized by abuse and domestic violence when one party especially the man is fade up with the relationship.
Any complaint or position the woman takes that does not sit well with the man might culminate into toxic behaviour towards the woman including violence.
When this begins to happen or even when there is a signal for it, it’s time to prepare to walk away.
Frequently asked questions about when to walk away after infidelity
Should you stay married after infidelity?
Everyone has a different pain threshold. Whereas others are emotionally resilient, others find it difficult to tolerate.
It’s only you, the victim that can decide if you are to stay after your partner cheated, gauging all factors including the future.
How long does a marriage last after infidelity?
A discovered infidelity can be resolved depending on the reason for the act.
If the act was intentional to make the victim see a reason to leave the relationship or marriage, then the relationship won’t last a good time because if the victim doesn’t leave, there would be another ploy by the cheating partner to make sure the victim leaves.
However, if the cheating partner is genuinely sorry and shows commitment afterward, and the partner who cheated sees reasons to reconnect, then the relationship can be remedied.
There is no benchmark to determine how long the marriage or relationship would last the following infidelity. It all depends on the factors in play, as no two relationships are the same.
What percent of marriages end in divorce after infidelity?
According to APA 20 – 40% of cheating occurrences end in divorce. Women have a higher tendency of initiating divorce.
However, as more women commit cheating, conventional roles are also changing.
Women who are financially independent are more likely to commit adultery, according to the same study.
Any kind of cheating can have a devastating effect on a relationship if not handled well by both partners.
If a partner cheated on decides to leave, they are right. But some might consider staying for some reasons after weighing the odds.
The difficult though is to decide if leaving would be an option. This option depends on other factors which have to do with the cheating partner.
However, if you decide to leave your relationship as a result of cheating, don’t be ashamed of your choice, you are right.
With the above reasons, you can know when to walk away after infidelity.
Digital Divorce: How Social Media Affects Marriage
4 Essential Stages of Healing After an Affair
6 Infidelity Recovery Stages And How To Facilitate Healing
Falling Out Out Of Love After Infidelity
15 Most Common Causes of Infidelity in Relationships
15 Most Common Causes of Infidelity in Relationships
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
A Personal Development Content Creator and an author. I write about life ethics and love to document and share life hacks and experiences of people to help others make good life decisions.
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