My book Married to a Devil looks at the mental and physical consequences of infidelity in relationships among other things. Let’s face it; this can happen to anybody at any stage in a relationship.
Betrayal and infidelity are a reality. Although the motives and reasons for betrayal may vary, the results will most likely bear similar consequences.
Current statistics show that cases of infidelity are in fact on the increase. Reliable survey results are hard to come by as several factors inhibit the accurate collection of data. Given the sensitive nature of such studies, people are reluctant to openly admit their marital escapades.
Furthermore, cultural variations about what actually constitutes infidelity as well as complex socio-economic and ethnic factors are amongst the challenging aspects that researchers in this field have to contend with.
The reasons why infidelity appears to be very much alive in today’s world, and perhaps even on the increase, are many and diverse; anthropologists might argue the proven fact that most mammals are not monogamous, religious people might argue that the dwindling of values, estrangement from god and decadence has led to this state and others still blame the changing gender roles that has characterized this age.
Coping strategies for infidelity
The Othello syndrome, although rare in its extreme form, is a clinically established syndrome and is characterized by morbid or obsessive jealousy.
What Shakespeare’s character teaches us is that those who consistently doubt the integrity and fidelity of their partner and search for signs of infidelity will begin seeing those signs in place where they do not exist.
Often, the results of jealousy are catastrophic as it feeds obsession thoughts. If you do suspect infidelity, make sure to have all the right evidence in hand.
Do not ignore the signs. As heart wrenching and difficult as it may be to face, you need to come face to face with that facts.
Do not try to accept or hide what you already know by trying to “save the marriage” or “doing it for the kids”. Your unhappiness could affect your ability to parent your children well and cripple your emotional well being. Children are far more perceptive than you may think and moreover, if your partner is having an affair there is nothing to save.
Facing the music and confronting your partner does not mean breaking up the marriage.
The first step in dealing with the issue if in fact, seeking help, perhaps marriage counselling. You need to understand what drove you apart and what made your partner have a relationship.
Once you understand the motives, you might be able to patch things up by working at the underlying issues that gave rise to those motives.
If you think your marriage or relationship will break up begin by protecting yourself financially. If he is seeing another woman he is likely spending money on her.
If the relationship with you does end, he may legally be obliged to maintain you but find as many ways as possible of getting out of it. It might be time to take legal measures.
Forget who he or she might be – whoever is having an affair with your husband, wife or partner is not the issue. The issue is between you and your partner.
Don’t build up hostility and hatred towards somebody you probably do not even know. Yes, that person behaved in an appalling manner but the issue at hand is the life you have built with your husband or wife, boyfriend or girl friend.
Do you feel the need to vent out with your family and friends?
Be careful. Of course, you need to discuss what is happening with somebody but you might wish to seek the help of a psychologist. Now this is ultimately your choice but keep in mind the following. Once you have told your family or friends, they will likely build a grudge if not a hatred towards him that will be hard to wipe away should you patch things up. So if you do patch things up, the animosity between your family and friends and your cheating partner might make relationship dynamics very complicated.