How Common is Infidelity?

Maybe a previous partner cheated on you. Now, you’re nervous to enter another relationship for fear of infidelity. Perhaps you were the unfaithful partner in a former relationship, and you’re worried you’ll make the same mistake again.

If you’ve experienced infidelity in a relationship, the thought of partnering up with someone else can seem unthinkable. It’s easy to assume that infidelity is inevitable in any relationship, no matter how happy two people appear on the surface.

However, most relationships do not involve infidelity. Learning more about the actual frequency of infidelity, as well as the causes, can help you shift to a healthier perspective on relationships. Let’s explore how common infidelity really is, why it can happen, and how it can affect couples.

How Many Couples Deal With Infidelity?

Infidelity does not occur in every relationship. While exact statistics can be elusive, estimates show that anywhere from one in ten to one in four couples deal with infidelity. The numbers can vary greatly depending on how people define infidelity, as well as the gender of the person answering. It’s true that no percentage of couples experiencing infidelity is truly reassuring. But one thing is clear, even factoring in the difficulty in assessing specific numbers: infidelity is not the norm in relationships.

Physical And Emotional Affairs

Some people consider physical affairs as the only form of cheating. Others put emotional affairs or other forms of lying and dishonesty in the same category. What one couple considers infidelity might not ring true for another couple. It depends on the specific boundaries and values you both committed to upholding in your relationship. But for most couples, being physically intimate with someone else will constitute cheating. For others, sharing information you haven’t told your spouse or being secretive about friendships could be viewed as emotional affairs. Both partners need to be on the same page about what they view as being unfaithful.

Why Are Some People Unfaithful In Relationships?

After engaging in infidelity, one partner might say that they were unfaithful because their needs were unmet in the relationship or they felt unappreciated. It’s crucial to remember that if one partner is unfaithful, this was not caused by the other partner’s actions. An unfaithful partner always has the choice to communicate if they feel their needs are unmet or to respectfully end the relationship before pursuing a romantic connection with someone else.

How Infidelity Affects Couples

Couples can respond to infidelity in many different ways. After finding out that their partner was unfaithful, many people will choose to end the relationship. It can be very difficult to rebuild a foundation of trust in a relationship where one partner is unfaithful, and no one has any obligation to try and do so. On the other hand, some couples will decide that they want to work together to repair their relationship and move forward.

Overcoming Infidelity

Choosing to overcome infidelity as a couple is not easy. But it is possible. If you and your partner have been completely honest with each other about infidelity within your relationship, and you have resolved that you want to stay together and create a better future, you may benefit from working with a couples therapist. The right therapist can help you figure out new boundaries for your relationship, understand what it means to genuinely apologize, and determine what a future based on loyalty and commitment could look like.

Are you and your partner struggling to overcome infidelity in your relationship? A therapist can help you navigate this difficult time. Reach out to us to learn more about our couples therapy services.