Marriage and Infidelity

Published: 2021-08-06 04:40:05
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People’s interactions of fidelity set the stage for the way in which they deal with infidelity in their relationships. As seen or heard, many women expect their partners to cheat, and most men don’t expect their partners to. These expectations determine subsequent reactions to infidelity. Research has reported that men and women experience their infidelity differently, women describe their infidelity as more emotional, where as men describe their infidelity as more sexual. For example, some individuals may not consider emotional intimacy as a violation of the relationship commitment.
Others may disagree about what physical behaviors constitute infidelity, believing that only intercourse confirms infidelity, whereas others hold that behaviors such as kissing constitute a breach of trust and commitment to fidelity. Partners may disagree over the definition of infidelity and thus disagree with whether it has occurred. Of the many definitions in research, Johnson (2005) defines infidelity as any action that is perceived and/or experienced as hurtful betrayal of trust or threat to a relationship; it is any action that undermines the stability of a couple’s attachment bond (Johnson 2005).
Infidelity can be sexual, emotional, or both. Sexual infidelity is any behavior that involves sexual contact, such as kissing, intimate touching, oral sex, or sexual intercourse. Emotional infidelity involves the formation of a emotional attachment to or affection of another person, and can involve such behaviors as flirting, dating, intimate conversations, or falling in love (Drigotas & Barta, 2001). Infidelity can occur in a marital, cohabitating, or dating relationship and is therefore more generally referred to as extra dyadic involvement (e. g. , Thompson, 1983).
There are cultures, and subcultures in our society, in which it is expected that people in committed relationships will have affairs, and these affairs are viewed without much disapproval. The rule is that the affairs must be kept secret. The general importance is that the partner must never be put in a position where he/she should have to deal with this unpleasant reality. Infidelity may not be the worse thing that one relationship partner can do to another, but it may be the most confusing and disorienting and therefore the most likely to destroy the relationship, not necessarily because of sex, ut because of the secrecy and the lies. A lie may be more direct betrayal than keeping a relevant secret, but the two ultimately amount to much of the same thing, the effort to disorient your partner in order to avoid conflict over some breach of the relationship agreement. It seems that people who mess around assume that everyone else does so too, while those who don’t mess around assume sexual infidelity is unusual behavior. There are several different kinds of infidelity.
Some of it is infrequent, occurs under unusual circumstances, is perhaps even unique or accidental, some of it is rare but intense passion that pressures the relationship and feels like love, some of it is open and part of the relationship agreement, either cooperative or defiant, and last but not least some is continuous, recurrent infidelity (“philandering”) may occur in no more than twenty percent intact relationships (Johnson 2005). Society’s attitude towards infidelity has seemed to soften in the past years.
One of the reasons for the current shift in attitudes may well be related to our modern-day belief that love excuses all. Society may regard infidelity more leniently if love is involved, but other factors also contribute to our present-day liberal attitudes toward affairs. Research states, decrease in religious faith encourages infidelity; so does the role model of parental infidelity, the over all awareness that infidelity is out of control, which makes it easy for the average person to rationalize their own infidelity or any temptation to cheat by saying, “everyone done does it, then why shouldn’t I? Another possible cause for the increase in infidelity in today’s time may well be the media, the consciousness that infidelity is common among most dazzling and respected public figures, gives the public a green flag. A survey was conducted in 1971 by Robert Whitehurst, “Violence Potential in Extra Marital Sexual Responses,” forty percent of the sample claimed that the mass media had an effect on them in a liberating direction in regard to sexual things.
Although there are certain situations under which men and women will both be likely to engage in extramarital affairs, those affairs are usually motivated by different factors. Men seek attention through sex; women seek attention, then sex. Overall, men and women desire many of the same equalities in a partner; they just go about meeting them their emotional and sexual needs in different ways. Some common reasons men give for their marital affairs are put into 5 groups according to research; sexual reasons sexual variety, more sex, more often, oral sex), novelty reasons (the thrill of a new body, the excitement of a new challenge, no burdensome emotions), ego-boost reasons (feeling attractive to a younger women, being the total center of attention, if available, why not? ), wife-related reasons ( power over wife, boredom in marriage, to avoid intimacy with wife, wife too involved with children), and fantasy/romance reasons ( temporary escape from unhappy marriage, to get love and affection, to prove sexual attractiveness).
According to research women’s primary motivation for affairs is to boost their ego and gain self-confidence and self-esteem, which has often been tough in their marriage. Women also have affairs to get back at an unfaithful husband and to experience sexual variety. However, other research studies and interviews emphasize that the majority of women have affairs as a way to feel better about themselves and in order to an emotional, affectionate connection. What is the likelihood of a man participating in casual sex? Pretty high, according to evolutionary psychologist Dr. David Buss. Dr.
Buss and his colleagues at the University of Texas tested how willing men would be to have sex with a woman they had just met. The researches had men pose the following question to women: “Hi, I’ve been noticing you around town lately, and find you attractive. Would you go to bed with me? All the women who were asked this question said no. But when women posed this same question to men, seventy-five percent of the men said yes and added that they were very flattered by the woman’s request. Dr. Buss’s research also supports other studies which point out that many men will rarely turn down a sexual advance from a woman.
Research and casual observation support the view that if opportunity was present many more men than women will engage casual sex and one night stands even when they have no interest in having a relationship, or even further contact, with the person. This finding does not account for married men who receive proposals from women, nor for their wives, who could be cheated on repeatedly. In another study, Buss et al. (1999) set up scenarios so that each form of infidelity was equally restricted (partner engaged in sexual or emotional infidelity but not in both).
The study resulted in men having a higher percentage than women in regards to distress towards sexual infidelity (when there was no emotional involvement) compare to distress in regards to imagining their partner was engaging in emotional infidelity (with no sexual involvement). In a successive test, participants were given scenarios once again, but this time it was clear that both sexual and emotional infidelity were co-occurring, participants were asked which bothered them the most, sexual or emotional infidelity (Buss et al. 1999). He found further support in regards to his perspective on evolutionary research. The study once again resulted in a big difference in the amount of males (61%) than females (13%) reporting greater distress towards sexual infidelity versus emotional infidelity. Looking through the victim’s perspective on infidelity, the initial male reaction to suspicions of infidelity is one shocked surprise. Most men admit that they had never expected their partner to cheat on them because they don’t believe women can separate love from sex.
Therefore, when they do find out that their wife has been unfaithful; they are unable to dismiss the affair as “just sex. ” According to research men, unlike women, rarely put up with their wives’ infidelity. Many men also react to their wives’ infidelity with threats of violence itself; ultimately, they are devastated by the affair and often feel that they will never again trust another woman. Women on the other hand tend to avoid confronting their partner and the situation as long as possible, ignoring the evidence.
And research has found that when women are obligated to deal with the infidelity they try to dismiss it as a sexual fling and give no importance to the other women. Majority of women not only ignore their husbands’ infidelities but even sometime help cause them to happen, by making it clear that no matter how strong their suspicions of infidelity might be, they will ignore the evidence. Our grandparents’ generation believed in monogamy; statistics make the current generation to believe in the dominance of infidelity.
In 1948, Kinsey found that fifty percent of married men had extramarital sex. That figure was significant again in 1979 when Yablonsky found that fifty percent of husbands had are unfaithful. These figures were topped in 1981 when Hite reported that out of 7,239 men, 3 out 4 husbands had cheated during the first two years of their marriage and that seventy-two percent of married men were unfaithful. Female infidelity has also been taken into account. In 1953 Kinsey showed that twenty-six percent of wives had on affair by the time they were forty.
In September 1975, Redbook demonstrated that this figure has dramatically increased; nearly one third of their married readers who had answered their questionnaire admitted to infidelity. And in 1982, sociologist Lynne Atwater reported that fifty percent of women are unfaithful to their husbands. Perhaps men and women have always cheated. Not everyone will be able to forgive a spouse for infidelity. Forgiving the infidelity does not mean condoning it or minimizing its impact.
Research on forgiveness shows that it is beneficial to one’s health to let go of high levels of sustained anger (Luskin, 2002). Yet people differ in their need to forgive. Some can do it more easily because of their religious principles; some want to forgive but cannot; some let go anger, but cannot easily forgive. It is important to recognize and respect that some people will be unable to forgive even though they work hard on restructuring their marriage. A couple can move on without forgiving.
According to research couples can be most helped when they understand one another through exploration of the stresses prior to the infidelity and knowing more about themselves from a generational view. They also need to have good communication skills, a forum for talking over problems, the family meeting, and ways to cope with anger. While they may not be able to forgive, they usually benefit from understanding the reasons the infidelity occurred, and by developing relationship skills. It seems, the path to forgiveness is made easier by understanding.
Taking the review of literature into consideration it seems that more research has been focused on married couples, engaged couples, or adults in general and only regarding the topic of infidelity specifically. Little research shows perceptions of infidelity amongst a younger age group and non married couple, for example, men and women in college and/or during the age of eighteen through twenty-two, and little research specify any information regarding forgiveness after infidelity has been committed. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to see what perceptions college students have about infidelity and forgiveness.
Based on previous research the following hypothesis was developed, college men are more likely to forgive emotional infidelity and college women are more likely to forgive sexual infidelity. Since, some research does show that the way in which the parent conducts his/her relationships consistently influences a child, and if infidelity is part of a parents marriage it can only serve to corrode the child’s own belief in monogamy and the promise of happily ever after, an exploratory analysis will be conducted to see if marital status impacts relationships among college students.

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