6 Popular Myths About Infidelity
I hope you are finding some valuable inspiration and encouragement in our series on Infidelity. If you haven’t connected to one of my social media channels, I highly encourage you to do so, so you can follow along with the daily posts.
In my last post I told you I’d be sharing popular myths about affairs. This content is adapted from Shirley Glass’ seminal book, Not Just Friends: Rebuilding Trust and Recovering Your Sanity After Infidelity.
Here are six of the most popular incorrect beliefs about affairs.
Myth 1: Affairs do not happen in happy marriages.
Reality: False! Affairs are less about love than they are about, in Glass’ words, “sliding across boundaries.”
Consider that in one study, 46% of cheating wives and 62% of cheating husbands had an affair with someone from work. What might the slide across boundaries look like?
A relationship may form when two people start off working in the same workgroup, where they may move from formal work-chat, to more casual conversation (possibly over lunch together), to each person discussing personal struggles and even problems in their marriages, and on to a sense among both partners that the “friendship” is extremely special, and that it meets a need in their lives not met in their marriages. That is one example of what the slide across boundaries may look like.
Myth 2: Affairs happen mostly because of sexual attraction.
Reality: Affairs happen because the cheating partner loves the way they feel about themselves when seen through the eyes of their new love.
A man may cheat with a woman who tells him he is powerful or good-looking. He is flattered, and hasn’t heard that kind of praise from his wife in a long time. A woman may cheat with a man who tells her her husband is mistreating her, and that she deserves so much better, that he would treat her so much better if they were together. She feels deeply heard and understood, and both her sense of frustration with her husband and attraction to the new man continue to grow.
Another reason affairs happen is because in illicit relationships, people can often play different roles than they have played for many years with their spouses.
A man who feels dominated by his wife may get to experience the feeling of being powerful and “in control” with his new lover. A woman who feels taken for granted at home might relish feeling treasured again and deeply special to someone.
Myth 3: A cheating partner almost always leaves clues, so if a spouse doesn’t know about the affair, they must be deliberately ignorant.
Reality: The majority of affairs are never detected.
Myth 4: A person having an affair will show less interest in sex with their spouse.
Reality: The physical and emotional excitement of an affair can increase passion at home and make sex between the spouses even better.
Myth 5: The person who has an affair isn’t getting enough at home.
Reality: Research shows it’s the opposite, that people who have affairs often aren’t giving enough. The spouse who invests little of themselves into a marriage is more at risk for an affair than the spouse who invests and contributes a great deal.
Myth 6: A cheating partner will be critical of everything you do.
Reality: Actually, unfaithful partners will often become Mr. or Mrs. Wonderful at home to make sure their spouse doesn’t start to suspect something.
Did any of these surprise you? Did any of them shed a little light on your partner’s or your affair?
Next post: How to Tell If Your Friendship Has Become an Emotional Affair
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