What Is Infidelity?

Infidelity is breaking a promise to remain faithful to a sexual partner. That promise can take many forms, from marriage vows sanctified by the state to privately uttered verbal agreements between lovers. As unthinkable as the notion of breaking such bonds may be, infidelity is common. And when it does happen, it raises thorny and painful questions. Should you stay? Can trust be rebuilt? Can you and should you forgive and move on?

Recent Posts on Infidelity

The Psychology of Plagiarism: Is Cheating the New Normal?

By Peg Streep on May 21, 2015 in Tech Support
Have we become a nation of cheaters, so focused on getting what we want that we don't care what means we use?

Infidelity Goes Public

In 2001, entrepreneur Noel Biderman launched Ashley Madison, a dating/hookup website designed not to help single people meet, date and potentially fall in love, but to help people in established relationships engage in sexual infidelity.

Lust and Loyalty: When Sex and Love Don’t Mix

The difference between fantasy and hot-blooded betrayal.

How Attachment Styles Impact Attitudes Toward Infidelity

Why do people respond differently to sexual versus emotional infidelity? People's attachment style may be a crucial factor.

What Causes You Inner Turmoil?

Being in heated conflict not with others but with yourself can—let’s face it—be agonizing. To be split down the middle, to endlessly waver between two (and sometimes more) options, can at its worst be almost unimaginably distressing. Obsessive to an extreme, it can lead to a paralysis of will (not to mention, much lost sleep). . . .

Harming the Innocent to Punish the Guilty

By Peter Toohey on April 16, 2015 in Annals of the Emotions
There are three harrowing stories here, one modern concerning Katherine Knight, and two from Greek mythology concerning Procne and Atreus. Mental derangement, jealousy and resentment, and profoundly dysfunctional families are at the heart of the cannibalistic stories. They dramatize the harm that is inflicted on the innocent in order to punish the apparently guilty.

I Ain't Got no Body

By Katherine Ramsland Ph.D. on April 16, 2015 in Shadow Boxing
A former prosecutor offers collection of U.S. homicide cases that went to trial, despite having no body.

Evolutionary Psychology Is Not About "Bettering the Species"

People often think that since "evolution" has a lot to do with speciation, then "evolutionary psychology" must be about "bettering the human species" in some way. It's not. At all. Read this if you want to know what evolutionary psychology is really about.

7 Signs of People With Integrity

By Seth Meyers Psy.D. on April 06, 2015 in Insight Is 20/20
Some very basic signs of integrity are dreadfully rare - see my reference to physicians - but the good news about integrity is that we're not born with or without it, so we can change how much integrity we show in everyday life. Check out these seven examples of integrity and ask yourself how often you see these signs in everyday life.

A Crash Course in Emotional Negotiations: US vs. Iran

By Eyal Winter on April 03, 2015 in Feeling Smart
What we can learn from countries that rely on emotions and religious beliefs to make deals

The Attractiveness of Personality Traits

By Adrian Furnham Ph.D. on April 02, 2015 in A Sideways View
Some traits are more attractive than others. But there are downsides to all extreme scorers. Is there a downside to being a sociable extravert or a highly agreeable person?

Jealousy Hurts Love, or Does It?

By Noam Shpancer Ph.D. on April 01, 2015 in Insight Therapy
Jealousy in relationships is common and universal, with deep evolutionary origins. Research shows it can affect relationships in complicated and surprising ways.

Indiana: Where "Freedom" Requires Discrimination

By Marty Klein PhD on March 31, 2015 in Sexual Intelligence
"Religious freedom" was never intended to exempt people from legal obligations.

The Top 4 Reasons Relationships Fail

Committed relationships can survive ups and downs, but some patterns and behaviors can create more permanent damage. Infidelity is only one of the reasons relationships break up. These four negative patterns raise red flags about the state of your relationship or marriage. If you recognize your relationship here, it's time to change course.

Another Guy Who Isn't a Sex Addict

By Marty Klein PhD on March 31, 2015 in Sexual Intelligence
"Sex addiction" is a very poor way to understand people.

Affairs: The Healing Process

By Robert Taibbi L.C.S.W. on March 26, 2015 in Fixing Families
Affairs are devastating on so many levels, but at its core it is about trust and loss. A map for moving through the normal healing process.

What Affairs Are (and Are Not): Find Out If You're At Risk

Affairs may feel good in the moment but the wreckage they can create is definitely not worth it. The good news is that they are preventable. All you need is some awareness and tools.

Displaced, Replaced, Erased

By Randi Gunther Ph.D. on March 13, 2015 in Rediscovering Love
Of all of the possible experiences people endure when they are abandoned in love, rejection is probably the most painful.

Are You Having Enough Sex?

As a psychotherapist specializing in sexual and intimacy disorders, I can tell you that for a lot of individuals and couples the amount of sex they’re having (or not having) can be worrisome.

Parents: Three Lessons You Must Teach Your Kids

By Suzanne Gelb Ph.D., J.D. on March 12, 2015 in All Grown Up
It’s never too early to teach children the right way to behave in the world. The sooner you get started, the better. But it’s also never too late to help your kids “un-learn” negative lessons and make significant improvements.

Surprising Facts about Non-Monogamous Relationships

If you consider swinging, both partners need to be completely comfortable with it. There is no “un-ringing the bell” with this type of decision, so if you are a couple reading this, the first and most important step before making the leap is to talk to your partner and find out what he or she might be interested in.

Love Is War: Post Infidelity Stress Disorder

Due to the symptomatic similarities between PISD and PTSD, therapists are now beginning to use PTSD counselling techniques to help couples either stay together or move on from the trauma of infidelity.

The Borderline Father

Women are more likely to have Borderline Personality Disorder, but men can be impacted as well. Here's how a Borderline father can affect you and some tips about what you can do about it.

I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)

What people single out as perfect instances of being in love and true love does not reflect the love that exists in real love relationships.

Love Comes in Degrees

Bearing in mind that love comes in degrees can shed light on the mystery surrounding the fact that your hotshot boyfriend or girlfriend can insist that he or she loves you one day, then shamelessly cheat on you the next.

How We Fall Out of Love

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on March 09, 2015 in Media Spotlight
Though there has been extensive research looking at the psychology of romantic love, is it possible to learn what can cause people to fall out of love with their significant other? For that matter, how is it possible to move on after a relationship comes to an end? A new article published in Review of General Psychology raises some intriguing questions about this.

3 Major Warning Signs of Relationship Trouble

Most of us want to meet and settle down with the “right” person, and most of us want such a relationship to last. Yet, 53% of marriages in the U.S., 48% in Canada, 47% in the U.K., and 43% in Australia end in divorce. What are some of the major warning signs of a relationship in trouble? Here are three key indicators based on research...

Helping Adolescents Keep Agreements

With more actively and passively resistant adolescents parents must work harder to get agreements made. Getting this habit of keeping agreements in place matters for healthy relationships with parents now, and for significant relationships later on.

Three Dead Grannies, or the Psychology of Deadlines

By Joachim I Krueger Ph.D. on February 21, 2015 in One Among Many
A deadline is a blunt cudgel to beat students (and others) into submission. Can we do without them? [this is a rhetorical question]

Fake vs. True Forgiveness

By Leon F Seltzer Ph.D. on February 20, 2015 in Evolution of the Self
Undeniably, forgiving others for their wrongs to you has many practical, as well as spiritual, advantages. But the problem is that too often it takes place in the head, rather than the heart. Primarily an intellectual act, it doesn’t go nearly far enough. Rational, logical, and objective, it assumes—wrongly—that mental effort alone can talk the heart out of its feelings.