The Cost of Infidelity

The Cost of Infidelity
January 6, 2012 Wendy Strgar

“You can have no greater or lesser dominion than the one over yourself. The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions.” -Leonardo DaVinci


Infidelity is a topic on just about everyone’s mind at some point in their relationship. Whether it lives as a quiet fear, a desperate fantasy or a shame-filled memory, the occurrence of infidelity is so frequent and widespread that it is one of the cultural phenomena of love that holds us all. It is rare for illicit affairs to turn into the lasting relationships we envision when we begin them. The excitement and intrigue produced in the clandestine efforts for secrecy can turn mediocre sex passionate, but generally doesn’t translate well into the mundane action of making a life together. Besides that, the affair itself is often tainted with the pain it inflicts on others left in its wake. Still, the number of people who self report infidelity continues to rise, even in some unlikely relationship categories like newlyweds.

Surprisingly, the reasons behind most affairs are more similar than they are different, even spread amongst a wide socio-economic backgrounds and ages. Oddly it is our relationship promises that often become the trade-off in our collective drive for distraction and novelty.    Shiny new intimate connections bring back youthful feelings of freedom and unbridled desire compared with the daily work of living in a routine with someone replete with challenges and overwhelming responsibilities.

Deep down, we all want to believe love is easy and spontaneous, which is how we often confuse our biological drives of attraction with real love. Long-term relationships require both intention and communication to keep them vibrant.

Infidelity, once considered uniquely a sexual transgression often begins with our emotional life.  Long work hours with other co-workers can easily transition into shared intimacies by text.   Many people report that they didn’t see the affair evolving, as they were unable to witness the process by which they were becoming increasingly distant to the partner that they lied to while becoming increasingly close to the person with whom they shared the truth. This is the nature of lies; they create separation in order to maintain them.

What is often overlooked is that the lies we tell begin inside of us. It is impossible to not betray yourself when you betray your most intimate promises to someone else. The distance one creates from their partner is a mirror of what is required internally to maintain the deception. The affair becomes a tiny respite where you can self medicate and justify the internal wounds of divorcing from the self you aspired to be. This is often the poison that kills the affair. Most people can’t live with this level of deception for long. It isn’t just the intimate promises that are broken; it is one’s very self image that cracks.

No one wants to be a liar. It is a painful life indeed to not be able to trust your own word.  It is a kind of creeping self disassociation that spills into every area of your life and before long, looking in the mirror requires self-medicating too.  People are adaptable though, and we all know someone who seems more comfortable with deceit than the truth.  It is not a foundation that can bear much weight, which explains the 90% fail rate of repeated offenders in actually finding love that lasts. If love is a seed that lives inside of each of us, consider living a lie, like a dry internal desert, inhabitable to any seed of goodness trying to germinate in us.

The cost of infidelity reaches out in ever expanding circles, but it begins inside where the damage is most heartbreaking.

Comments (0)

  1. Dee 6 years ago

    It is so important to pick a partner wisely but that doesn’t mean that person won’t make a mistake. However, if the relationship starts off with good communication that can help it through the down periods and maybe even stop an affair from taking place.

  2. John 6 years ago

    First hand I have learned that it is not always about picking wisely or good communication. At the core of infidelity is the brokenness of an individual. The living of a lie may not be intolerable to that person but it will create strain for them. It may not create an internal desert where love will not grow, but infidelity will defiantly take some of the rain away and make the relationship less than it should be. The broken of some people allows for dual lives. It is not easily seen before and the person’s family can seem very normal, so picking wisely is not as easy as it seems. I have not found an answer. I have found my path and will work at healing myself while watching my spouse work through healing what they have done to the relationship and me. While there is commonality in all of this, each couples path is unique. There are no guarantees. No one is immune to infidelity. I realize now that the comfort and security anyone feels is a fantasy when the security relies on the actions of others. And that is really OK. The only security we can find is in ourselves. Finding it in ourselves is a lifelong journey. Trusting yourself may sound simple but for most people who really look at themselves, their motivations and desires it is difficult and complicated.

  3. I do enjoy the manner in which you have presented this specific concern and it does indeed give me a lot of fodder for thought. Nevertheless, coming from what I have witnessed, I just simply trust as the actual feed-back stack on that folks continue to be on point and in no way start upon a tirade of the news of the day. Yet, thank you for this fantastic piece and though I can not necessarily go along with this in totality, I respect the viewpoint.

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