The Act of Infidelity: Where is it rooted from?

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Regardless of its parameters, infidelity is the ultimate form of betrayal. Just like any relationship, especially marriage, we have our own set of ideals about love and romance. We become that person who feels powerful as we are chosen by our partners to be their lifetime confidant for the rest of their lives, “I’m chosen, I’m irreplaceable, I’m unique, and I’m the one,” but infidelity tells us otherwise. It shatters even the best of all relationships ever built and destroys our greatest ambition of love. In most cases, it tells you that it’s time to call it quits by filling a divorce because in this era, it is more shameful to stay in a relationship that makes you unhappy than getting out of it because you deserve someone better. In Singapore, for example, the total number of divorces rose from 4,888 to 7,226 in 2007 while slightly more than half of these lasted in less than 10 years.

So if divorce is readily available, why still have an affair? The commonly discussed assumption is that if your partner cheats, it’s only either something is wrong with you or the relationship itself.  Assuming a perfect partnership exists, what if there are things that even a good relationship cannot provide? What if there are untold and deeper root causes of infidelity? Is it just merely about you that made him/her look for another partner under the sheets?

Desire to Look for Another version of Ourselves

Affairs can be viewed as a two-faced coin, it’s an act of betrayal but it is also an expression of longing and filling in what seems to be void for the perpetrator. At the heart of infidelity, you will often find a person longing for freedom or making an attempt to recapture lost parts of themselves due to what society and people have expected them to be and bringing back vitality in the face of tragic circumstances. For example, it may be about finding someone who is a perfect opposite of their values, background and behavior. This new encounter can spark freedom, somewhat an escape from what has been usual and old. It helps the person discover more of him and feed the hunger for that “new feeling.” Therefore, this creates excitement and thrill that becomes addictive because it’s something fresh from what he is used to. Sometimes, infidelity it isn’t always our partner that we are turning away from, but the kind of person we have ourselves become for the longest time.

Desire to Feel Valued

Contrary to typical belief, affairs aren’t more about sex; it has something to do more with desires. These are desires to feel appreciated, special and important. When these are not being fulfilled, the perpetrator may look for it somewhere else. It is about wanting to feel the feeling of being wanted again and that in itself is a desire machine that functions to aid incompleteness and worth.

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Desire for Communication

It is undeniable that we see our partners as our best friend, confidante, and someone who absolutely get us. But when the feeling of not being able to tell them everything starts to kick in, that’s when the trouble starts to develop. More often than not, couples start to grow apart because things are left unsaid, conflicts are unresolved and fear of acceptance becomes an issue, thus, they don’t talk anymore. This need may be diverted to other person where the perpetrator feels a sense of relief, escape and being listened to.

Desire to Enliven the Sexual and Romantic Spark

In the early stages of the relationship, we can’t forget the mind-blowing sex or the gushy, butterflies in the stomach experience we felt with our partners but as time progresses, this spark slowly dies down and becomes lost. In turn, our partners tend to look for it somewhere else because of their wanting to feel it again, thus, traveling to wanderlust. That is why it is crucial for couples to go back to their foundation when excitement and thrill are gone.

In the aftermath of an affair, the relationship is redefined. The new disorder may lead to a new order that may seem unexpected. Some couples may develop a depth of openness and honesty in conversations which they have not had for decades while some who were sexually doomed with indifference suddenly find themselves voraciously lustful. Whatever the effect of the affair may bring to the relationship, it is important that couples determine what legacy infidelity had brought to their lives, affairs are here to stay but healing is possible when it is viewed in a dual perspective: betrayal and pain on one side, self-discovery and growth. It reveals what it actually did to you and what it meant to your life. The logic is something like having a dreadful illness and how it yielded you a new perspective.

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