Affairs, Aren't Just About Sex

June 27th, 2019 / Hillary K Bainny
| Marital Infidelity Signs

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Kevin Tshujihara’s (Warner Bro's) affair with an actor led to his subsequent downfall from the Chief Executive Officer position. It’s not surprising!! From politicians to actors and entertainers, stories of high profile individuals caught “cheating” on their partner often make headlines.

Many get into relationships thinking they shall have a romantic partner, who shall be there to provide us with love, comfort and security. So people are quick to lay blame on "cheaters" for this is a significant violation of relationship norms and betrayal of trust.

To many, infidelity is a non-starter and is the result of immoral and selfish individuals wanting their cake and eating it too. For instance, infidelity is rarely just about sex. In fact, when it comes to purely sexual infidelity, the average occurrence across studies is around 20% of all couples. However, this rate increases to around a third of couples when you include emotional infidelity.

An affair is generally a sign things aren’t right with someone’s relationship. Without the necessary skills to heal the issues, a partner may engage in an affair as an ill-equipped way of attempting to have their selfish needs fulfilled - whether these be for intimacy, to feel valued, to experience more sex, and so on. So, the straying partner views an alternative relationship as a better way to meet these needs than their existing relationship.

Who has affairs, and why?

Studies and reasons as to why people cheat are many and varied. Some studies find infidelity is more likely to occur among people who hold less restrictive views about sex, such as that you don’t have to limit yourself to one sexual partner.

Other important factors relate to people’s commitment to their partner and relationship satisfaction. Those low on these measures appear more likely to have an affair. Recent work suggests one of the biggest predictors of having an affair is having strayed before.

A survey of 5,000 people in the UK found striking parallels between men and women’s reasons for infidelity, and neither prioritized sex. The top five reasons for women related to lack of emotional intimacy (84%), lack of communication between partners (75%), tiredness (32%), a bad history with sex or abuse (26%), and a lack of interest in sex with the current partner (23%).

For men the reasons were a lack of communication between partners (68%), stress (63%), sexual dysfunction with one’s current partner (44%), lack of emotional intimacy (38%) and fatigue or being chronically tired (31%).

If our communication with our partners is lacking, or they don’t make us feel valued, we may be more likely to stray. People need to invest time and energy into their relationships. With tiredness, especially work tiredness over many years, one’s capacity to put in the necessary work to keep a relationship strong is also compromised.

While some couples report additional reasons, which can include a greater desire for sex, the majority speak to issues that reside either within the couple or outside the relationship.

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