Infidelity is the most damaging violation of trust in a committed relationship. The word ‘fidelity’ originates from the Latin words fides (meaning ‘faith’) and fidere (meaning ‘to trust’). Successful relationships need both. Unfortunately affairs happen frequently – even in relationships where one or both partners seem to be perfectly happy. Sustaining long-term sexual interest in anyone is challenging, and both sexes are equally vulnerable to the perils of predictability and boredom.

Types of Extramarital Affairs


Infidelity can be mental rather than physical. There is no doubt that while many people are having sex with their primary partner, they are fantasizing about someone else in their mind. Sex therapists often encourage these fantasies in clients who need help with arousal and achieving orgasm. Private sexual fantasies are generally considered acceptable in relationships, because there is no physical contact with a third party. Some fantasies can be shared as a healthy part of sex play, but common sense needs to prevail. If one partner has body image issues or feels a little self-conscious about his or her prowess between the sheets, there is a risk that their partner’s mind games would cause feelings of resentment or hurt.


The idea of watching porn as a form of cheating in a committed relationship is highly controversial – yet nothing new. Men (and to a much lesser extent women) – who love their porn – deny that there is any wrongdoing on their part because, as in the case of private sexual fantasies, there is no physical contact with someone else. Most men are notoriously visual when it comes to sexual arousal and view porn as a highly desirable sex enhancer. Several studies show that women get turned on by porn as well, even when denying it. In these cases physical tests showed signs of vaginal lubrication and engorgement of the female genitals confirming their sexual arousal. However, a lot of women still struggle with accepting porn in the relationship, because it makes them feel devalued and disrespected. They feel they can never measure up – and studies show that they actually do have a point. It turns out that exposure to pornography in a long-term relationship decreases the perceived desirability of an available sexual partner. In other words, watching porn can create unrealistic expectations about what an average person looks like in the nude, which reduces sexual desire for real-life lovers. Whether viewing porn is counted as a valid form of cheating depends on individual perspectives.

Online Affairs

A full-blown online affair can be just as damaging to a committed relationship as any other form of cheating. Online affairs usually start with flirting on social network sites or in chatrooms - often as a result of loneliness or unfulfilled needs in the primary relationship. The flirting gradually becomes more sexual in nature. Online affairs may evolve into cybersex, phone sex and eventually meeting up to pursue a physical relationship.

One-Night Stands

A single one-night stand typically happens on impulse. An opportunity to cheat may arise whilst travelling away from home, at a work function, or a night out with the boys (or in the case of women, with the girls). Alcohol or recreational drugs are often factors as they lower inhibitions.

A Series of One-night Stands

There is a saying, ‘once a cheater, always a cheater.’ This is certainly true for those who engage in a series of one-night stands while married or in a committed relationship. These people are often thrill-seekers, risk-takers and more often than not addicted to the sexual high of bonking someone new.

Longer-term Infidelity

Most couples acknowledge that there is a difference between one-night stands and a long-lasting affair. Longer-term infidelity involves commitment to someone outside of the relationship. This means deliberate planning and constant lying over a period of time. These types of affairs are often hardest to forgive due to the level of betrayal.

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The Fall-Out

Even assuming that you don’t get caught, the pressure of hiding the evidence of an affair and keeping the secret becomes an enormous strain. Leading a double life in the case of online affairs and longer-term infidelity is particularly stressful. It means that you constantly have to cover your tracks and account for your time whilst trying to keep two partners happy. The anxiety and guilt often cause depression once the blast of passion and lust has worn off – and it invariably does. If you choose to enter into a relationship with your new lover, be aware that, statistically, this relationship is twice as likely to break down as the first one.

Related Articles

* Infidelity Warning Signs

* Reasons Women have Affairs

* Reasons Men have Affairs

* Signs of a Cheating Husband

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