In the past few articles, we have addressed the topic of extra-marital affairs and tried to understand the types, reasons and ways to avoid marital infidelity. We will now move onto understanding the implications of having an extra-marital affair. In subsequent articles, we will also look at how to deal with one’s partner’s infidelity. Today we are going to focus on the cost of marital infidelity or rather all that there is to lose if one cheats on their partner or is at the receiving end.
Infidelity in a marriage or in a romantic relationship has severe repercussions and exacts a toll on various aspects of living. Not only is the trust in the person and the relationship betrayed, but is also difficult to regain, if one decides to give their relationship another chance. A lot of the normal aspects about the relationship are thrown out of the window. We can largely divide the costs of infidelity into the following spheres:
- Emotional: Perhaps the most obvious cost involved in marital infidelity is the emotional cost borne by the partner who was cheated on. If the intention was never for the marriage to fall apart, then the emotional cost is going to be equally burdensome for the partner who cheated. Depression, low self-esteem, confusion, prolonged lack of interest in things, anxiety, stress, frequent bouts of crying, anger outbursts, are just some of the emotional outcomes of having faced the prospect of one’s partner cheating. A lot of emotional energy may be invested in being aware of the whereabouts of the partner who is cheating or was caught cheating in the past. Both people involved may also show a lot of resentment toward each other.
- Social: If you and your partner had common friends or made friends with the spouses of each other’s friends, the divorce due to the infidelity is going to be that much more difficult. Not only are you losing your partner and have to restart your life but the added layer of social support may start missing if there are common friends. The friends are often put into a predicament in such situations and it becomes difficult for them to choose sides if they know both parties equally well. Also, couple of friends usually stay away from warring couples themselves, due to the impact that it may have on their own relationships. Often, even if friends of your ex-spouse stay along, it becomes difficult to trust them and have a neutral attitude toward them.
- Financial: Marital infidelity does not come cheap. If the marriage falls apart, there are going to be several legal proceedings and financial expenses. But even if it doesn’t, there are going to be huge expenses. Think of buying flowers for two people, keeping two separate phones and paying two monthly plans; the list can be endless.
- Romantic: Needless to say, finding out that one is being cheated upon will kill the romance not just in the present relationship but also all future relationships (if any). There is going to be a lot of doubt and trauma associated with romantic gestures by one’s partner, with every action being second-guessed.
- Occupational: If both partners are working at the same institute, finding out about the marital infidelity and / or getting a divorce, will only make the situation at the workplace awkward. It would be difficult to work in the same space and even more difficult to control the company grapevine.
- Cognitive: Cognitive cost of an extra-marital affair may include the inability to trust easily; be it others and maybe particularly worse toward your partner. Due to the shock experienced because of the outcome, an individual may never be able to experience healthy adult relationships, or be open and display faith in the longevity of that relationship.
There is clearly a lot that needs to be taken into account before getting involved in a romantic association, outside of one’s marriage. In the next article, we will assess the impact of marital infidelity on children.