Such phenomena as cheating and infidelity have long existed in various societies where traditions about sexual relations are established. They have different forms – sexual, emotional, and even online (Sternberg & Sternberg, 2020). The fact of infidelity violates promises and agreements between partners and leads to a loss of trust. Nevertheless, some couples allow such a relationship or forgive maintaining a partnership. Despite differing opinions about infidelity, they are the most essential of the destabilization factors for couples.
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Research on infidelity is complicated by the fact that such experiences are usually kept secret. However, Benokraitis (2015) notes that most studies have shown similar statistics, according to which about 16-17% of people cheat their partners. For a relatively long period since the 1990s, only the gender ratio changes in percentage – the number of unfaithful women is increasing, and the number of men is decreasing (Benokraitis, 2015). This fact is a logical consequence of gender equality, but the general process of unfaithful partners impressed me. Different media indeed make one expect a larger figure, but real statistics are more pleasant.
People who have experienced partner infidelity or observed it in other people’s relationships often wonder whether such a situation could be predicted. Among the studied risks are low satisfaction with relationships, personal qualities as a desire for independence, and many others. Knopp et al. (2017) expanded this list, proving that one of the partners’ infidelity in previous relationships increases the risk in new ones. Sakman et al. (2020) add to the predictors a paradox combination in a person of attachment effort and fear of being single. Thus, identifying potential risk factors can help determine unhealthy relationships, both personally and with specialists during therapy.
In conclusion, infidelity in romantic relationships, both at the stage of dating and marrying, usually leads to the partnership’s destruction. This problem is widely discussed in the media, presented in culture through films, books, and other sources. Such coverage of the topic gives the impression of widespread cheating, but studies have shown that their number is less than twenty percent. Many factors and aspects serve as predictors of infidelity, but they are difficult to notice due to trust and romantic attachment.
Benokraitis, N. V. (2015). Marriages and families: Changes, choices, and constraints (8th ed.). Pearson.
Knopp, K., Scott, S., Ritchie, L., Rhoades, G. K., Markman, H. J., & Stanley, S. M. (2017). Once a cheater, always a cheater? Serial infidelity across subsequent relationships. Archives of sexual behavior, 46(8), 2301-2311.
Sakman, E., Urganci, B., & Sevi, B. (2020). Your cheating heart is just afraid of ending up alone: Fear of being single mediates the relationship between attachment anxiety and infidelity. Personality and Individual Differences, 168, 110366.
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Sternberg, K., & Sternberg, R. J. (2020). 3 different kinds of infidelity: And how they matter when you decide how to move on. Psychology Today.