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The Cost of Infidelity

The Cost of Infidelity

“You can have no greater or lesser dominion than the one over yourself. The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions.” -Leonardo DaVinci

Infidelity is a topic on just about everyone’s mind at some point in their relationship. Whether it lives as a quiet fear, a desperate fantasy or a shame-filled memory, the occurrence of infidelity is so frequent and widespread that it is one of the cultural phenomena of love that holds us all. It is rare for illicit affairs to turn into the lasting relationships we envision when we begin them. The excitement and intrigue produced in the clandestine efforts for secrecy can turn mediocre sex passionate, but generally doesn’t translate well into the mundane action of making a life together. Besides that, the affair itself is often tainted with the pain it inflicts on others left in its wake. Still, the number of people who self report infidelity continues to rise, even in some unlikely relationship categories like newlyweds.

Surprisingly, the reasons behind most affairs are more similar than they are different, even spread amongst a wide socio-economic backgrounds and ages. Oddly it is our relationship promises that often become the trade-off in our collective drive for distraction and novelty. Shiny new intimate connections bring back youthful feelings of freedom and unbridled desire compared with the daily work of living in a routine with someone replete with challenges and overwhelming responsibilities.

Deep down, we all want to believe love is easy and spontaneous, which is how we often confuse our biological drives of attraction with real love. Long-term relationships require both intention and communication to keep them vibrant.

Infidelity, once considered uniquely a sexual transgression often begins with our emotional life. Long work hours with other co-workers can easily transition into shared intimacies by text. Many people report that they didn’t see the affair evolving, as they were unable to witness the process by which they were becoming increasingly distant to the partner that they lied to while becoming increasingly close to the person with whom they shared the truth. This is the nature of lies; they create separation in order to maintain them.

What is often overlooked is that the lies we tell begin inside of us. It is impossible to not betray yourself when you betray your most intimate promises to someone else. The distance one creates from their partner is a mirror of what is required internally to maintain the deception. The affair becomes a tiny respite where you can self medicate and justify the internal wounds of divorcing from the self you aspired to be. This is often the poison that kills the affair. Most people can’t live with this level of deception for long. It isn’t just the intimate promises that are broken; it is one’s very self image that cracks.

No one wants to be a liar. It is a painful life indeed to not be able to trust your own word.  It is a kind of creeping self disassociation that spills into every area of your life and before long, looking in the mirror requires self-medicating too.  People are adaptable though, and we all know someone who seems more comfortable with deceit than the truth.  It is not a foundation that can bear much weight, which explains the 90 percent fail rate of repeated offenders in actually finding love that lasts. If love is a seed that lives inside of each of us, consider living a lie, like a dry internal desert, inhabitable to any seed of goodness trying to germinate in us.

The cost of infidelity reaches out in ever expanding circles, but it begins inside where the damage is most heartbreaking.

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Wendy Strgar

Wendy Strgar, founder and CEO of Good Clean Love, is a loveologist who writes and lectures on Making Love Sustainable, a green philosophy of relationships which teaches the importance of valuing the renewable resources of love, intimacy and family.  In her new book, Love that Works: A Guide to Enduring Intimacy,  she tackles the challenging issues of sustaining relationships and healthy intimacy with an authentic and disarming style and simple yet innovative adviceIt has been called "the essential guide for relationships."  The book is available on ebook.  Wendy has been married for 27 years to her husband, a psychiatrist, and lives with their four children ages 13- 22 in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.


+ add your own
7:12PM PST on Jan 4, 2013

The cost of infidelity? you can't put a pricetag on pain.....

1:10PM PDT on Oct 18, 2012

If it's built on rocky soil, it's guaranteed to collapse! That's the law of God!

12:29AM PST on Feb 10, 2012

thank you.

12:05AM PST on Feb 10, 2012

People fail to recognize how much our hormones run our lives. The sex drive resides in the reptilian base of our brains and it's controlled by our hormones, not our frontal thinking brain.
The reptilian part of the brain is where all the "feelings" originate, good and bad. Males and females get together for only one reason, survival of the species. That's what we are born for.
People are unwilling to admit that our animal instincts control our thinking brains and make us act crazy. That's why if asked why you have a strong attraction to somebody or are "in love" with the person, you can't find any logical reasons. It's animal and it's chemical and it's hormonal. People go to great extremes to prove they aren't animals, even to the extent of
inventing fairy gods and pie heavens to fool themselves into thinking they are superior and
"spiritual". I think the concept of marriage "til death do us part" is almost humanly impossible to do. People shouldn't fight their nature so much. It's causing huge social
problems. There has to be a new way.

12:51PM PST on Jan 28, 2012

The cost is astronomical.

12:49PM PST on Jan 28, 2012

Jane, soul mates are not immune from "cheating".

12:48PM PST on Jan 28, 2012

It is not simple "maybe they weren't ready to get married..." It is growth of individuals within and outside of established relationships that lead their interests outside. I think all couples need to reevaluate things frequently and honestly. Our society is a set-up for failure of lasting love relationships.

6:03AM PST on Jan 26, 2012

It is not the infidelity that is the betrayal that hurts. Some couples can live in open relationships and for some people it is a pleasure to do so. But once that the trust is broken there is no way of completely repairing it.

7:39AM PST on Jan 25, 2012

It hurts maximum when the person with whom the spouse is having an affair is a close friend of the other and when you trust both of them fully. When the truth is out, your life is shattered. That is life, unfortunately.

4:50AM PST on Jan 25, 2012

thanks for sharing

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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