Despite most marriage vows including promises of faithfulness and exclusivity, many people can’t follow through with the vows they made during their wedding. Infidelity is consistently one of the leading reported issues that lead to divorce.
Sexual infidelity is common, but infidelity takes several different forms, each of which could negatively affect your marriage. Although your spouse may not have physically cheated on you, that doesn’t necessarily mean that infidelity has not occurred.
People have different standards for what constitutes sexual infidelity, but it almost universally involves intimate encounters between a married individual and someone other than their spouse. Some people may view kissing or other forms of intimate affection as sexual infidelity although no penetrative intercourse occurs.
Any physical infidelity can disrupt the trust that is the basis of the relationship, and can even expose one’s spouse to health issues, such as sexually transmitted infections.
Social media has forced more people to acknowledge the seriousness of emotional infidelity. Long-distance extramarital relationships typically fall into this category. People sending racy images back and forth, having inappropriate phone calls or video chats, and opening up to someone other than their spouse in a personal, emotional and possibly sexual manner can constitute emotional infidelity.
Such infidelity involves one spouse seeking emotional validation or connection with someone outside of their marriage, likely someone who has a romantic interest in them. Emotional infidelity can destroy a relationship even if the spouse never meets the other person involved.
Just like you need to trust your spouse to share physical intimacy with them, you also need to trust them to combine your finances. Someone’s spending habits or debts can have a dramatic effect on your future.
Financial infidelity involves one spouse intentionally lying to the other about their financial circumstances. Some kinds of financial infidelity include hiding assets or diverting income so that a spouse doesn’t know about all of the marital property. Other times, financial infidelity might involve racking up a huge amount of debt on a secret credit card. Any large-scale financial activity that both spouses aren’t aware of and involved in might constitute financial infidelity.
All three forms of infidelity can destroy a marriage and can cause harm to the spouse not actively participating in the infidelity. Those affected by their spouse’s bad behavior may need to file for divorce. Carefully documenting their behavior can help you seek a fair and reasonable outcome when cheating, lying or hiding lead to the end of your marriage.