Infidelity is dangerous. It is not something one plays with lightly because it can have far-reaching effects than the cheater could ever imagine. A one- night- stand infidelity can cause a cheater to lose a possible lifetime of happiness in a secure marriage.
Effects of Infidelity on the Cheater
The obvious primary beneficiary of infidelity is the cheater. The physical high, the excitement, and passion are all experienced by the cheater. Unfortunately, the cheater can also suffer from the emotional low, the guilt, and the stress that comes with having or maintaining an extra-marital relationship. Peace of mind becomes a bygone privilege as every word and action has to be calculated to avoid discovery.
When a spouse finds out about an infidelity of a person, that person stands to lose the trust unconditionally bestowed upon him/her by the spouse. The lost of trust can have devastating effects on the marriage. The worse that can happen is the total breakdown of marriage as a result of divorce. Divorce as we know, have consequential effects on child custody, property and investments division, and alimony payments. Even when divorce is not resorted to and the aggrieved spouse chooses to stay in the marriage, the problem with perennial insecurity and jealousy will arise. Discovered cheaters will suffer the consequences of losing the trust of the spouse by being subjected to suspicions, whether warranted or not, which possibly includes revenge.
Infidelity can also have a negative physical effect on the cheater. This effect comes in the form of a disease. Contracting sexually-transmitted diseases or STDs is fairly common with cheaters who do not hesitate to have sexual relations with professional sex workers or people who they know nothing about. Of course it is highly possible to get the disease from apparently clean-living people only to find out that they also have multiple sex partners. To date, the most life changing news a cheater will have to hear is to be diagnosed as HIV-positive since this is a disease that they will have to face for the rest of their lives.
Effects of Infidelity on the Spouse of the Cheater
When asked to describe how it feels to be on the receiving end of infidelity, the aggrieved spouse’s words would generally center on the betrayal of trust. It would talk of a violation of a mutual agreement, the breaking of a promise, and the utter disregard of feelings. It can provide a “positive” effect on a spouse who is neglectful of his/her marital duties by initiating change for the better. However, there are admittedly better ways of making a neglectful spouse realize his/her fault other than cheating.
Spousal infidelity has a way of undermining a person’s self worth. The continuing question is whether why he/she is not good enough for the cheating spouse. What is it that the lover has that he/she doesn’t? Even if the fault lies on the cheater, it is the cheated who suffers the anguish of being set aside for a physical or emotional need.
Infidelity can produce jealous monsters out of cheated spouses. Robbed of the basic trust required to help the marriage function smoothly, relationships facing discovered infidelity will have to deal with doubts and suspicions particularly every action of the caught cheater. Insecurity can make people do what they wouldn’t normally do and that includes incessantly hounding a cheating spouse in all possible ways.
A normally giving spouse might just end up suing the cheater for all his worth to get even. Revenge or the need to take revenge can be awakened by spouse infidelity. Aggrieved spouses can fight hard for rights to children, property, and work benefits to the great detriment of the cheater. It is a normal reaction to want to strike back when hurt and cheaters may just be surprised at how adept their spouses end up to be in exacting revenge. Losing a faithful spouse is probably the greatest tragedy produced by infidelity in relation to the cheater but the cheated can look at it as an opportunity to start over and do better.
Effects of Infidelity to the Family of the Cheater
Infidelity forces members of the family to take sides. By default, children would often side with the aggrieved party although there are instances when the cheater is chosen. Siding of this nature is not really about who is right or wrong but rather on who is perceived as a better parent. Since most marriages affected by infidelity end up in divorce or separation, children are placed in a very difficult position of having to choose between parents.
Even without physical division and the family continue to live together in one house; children can alienate themselves from the cheating parent as support for the faithful parent and to manifest their personal rejection of the act done by the cheater. Children can also choose not to show the cheater the respect due him/her as a parent. The cheater is mainly seen as an antagonist whose actions have disturbed the general peace of the family.
It is not only the children who get affected in the family. Other relatives may also take sides and can choose to cut-off communication with the offender. The problem may escalate if and when relatives of the cheater will show approval of the cheating itself merely because of their familial relationships. In problems such as infidelity, extended family members are advised to keep their distance to allow the affected couples to work the problem out on their own but this doesn’t always happen.
The worst scenario for a family going through the effects of cheating of one parent is the legal court scenario. This is probably the most traumatizing situation to be in. What could only be possibly worse is to witness the daily domestic grappling of fighting spouses. Either way will not exactly be ideal for the children and the spouses but sometimes infidelity makes them inescapable. When potential cheaters are admonished to think many times over before crossing the line, family and the effects of infidelity on them usually work to change their minds.
Effects of Infidelity on the Cheater’s Community
Once the cat is out of the bag and everyone knows about the cheating activities of a person, the people in the community where the cheater moves within are bound to be affected as well. The public humiliation felt by the cheater from being exposed can only come from the express disapproval and rejection of the cheater and the cheating act. Depending on the level of acceptability prevailing, communities or groups are bound to react in different ways.
Home community members including neighbors, friends, and other relatives who disapprove of the cheating may withdraw personal or social support from the cheater. This is especially crucial when the cheater holds an important position in the community. Cheaters do not fit the picture of trust positions since their unfaithful acts to their spouse can possibly extend to the performance of the duties of a position.
Many work environments have strict rules against marital infidelity. Companies may force employees to resign especially if the infidelity clause forms part of the fundamental corporate beliefs and such has been made clear to the employees prior to and during employment. Again, the issue of trust for sensitive job positions may be a major concern.
Holders of national positions such as in politics who are discovered as cheaters to their spouses can be pressured by public opinion to resign and leave their posts. Apparently, infidelity cannot be effectively defended by anyone who holds a position that requires the highest level of conduct and credibility. One cannot claim the capacity to be true to a nation when there is no ability to be true to one’s partner.
In essence, infidelity has effects that cannot be exactly measured until it has come to exact its toll. Cheating puts to risk the future of an otherwise solid marriage. Cheaters find out too late that they are dealt with consequences which are extremely difficult to handle.