Anatomy of an Affair – Some Facts About Infidelity


Some Facts About Infidelity  

Polls show that 90% of married people disapprove of extramarital relationships. Statistics from a recent National survey indicate that 15% of wives and 25% of husbands have engaged in extramarital sex by the age of 40. When emotional affairs are factored in, these numbers jump by an additional 20%. Author of The Monogamy Myth, Peggy Vaughn has suggested that as many as 60% of husbands and 40% of wives will have an extramarital affair of some type during the course of their marriage.

If you consider that not all of these people cited by Vaughn and others cheat on each other, some experts claim that as many as 80% of all marriages are affected by infidelity at one time or another. Some of these affairs go undetected and yet less than 65% of the discovered affairs typically end in divorce. This leaves a large number of marriages that do recover in one form or another.

Dr. Robert Huizenga says that while these numbers may seem extremely high, considering the number of affairs he encounters in his practice he does not feel that those percentages are “off the charts” as he states it.

A report issued by the US Department of Health in 2005 stated that divorce costs the US economy 112 billion dollars annually. For those caught up in infidelity whether as betrayer or the betrayed, the emotional and physical costs can be devastating well beyond the financial costs.

According to various experts there are between 4 and seven different types of affair. Most of these however can be summed up into basic categories. These according to Frank Pittman, author of Private Lies: Infidelity and the Betrayal of Intimacy are:

  • Accidental Infidelity
  • Philandering Infidelity
  • Random Infidelity
  • Romantic Infidelity

Other experts list more or slightly different types of affair. Some list detailed subsets of each type. To the one who has felt betrayal first hand, the differences really don’t matter very much. Yet, for those who seek to understand how an affair happened, the fact that there are differences, each with unique causes or dynamics even though it seems so many affairs present themselves as eerily similar.

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2 Responses to Anatomy of an Affair – Some Facts About Infidelity

  1. Barbie M says:

    Loneliness is number 1 contributing factor to infidelity. The less time you spend together as a couple, the more you are bound to cheat. Let intimancy flow all the tym no matter how busy you are, then you will have a healthy marriage.

    • Mark1952 says:

      I agree with you that time is probably the key to making it work. If Romantic Love is a combination of Intimacy and Passion, it will be couples who share those things that maintain a strong and healthy relationship. Things that improve inmtimacy are relatively easy to identify. Things that invoke a passionate response are pretty simple to figure out. Unless you are sharing enough time together to actually be sharing these things, knowing what will make your relationship better doesn’t matter. You must do things that improve intimacy and share those times of passion with each other or the relationship starves. Unless you invest the time to do the stuff that makes the relationship work, it stops working.

      What I have witnessed many times is that when a couple learns what leads to intimacy and connection and begins investing the time necessary to actually begin doing those things, the relationship starts to flourish once more. Too many believe that once the feelings are lost, only seeking those feelings with someone else will cause them to return. If they can step back from the edge and start learning new habits including investing more time in the relationship, a remarkable thing can happen.

      It isn’t always easy and at first they might not feel like doing it, but many marriages have been dead emotionally and returned from the brink to bring years of satisfaction and fulfillment.

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