Two couples fading away due to infidelity in marriage

Infidelity in Marriage: Understanding the Causes and Effects

Marriage, a beautiful relationship between romantic partners, has become a difficult commitment to keep in today’s society due to infidelity in marriage.

 Infidelity in marriage is a painful, complicated problem affecting many couples. Unfortunately, it can have serious consequences on any marriage, including broken trust, emotional turmoil, and the consequential end of the relationship.

In this article, we’ll delve into the most common causes and effects of infidelity in marriage.

Key Takeaways

  • Infidelity in marriage is often caused by unresolved issues, emotional disconnect, and external factors such as social influences and changes in lifestyle.

  • The effects of infidelity include broken trust, emotional trauma for both the betrayed partner and the cheating spouse, and a breakdown in communication between partners.

  • Rebuilding trust after infidelity requires acknowledging and validating emotions, seeking professional help, practicing open and honest communication, and showing genuine remorse and responsibility.

  • Emotional healing, patience, forgiveness, and a commitment to personal growth are crucial in the process of rebuilding trust and rekindling love after infidelity.

  • Protecting marriage from infidelity involves nurturing trust, addressing issues, and maintaining open and honest communication to prevent dissatisfaction and emotional disconnect.

Causes of Infidelity in Marriage

Surviving infidelity in marriage can be incredibly hard, especially for the betrayed partner. That’s why it’s important to know the common causes of infidelity so you can avoid it in your own marriage.

So, what are the reasons behind infidelity in marriage?

1. Dissatisfaction and Unresolved Issues

One major cause of infidelity in marriage is the presence of unresolved issues and dissatisfaction within the relationship.

Over time, couples may notice a growing number of unresolved conflicts, unmet needs, or unaddressed concerns.

This can create an emotional gap, leaving one partner feeling unsatisfied and seeking fulfillment outside the marriage. But bear in mind that infidelity isn’t solely caused by external factors.

Instead, it stems from underlying dissatisfaction within the relationship itself.

Below are four unresolved issues that may contribute to infidelity in marriage:

  • Communication breakdown: This happens when there is poor communication, miscommunication, or a lack of effective communication. When your relationship suffers from communication breakdowns, this can lead to misunderstandings, leaving you and/or your partner feeling unheard. Over time, an emotional divide may grow between you and your spouse, setting the stage for infidelity.
  • Emotional neglect: When you and/or your partner fail to meet each other’s emotional needs, this can lead to feelings of loneliness, unfulfillment, and a longing to find an emotional connection elsewhere.
  • Sexual dissatisfaction: Sexual compatibility and satisfaction are vital to a healthy marriage. When one partner feels sexually unsatisfied, they may seek sexual gratification outside the marriage.
  • Lack of intimacy: Emotional and physical intimacy are two key aspects of a thriving marriage. When intimacy reduces or becomes nonexistent, you may seek intimacy and emotional connection from someone other than your partner—the same is true for your partner.
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2. Emotional Disconnect

Another significant factor that can contribute to infidelity is the emotional disconnect within the marriage.

Emotional connection and intimacy form the foundation of a strong relationship.

When couples become emotionally disconnected, negativity sets in, making them feel isolated, unheard, or unappreciated. This emotional void can push someone to seek emotional connection outside their marriage.

Now, what are some cases of emotional disconnect contributing to infidelity in marriage?

  • Unmet emotional needs: When partners fail to understand and meet each other’s emotional needs, it can create a sense of emotional emptiness or dissatisfaction. This can make someone seek comfort and emotional connection from someone other than their partner.
  • Lack of empathy and understanding: Empathy and understanding are vital for fostering emotional connection. If your partner consistently fails to understand and empathize with your emotions, it can hurt the relationship and drive you, the neglected partner, to find emotional support elsewhere.
  • Emotional distance: Couples may experience personal growth over time, like changes in their interests or priorities, which can cause them to drift apart. When you and your partner no longer have shared interests or deeply understand each other, you may feel emotionally disconnected. This emotional gap can push either or both of you to yearn for emotional connection outside your marriage.

3. External Factors

An Upset Couple Sitting on a Wooden Bench

While infidelity is largely caused by internal patterns within a marriage, external factors can also make couples cheat out of vulnerability.

These external factors can create a breeding ground for infidelity, amplifying the existing dissatisfaction or emotional disconnection within the relationship.

Still, you should understand that external factors are not excuses for infidelity but rather influences that can increase the chances of it happening.

Now that we’ve gotten that cleared up, below are some external factors that may lead to infidelity in marriage:

  • Social influences: Your social environment can significantly influence your behavior. For instance, societal norms, peer pressure, or being surrounded by friends or acquaintances who engage in infidelity may encourage you to cheat on your partner. They can also lower your inhibitions and make you more likely to justify your actions when found guilty of unfaithfulness.
  • Changes in lifestyle: Relocation, parenthood, career shifts, or financial difficulties are major life changes that can strain a marriage. These changes can disrupt the established routines, increase stress levels, and contribute to a sense of instability, making you more vulnerable to seeking comfort or excitement outside your marriage.
  • Lack of support networks: If you feel lonely or lack a strong support network in your marriage, you may be more prone to seeking emotional connection or validation from others. It’s much worse when you have no close friends or relatives to confide in or lean on during challenging times. When this happens, you may become vulnerable to infidelity.
  • Work-related stress: When your partner has a demanding work schedule, experiences high-stress levels, and often goes on business trips, it’s normal to feel lonely or emotionally disconnected from them. When that happens, the presence of a coworker or colleague who offers emotional support or a listening ear may become enticing to you.
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Effects of Infidelity on Marriage

Newton’s third law of motion states that to every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. This holds true when you study the effects of infidelity in marriage below.

1. Broken Trust

Infidelity shatters the foundation of trust in a marriage. Trust, once broken, can be incredibly hard to rebuild. If you learn your partner is cheating on you, you may feel an overwhelming sense of betrayal and question their honesty, faithfulness, and integrity.

The effects of broken trust can be long-lasting and permeate all aspects of the relationship. Usually, these effects can be categorized into three groups:

  • Emotional impact: If your partner has been unfaithful, you may experience intense emotions, like anger, sadness, shock, and humiliation. You may also struggle with feelings of inadequacy or self-blame, wondering what you did wrong to make them cheat on you.
  • Relationship strain: Infidelity creates a heavy strain on a relationship, leading to more conflicts, wider emotional distance, and a communication breakdown. When this happens, you may struggle to feel secure in your relationship. Instead, you may become hypervigilant, constantly doubting your partner’s words and actions.
  • Loss of intimacy: Infidelity can lead to a loss of emotional and physical intimacy between partners. For instance, you may struggle to be vulnerable and trust your spouse again, resulting in a reduced sense of connection and closeness.

2. Emotional Trauma

When infidelity happens in a marriage, both the cheating spouse and the betrayed partner experience emotional trauma.

Although this trauma affects both partners differently, its effects are deep and long-lasting for both, requiring significant emotional healing and processing. 

So, what are the specific ways emotional trauma affects a couple?

  • The betrayed partner: The betrayed partner often experiences profound emotional pain, similar to that of a traumatic event. If you’re a victim of infidelity in your marriage, you may struggle with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), such as intrusive thoughts, flashbacks, anxiety, and hypervigilance. This emotional trauma can hurt your self-esteem, self-worth, and sense of security in future relationships.
  • The cheating spouse: The unfaithful partner also faces emotional turmoil. They may experience guilt, shame, regret for their actions, and fear of losing their partner and damaging the relationship irreparably. They may also struggle with internal conflicts, trying to reconcile their behavior with their desire to fix the relationship and regain their partner’s trust.

3. Communication Breakdown

A couple arguing over infidelity in marriage.

Infidelity often results in a communication gap between partners. The revelation of the betrayal and the subsequent emotional turmoil can make it challenging for you and your partner to effectively express your needs, concerns, and emotions. When that happens, you may experience some or all of the following:

  • Avoidance and defensiveness: If you catch your partner cheating, you may struggle to express your pain and needs to them, fearing that they might dismiss your emotions or blame you for their infidelity. Likewise, your partner may also become defensive, avoiding open discussions about the affair out of guilt or discomfort.
  • Lack of emotional safety: You may also struggle to trust the words or intentions of your cheating spouse, leading to a lack of emotional safety within the relationship. This can hinder open and honest communication, as you may fear your spouse will cheat on you again.
  • Difficulty in rebuilding trust: Rebuilding trust after infidelity requires open and transparent communication. However, a communication breakdown can hinder the process, making it challenging to bridge the gap and regain the lost trust and intimacy.
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Protecting Your Marriage Against Infidelity

Sustaining a marriage requires consistent effort and commitment.

Unfortunately, trust is a vital element we often take for granted, only realizing its true worth after breaking it. But you don’t have to wait until a snowstorm before learning to appreciate the sun.

While you can rebuild trust after infidelity, the process is usually challenging and overwhelming. 


The lesson here is simple: if you’ve earned your partner’s trust, don’t do anything that could break it.

But if the foundation of trust in your marriage is shaky, it’s best to pause and make intentional efforts to rebuild it.

If the trust between you and your partner has already been broken, talk with your partner about how you can start rebuilding it together. 

Whatever you do, don’t let your marriage fall apart. It’s never too late to work on rebuilding trust and strengthening your relationship.

Sure, the journey will be mentally and physically draining, but the rewards of a restored bond and regained trust are totally worth it.


Infidelity in marriage can have devastating consequences, including broken trust, emotional trauma, and communication breakdown.

Rebuilding trust and rekindling love after infidelity requires effort, commitment, and a willingness to address underlying issues.

It’s important to remember that rebuilding trust takes time and patience, but with dedication and a shared commitment, it is possible to restore the bond and create a stronger, healthier relationship.

By nurturing trust, addressing issues, and maintaining open communication, couples can protect their marriage from infidelity and work towards a happier future together.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the common causes of infidelity in marriage?

Some common causes of infidelity in marriage include unresolved issues and dissatisfaction within the relationship, and emotional disconnect. There are external factors such as social influences, changes in lifestyle, lack of support networks, and work-related stress.

How does infidelity affect trust in a marriage?

Infidelity shatters the foundation of trust in a marriage.

The betrayed partner may experience feelings of betrayal, anger, and insecurity, while the cheating spouse may struggle with guilt and fear of losing their partner’s trust.

Rebuilding trust after infidelity is a challenging process that requires open communication, transparency, consistency, and a commitment to change.

How does infidelity impact communication in a marriage?

Infidelity often leads to a breakdown in communication between partners.

The revelation of the betrayal and the emotional turmoil it causes can make it difficult for both partners to express their needs, concerns, and emotions.

Avoidance, defensiveness, and a lack of emotional safety can hinder open and honest communication, making it challenging to rebuild trust and bridge the gap created by infidelity.

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