Psychology and Infidelity Liberty University

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Emotional and Sexual Infidelity
Liberty University

There are many ways in which infidelity can be explained depending on what you are reading or with whom you are speaking. Emotional and sexual infidelity is the two most studied forms of infidelity. The cognitive approach to infidelity explains that as our cognition is developing, we are also indirectly learning behaviors that could contribute to infidelity as adults. Infidelity no matter what the circumstances are surrounding it can leave both partners devastated. The circumstances surrounding infidelity can include a broad range excuses. The evolutionary approach to infidelity explains that men are more distressed by their partners committing sexual infidelity, whereas women are more distressed by their partners committing emotional infidelity. A Relationship Questionnaire describes how secure, fearful, preoccupied, and dismissing attachment styles relate to each gender.

Thesis Statement
Upon entering into a relationship, it is implied that it will be monogamous. However, when one partner becomes an infidel, it is not the cheating that is difficult to get overcome. It is the nature of the relationship that the deceiver was engaged in. The determining factor depends on whether or not the relationships can move forward depends on the whether the illicit relationship was an emotional or sexual. Defining Infidelity

Defining infidelity can vary across the board, depending on the source. However in this research, infidelity will be defined as the follows:
“Infidelity is a sexual and/or emotional act engaged in by one person within a committed relationship” (Dean, 2011, p. 15); and “shared with someone outside of the primary relationship without the consent of the other partner”. (Fife, Weeks & Gambescia, 2008, p. 316) When such an act occurs outside of the primary relationship it” constitutes a breach of trust and/or violation of agreed-upon norms (overt and covert) by one or both individuals in that relationship” (Dean, 2011, p. 15); “often resulting in a violation of commitment and exclusivity that affects the relationship on many levels, often causing deep pain, uncertainty, and loss of trust”. (Fife, Weeks & Gambescia, 2008, p. 316) Dean (2011), in reading the presented definition of infidelity identifies different forms of infidelity to include emotional, physical, romantic, and/or any other form of sexual and/or emotional act that anyone may perceive as some form of breach of agreed upon norms. For example, internet dating or pornography can be viewed as breaching the trust of the relationship, therefore constituting infidelity. Although there are many forms of infidelity, therefore this discussion will focus on emotional and sexual infidelity. Emotional infidelity is defined as a situation where a partner channels emotional resources such as love, time, and attention to an outside individual (Knight, 2010; Eaves & Smith, 2007); falling in love with another individual other than one’s partner (Whitty & Quigley, 2008). According to Knight (2010), it does not require sexual contact or even touching.

This type of affair has been coined by society as an “Affair of the Heart”. It is often characterized by: inappropriate emotional intimacy, deception and secrecy, increased fighting, an emotional triangle, sexual and emotional chemistry, denial, and betrayal (Emotional Affair).

Sexual infidelity is considered to be engaging in sexual intercourse with someone other than one’s partner. It is not limited to the physical act of intercourse and can include sex with both the same and opposite sex. COGNITIVE APPROACH

Bravo and Lumpkin proposed the use of the Explanatory Model of Infidelity (EMI) to explain the role cognitive development plays in infidelity. They move through the development stages from before birth to the puberty stage, at which point sexual experimentation impacts later mating strategies. The...
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