Myth vs. The Reality of Adultery in Marriage

Don't let myths overrule reality when it comes to adultery.

Couple holding hands while kissing
Jamie Grill/The Image Bank/Getty Images

 

Myths Cheaters Tell Themselves to Justify Their Adultery

 

No one commits adultery without first being able to justify their behavior to themselves. The problem with such justifications is they are falsehoods, a way of engaging in bad behavior without having to think about the consequences of the adultery to others.

The adulterer lives in a mythical, storybook world. The realities of their actions are far different than the “reality” they create to justify the adultery.

 

Adultery Causes Emotional Pain

 

Myth:

If my spouse finds out about the affair he/she will get over it. My spouse ignores my needs, shows me no affection and acts as if he/she no longer cares. If my spouse no longer cares the affair won’t mean anything to him/her. This is mystical thinking because unless questioned the adulterer has no idea how their spouse will react to them cheating. 

Reality:

When a spouse is cheated on there are feelings of betrayal, depression, and anger. A spouse will feel second-rate and undesirable. He/she will question their worth and value as a husband or wife. A spouse is emotionally harmed by adultery whether the cheater believes the spouse is still invested in the marriage or not. 

Spouses get over the betrayal of adultery but only after much suffering. Adultery hurts and can cause severe psychological damage. There is also a loss of trust and faith in the adulterer.

So much so that it makes surviving adultery close to impossible.

Not only will your spouse be injured by the adultery but anyone close to you will be affected negatively. Children, family, and friends all those who care about you will suffer if you make the choice to engage in an adulterous relationship.

An adulterer may feel that the benefit of adultery to them is worth the suffering of others. That is wrong! Adultery hurts and it is never OK to hurt another person.

 

Adultery Means Breaking a Promise to Your Spouse

 

Myth:

I’m no longer in love with my spouse; the marriage has been over for years. If there is no longer love there is no longer a “promise.” The adulterer has divorced himself/herself emotionally from the marriage. In the mind of the adulterer, this frees him/her up from any vows of faithfulness.

Reality:

Granted, feelings of love are an extenuating circumstance for vowing to be faithful to a spouse. Love is not the only circumstance though and a lack of love for a spouse is not justification for committing adultery and broken marriage vows.

There is more to consider than the adulterer’s feelings alone. If the spouse still has feelings of love, the adulterer owes the spouse consideration before engaging in adulterous behavior.

Until there is a divorce you are still living inside the marital contract and that means upholding the vow to be faithful. There is more to consider than your own emotional well-being.

 

Committing Adultery Makes You a Bad Person

 

Myth:

I’m not a bad person if I have a relationship with someone other than my spouse.

I’ve worked very hard to save my marriage. I deserve to be happy and have earned the right to be happy even if I find that happiness with someone other than my spouse.

Reality:

Adultery is unethical behavior. It is that simple. Sure, as individuals we are free to define ethical behavior on our own terms. Most of us choose to live according to societies rules as far as what is and isn’t ethical behavior.

Kindness, consideration, honesty, respectfulness, they are all ethical behaviors. I think it is safe to say that society views a person who is faithful to his/her spouse as ethical and virtuous.

In other words, if you commit adultery you are not a good person. If you remain faithful you are a good person. In the throes of passion and emotional need, you may not put much value on how society judges you.

When the bloom is off the rose and the affair has gone south you can bet you will begin to once again concern yourself with how your spouse, family, friends, and co-workers view you. It is best to consider the reality of adulterous behavior than getting caught up in the mythical, storybook idea you create to justify adultery.