Infidelity and Cultural Hypocrisy

It is no secret that infidelity is a major problem in American society.  Despite the severity and extent of the issue most rational people will state that they believe being unfaithful to one's spouse is wrong.  In fact, studies show that about 85% of Americans disapprove of marital infidelity.  Unfortunately, while an overwhelming majority of people voice condemnation for those who cheat on their spouse a sizable portion of these same people are cheaters themselves. 

It has been estimated that infidelity occurs in up to 75% of all marriages in the U.S.  This is such a tragic statistic!  Three out of every four marriages experience at least one spouse being unfaithful at some time during the course of the union.  About 65% of marriages impacted by infidelity eventually end in divorce.  Several studies list infidelity as the leading cause of divorce in the U.S. and nearly every study lists it at least in the top three reasons cited.  Keep in mind that this in a culture that supposedly disapproves of infidelity overwhelmingly.

Many believe that cheating is a problem primarily among married men.  But this is not the case.  While slightly more married men than married women cheat, it is surprising close statistically.  Studies estimate that up to 66% of married men and 55% of married women engage in extramarital sex at some point during their marriage.

Marriage researchers distinguish between three types of infidelity: sexual-only relationships, emotional-only relationships, and relationships that contain both a sexual and emotional component.  Women are more likely to find their husband's involvement in an emotional affair more distressing and are less likely to forgive in this situation.  Men are more likely to find their wife's involvement in a sexual affair more distressing and are less likely to forgive in this situation.  However, when it comes to committing infidelity, more women than men are involved in emotional affairs and more men than women are involved in sexual affairs.  For both men and women, the type of betrayal that each finds most distressing and is least likely to forgive themselves is the very thing that they are most likely to do.
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