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The innate drive for infidelity: Can it be stopped?

Join our 2 p.m. live chat on adultery this Monday with Proto Thema’s resident psychotherapist Zoe Stravopodi-Gianno

There are a number of people who are unfaithful regardless of the feelings that they have for their spouse and the quality of their relationship. In these cases, the motivation for infidelity is personal. Specifically:

1) Infidelity due to ideology.

The specific cheater never intended to remain faithful. That person specifically decided to have more than one romantic partner but doesn’t want to sacrifice the privileges of a conventional long-term relationship (family, children, etc.) so has chosen to have a spouse who may not share the same ideology forcing the promiscuous person in the marriage to lie so as to avoid conflict.

2) The insecure

This person feels insecurity in regards to appearance, age, professional status, financial situation, etc. The parallel relationship is used as a way of confirming that person’s value.

3) The immature

People who are young with limited relationships or those who are emotionally immature often confuse sexual attraction that a person may feel with “real, undying love”. This leads them to the open arms of anyone!

4) The hurt one

People who have had a traumatic and abusive experience or who have been neglected in their childhood have difficulty creating relationships of trust and mutual commitment. As a result, they seek to fill ephemeral relations to bandage the emotional gap they may feel with their companion.

5) Using infidelity as a diversion from other unsatisfied needs

Someone who hasn’t invested enough in the creation of social relations, someone whose finances are suffering from recession or long-term unemployment may unconsciously charter their feelings away from these woes into the intense emotions they may experience through a stream of passing relationships. This helps take their attention away from their problems, diverting their focus from the negative feelings that their problems may cause.

When this occurs, it is almost impossible for someone to make their ocmpanion stop cheating as this would require personal willpower that may conflict with their own personal problems. It also requires a great deal of personal work within themselves that unfaithful partners are often unwilling to commit to.

People who are in a relationship with these types of unfaithful partners are often faced with the following dilemma: “If the other is unlikely to change then I have two choices: I can either decide to freeze my emotions and stay in this relation for whatever reason because I am unable to leave or I have to find the courage to put an end to this relationship.”

Personally, I consider it important that someone should first look inward before deciding which choices to take.

So, if you are with such a person without sharing the same philosophy or feel hurt by this behavior, then I suggestion you take a step back, think about yourself and your choices and ask:

“Why did I choose to connect my life with a person that has such problems? If, initially, I didn’t know that it would be like this then why do I remain in a relationship that hurts me? What is MY PROBLEM?”

I can assure you that I have often come into contact with people who are in relationshiops with cheaters who, through the hurtful feelings that their companion’s infidelity caused, managed to turn the spotlight towards themselves and turn their partner’s infidelity to the start of an exceptionally beneficial personal journey of self-actualization and personal change! The same can occur for those who are unable to remin faithful for one of the above reasons when they start to question the reasons and the cost of this in their own lives.

At 2 p.m. on Monday, join the live chat with psychologist Zoe Stavropodi-Gianno on matters of infidelity. Have you ever cheated or been cheeted on? What made you choose to be unfaithful? If you were ever cheated on, how did you react? When can you forgive infidelity?

Zoe Stravopodi-Gianno works as a psychotherapist and offers advice to individuals, couples and families. She also coordinates groups interested in achieving self-awareness and personal growth. In 2012, she established “Parents School” to give parents advice as to how to navigate the choppy waters of parenthood regarding the healthy emotional growth of their children.