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Are You at Risk for Having an Affair?

Posted By Center for Mediated Divorce || 29-May-2015

Infidelity can be defined very differently depending on who you ask. While some may define infidelity narrowly as sexual intercourse with an individual who is not your spouse, others see it more broadly, including sexual activities and/or emotional entanglement.

So how exactly should people be defining infidelity? To put it simply, if you break the rules of sexual or emotional intimacy and commitment within your relationship, it is considered infidelity. Your relationship may have much different rules than your co-worker or friend’s relationship does, so you shouldn’t define infidelity on their standards.

However, when it comes down to it, most people see sexual intercourse as the main issue of infidelity. A majority of studies done over the last few years have shown that 1 in 5 and 1 in 4 married people will admit to having sexual intercourse with an individual who is not their spouse during marriage. Experts also say that nearly everyone has thought about or fantasied about cheating, whether it be harmless flirting with a co-worker or dreaming about Brad Pitt. Does this mean that everyone is at risk for having an affair? Not exactly.

Determining whether you or a spouse are truly at risk for cheating can be challenging, but examining the five factors below can help give you more clarity.

1. Transition Phase in Life

The year before a major milestone age often signals a serious change for people, making them more prone to infidelity. According to research, there is a roughly 10-year cycle for this vulnerability, with individuals at the ages of 29, 39, 49, and 59 being more likely to cheat on their partner or spouse. Many studies also show that the middle years require individuals to be more focused on careers and families, while the younger and older years leave more room and opportunity for affairs.

2. History of Infidelity

Those that have cheated in the past on a partner or spouse could be at a higher risk of having an affair. However, researchers say this depends on what the previous affair was based on—the individual or the relationship. If it was about the individual’s dissatisfaction and not the relationships failings, then they are more likely to cheat again.

3. Satisfaction Level Within the Relationship

When an individual is not satisfied with their relationship, it is much easier to fall into having an affair. Relationship dissatisfaction is a major factor in infidelity. Comparatively speaking, men are more prone to act on sexual dissatisfaction while women are more likely to act on emotional dissatisfaction. Similarly, women are more hurt by their partner engaging in an emotional-style affair while men are more hurt by a sexual one.

4. Opportunity for Affair

Without the clear opportunity for an affair to occur, individuals are much less likely to engage in one. When a person works with attractive co-workers or travels frequently for work or leisure and is around compatible individuals, it creates more opportunity. However, there doesn’t always have to be “unintended opportunity.” While a majority of people don’t seek out infidelity without having an alternative partner in mind, there are some websites and resources that now make finding this “opportunity” easier to find.

5. Thrill Seeker, Narcissist, or Avoidant?

Individuals who are extreme thrill seekers or love excitement may be more prone to engaging in an affair. This secret, “forbidden” relationship is often used to satisfy the craving for an extreme thrill. Similarly, individuals who are narcissistic (have a high view of themselves) or are avoidant (afraid of committing) can be at a greater risk for cheating.

Have you or your spouse struggled with infidelity? In need of compassionate mediation as you seek to restore or dissolve your marriage? Call Center for Mediated Divorce for counsel and guidance during this time.

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