It is generally believed that anywhere between 20 to 40 percent of relationships have experienced infidelity at least once. Getting consensus on the statistics is challenging, however, because what constitutes infidelity is often subjective. What one person considers infidelity another person might not. For example, sending a flirty text to someone outside of the relationship may be considered infidelity by one partner but not by the one who sent it.
Since the definition of infidelity is open to interpretation, there can be different versions of it. A sexual affair is what we most commonly associate with infidelity. However, beyond sexual intimacies with another person, there can be emotional infidelity—confiding, sharing, or spending excessive time with someone else but not necessarily having sex. There can also be cyber infidelity—sexting, chat rooms, online pornography, etc. Though cyber infidelity is harder to define, it is often interpreted as betrayal.
Despite the prevalence of infidelity most people assume their partner will be faithful. So the discovery of infidelity is a severe, unexpected breach of commitment and trust. This is what makes recovering from infidelity so hard. The expectation of sexual monogamy is part and parcel of the deep attachment bonds adult partners form with their significant other. Faithfulness helps us feel safe and secure in this world that has many day-to-day challenges.
Breaking the trust of this primal bond presents a profound threat to our deep attachment. When infidelity happens, the bond of safety we depended on in good times and bad is torn apart. And this blows our primitive minds.
As difficult as getting over infidelity can be, it is possible. With the help of a skilled therapist and counselling, you can learn to make sense of the disruption and find clarity and resolution.