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Infidelity is an Interpersonal Crime!

One of the more common things I do is help couples who have experienced infidelity survive and even thrive.  As I have said before, the great majority of these couples are successful in treatment.  However, I am clear on one thing- cheating and all the secrecy and deception that goes with it steals from the betrayed partner.  It steals a very important right- the right to have information in order to make a good decision.  You cannot make a good decision without information.  I know you would not want your physician to make major decisions about your health without blood tests, x-rays, MRI’s or other ways to obtain information.  Only with that information can your doctor make a good decision.  Another example- imagine driving up to an intersection in your automobile without looking both ways and ahead of you, looking to see what color the traffic light is or if there is a stop sign for you or the drivers going perpendicular to you.  It would be ridiculous.  You need that information in order to not get killed or severely injured.

Cheaters are not bad people; they are not evil.  However, they are not thinking about the interpersonal crime they are committing on their partner.  Or they decide that being this interpersonal criminal is justified.  (It never is).  We all need to think of others as well as ourselves.  If you want to be with someone else, you have a right to be.  However, let your committed partner know about it so that he or she could make the right decision for him or herself.  It is that simple.  Having your cake and eating it too is not a reality and is no more a reality when it comes to these kinds of choices.   

I remember anti-smoking commercials that were on TV a few years ago.  It said- “Quitting is hard.  Not quitting is harder.”  In the realm of infidelity vs. transparency and honesty- Telling the truth is hard.  Secrets are (eventually) harder.


  • Isobel Martinez says:

    Again another sanctimonious article about affairs….It takes the view that apart from the temptation to have sex with another, all is norml. hence, open communication is recommended and expected.
    You don’t know half of the reasons for an affair a woman can have. I married at 17, hay several kids in ten years and still my husband was criticizing me for being “frigid” and not interested in sex. After six pregnancies in 10 years I was not excited about having sex with him or anybody…it was more of a duty to be fulfilled in order to avoid recriminations and more accusations of being frigid. His yelling and screaming really froze me and I was not feeling anything. Nothing, like being dead inside.
    In such a monotonous and sad life, I was too busy keeping up the whole family clean, fed and educated…Never thought that I could have an affair. But when I began again working at an office with lots of people around, one evening found myself chatting with someone who looked at me with interest. After almost no talk, I ended up in his bed. And it was different! it was the real thing…that I had been missing all my adult life.
    It was a good experience, never repeated. Telling my husband? only to expose myself to more abuse and recrimination? no way! He never knew it, I never told and now after so many years, I do believe that my body needed a bit of real sex with mutual interest and no coercion, control or abuse….I’m grateful I got to know it!!!

    • Todd Creager says:

      Isobel- I understand your particular situation. There really is noting sanctimonious about it and of course if you knew my style, you would never say that. Generally speaking, the problem with affairs/secrets is that it DOES rob the betrayed person of making an informed decision about his pr her life. I understand that there are gray areas to most things and being with what sounds like a verbally abusive partner does create problems and you solved your problem the best you can. Don’t take it personally.

  • Isobel Martinez says:

    Well, a couple is a system…if the affair Robs the betrayed person of information he/she needs, it’s because there is a long story of denial. This person is not checking what is the degree of satisfaction he/she is providing for her partner…The question: “How happy am I making my beloved partner? is never there….It’s me, me and me, and this ROBS the relationship from the wonderful possibility of reciprocal feedback.
    The “betrayed” person has been betraying the purpose of his/her marital life for a long time….and ignoring frustration of your partner with what you bring to the table, is a bloody sport that ends bad. Sooner or later you will be found short, inattentive, non-caring, egotist, etc. and the bill will be presented to you. And the bill is? the vacuum created by ignoring your partner’s human needs..marriage is a contract by which both offer to the other help in solving his/her human needs. Both have to develop, grow and become the best they can…and a spouse has to fulfill his/her share. If you don’t, as self-development is inevitable, the partner will look outside for the recognition, support, admiration that is missing at home.
    Life is tough, isn’t?

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