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Psychology and Infidelity Liberty University

Emotional and Sexual Infidelity Liberty University ABSTRACT There are many ways in which infidelity can be explained depending on what you are reading or with whom you are speaking. Emotional and sexual infidelity is the two most studied forms of infidelity. The cognitive approach to infidelity explains that as our cognition is developing, we are also indirectly learning behaviors that could contribute to infidelity as adults. Infidelity no matter what the circumstances are surrounding it can leave both partners devastated. The circumstances surrounding infidelity can include a broad range excuses.

The evolutionary approach to infidelity explains that men are more distressed by their partners committing sexual infidelity, whereas women are more distressed by their partners committing emotional infidelity. A Relationship Questionnaire describes how secure, fearful, preoccupied, and dismissing attachment styles relate to each gender. Thesis Statement Upon entering into a relationship, it is implied that it will be monogamous. However, when one partner becomes an infidel, it is not the cheating that is difficult to get overcome.

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It is the nature of the relationship that the deceiver was engaged in. The determining factor depends on whether or not the relationships can move forward depends on the whether the illicit relationship was an emotional or sexual. Defining Infidelity Defining infidelity can vary across the board, depending on the source. However in this research, infidelity will be defined as the follows: “Infidelity is a sexual and/or emotional act engaged in by one person within a committed relationship” (Dean, 2011, p. 5); and “shared with someone outside of the primary relationship without the consent of the other partner”.

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(Fife, Weeks & Gambescia, 2008, p. 316) When such an act occurs outside of the primary relationship it” constitutes a breach of trust and/or violation of agreed-upon norms (overt and covert) by one or both individuals in that relationship” (Dean, 2011, p. 15); “often resulting in a violation of commitment and exclusivity that affects the relationship on many levels, often causing deep pain, uncertainty, and loss of trust”. Fife, Weeks & Gambescia, 2008, p. 316) Dean (2011), in reading the presented definition of infidelity identifies different forms of infidelity to include emotional, physical, romantic, and/or any other form of sexual and/or emotional act that anyone may perceive as some form of breach of agreed upon norms. For example, internet dating or pornography can be viewed as breaching the trust of the relationship, therefore constituting infidelity. Although there are many forms of infidelity, therefore this discussion will focus on emotional and sexual infidelity.

Emotional infidelity is defined as a situation where a partner channels emotional resources such as love, time, and attention to an outside individual (Knight, 2010; Eaves & Smith, 2007); falling in love with another individual other than one’s partner (Whitty & Quigley, 2008). According to Knight (2010), it does not require sexual contact or even touching. This type of affair has been coined by society as an “Affair of the Heart”. It is often characterized by: inappropriate emotional intimacy, deception and secrecy, increased fighting, an emotional triangle, sexual and emotional chemistry, denial, and betrayal (Emotional Affair).

Sexual infidelity is considered to be engaging in sexual intercourse with someone other than one’s partner. It is not limited to the physical act of intercourse and can include sex with both the same and opposite sex. COGNITIVE APPROACH Bravo and Lumpkin proposed the use of the Explanatory Model of Infidelity (EMI) to explain the role cognitive development plays in infidelity. They move through the development stages from before birth to the puberty stage, at which point sexual experimentation impacts later mating strategies.

The model explains that behaviors attributed to infidelity are either related to implicit memory or explicit memory. In a diagram created by Hall (1998), implicit memory is characterized as nonconscious, nonverbal, emotional, and procedural; whereas explicit memory is conscious, verbal and holistic. In depth, explicit memory that is conscious can be recalled intentionally. For example, trying to recall a name or phone number. In contrast, implicit memory consists of motor skills, habits, and activities that can be remembered without conscious cognitive effort, such as riding a bike or climbing a staircase. Feldman, 2011, p. 152) Feldman (2011) further explains that explicit and implicit memories emerge at different rates and involve different parts of the brain. The earliest memories seem to be implicit, and they involve the cerebellum and the brain stem. The forerunner of explicit memory involves the hippocampus, but explicit memory does not emerge until the second half of the first year (p. 152). This process is called habituation, when infants appear to create a neural model or internal representation that can later be used as a basis for comparisons.

Stimuli discrepant from the habituated neural model usually trigger enhanced responses, or dishabituation. A stimulus perceived as novel requires more cognitive processing than a familiar one. Over the course of habituation, there is a shift from a familiarity preference to a novelty preference. Habituation is considered a basic form of learning that has been observed in a broad range of species. Moreover, habituation/dishabituation patterns continue to be observed in adulthood, decreasing the processing of extraneous information, but only when such information is ‘? xed and predictable’.

The following are cognitive processes that explain infidelity, boredom, perception, opportunity, attachment and exploration, and unmet emotional needs are explained: Boredom Boredom, which is similar to habituation, often has been cited as a reason for in? delity, as extensive evidence indicates that the spouse’s novelty erodes after a period of cohabitation or marriage. Recent data from the Study indicate that virtually all married couples reported a decline in marital satisfaction over time, albeit smaller in couples that express high- (41%) or moderate- (38%), instead of low- (21%) marital satisfaction. Perception

The second emergent cognitive process discussed is perception. As visual acuity improves and perception becomes accurate, infants become more and more ef? cient at perceiving the environment and opportunities for action. Perceptual competence optimizes in adulthood, allowing for quick assessment of situations that may afford a reward or goal satisfaction, including opportunities for emotional or sexual grati? cation, which may be in the form of extra-marital involvement. Opportunity Bravo & Lumpkin found that in Breakdown of Will, a work based on forty years of empirical research and theoretical deductions; that most individuals have con? cting desires and they tend to choose alternatives that seem most salient in a particular context at a speci? c moment in time. The work presents evidence that both humans and nonhuman animals temporarily prefer options that pay off quickly rather than richer but slower paying alternatives. In? delity studies show that being apart from the partner facilitates opportunities for extra-marital involvement, especially in the workplace (Bravo & Lumpkin, 2011). Attachment and Exploration The third and ? nal early-appearing implicit process discussed is attachment. Attachment, de? ed as proximity to the caretaker, maximizes the survival of the child in terms of access to food, learning opportunities, socialization, and protection from predators. John Bowlby’s view on attachment is based primary on infants’ needs for safety and security. These attachment-exploration systems continue to be observed in adulthood. In adulthood, attachment quality has been investigated in terms of internal working models that in? uence existing interpersonal relationships. Comparably, exploration has been studied as ‘self-expansion’ or a ‘fundamental motivation to expand potential ef? acy (the resources, perspectives, and identities available to achieve one’s goals)’. Self-expansion is achieved in close relationships, as the attributes of the partner can become incorporated into the self. Unmet Emotional Needs Clinicians often ? nd that the affair’s purpose is to alleviate, often unsuccessfully, unmet intimacy needs and a sense of growing apart. Insecurely attached adults are seemingly in a state of disequilibrium, showing combinations of anxiety over abandonment and avoidance of closeness, and often become extra-maritally involved. Conversely, couples who achieve elf-expansion through their relationship, augment not only their perspectives and resources, but also their identities, resulting in decreased susceptibility for in? delity. (Bravo & Lumpkin, 2010) ATTACHMENT STYLES Tagler and Gentry (2011) referenced a Relationship Questionnaire (RQ) that was used to categorize participants based on secure, fearful, preoccupied and dismissing attachment styles. A study was conducted using both college student and adults who completed the force-choice and continuous measures were completed to determine the relationship between attachment and infidelity distress.

The study explored the association between gender and the four attachment styles. The RQ found that 16. 8% of men were more likely than women (11%) to endorse the dismissing style. They also found that 37. 6% of women were more likely than men (23%) to endorse the fearful attachment (Tagler & Gentry, 2011). Evolutionary Theory Evolutionary provides the explanation for gender differences in reactions to infidelity. According to this theory, a man is jealous about his female partner’s sexual infidelity, because if his partner has intercourse with another man, there is no guarantee that offspring he raises with her are his genetic children.

The uncertainty of paternity gives rise to excellent reasons for a man to be intolerant of adulterous sex in his partner. A male in this position may contribute resources to this offspring, as well as squander opportunities to reproduce elsewhere. Using this same model, a woman is concerned about her partner becoming emotionally attached, lest he abandon her for the new partner, leaving her to rear their offspring without resources or assistance from the father.

If her partner is investing more assets into another woman’s offspring, whether in a monogamous or polygymous relationship, it is to the detriment of her own children (Knight, 2010; Fisher et al, 2009; and Whitty & Quigley, 2008). Relatedly Eaves &Robertson, men who have affairs are more likely to do so without emotional involvement, whereas women’s affairs are more often accompanied by emotional involvement. In addition, men show greater physical reaction to imagining their spouse committing sexual infidelity, while women react similarly to the thought of their spouse engaging in either sexual or emotional infidelity.

Men usually are most concern with whether or not sex was involved in the affair ( 2010). To have vivid imagines in their minds of their partners committing sexual acts with another man is distressing to men. Women on the other hand are more distressed by the question of whether it was “just” sex or does he love her (the other woman)? Women are also usually more forgiving of their partners cheating on several occasions, whereas most men are not. CONCLUSION Although emotional and sexual infidelity is considered wrong by most human. We have to wonder, is it really inevitable that it is going to happen no matter how hard it is to avoid doing so.

If our cognitive development gives explanation that in the stages of its development we are learning behaviors that contributes to our inability to be faithful, than what can we do to avoid it. Should society accept the inevitable or should it turn a blind eye to the many studies and pretend that it can be prevented. ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY Bravo, I. M. , & Lumpkin, P. W. (2010): The Complex Case of Marital Infidelity: An Explanatory Model of Contributory Processes to Facilitate Psychotherapy, 38:5, 421-432. http://dx. doi. org/10. 1080/01926187. 2010. 522491 Irene M.

Bravo student in the doctoral program at Carlos Albizu University and Peyton W. Lumpkin from the psychology department at Florida International University proposed the use of the Explanatory Model of Infidelity (EMI) to show the give insight on the tendency of an extra-marital affair. The writers explain the role cognitive development plays in infidelity. They move through the development stages from before birth to the puberty stage, at which point sexual experimentation impact later mating strategies. Burchell, J. D. , & Ward, J. Sex drive, attachment style, relationship status and previous in? elity as predictors of sex differences in romantic jealousy. Personality and Individual Differences, 51 (2011), 657-66. Burchell and Ward, from the Department of Psychology at The Australian National University, completed a study that discusses the This study has shown that, in addition to sex of participant, relative distress at sexual and emotional in? delity varies according to the level of sex drive, attachment status and previous exposure to sexual in? delity. A self-report, online questionnaire completed by a sample of 437 individuals was used to measure distress at sexual vs. emotional infidelity.

Cramer, R. , Lipinski, R. , Meteer, J. , & Houska, J. ((2008). Sex Differences in Subjective Distress to Unfaithfulness: Testing Competing Evolutionary and Violation of Infidelity Expectations Hypotheses. The Journal of Social Psychology, 148(4), 389-405. Retrieved September 19, 2011, from ABI/INFORM Global. (Document ID: 1553711841). http://proquest. umi. com/pqdweb? did=1553711841&sid=5&Fmt=6&clientId-20655&RQT=309&VName=PQD Cramer, Lipinski, Meteer, and Houska, gave used the evolutionary psychological perspective to explain how infidelity distress is processed by men and women.

The perspective view sex differences as a subjective distress to emotional and sexual infidelity that is caused by how an individual processes threats to a sex-linked mate. 189 Participants responded to an Infidelity Expectations Questionnaire (IEQ) and a Relationship Dilemmas Questionnaire (RDQ) were used to measure responses to hypothetical emotional and sexual infidelities that were presented in three formats: forced-choice, mutually exclusive, and combined. Miller, S. L. & Maner, J. K.

Sex differences in response to sexual versus emotional l infidelity: The moderating role of individual differences Personality and Individual Differences, 46(3) (2009) 287-291 Saul L. Miller, Jon K. Maner set out to prove the false notions that many scientists portray evolutionary perspective as a genetic process that is identical for every person across the board. They illustrate the utility of integrating evolutionary approach with a focus on individuals and their different attachment styles.

A study was conducted using both college student and adults who completed the force-choice and continuous measures were completed to determine the relationship between attachment and infidelity distress. Schutzwohl, A. Relief over the disconfirmation of the prospect of sexual and emotional infidelity Personality and Individual Differences, 44(3) (2008), 668-678. Achim Schutzwohl an evolutionary psychologist from Brunel University viewed jealousy as a psychological mechanism that evolved because it recurrently solved an essential problem of individual reproduction in our evolutionary history.

He focused his study on the emotional responses to disconfirmation of a mate’s infidelity versus the emotional response to it. His argument is that the emotional response of relief is an important aspect to how the jealousy mechanism functions. Sprecher, S. , & Treger, S. The influences of sociosexuality and attachment style on reactions to emotional versus sexual infidelity. The Journal of Sex Research. (2011), 413. http://dx. doi. org. ezproxy. liberty. edu:2048/10. 1080/00224499. 2010. 16845 Sprecher and Treger examined the four attachment styles and explored the various ways in which they may be associated with sexual and emotional infidelity. They (Sprecher & Treger) compared their findings to the findings of Levy and Kelly’s study in 2010. Levy and Kelly found that a majority of secure, fearful, and preoccupied men and women selected emotional infidelity as more distressing. However, Sprecher & Treger proved the contrary. Tagler, M. J. , & Gentry, R. H. Gender, jealousy, and attachment: A (more) thorough examination across measures and samples.

Journal of Research in Personality (2011), doi:10. 1016/j. jrp. 2011. 08. 006 Tagler and Gentry from the Department of Psychological Science at Ball State University, made reference to a Relationship Questionnaire (RQ), that was used to categorize participants based on their attachment styles. A study was conducted using both college student and adults who completed the force-choice and continuous measures were completed to determine the relationship between attachment and infidelity distress.

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Psychology and Infidelity Liberty University. (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from

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