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Study Suggests Why Cheating Spouses Need to be Confronted Fast

  • July 10, 2007
  • by PInow Staff

A study finds that infidelity can be a form of emotional violence that leaves betrayed partners with the same symptoms as an abusive partnership. Finding out the facts and acting on the cheating early may help the healing process.

A study conducted by Monash University in Melbourne, Australia finds that infidelity may have more in common with physical and psychological abuse than anyone has previously thought. The study conducted interviews with men and women affected by extramarital affairs and found that unfaithful partners share many of the same characteristics as abusive partners: they show little regard for their betrayed partner, and they experience the same guilt and remorse as abusers do after their cheating. Betrayed partners display many of the same characteristics as abused persons, the study concluded. Betrayed spouses may experience anxiety, an inaccurate perception of reality, depression, and poor self-esteem.

Study findings suggest link between abuse and cheating

In fact, the study found that there are many ways that infidelity and domestic violence are linked:

    * The psychology of abusers and cheaters can be very similar. Both may justify their actions, deny their actions, or otherwise refuse to take responsibility for their behaviour. In both cases, the betraying party experiences some short-term remorse, but generally shows no concern about their partner’s feelings or well-being.
    * The cycle of events and reactions is often similar in both. In both cases, a partnership may experience a build-up of tension, followed by introduction of pain (either abuse or unfaithfulness), followed by a short period of guilt and reconciliation, which may include a short resolution period, after which the cycle starts again with renewed tension. As with abuse, cheating can become a habitual pattern in a relationship, possibly compounding the emotional trauma it creates.
    * Psychological response of victims. A betrayed partner may experience the same sort of trauma as a victim of domestic violence, researchers found. Betrayed partners often express feelings of worthlessness and low-self esteem, hopelessness, dependency, vulnerability, lack of control, and shame. Many victims – both of abuse and infidelity report that they lose sight of reality and start to blame themselves for their partner’s actions.

Breaking the abusive infidelity cycle

The findings suggest that getting out of an unfaithful relationship can be as crucial as breaking free of an abusive one. One step that can help partners to break free is to gather concrete evidence of unfaithfulness. Since unfaithful partners often take no responsibility for their actions, they may simply deny involvement in an extramarital affair when questioned. Concrete evidence gathered by a professional investigator can help bring the issue to the fore by providing tangible proof. Best of all, a private investigator can provide help and an objective insight into a relationship. If infidelity leads to legal action or a divorce, the testimony or evidence gathered legally by an investigator can stand up in court and can help protect a betrayed partner.

Partners who are ready to break free can consult the PInow.com Worldwide Directory of Private Investigators to find local, experienced investigators. The PInow.com Worldwide Directory of Private Investigators even has free resources that can help. With this free resource, finding professional help to overcome infidelity becomes a little easier.

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