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Episode Info: Today we are going to take a compassionate and sensitive look at the “why” of infidelity. We believe that infidelity is a choice, and, from our own moral perspective, it is wrong, but at the same time when it comes to making sense of infidelity as part of rebuilding a marriage, further examination reveals a lot of complexity and many sensitive topics.  Infidelity Looks Different for Different People Infidelity is more common than we might think. A 1994 study showed that nearly a quarter of all men and fifteen percent of women engage in sex outside marriage in either a current marriage or previous marriage.[1] Individuals who commit infidelity can have very different stories. From the perspective of a betraying spouse, some people come in and know how they got derailed. Others come in saying “I don’t know how I got here,” or “I didn’t want this.” There can be a real disconnection from the consequences of their actions.     Factors that Can Contribute to Infidelity Dissatisfaction with marriage People who are dissatisfied with their marriages are more likely to seek sexual satisfaction elsewhere than people who are satisfied with their marriages.[2] According to Gerald Weeks, an expert in the field, one of the strongest factors making marital infidelity more likely is diminished marital satisfaction".[3] This information may bring up questions like “what does this mean for distressed marriages?” “Do all affairs point to a distressed marriage?” “Does this happen to all distressed marriages?” It is certainly not the case that distressed marriages always lead to infidelity. There are some situations where infidelity is a result of diminished judgment and an unexpected opportunity, rather than a sign of distress. For example, if a partner goes on a work trip and has too much alcohol and ends up having a sexual encounter with someone other than their spouse. And not everyone in a distressed marriage will have an affair, many people in distressed marriages are faithful to their spouse. But if your marriage is in distress, it’s best to get help and not just to hope for change without taking action.     Little or No Sexual Intimacy There have been shown to be higher rates of infidelity when sexual intimacy within the marriage is low in frequency or quality.[4] This is not to say that if you’re not having sex with your spouse that justifies going elsewhere for sexual fulfillment, but a lack of sexual intimacy does increase the temptation. From a Christian perspective, continually withholding sexual intimacy from your spouse is also abandoning one of the privileges of marriage.     Doubts the Marriage Will Last Individuals are more likely to engage in extramarital sex if they doubt the long-term viability of their marriage. These doubts may lead them to think that the traditional rules regulating marriage no longer apply to them. One can start thinking “because the marriage w...
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