An Affair Affects All Parties

The Psychological Damage Unfaithfulness can Cause

by Melissa Clark

Being unfaithful, or “affair challenged” as one therapist has so aptly put it, is as grave a disease to the heart and mind as any physical disease is to the body. Breaking promises and vows that should be held sacred is a terrible thing and causes psychological damage that can take years to repair, if it ever is at all. While the psychological damage to the person who is cheated on is the one that comes to most people’s minds the fastest, the reality is that there is damage done to everyone involved.

Damage to the Cheater

The person who is being unfaithful is not going to get out of the affair without damage to their own psychological state. There is often a tremendous amount of guilt and/or shame after, or even during, the affair. The person will also be risking a hardening of the heart, and possibly the conscience, by all of the lying and deceit that is necessary to carry on an affair. Since the unfaithful person has not left the person that they are with by commitment, it is likely that they still love this person, yet they may wind up with a broken heart of their own when the person finds out since they may be left in the end.

Damage to the Lover

The person who is the object of the affair is often damaged, as well. He or she may have developed strong feelings for the person that is cheating. It is rare that a person leaves a spouse to be with a lover, but if this is not fully accepted by the person, he or she will end up being heartbroken when the affair comes to an end. The lover may also be lied to and deceived, in which case, he or she may feel very ashamed when they realize that they have been a part of something that has brought emotional pain to another person.

Damage to the Spouse/Significant Other

The person who is being cheated on is almost certain to find out at some point. When they do, there is going to be a great deal of pain, anger, and self-image questions that will have an effect on their emotional health. Their sense of trust and security can be affected, as well as their ability to bond fully with another person. Future relationships will be affected, especially if the person who is cheated on does not fully heal before trying to move on to a new romantic interest. Even if they never find out about the unfaithfulness, they are going to experience negative and unhealthy relationship troubles with the partner who is cheating.

Damage to the Children

If there are children involved, they will also pay a price for the unfaithfulness of a parent. This is, perhaps, the saddest part of all. The children may become another of the many children who live with only one of their parents, if a separation or divorce ensues. If the parents stay together, the kids will still have to live in the aftermath of the affair as the parents work to repair their relationship. There are a huge variety of psychological affects that an affair can have, regardless of the outcome.

Having an affair, or being cheated on, is not something that is psychologically healthy for anyone. There is damage done that can never be fully undone and that damage is done to both the guilty and the innocent. Unfaithfulness is a disease that knows no boundaries, infecting everyone who comes near to it.



“I'm not a teacher, only a fellow traveler of whom you asked the way. I pointed ahead - ahead of myself as well as you.” ~ George Bernard Shaw

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