Accurate statistical research on infidelity is difficult to come by. "The best efforts of research are up against the fact that cheaters have no reason to be honest about secrets that could destroy their lives," according to Huffington Post contributor Peggy Drexler." It is not surprising those who tend to cheat are also willing to lie about their behavior, but the truth remains that infidelity-- whether real or suspected -- causes multiple problems and emotional damage. It remains to be seen if a relationship can survive the fallout.
Loss of Trust
Cheating on your girlfriend will mean that she no longer trusts you to take out the garbage, let alone protect her emotional or physical security. "This painful rupture of trust in many cases proves too much to get past," states Dr. Stephen Diamond, Ph. D. says in Psychology Today. She will wonder where you are during every second of the day, and she may even demand to know where you are.
Loss of Relationship
There is a real possibility you could lose her all together. In an eHarmony poll of 720,000 members, women ranked cheating as their number four "can't stand," as cited in the New York Times article, "What Are Your Relationship Deal Breakers?" It is almost a guarantee that her friends and family would advise her to leave you. Some women view cheating as a one-time deal breaker, and that there is no second chance. You would be wise to assume this would be her reaction and decide if losing her is worth the fling.
Loss of Respect
You can pretty much say goodbye to whatever level of respect you enjoyed prior to cheating. People in every part of your life, from close to acquaintance, could judge you and lose respect for you, to varying degrees. This is probably not surprising. What could come as a shock is how much respect you could lose for yourself. Shame is a powerful thing and repairing the damage done to your self-worth could take a good long time.
Loss of Security
Security in the relationship will be shattered, not just for her, but for you as well. "It is common for both spouses to experience depression (including suicidal thoughts), anxiety, and/or a profound sense of loss following the initial disclosure," states the America Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. Depression is also a common consequence to infidelity leading to emotional insecurity and is highly likely to plague you both. This is tough to overcome and may need professional help to see you through it.
- Marriage Moment: The Devastating Consequences of Infidelity
- AAMFT: American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy; Infidelity
- Huffington Post: Can the Infidelity-Damaged Relationship Survive?
- Psychology Today: When Partners Cheat: Who Deserves Second Chances?
- New York Times: What Are Your Relationship Deal Breakers?
- Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images