Following are some basics facts about marital affairs and infidelity that often contradict and debunk the above myths:
Most couples survive the affair rather than end up in divorce.
Many couples, in fact, come out of the infidelity crises stronger and more committed.
Society gives lip service to monogamy, but actually supports affairs through role-models, advertisements, TV, news media, literature and the movies.
Infidelity is an equal opportunity issue that cuts across gender lines, educational levels, sexual orientation, social and economic class and culture. Women are rapidly catching up to men's stats of infidelity.
Infidelity is a choice. No one and no circumstances "force" anyone to be unfaithful.
Non-monogamous relationships are common in some gay communities. Some gay couples consciously, intentionally and systematically negotiate non-monogamous relationships.
The effect of infidelity can be negative, neutral or positive.
Jealousy is biologically wired and also socially constructed.
Modern western cultures tend to over-emphasize the importance of monogamy in marriage in comparison to values such as kindness and compassion.
Many individuals who get involved in an affair have not been able to go beyond the romantic (unrealistic and often short term) ideal or falling-in-love phase that often characterizes the first phase of romantic relationships.
Sexual infidelity by a woman, either actual or suspected, significantly increases the likelihood of spousal battering and spousal homicide.
No marriage is immune from affairs. Preventing infidelity requires ongoing, honest communication and commitment to sexually exclusive monogamy, among other measures.
As infidelity takes place in a certain social, historical and evolutionary context, no couple can fully understand why an affair happens by looking only at their own marriage.
A conservative interpretation of infidelity statistics suggests that although perhaps roughly 2/3 of all married couples remain faithful, the other one third will experience infidelity over the course of a marriage. Some of the estimates in the United States are: 1 in every 2.7 couples, some 20 million, is touched by infidelity.
Narcissistic individuals may be especially prone to marital infidelity.
While some of those who were involved in affairs report high marital satisfaction, research has shown, not surprisingly, a general inverse correlation between marriage satisfaction and infidelity.
People having affairs tend to rationalize their behavior, and a part of that rationalization is ignoring or denying the possibility of any negative consequences, such as divorce or acquiring STD.
When someone has an affair, it doesn't necessarily mean he or she isn't "getting enough" at home. Many researchers have found out that one can feel a strong attachment to the spouse and still be madly attracted to and romantically in love with someone else.
Contrary to one commonly held view, many people who report being in happy marriages commit adultery. Shirley Glass's ground breaking research revealed that 56% of men and 34% of women who were involved in affairs reported that their marriages were happy.
Generally affairs that take place earlier on in the marriage are more highly correlated with dissatisfaction than those that take place later on in the marriage.
Men in long-term marriages, who had affairs, had very high marital satisfaction. On the other hand, women in long-term marriages who had an affair had very low marital satisfaction.
Some research reports that extramarital sex can increase sexual activity within the marriage. The hydraulic pump theory that there is only that much sexual energy available and it is spent outside the marriage with nothing left for the spouse, has been debunked by several researchers.
Some affairs are better kept secret. Not all affairs must be disclosed. There are situations where disclosure can result in domestic violence or even murder or trigger extreme emotional response by the psychologically vulnerable, uninvolved partner.
Some couples consent to extramarital affairs. Sometimes the consent is implicit and at other times is explicit. It can be passive or actively formed and openly constructed.
A striking paradox is that while polls indicate 90 percent disapproved of extramarital relationships, almost a third engaged in relationships.
Unlike what we may predict from analytic or behavioral therapies, there are no findings on the influence of parental infidelities on the likelihood of their children engaging in infidelity.
Having children increases the likelihood of marital affairs.
Lifetime rates of infidelity are twice as high among men and women who have been divorced or legally separated.
Not only did AIDS not reduce infidelity, in fact less than one-half of individuals reporting sex outside the marriage use condoms with their primary and secondary sex partners.