Study shows how spouses might excuse their own cheating

Many people will get divorced, and outside company will assume that the reason is more scandalous than it actually is. Some might just assume that infidelity played a role in the end of the marriage. That isn’t true in a lot of divorce cases.

Often it is something less specific that results in divorce. It might be a compilation of everyday matters that makes a marriage unsustainable. However, cheating is still a cause for some people to file for divorce, and a recent sociological experiment suggests there is a certain way of thinking that could support a spouse’s infidelity.

Researchers studied various men and women in a few experiment cycles to determine any psychological patterns that might emerge among those classified as “unfaithful.” The researchers found that among those who were played out to be the “cheaters,” they found a way to make themselves feel better regarding their behavior. They basically told themselves that the cheating was outside of their normal behavior. They also made themselves feel better by acknowledging that they felt bad about the infidelity.

How does this experiment fit into the scope of marriage and divorce? That comes down to individual situations wherein a spouse suspects the other of cheating. If the unfaithful spouse feels bad and if cheating is not his or her normal activity, is an affair forgivable? For some, the answer to that might be yes. The marriage is worth fighting for.

For others, it doesn’t matter how the other feels or tries to downplay the wrongdoing. A promise has been broken. Lies have been told. Trust is gone. The marriage is over. Divorce might be the only clear choice following infidelity. Anyone who is thinking about possibly divorcing, whether it is because of an affair or overall unhappiness, can talk to a family law attorney to more fully understand the process.

Source: Scientific American, “Cheaters Use Cognitive Tricks to Rationalize Infidelity,” Benjamin Le and The Conversation, Nov. 20, 2013


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