Definition of Infidelity

Today, the word “infidelity” is rarely used outside of the context of relationships and there are many definitions of infidelity, from dry bones dictionary definitions to wordy descriptions by psychologists and the like.

However, all definitions of infidelity amount to the same thing.
Infidelity is a breach of trust, an act of disloyalty within a marriage or other meaningful relationship. In particular, it is a breach of the beliefs and expectations that define “marriage” and set it apart from other types of relationships.

For instance, the kind of trust that defines “friendship” is quite different from the trust and loyalty that bonds two people in a marriage. In a marriage, both parties trust and expect that they are the most important people in each others universe, emotionally and sexually. Or in other words, both parties trust that a depth of emotional and sexual intimacy exists that is not shared with – or available to – anyone outside of the marriage.

It is this belief – this trust – that makes marriage what it is, and any breach of this trust is considered “infidelity”.

In other words, it doesn’t matter how there has been a breach of trust. All that counts is that the behavior – whatever it is – is a betrayal of trust that a unique and exclusive intimacy exists that does not exist outside of the marriage. This is the only standard that has to be met.

It is not necessary for there to be any sexual interaction, or even secrecy. For example, infidelity can include a close “friendship” with a member of the opposite sex in which there is a level of emotional intimacy ordinarily shared only with a spouse. This type of infidelity is known as emotional infidelity. It also includes “cyber sex” because although there is no actual meeting of bodies, it betrays the belief that sexual intimacy of any type is reserved for a spouse.

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