Recent studies have shown that around 45% of married women and 60% of married men are unfaithful at some time or another during their relationship. Infidelity can range from a one night drunken mistake to a long term, planned and calculated affair. Infidelity doesn't have to mean the end, but is likely to have a long term impact on your relationship.

Some people are unfaithful for the thrill and excitement. Some people have affairs because they want to get out of the relationship and can't communicate that fact. Some even have affairs as a cry for help, an indication that something is seriously wrong in the relationship. Admittedly, being unfaithful isn't the best way to tell your partner that you are unhappy but it can be the wake up call that some relationships need.

Sometimes the very fact that a partner is unfaithful allows a couple to take an honest look at their relationship and work through their problems together - creating a stronger and more open partnership.

Why are people unfaithful?

  • Lack of fulfilment in the relationship
  • Fear of commitment or long term issues such as having children
  • Need for more sex or sexual variety
  • Need for excitement
  • To build up self-esteem and feel desirable
  • Lack of stable role model relationships when growing up (or as an adult)
  • Inability to resist the advances of others
  • Sexual addiction
  • To make a partner jealous
  • Fallen out of love
  • Escape to a no strings, less complicated relationship
  • Revenge
  • Wanting out of the relationship but unable to communicate that fact

Here are some common signs that a partner has started an affair or is thinking of infidelity.

  • Have you noticed a change in sexual desire or habits? One partner suddenly wants more or less sex or starts asking for something that has never been a part of your sex life.
  • Has your partner suddenly started taking a great deal of care over their appearance? Are they going to the gym, wearing new make up or aftershave?
  • Do they smell different? Does your partner smell of someone or somewhere else, either perfume, aftershave or the pub.
  • Have they become more secretive? Your partner has become more defensive when questioned, changing passwords, hiding mail, credit card bills, or their mobile phone.
  • Are you experiencing strange hang up calls at home?
  • Have they become more irritated by you? Picking fights over the smallest things, less patient and dismissive.
  • Has your partner's lifestyle changed? They may have suddenly found new interests or taken up new hobbies. They may be out 3 or 4 nights a week, or have to work late a lot.
  • Have they suddenly started showering you with gifts or affection? This can be a sign of guilt.
  • Do they mention someone more frequently? In cases where you might know the person your partner may mention that person frequently - as though they are on their mind a lot.
  • Do you just have a feeling.......?

One of these signs alone rarely means your partner is being unfaithful. Bear in mind there can be other reasons for these changes such as stress at work or a resolution by your partner to improve themselves or your relationship.

Infidelity affects relationships deeply. It takes time to rebuild trust and decide whether you have a basis on which you can both move forward. If you have decided you can never forgive your partner then you may have to take the decision to separate or divorce. However, infidelity does not have to mean the end of a relationship. There can be life after infidelity.