Effects of Sex, Sexual Orientation, Infidelity Expectations, and Love on Distress related to Emotional and Sexual Infidelity

Journal of Marital and Family Therapy (Impact Factor: 1.01). 07/2014; 40(1). DOI: 10.1111/j.1752-0606.2012.00331.x


The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of participant sex, sexual orientation, infidelity expectations, and love on emotional responses to emotional and sexual infidelity. Participants (72 lesbian women, 114 heterosexual women, 53 gay men, and 57 heterosexual men) completed a demographic form, continuous emotion ratings in response to hypothetical infidelity scenarios, the Infidelity Expectations Questionnaire (IEQ), and the Triangular Love Scale. Sex, sexual orientation, and commitment and intimacy among partners were significant predictors of various emotional responses to sexual and emotional infidelity. Alternatively, passion among partners and expectations about a partner's likelihood of committing infidelity were not significant predictors of emotional reactions to infidelity. Across participants, sexual infidelity elicited more distressing feelings than emotional infidelity. Group differences were also found, with women responding with stronger emotions to emotional and sexual infidelity than men, and heterosexuals rating emotional and sexual infidelity as more emotionally distressing than lesbian and gay individuals. Sex and sexual orientation differences emerged regarding the degree to which specific emotions were reported in response to sexual and emotional infidelity. Clinical implications are offered, including how mental health professionals might use these findings to help clients cope with the negative effects of infidelity on romantic relationships.

210 Reads
  • Source
    • "KEYWORDS contextual therapy, infidelity, loyalty, relational ethics, trust INTRODUCTION It is estimated that between 20% and 40% of American married couples experience infidelity at some point during the relationship (Marín, Christensen, & Atkins, 2014). Couples who experience infidelity typically report high levels of distress, regardless of whether the infidelity is sexual or emotional in nature (Leeker & Carlozzi, 2014). As infidelity has more frequently been cited as a presenting problem in couple therapy, it has become a common topic of research. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This study used the lens of contextual therapy to explore the influence of parental infidelity on adult children's perceptions of relational ethics in their relationship with their partners. A predominantly female sample (N = 411) completed a survey about trust, fairness, and loyalty within their current romantic relationship. Results showed a significant relationship between fathers’ infidelity and lower levels of horizontal relational ethics, and participants’ own participation in infidelity partially mediated the relationship between fathers’ infidelity and horizontal relational ethics. The relationship between mothers’ infidelity and relational ethics was not significant. Recommendations for clinical practice and future research are discussed.
    Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy 07/2015; DOI:10.1080/15332691.2014.998848
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This article explores the experience of loneliness in intimacy, with a special focus on infidelity. First, the notion of intimacy and love are examined and related to the concept of loneliness. To be in love is often thought to exclude being lonely but research shows otherwise.’ Loneliness is exacerbated when intimacy is shattered by interpersonal events like infidelity. A review of recent literature regarding infidelity is presented. The concepts of depression, social support, self-esteem, and betrayal as a result of infidelity are examined and linked to loneliness. Also included, is a small discussion regarding the psychological distress and loneliness of the adulterer, before and after the revelation of infidelity. It is further asserted that loneliness is a two-way construct when speaking of infidelity; not only is it a salient product of infidelity, but also a strong predictor of its occurrence.
    The Open Psychology Journal 05/2015; 8(1):71-77. DOI:10.2174/1874350101508010071

Preview (2 Sources)

210 Reads
Available from