Counselor Guide on: Adultery, Infidelity, or an Affair?

What’s the Difference?

Infidelity is breaking a promise to remain faithful to a sexual partner. That promise can take many forms, from marriage vows sanctified by the state to privately uttered verbal agreements between lovers.

Adultery is voluntary sexual relations between an individual who is married and someone who is not the individual’s spouse.

An affair is a sexual relationship, romantic friendship, or passionate attachment between two people without the other spouse knowing.

What’s the Similarity?

All three are issues of trust which has been violated.

  • In each case, deception is among the motives for the behavior.
  • In each case, the deception was intentional.

What’s the Correct Response?

Consequences – something that happens as a result of a particular action or set of conditions. Where there are no consequences, there is permission.

  • The consequence must be, at least, equal in impact to the violation.
  • The consequence must either hurt, or be such that a valued loss will occur.
  • Verbal attacks are ineffective consequences.
  • At least one component of the consequences must include a change in character.

What’s the Solution?

Character change includes an intentional shift in perspective to the point of viewing life differently from before. The person’s character is the outward expression of how the person sees him or herself, and what decides his or her behavior relating to other people.

  • A real change in character takes a minimum of 3 to 6 months, and usually takes as much as a year.
  • True change must be measured solely on the results of the person’s decisions and actions; their words and feelings should be disregarded.
  • Once imposed, the consequences must not be removed or lessened.

Trust is the Glue Which Keeps a Relationship Safe and Together.

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