Emotional disconnection and Infidelity
As we saw in the preceding blog on the psychological traits that make people more vulnerable to extra marital infidelity, it is the emotionally disconnection from their romantic partners – whether because one or both are insecurely attached, or because external circumstances weakened their emotional connection with one another – that makes some people more likely to get involved in extra marital affairs. Most cheaters (over 90% in a survey of over 4,300 people) confirm this when they state that the primary reason for cheating is emotional, not sexual (Layton-Tholl.)
When this lack of emotional connection and closeness with their mates gets married (no puns intended) to the pull of desire, as well as the excitement of the new and forbidden and the fantasy that, with another person, they can achieve the intimacy they want and need, we have a perfect storm for an affair to happen.
However, not all insecurely attached individuals develop affairs. However, insecurely attached people may tend to be more impulsive, as the sense of security in the relationship with their mate is not there to anchor them. Impulsivity facilitates the shift from thinking about doing something to actually carrying the thought out in reality. Impulsive people focus entirely on the present moment and their present needs and block out any thought about the repercussions of their decisions. Impulsivity also blocks out any thought about how a certain behavior may impact people who are going to be affected by these decisions. Of course, impulsivity does not exclusively occur in insecurely attached people, but insecure attachment creates an added vulnerability.
Some other psychological elements may increase the chances of people having extra marital affairs. In an earlier blog we discussed that people in the high drama professions are more at risk for extra marital infidelity. Psychologically, people who choose these professions tend to thrive on excitement and high drama. While their tolerance for routine is quite low as they get easily bored, they are attracted to unpredictability, exhilaration and constant stimulation. Affairs, to these people, are highly appealing and tempting because they feed their need for excitement and risk. These are also people who tend to live in the present, and don’t worry too much about the repercussions of their actions in the future. So, they don’t think about what will happen to their primary relationships as a consequence of their affairs, or to their lovers, often until it is too late. In such cases, impulsivity gets coupled with by an exaggerated sense of entitlement and being above rules that apply to everybody but not them.