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Lecture 11

PSYC 362 Lecture Notes - Lecture 11: Emotional Affair, Threesome, Alcoholism

Course Code
PSYC 362
Rebecca Cobb

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PSYC 362 WK11 Infidelity
- Betrayal: violation of relational standard (implicit/ explicit) regarding physical/ emotional
- Physical infidelity: occurs along a continuum of physical involvement
- Emotional infidelity: characterized by emotional intimacy, secrecy, or sexual chemistry
- Affairs, infidelity
- Couples define “affair” by their own relational standards
- We use the subjective appraisal of “betrayal” to define the occurrence of an
- Important to emphasize subjective definition and reaction to an affair
(influenced by cultural differences, fam history, norms of peer group)
- Extradyadic sex (EDS); extramarital sex (EMS) or involvement (EMI)
- Not talking about consensual non-monogamy (eg 3some)
- 15-25% in marriage
- Lifetime occurrence in oldest cohort (Laumann et al., 1994)
- 37% men
- 19% women
- 25-60% in dating relationships
- Lead to divorce couples
- 40% of men
- 44% of women
- 2nd leading cause of divorce for women and 3rd leading cause for men (Janus &
Janues, 1993)
- Emotional problems (M-40/ F-43%)
- Extramarital affairs (M-22/ F-11%)
- Therapists report as 3rd most difficult issue to treat (Whisman et al., 1997)
1. Lack of loving feelings
2. Alcoholism
3. Extramarital affairs
The norms
- 97%-100% say infidelity not acceptable
- 98-99% of marriages (US) expect exclusivity
- (Warren, Harvey & Agner, 2012)
- 52% say there is an explicit agreement to be monogamous
- 33% disagree as to whether even discussed monogamy
- 40% disagree monogamy

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The topography of infidelity
- Most often
- 1-2 in lifetime
- A relationship, not a brief or casual affair
- Develops incrementally
- Average length 6 months
- On average at 7 years of marriage (SD~5)
Motivations for infidelity
(Barta & Kiene, 2005) - Motivations for past infidelity
- N=432, college students reporting on previous
infidelities, no gender differences
- Limitations:
- after the fact, could be justification (no
predictive data)
- Missing the bond with affair partner
(Allen, Rhoades, 2008) - What seeking to get from the new partner?
1. Esteem needs
2. Intimacy needs
- Not autonomy/ need for space
- The more dissatisfaction, the greater the likelihood the affair not planned & the greater
emotional involvement with the new partner
- Even it’s not planned, they are not choosing to not engage in the affair
- Men more likely to cite sexual dissatisfaction for reason to engage in the affair (57%)
than women (23%)
(Glass & Wright, 1992) - Those w/o infidelity experience (Glass & Wright, 1992)
- Married persons completed questionnaires
rating the justification for an extramarital
- Women approved less of sexual and more of
love justifications
- Men separate sex and love (VS women
believes falling in love justifies sexual
Summary of motives for infidelity
- Relational factors
- Dissatisfaction/ doubt relationship
- Distance from/ lack of connection w partner
- Desire intimacy/ love/ respect
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