Relationships begin to deteriorate before either partner even decides to “go for a fling”.

Infidelity is one of the most common causes of separation. However, until now it was not entirely clear whether infidelity itself leads to the destruction of the relationship or whether it is just a consequence of accumulated problems between the partners. Social psychologists from Tilburg University (Netherlands), whose article was published in the journal Psychological Science, found that the period in which partners gradually begin to feel more and more unhappy and strangers to each other, begins long before adultery.

The researchers analysed data collected over 12 years on more than 12,000 people in Germany. The information related to their personal lives, families and relationships. The authors distinguished two groups of participants: the first group included those who admitted cheating (about a thousand people), and the second, the control group, included those who said they were faithful and had never experienced infidelity in a relationship.

Analysis of the data showed that cheating most often occurs against the background of a gradual deterioration in the relationship between partners. Both those who have subsequently cheated and those who have been cheated on are dissatisfied with their lives, frustrated with their partner and their relationship. Frequent quarrels, misunderstandings, coldness, irritation – all this little by little becomes a habitual background of life.

If one partner is unfaithful, the family situation usually worsens and divorce is the order of the day.