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Infidelity - The Current State of Literature

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The current state of literature supports the belief that infidelity can be both emotional and physical. In other words, for a man or a woman to be unfaithful does not necessarily mean to engage in a sexual intercourse with a person other than his/ her primary partner. More and more often, men and especially, women form emotional unions and relationships which do not transform into a sexual intercourse but serve an effective source of emotional satisfaction for both partners. According to Whitty and Quigley (2008), emotional infidelity means “ falling in love with an individual other than one’ s partner” .

Contrary to numerous beliefs, “ spending time with a different partner without having sex with her/ him” is also considered as an act of infidelity. More important, however, are the differences in female and male perceptions regarding emotional and sexual infidelity. Through the prism of the evolutionary theory, ancient men often faced the risks of cuckoldry and were increasingly uncertain about the paternity of their children – as a result, male sexual infidelity was an acute response to the discussed uncertainty. In their turn, ancestral women held numerous fears about the man’ s diverting his wishes and resources from her and her children – in this situation, they often became jealous toward possible emotional infidelity of their partners/ husbands.

As of today, the issue of emotional infidelity is becoming more acute, given the accessibility of online resources, which help people to meet in a cyberspace and develop a new form of non-sexual infidelity ties. Hackathorn (2009) supports the ideas provided by Whitty and Quigley (2008), saying that the Internet-mediated infidelity was the source of the growing distress and uncertainty for women, who are particularly susceptible to the risks of emotional infidelity on the male side.

Taking into account that the growth of the World Wide Web facilitates the development of interpersonal relationships between men and women, the latter are likely to face the growing level of stress.  

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