Infidelity is a complex and controversial issue that has plagued relationships and marriages throughout history. Although cheating or infidelity is done by individual choices and caused by unavoidable circumstances, there are other factors that contribute to the prevalence of infidelity, and these are the societal and cultural factors. It is essential to identify the contribution of societal and cultural factors to infidelity.
This blog will give readers a not-so-common perspective on cheating and how societal and cultural factors can strain relationships.
- Changing attitudes towards monogamy and considering the polyamory norm of other cultures. It cannot be denied that society’s change of attitude toward monogamy and relationships greatly impacts infidelity rates. The traditional concept of lifelong monogamy is no longer what most people prioritize nowadays and is actually more interested in open relationships, casual hookups, and polyamory, which is often fueled by pop culture and media.
- Hyper-sexualized media and objection. What the media shows to the general public plays a significant role in shaping societal perceptions and behavior. Showing sexualized images and messages may lead to a culture of objectification. Thus, people may perceive others as sexual objects. And because of this, it can form an emotional connection within individuals, especially those in committed relationships, to seek excitement toward others who they see in an objectified way.
- Social media and digital technology. Advancements in technology also have its downside. Social media platforms have revolutionized how people interact and connect with each other. Although these platforms can provide entertainment for people, it also creates new avenues for emotional and physical infidelity. By having secret identities online, individuals will find it easy to pursue casual encounters that will later develop into an affair.
- Unrealistic expectations and pressures from society. Unfortunately, societal pressures, such as setting standards of beauty, success, and happiness, can strain an individual’s self-esteem, eventually affecting their perspective in relationships. The desire for validation and seeking external approval may lead people to seek emotional or physical intimacy outside their relationships. Having feelings of dissatisfaction is also fueled by setting unrealistic expectations of romance and sexual satisfaction, making an individual more vulnerable to infidelity.
- Gender roles and cultural norms. Some of the factors that can heavily influence the dynamics of a relationship and contribute to infidelity are cultural norms and gender roles. Due to traditional gender roles, men tend to feel a greater sense of entitlement to participate in extramarital affairs. On the other hand, women who feel disempowered within their relationship or encounter gender inequality may result to seeking validation and connection other than their own partners.
Now that society and culture are proven to have caused the prevalence of infidelity, everyone needs to know that each of them should be responsible for their own actions and choices. Despite the various influences of external factors on a relationship, infidelity can still be avoided in the following ways.
- Empowering gender equality to mitigate the power imbalances that contribute to infidelity
- Engaging in relationship education programs to gain the necessary skills to overcome challenges in relationships
- Broadening the understanding of monogamy to help individuals explore different options and be able to find relationship structures that suit them most
- Encouraging media literacy and critical thinking to help individuals have a broader knowledge and discerning eye about the effects of hyper-sexualized media
- Fostering an environment of honest communication between partners, encouraging open discussions about their deepest desires, needs, and boundaries
Therefore, infidelity in relationships cannot be solely attributed to society and culture. Personal choices and certain circumstances can also have a huge impact. However, in order to understand the roots of infidelity, it is also critical to acknowledge the influence that societal and cultural factors bring in changing an individual’s perspective in relationships.
The consequences of infidelity can be overwhelming and may leave the victim feeling a surge of emotions such as anger, betrayal, remorse, and pain, which can affect their emotional and mental health. That is why it is crucial for partners to be observant and perceptive of their surroundings and be more aware of their actions to prevent their relationship from falling into the snares of infidelity.