Infidelity, unfaithfulness, or cheating, is when one or both partners in a committed relationship become intimate with persons outside of the relationship.  Monogamy represents an important need that many people must have in order to feel committed to a relationship.  The threat of infidelity does not need to be real to have negative effects on a relationship; some people can be overcome by jealousy and worry that a partner is cheating even when the partner has been faithful.


  • Cheating might not be purely physical
  • Low self-esteem
  • Substance abuse
  • Marital problems
  • Lack of excitement
  • A couple may have incompatible needs

Varying Definitions

Every couple has a different idea of what constitutes infidelity.  It’s even likely that both partners within a couple have differing ideas.  Typically, people believe that sex with a third person is cheating.  Some may argue that cheating can involve physical contact to varying degrees, or nonphysical contact when a partner becomes emotionally invested in a third person.


Couples therapy can be highly beneficial for couples who have trouble communicating their needs.  After an act of infidelity is committed, couples therapy can help the couple make major decisions about whether their relationship can heal or needs to end.  Typically, both partners will have major concerns and thoughts that they need to express, and therapy is a safe place to do so.  One-on-one psychotherapy is also helpful if one partner has issues with self-esteem or even sex addiction that are causing repeated cheating.

We Can Help

Open Path’s therapists offer beneficial services that encourage insight, self-reflection, and healthy coping mechanisms. Our therapists provide supportive, open communication, establishing secure foundations to help clients heal and grow.

Interested in seeing one of our therapists for an affordable rate? Start your search here.