African Journal of Innovations in Mass Communication and Information Technology

Volume 8, Number 2, 2019     ISSN: 4036 – 2243    www.bushwealthacademicjournal.com

 

THE ANATOMY OF MARITAL INFIDELITY IN THE USE OF GLOBAL SYSTEM FOR MOBILE COMMUNICATION (GSM)

1Ukaegbu Michael Ibe, PhD. and 2Efetobor, O. Elijah

1Department of Mass Communication, Faculty of Humanities,

Abia State University Uturu, Nigeria, 2Department of Mass Communication, Joseph Boakai College of Social and Management Sciences, Gregory University, Uturu, Abia State, Nigeria

 

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ABSTRACT

In our present sociological structure, marital infidelity remains a disturbing and traumatic life experiences in families and has become a cause of concern in marriage institutions.  This study was carried out to ascertain the role of GSM in marital infidelity. This is by determining the extent to which GSM contribute to marital infidelity and also better ways of harnessing GSM potentials for a more healthy marital relationship among married couples. The study was carried out using survey research method as applied by Nwosu (1996). Sex ratio and Strategic pluralism theories were used to anchor the research. Evidences from academic literature shows that sexual infidelity is greater on married individuals who are mostly connected with the ICT infrastructures or tools, Whisman (2007). In this regard, this study recommends that sharing of sexual films and messages through GSM should be regulated by government through Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC). Churches should establish marriage counseling centers to counsel for marital infidelity problem while public enlightenments should be carried out through Conferences, seminars, workshops and TV to educate the people on reducing or checkmating the antisocial evil of marital infidelity, actuated with GSM gateways in our society.

 

Key words: Role, Mobile Communication, Marital Infidelity, Building, Promoting, Curtailing.

 

INTRODUCTION 

Relationship infidelity can be incredibly damaging on many levels. Sadly, women who cheat often don’t realize (or choose to ignore) the fact that sexual and romantic betrayal hurts men just as much as women. Interestingly, it is usually not any specific sexual or romantic act that hurts the most. Instead, it’s the keeping of secrets and the constant lying that causes the most pain.

Marital infidelity according to Oxford Advance learners dictionary is defined as unfaithfulness in marriage or other moral obligation. Marital infidelity is one of the most traumatic of all life experiences in families. This has been largely promoted by the rise of Internet technology in modern time (Hertlein & Piercy, 2006). The advent of the Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) is specifically playing significant role in marital homes. GSM as explained by Okoro (2016) is a worldwide standard digital cellular telephony. It is a digital mobile technology system that is widely used in Europe, Asia, Russia, United states including Nigeria and other parts of the world (Hertlein et al 2006).

Before the advent of GSM, non face-to-face communication with friends, corporate bodies, companies and other business organizations both far and near was difficult, expensive and time consuming. If we flash our mind back and compare the life we lived in the olden days to this modern day, we can see that the difference is clear in terms of communication with the evolution of global system for mobile communication (GSM) in the society.

The benefit of global system for mobile communication are numerous to the extent that over 210 countries have access to GSM today as reported and all these countries benefit from the system in one way or the other (Hertlein et al 2006) .

In Ebonyi state, particularly Abakaliki metropolis, the performance of GSM is quite impressing as business centers are characterized by painting with the colour of mobile service providers.

The Anatomy of Marital Infidelity in the Use of Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM)

 

 The impact of GSM is also felt in business transactions and it has reduced the risk and cost of travelling long distances for business as one can be in his house and transact business with his mobile phone including the transaction of love affairs.

Despite the importance of GSM in the society, the use has affected negatively the sexual behavior of both unmarried and married couples and as a result has led so many families astray thus affecting marriages (Hertlein et al 2006). Use of GSM has therefore become a major cause of marital infidelity which is very high in the society today.

If 15 years ago you meet a friend from hundreds of miles away, the relationship is likely to die out because you can’t very well keep calling and writing to each other without being discovered. Now, between Facebook, emails, and texting, people can maintain and intensify what, in the past, would have been unattainable (Cravens, Leckie & Whiting, 2013).  Treatment programmes for marital internet infidelity that include forgiveness therapy have been developed (Hertlein & Piercy, 2012).

 

Statement of the problem

GSM has brought a lot of innovative ideas to the whole world, turning the world into global village. Despite its importance in the society, it has also created a lot of problems for the society, one of which is marital infidelity.

Whereas many studies have been done on the effect of new technologies in society, literatures that focused on how GSM contribute to marital infidelity are still grossly inadequate, scanty and undocumented. It is this gap that this study sought to fill.

 Objectives of the study

The general objective of this study is to ascertain the role of GSM in marital infidelity. However, specific objectives of this research are to:

  1. Know the extent of use of the GSM gateways in building and maintaining relationships
  2. Check if the GSM platforms are actually being used to actuate marital infidelity
  3. Establish how GSM has provided the safety net in promoting marital infidelity
  4. Suggest ways of curtailing the antisocial practice of marital infidelity in Nigeria’s sociology.

Research Questions

The following research questions have been raised to serve as compasses for the study:

  1. To what extent have the GSM gateways been used in building and maintaining relationships?
  2. How have the GSM platforms been actually used to actuate marital infidelity?
  3. To what extent has GSM provided the safety net in promoting marital infidelity?
  4. Are the practical ways of curtailing the antisocial evil of marital infidelity in Nigeria’s sociology?

 

Marital Infidelity:

Marital infidelity (also referred to as cheating, adultery, unfaithfulness, or having an affair (when married) according to Fitzgibbons 2017 is a violation of a couple's assumed or stated contract regarding emotional and/or sexual exclusivity.

A standardized definition of infidelity, used by the International Infidelity Law as reported by Fitzgibbons 2017, includes: Sexual fantasy with someone outside marriage, Talking with an attractive stranger, Flirting, Exchanging contact details, Meeting up without accompanying spouse(s), Playful touching, Kissing, Erotic massage, One night stand, Regular sexual intercourse or Established affair with long term commitment.

Psychologist in their own perspective, say that infidelity is breaking of promise to remain faithful to a sexual partner, now encouraged through the use of Global system for mobile communication (GSM). That promise can take forms such as marriage vows and verbal agreement between lovers (Wilson, Mattingly, Clark, Weidler & Bequette, 2011).

In marital relationships, Cravens, Leckie & Whiting, 2013 indicated that exclusivity expectations are commonly assumed although they are not always met and when they are not

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met, psychological damage can occur, including feelings of rage and betrayal, lowering of sexual and personal confidence and damage to self-image.

 

Causes of Marital Infidelity

 Michael Castleman (2009) found that women indicated relationship dissatisfaction as the number one reason for infidelity, whereas men reported a lack of communication, understanding, and sexual incompatibility. Glass & Wright 1992 also found that men and women who are involved in both sexual and emotional infidelities reported being the most dissatisfied in their relationships than those who engaged in either sexual or emotional infidelity alone.  In general, marital dissatisfaction according to Glass & Wright 1992 is the number one reason often reported for infidelity for both sexes. The author also indicated that Individuals exhibiting sexually permissive attitudes and those who have had a high number of past sexual relationships are also more likely to engage in marital infidelity. Glass & Wright (1992) noted other factors such as being well educated, living in an urban centre, being less religious, having a liberal ideology and values, having more opportunities to meet potential partners, and being older affected as the likelihood of one being involved in an extramarital affair. There are still many other factors that increase the likelihood of anyone engaging in marital infidelity.

Such factors according to Michael Castleman (2009) include:

  • Failure to address marital stresses
  • Close friendships with others who have been unfaithful
  • Lack of understanding of the sacrament of marriage
  • Unresolved family of origin sadness, mistrust or anger
  • Intimate communication through Facebook, emails, and texting.
  • Previous infidelity
  • Failure to communicate the Church's teaching about marriage and sexual morality.
  • Loneliness and sadness
  • An emotionally distant spouse
  • Selfishness/materialism
  • Lack of a moral code
  • Lack of confidence
  • Controlling and disrespectful behaviors by spouse
  • Compulsive use of pornography
  • Lack of balance in married life with failure to attend to romantic aspect of marriage, the marital friendship and sexual intimacy/betrothed love
  • Seriously disordered priorities with the placement of work, others, sports, children, etc. before one's spouse
  • Strong resentment and anger with a desire to punish
  • Attempt to escape from responsibilities and pressures
  • Strong mistrust and anxiety
  • Weak faith with a failure to engage in the struggle against temptations
  • Modeling after an unfaithful parent

 

 Types of Marital Infidelity

There are five categories of marital infidelity according to Michael Castleman 2009:

Opportunistic marital infidelity occurs when a partner is in love and attached to a partner, but surrenders to their sexual desire for someone else. Sometimes, it is a pure risk-taking behavior.

Obligatory marital infidelity is based on fear that refusing someone's sexual advances will result in rejection, and being unwilling to handle such rejection, result to surrendering.

Romantic marital infidelity occurs when the cheater is in the process of "falling out of love" with his/her partner.

 

 

The Anatomy of Marital Infidelity in the Use of Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM)

 

Conflicted romantic infidelity takes place when a person both falls in love with and has a strong sexual desire for multiple people at one time, even though s/he may already be committed to a partner.

 Commemorative marital infidelity occurs when a person has completely fallen out of love with their spouse, but is still in a committed relationship with them.

 

Prevalence of marital infidelity

Research studies demonstrate that the majority of married couples are faithful and loyal. Wiederman, 1997 indicated that marital infidelity with another person is not as common as some believe but noted that the major factor in the growth in infidelity is the use of internet pornography.

An estimated 40 percent of American marriages experience at least one episode of infidelity as reported by Whisman, (2007) in his population based sample of married individuals. The study show more men than women cheat, but they often do it for the same reasons. While infidelity is a factor in many divorces, half of American marriages survive an extramarital affair (Whisman, 2007). New social science and medical research is contributing to understanding the causes of infidelity. And it’s helping therapists guide couples who seek to repair a damaged marriage.

Wiederman (1997) in his survey of 884 men and 1,288 women found that 77% of married men and 88% of married women remained faithful to their spouses. An University of Chicago national survey carried out by Laumann, 1994 found that that 75% of husbands and 85% of wives never had sexual relations outside of marriage.

A highly regarded survey conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago has found that 22 percent of men have had a sex partner other than their spouse while married, compared to 13 percent of women. (The figures are an average of the years between 1991 and 2004, (Wiederman, 1997).

Another study by Wiederman, 1997 revealed that an annual prevalence of infidelity was 2.3%. In controlling for marital dissatisfaction and demographic variables, infidelity was predicted by greater neuroticism and lower religiosity (Whisman, 2007). 

Marital infidelity is difficult to research because most people are reluctant to admit it. One survey made headlines showing that only a tiny percentage of spouses cheat. But the researchers interviewed respondents with their spouses present.

Even without spouses, results depend on how questions are asked. University of Colorado researchers surveyed 4,800 married women using face-to-face interviews and an anonymous questionnaire. In the interviews, only 1 percent said they'd cheated during the past year. But the anonymous questionnaire showed 6 percent.

Meanwhile, controversy clouds the definition of "infidelity." Most say it's sex with anyone who isn't your spouse. But what about spouses who are separated but not divorced? What about open marriages? And don't-ask-don't-tell marriages? Is infidelity any sex outside of marriage? Or secret sex? What about people in heterosexual marriages who have homosexual flings? Finally, does cheating require intercourse? What if you have only oral sex? Or hand jobs? Or passionate kissing?

Arguably the best research on this subject is the General Social Survey (GSS) conducted annually since 1972 by University of Chicago researchers. For 37 years, they have asked a representative national sample about infidelity. The results have been consistent. Every year, 10 percent of spouses admit cheating--12 percent of men, 7 percent of women.

But in our culture, men with multiple partners are often envied as studs, while similar women are dismissed as sluts. As a result, we would expect men to admit infidelity more freely. In many non-Western cultures, anthropologists have found no gender differences in infidelity rates. Perhaps the same is true for us, but cultural assumptions color admissions.

 

 

African Journal of Innovations in Mass Communication and Information Technology

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Recently, the GSS has shown two notable changes--more cheating by spouses over 60 and under 35. These changes have been modest, so it's hard to know if they are real. But many social scientists contend they are, and have proposed explanations.

Among older folks, the reason most often cited is health. Sex tracks health. Today 60 is the new 40, which might explain the rise in cheating among older spouses. However, while many of today's 60-somethings are healthier than their counterparts a generation ago, today we have much more diabetes, a condition that often causes sexual impairment, and substantially more obesity, which may make people feel unattractive, and raises risk of arthritis, heart disease, and cancer, all of which reduce libido and sexual function. In addition, older adults take considerably more medications than they did a generation ago. Many drugs cause sex problems, notably, antidepressants and blood pressure medications. So, does better health in those over 60 explain the increases in infidelity? Maybe, maybe not.

Another oft-cited reason for horny elders is erection medication, which some say has encouraged older men to cheat. But two recent studies show that only 10 percent of men over 50 have even tried these drugs, let alone become regular users. With erection medications used by so few older men, how much of a difference could they make?

Maybe rising infidelity has to do with more working women, particularly women traveling on business, which provides opportunities to dally discreetly. But homemakers of yore had plenty of opportunities for extra-marital sex: the postman, milkman, repairmen, and delivery men of all stripes. Meanwhile, cheating is up only in women over 60 and under 35. If travel explains the increase, why hasn't it risen in women 35 to 59? Most of them work outside the home, and many travel on business.

The fact is, no one knows the true prevalence of marital infidelity and every explanation for supposedly rising rates is open to serious question.

 

Theoretical Framework

Sex-ratio theory

Sex ratio theory as described by Daly 2007, in his study of Qualitative methods for family studies and human development, is a theory that explains the relationship and sexual dynamics within different areas of the world based on the ratio of the number of marriage-aged men to marriage-aged women. According to this theory, an area has a high sex ratio when there are a higher number of marriage-aged women to marriage-aged men and an area has a low sex ratio when there are more marriage-aged men to marriage-aged women. In terms of marital infidelity being discussed by the researcher, the theory explains that when sex-ratios are high, married men are more likely to be promiscuous and engage in sex outside of a committed relationship because the demand for men is higher and so this type of behaviour, which is desired by men, is more accepted. On the other hand, when sex ratios are low, promiscuity is less common because women are in demand and since they desire monogamy and commitment, in order for men to remain competitive in the pool of mates, they must respond to these desires. Support for this theory comes from evidence showing higher divorce rates in countries with lower sex ratios and higher monogamy rates in countries with higher sex ratios (Daly 2007).

 

Strategic pluralism theory

Strategic pluralism theory according to Whisman, 2007 is a theory that focuses on how environmental factors influence mating strategies. According to this theory, when people live within environments that are demanding and stressful, the need for bi-parental care is greater for increasing the survival of offspring. Correspondingly, monogamy and commitment are more commonplace. On the other hand, when people live within environments that encompass little stress and threats to the viability of offspring, the need for serious and committed relations is lowered and therefore promiscuity and infidelity are more common.

 

 

The Anatomy of Marital Infidelity in the Use of Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM)

 

The role of GSM in marital infidelity

GSM actually actuate marital infidelity in our society, some of the ways it has promoted the social evils are: 

  1. The Internet: The Internet is a major facilitator of marital infidelity. According to Hertlein et al 2006, it is much easier to find forbidden fruit online than it is in person.  There are so many websites where people can use to discuss love affairs.

The rise in the use of GSM provides new challenges for modern and homosexual couples (Hertlein et al 2006). According to the Global Internet Statistics in 2003, Internet population around the world according to Hertlein et al 2006 has grown exceptionally fast in less than a decade, rising from 16 million users in 1995 to approximately 680 million in late 2003. Millions of such users according to Cooper etal 2003 are married individuals who use the Internet to meet strangers, flirt, and many times engage in highly sexualized conversations. From this report, the researcher observed that through use of GSM, online marital infidelity has caused unfaithfulness, cheating, and violation of marriage vows to marital homes.

The possibilities for finding a lifelong partner have increased due to the ease of being able to connect with people all across the world (Cooper, Mansson, Daneback, Tikkanen & Ross, (2003)). The proliferation of sex according to Whitty, (2003) chat rooms has increased the opportunity for people in committed relationships to engage in acts of infidelity on and off the Internet.

A cyber affair is defined as "a romantic or sexual relationship initiated by online contact and maintained primarily via online communication" (Young et al., 2000) Sexual acts online according to Schneider, 2003 include behaviors such as cybersex, where two or more individuals engage in discussions about sexual fantasies over the Internet and is usually accompanied by sexual self-stimulation, hotchatting, where discussions between two or more people move away from light hearted flirting, and emotional acts where people disclose intimate information to a significant other. Whitty, 2004 observed that a new type of sexual activity online is when two people's avatars engage in sexual activity in virtual reality.

In an attempt to differentiate offline and online infidelity, Cooper, et al 2003 identified the three aspects of Internet infidelity to include:

  1. Accessibility: The more access one has to the Internet, the more likely they will engage in infidelity.
  2. Affordability: The monetary cost of being able to access the Internet continues to drop, and for a small price, a user can visit many sites, and meet multiple potential sexual needs
  3. Anonymity: The Internet allows users to masquerade as someone else, or hide their identity altogether.
  1. Pornography: Pornography is rampant on the Internet. According to Bridges et al 2003, the excessive use of internet pornography has increased the trauma of marital infidelity in which one spouse seeks happiness and sexual satisfaction through another woman or, less often, another man. Such behaviors are experienced as marital infidelity by the other spouse.
  2. Escort Services:  Escort services and the like, including “online massages,” etc., are much more attainable in our age of social media then it ever was before. 
  3. Facebook: Cravens 2010 reported that Facebook is now a contributing factor to about a third of all divorces, 25% about couple of years ago. He indicated that one can meet anyone online and cited cases where someone reconnected with a high school sweetheart and ran off during the divorce even though the sweetheart lived over 3,000 miles away hence acknowledging that online fantasy a significant cause in the breakdown of marriages today.   

5. Chat rooms: A study carried out by, Hesper, & Whitty, 2010 examined the phenomenon of online infidelity chat rooms as a process whereby individuals involved in a long term committed relationship, seek computer synchronous and interactive contact with opposite sex members. The results lead to three constructs that symbolize chat room dynamics and serve as a foundation for internet infidelity and they include:

 

African Journal of Innovations in Mass Communication and Information Technology

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Anonymous sexual interaction, referring to those individuals prediction for anonymous interactions of a sexual nature in chat rooms.

Behavioural  rationalization denoting the reasoning  that chat room uses present for conceiving their online behaviours as innocent  and harmless( despite the society and highly sexual nature).

Effortless avoidance involving chat rooms users’ avoidance of psychological discomfort by exchanging sexual message with strangers.

The new-found popularity of Internet chat rooms according to Hesper, & Whitty, 2010 has contributed largely to infidelity. Never before has it been so easy to engage in the dating scene and meet people while maintaining the stability of marriage. What might start off as meaningless entertainment obtained by communicating with a stranger in a chat room could eventually lead to the establishment of an actual online or cyber relationship. This type of relationship typically contains the same elements that are found in a traditional relationship such as attraction, flirtation, and support (Hesper, & Whitty, 2010)

 

 Cheating through GSM, Where to look for evidence:

 Cellphones provide an excellent source of evidence of marital infidelity. Hertlein et al 2006 noted that it may be possible to collect evidence such as the content of text messages, contact information for the other man or woman and photos through cellphones.

The phone bill should be looked at to see if there are any unknown numbers. Entries in the phone’s contact list that are different from typical contacts in the phone may be worth looking at as well. For example, if the person’s business contacts list addresses plus home and work phone numbers, but there is an entry that lists only one number, that entry might be considered suspicious.

Text messages

Text messages are one of the most common types of evidence in divorce cases. Depending on the jurisdiction, it might be possible to subpoena cellphone records in order to obtain text messages. It also is possible to print out text messages that a spouse has received.

 

Second, or secret, cell phones

Some spouses purchase second phones to communicate with the person they are cheating with. Many hide these second phones inside their cars in places such as inside the glove box or under one of the seats. In addition, strange or suspicious bills may provide evidence of a secret or hidden cellphone.

Social Media

In addition to cellphone information, evidence of an affair can be gathered from a spouse’s home or work computer, social media sites, Internet dating sites and Internet search histories. A subpoena may be needed to obtain electronic evidence from a specific computer or cellphone.

Social media is public by nature and many courts have held the opinion that social media is discoverable. There are three main reasons why courts tend to view social media in this way.

  • First, individuals who post content on social media sites have no expectation of privacy, and thus there is no privacy violation.
  • Second, social media content does not violate any privilege.
  • Third, social media content can be relevant to a divorce case.

Authority to access information

There are both federal and state laws that prohibit the interception of electronic communications such as text messages and emails. Before an individual accesses a spouse’s personal computer or cellphone, it is important to establish whether or not he or she has the legal authority to do so. A person who obtains electronic communications without the proper legal authority may be subject to legal sanctions and any evidence that was collected may be subject to exclusion.

 

 The Anatomy of Marital Infidelity in the Use of Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM)

 

Reasons Women Indulge in marital infidelity:

Even though most women who engage in relationship marital infidelity understand that what they are doing is potentially harmful to both their relationship and their partner, they continue with the behavior and reasons as reported Fitzgibbons, 2017 are stated below.

  1. Low Self-Esteem: Women with low self-esteem, depression, unresolved childhood trauma, and other similar issues may seek validation through romantic and sexual activity. If someone wants them in “that way,” they feel worthwhile, desirable, wanted, needed, and loveable.
  1. Revenge: Sometimes women feel betrayed by their partner (usually either financially or sexually), and they use infidelity as a way to retaliate. Typically, women seeking revenge are not secretive about what they are doing.
  2. Loneliness and Neglect: Sometimes women feel more like a nanny, maid, mother, or financial provider than a wife or girlfriend. They may use sex outside the relationship as a way to fill the emotional void.
  3. Lack of Sizzle: Some women miss the exhilaration of meeting, flirting, dating, and forming new relationships. They find their ongoing, stable partnership boring so they chase the emotional high of finding and bonding with someone new.
  4. Lack of Sex at Home: As mentioned earlier, women are sexual creatures. They usually enjoy the physical act of lovemaking as much as men do, and they also enjoy the feeling of being wanted, needed, and desired. Sometimes women are much more sexual than their partner. If so, this can be problematic. Rather than end the relationship, they may seek a little sex on the side as a way to meet their physical needs.
  5. Lack of Intimacy at Home: Even if a woman is getting enough actual sex, that sex may not be fulfilling her desire for emotional connection. The simple truth is women, much more so than men, feel connected and valued through non-sexual emotional interactions such as gift-giving, being remembered, and talking. If these things are not happening at home, they may seek a connection elsewhere.
  6. Unrealistic Expectations: Some women expect their partner to meet their every need and desire (even when they don’t bother to share what those needs and desires are). When their partner inevitably fails them, they will sometimes turn to someone else.
  7. Lack of Female Social Support: A big part of healthy womanhood involves supportive female friendships and a sense of female community. Some women, especially those who experienced maternal abuse or neglect, undervalue this while concurrently overvaluing the attention of men. This can lead to infidelity.
  1. Wanting to Leave a Relationship: Some women find it easier to cheat, forcing their current partner to end the relationship, rather than ending it more directly or assertively. Other women know they want to leave, but they are not willing to do so until they’ve got another relationship lined up.
  2. Sex and/or Love Addiction: Some women engage in a never-ending stream of sex and romance as a way to self-regulate (not feel) uncomfortable emotions and the pain of underlying psychological conditions such as depression, severe anxiety, low self-esteem, and unresolved childhood trauma (often sexual in nature).

 

Consequences of marital infidelity                      

The consequences of marital infidelity as reported by Michael Castleman 2009 include: Breaking marriage vows, lying, robbing a family and spouse out of time and emotional energy that is rightfully theirs. Even after affairs are discovered, there are layers of deceit that must be dealt with. Unless marriage vows don’t include sexual exclusivity, then all extramarital affairs are, contractually speaking, breaking a promise.

Most couples can’t, won’t or don’t set out all the limitations on their relationship at the time of their wedding vows because they believe that their love will result in shared values and perceptions ever-after. No matter what you do or don’t spell out in advance, you run the risk of

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someone saying “well, that was how I felt then, and when I wrote it I could not have anticipated that I would feel this way now, so I no longer feel compelled to do it.” In my view, the simpler the vows the better: get the rock solid core of marriage, and let the relationship iron out the details over time.

Mistakes made after infidelity

A number of serious mistakes can be made after marital infidelity including,

  • Insistence upon immediate separation
  • Failure to see the goodness in the offending spouse
  • Refusal to identify each spouse's emotional or character weaknesses
  • A need to blame one's spouse exclusively for the infidelity
  • Failure to identify the extent of the infidelity
  • Refusal to try to understand and forgive
  • Insistence upon divorce
  • Unwillingness to face family of origin conflicts
  • Fear of correcting the offending spouse
  • Failure to love the vocation of marriage
  • Failure to obtain expert advice from those loyal to marriages
  • The expectation that the offended spouse should "get over it" quickly
  • The lack of understanding as to how difficult it is to heal the infidelity wound
  • The failure to realize that faith is essential in re-establishing trust and the marital friendships.

 

Resolving marital infidelity:

Certain measures are taken to resolve marital infidelity as stated by Whisman, 2007.

  1. Full disclosure: The early steps in the work phase include being assured that extramarital relationship has ended and that there will be no further contact. Also, there should be full disclosure of the entire history of the adulterous relationship including examining phone records and text messages. Then, the perpetrator should understand the depth of the wound to the marital covenant and request forgiveness of God and of the spouse.
  2. Anger resolution: In this phase the first issue mostly addressed is the sadness, mistrust and anger in the victim. Many spouses report that the only approach which is effective dealing with such anger attacks is spiritual forgiveness. That is, giving their justifiable anger to God.
  3. Building trust: Marital infidelity severely damages a spouse's ability to trust.  The restoration of trust is essential since it is the foundation for loving.  Understanding and forgiving the offending spouse not only diminishes anger but it also diminishes fear.  However, it is not enough.
  4. Addressing loneliness: Marital loneliness can also play a role in infidelity. The major causes of this pain from the marital relationships are emotionally distant behaviors, lack of balance with failure to attend to the marital friendships, selfishness, mistrust and anger, controlling behaviors and a lack of faith. In many marriages the loneliness that leads to vulnerability to infidelity arises from both marital stress and unresolved childhood loneliness.
  5. Strengthening confidence: Male confidence is essential to being a loving spouse and protective parent. The cultural view of masculinity differs radically from the Christian perspective in that it focuses on success in sports, on a muscular physique, on sexual conquests and on financial success. The Christian view is that male strength comes from the pursuit of a life of virtues in which the goal is to become another Christ to one's wife, children, family, friends and colleagues.

Facing the guilt

Human nature desires the honesty that looks squarely at the sinful situation, acknowledges it for what it is, and recognizes oneself as being in need. As Psalm 32:5 reminds us, "Then I

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declared my sin to you; my guilt I did not hide. I said, 'I confess my faults to the Lord,' and you took away the guilt of my sin" and "If you, O Lord, laid bare our guilt, who could endure it? But with you is found forgiveness; for this we revere you," Psalm 130. For Catholics the sacrament of reconciliation can be helpful in overcoming this guilt.

 

Communication about the healing process

A discussion of the process of the healing of the emotional, personality and spiritual conflicts which contributed to the infidelity should be discussed several times per week. Such communication is essential so that the victim spouse can be reassured that intense work is being done to protect the marriage and the family.

 

Rebuilding the marital friendship

After working on identifying the origins of the infidelity and the diminishing anger, then it is important to work on rebuilding the marital friendship. In this vital process it is important that the perpetrator should have constant availability by phone and check in regularly. Also, it is important to work on the marital friendship by improving the marital communication and time together in the evening while at the same time improving both the romantic & intimate aspect of the marriage. Finally, couples report benefits from daily entrusting their marriage to God and from daily committing to trust one's spouse.

A person's freedom, far from being restricted by this fidelity, is secured against every form of subjectivism or relativism and is made a sharer in creative Wisdom," n. 11.

 

The Role of Faith and Infidelity

The Catechism of the Catholic Church contains a great deal of wisdom on marriage.  Here are some powerful statements on infidelity.

"Adultery is an injustice. He who commits adultery fails in his commitment. He undermines the institution of marriage by breaking the contract on which it is based. He compromises the good of human generation and the welfare of children who need their parents' stable union," Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2381.

"By its very nature conjugal love requires the inviolable fidelity of the spouses. This is the consequence of the gift of fidelity of the spouses. This is the consequence of the gift of themselves which they make to each other. Love seeks to be definitive; it cannot be an arrangement "until further notice." The "intimate union of marriage, as a mutual giving of two persons, and the good of the children, demand total fidelity from the spouses and require an unbreakable union between them," Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 1646.

"The consent by which the spouses mutually give and receive one another is sealed by God himself. From their covenant arises 'an institution, confirmed by the divine law.’ The covenant between the spouses is integrated into God's covenant with man: 'Authentic married love is caught up into divine love,'" (CCC, n. 1639).

"The twofold communion with God and with one another is inseparable. Wherever communion with God, which is communion with the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, is destroyed, the root and source of our communion with one another are destroyed. And wherever we do not live communion among ourselves, communion with the Trinitarian God is not alive and trues either." Pope Benedict XVI, 2008, (Jesus, The Apostles, and the Early Church, p. 18).

 

"We can realize how important prayer is with families and for families, in particular for those threatened by division. We need to pray that married couples will love their vocation, even when the road becomes difficult, or the paths become narrow, uphill and seemingly insuperable," (John Paul II, Letter to Families).

 

African Journal of Innovations in Mass Communication and Information Technology

Volume 8, Number 2, 2019 

 

Finally, a number of believing couples report benefit from asking the Lord to deepen their trust in Him and in each other; to help them grow in self-giving and love, that is, to truly wish for the good of one's spouse; to heal the sadness and anxiety and to strengthen the marital communication and friendship. Also, Catholic couples report being helped by going to the Eucharist more often and by saying a rosary together for the healing of their marriage

 

RECOMMENDATIONS

            Marital infidelity is one of the factors militating against marriages and families which are the institutions that work for the population and growth of the society.

  1. Churches should establish marriage and counseling centers in different areas to counsel for marital infidelity problem.
  2. Additionally, there should be public enlightenment programmes through Conferences, seminars, workshops and TV so as to educate the masses on how to prevent marital infidelity in the society through the use of GSM.
  3. The GSM regulating body i.e. Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) should find a way of checkmating the sharing of antisocial materials on the GSM gateways. That way, our good cultural and religious values will be preserved for the society.

 

CONCLUSION

Based on literature reviewed, it can be soundly concluded that the severe wound of marital infidelity can be resolved and divorce can be prevented.

Research studies demonstrate that couples in troubled marriages who commit themselves to improve them are often happier five years later than couples who divorce.  The process of healing deep emotional wounds of mistrust, betrayal, sadness, loss of confidence is arduous but worth the effort.   Also, the role of church can be particularly helpful in the process rebuilding marital affection and the marital friendship.

 

REFERENCES

 

Cooper, A. L., Mansson, S., Daneback, K., Tikkanen, R., & Ross, M. W. (2003). Predicting the future of Internet sex: Online sexual activities in Sweden. Sexual Relationship Therapy, 18, 277–291. doi:10.1080/1468199031000153919.

 

Cravens, J. D. (2010). Facebook and relationships (Master’s thesis). East Carolina University, Greenville, NC. http://hdl.handle.net/10342/2567.

 

Daly, K. J. (2007). Qualitative methods for family studies and human development. Thousand Oaks: Sage.

 

Glass, S. P., & Wright, T. L. (1992). Justifications for extramarital relationships: The association between attitudes, behaviors, and gender. Journal of Sex Research, 29, 361–387. doi:10.1080/00224499209551654.

Hertlein, K. M., & Piercy, F. P. (2006). Internet infidelity: A critical review of the literature. The Family Journal Counseling and therapy for couples and families, 14, 366–371.

 

Hertlein, K. M., & Piercy, F. P. (2012). Essential elements of Internet infidelity treatment. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 1–14. doi:10.1111/j.1752-0606.2011.00275.x.

 

Hesper, E. J., & Whitty, M. T. (2010). Netiquette within married couples: Agreement about acceptable online behavior and surveillance between partners. Computers in Human Behavior, 26, 916–926.

 

The Anatomy of Marital Infidelity in the Use of Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM)

 

Laumann,E.O., 1994) The Social Organization of Sexuality: Sexual Practices in the United States. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, Table 5.15, 216

 

Nwosu, I.E., (1996). Public Relation Management: Principles, Issues Applications. Lagos; Dominic Publishers.

 

Schneider, J. P. (2003). The impact of compulsive cybersex behaviors on the family. Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 18(3), 329–354.

 

Whisman M.A., (2007) Predicting sexual infidelity in a population-based sample of married individuals. J Fam Psychol. 21(2):320-4.

 

Wiederman, M. (1997) Extramarital sex: Prevalence and correlates in a national survey. J of Sex Research 34(170).

 

Whitty, M. T. (2003). Pushing the wrong buttons: Men’s and Women’s attitudes toward online and offline infidelity. Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 6, 569–579.

 

Wilson, K., Mattingly, B. A., Clark, E. M., Weidler, D. J., & Bequette, A. W. (2011). The gray area: Exploring attitudes toward infidelity and the development of the Perceptions of Dating Infidelity Scale. The Journal of Social Psychology, 151(1), 63–86.

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