top of page
  • Writer's pictureEvolve Therapy

My Spouse Cheated!! Is it INFIDELITY or SEX ADDICTION?

If you just learned that your partner has cheated. it can be devastating. Learning about the common signs of an unfaithful partner may help alleviate some of the emotional distress.

If you have ever been the victim of infidelity or cheating in your relationship, one question that probably crossed your mind was "why?"

The consequences are varied and significant which is why people want to know more - but there could be any number of reasons for this betrayal even if knowing doesn't bring relief.

Couples counseling addresses many couples issues including marriage after affairs

Many people believe that cheaters are "bad people" or "traitors." However, there is a concept called sex addiction or compulsive sexual behavior or out of control sexual behaviors, in which the person cannot stop doing the certain sexual behavior that they are addicted to. If this sounds familiar, then it may be time to seek help from an expert who can guide you through the process.

You might not know what to look out for when it comes to cheating behavior.

What are the differences between sex addiction and cheating?

On the surface, both sex addiction and infidelity may seem quite similar; however, there are some key factors that differentiate affairs and sex addiction.

One difference between sex addiction and marital infidelity is that a person with an addiction can be faithful to their partner as a spouse. In fact, people with sex addiction may be very much in love with their partners. The sex addiction or sexual compulsivity is just one facet of their sexual behavior that is problematic.

In contrast, an individual who has cheated has not been faithful to either his or her partner or spouse.

Addiction or compulsive sexual behavior can be described as, "being unable to stop doing things which you are addicted too."

People who are sex addicts feel that satisfying their sexual urges is the only way they can feel better. Often, those suffering from sex addiction think sexual relationships are the only thing that matters.

The sex addict may still be in love with his or her partner, but their addictive behavior takes priority because they equate sex to being in a relationship. This results in sex-addicts spending more time focusing on satisfying their sexual urges instead of strengthening their relationship with their significant other. This is the biggest problem in the relationship.

Sex addicts may stray outside the relationship when their compulsions are not fulfilled with their partner, often engaging in other behaviors such as porn, cybersex, phone sex, or even visiting sex workers.

In contrast to sexual addiction, cheating does not have to include sex and could include romantic secrets or romantic relationship. For example lies or the omission of details or emotional affairs can be a factor that constitutes infidelity.

What are the signs of infidelity?

Dealing with infidelity is never easy. If you find out that your spouse has been unfaithful, it can be difficult to know how to proceed. The best thing you can do is try not to make any major decisions until the emotions have calmed down and you’ve had time to think things through.

Once the initial crisis is over, counseling may help both parties learn how to handle their relationship differently in the future.

When you feel like something is off in your relationship, it’s difficult to know whether the problem is sex addiction or infidelity.

Often the cheating partner is secretive and will try to hide any signs of their indiscretions. However, couples therapy may help the cheating partner learn to control their impulses and focus on creating a stronger relationship which will likely quell the compulsivity.

The term "cheating" is often used interchangeably with the terms "infidelity", "adultery", "fornication", "sexual indiscretion", "romantic betrayal", etc., but these are all different types of behavior which may occur in any type of intimate relationship.

Commonly used terms when describing a cheater

The following definitions will help you understand what each one means.

Infidelity - A person who has an affair with someone other than his/her spouse.

Adultery - When one spouse of a marriage engages in sex with anyone else, whether they are married or not.

Fornication - Sexual activity between two unmarried people; sex out of wedlock.

Sexual indiscretion - Engaging in sexual behavior outside the boundaries established by society or social custom

Romantic betrayal - The act of deceiving another in matters involving love

The signs of infidelity

If you suspect that your partner might be cheating on you or having an emotional affair, there are some tell-tale signs to look out for. The common signs of infidelity may include:

  • Spending less time with family members and friends Irritability, anger or depression

  • Persistent excuses for unexplained absences distant or secretive behavior

  • "Closet" sex addicts often operate secret relationships under the guise of business trips, class reunions, sporting events, even visits to the doctor

  • Most obviously, addiction may include extramarital sexual relationships

How Common is Infidelity?

In a recent study of cheating spouses, is was noted the majority of affairs reported being caused by loneliness. In this case, it is not infidelity at all, but instead a lack of intimacy.

According to a recent study, who cheats more can vary depending on demographics:

In the study, Male respondents in the 51-59 age group have the highest infidelity rate at 31%. in comparison, 16% of women in their 60s reported being guilty of infidelity, the highest rate among female respondents. Source:

The discovery of "cheating" can take an emotional toll on relationships and lead to anger and betrayal. It's important to remember that while infidelity does happen, most couples don't cheat.

According to statistics from the National Survey of Family Growth, only about 1 percent of adults admit to having cheated during their lifetime.

This number increases when looking specifically at men. Approximately 2 percent of adult males report having committed adultery over the course of their lives.

Why People Cheat

In a society where sexual promiscuity is abundant, it's not easy to understand why anyone would cheat on their significant other. But the signs of infidelity are often clear as day for those who know what they're looking for or in retrospect.

In order to avoid emotional distress and potentially divorce, it's important to be able to identify these signs before things get too far out of hand.

If a spouse has a history of cheating, it may be a sign that counseling is necessary to prevent future occurrences. Having open communication, understanding each other's needs, and staying loyal are key parts of any healthy relationship.

The people in the relationship admitted to cheating and answered the question: Why did you do it?

What may be surprising is that sex was not a top-reason for extramarital relationships. The analysis of eight primary factors that resulted in cheating were: anger, self-esteem, lack of love, low commitment, need for variety, neglect, sexual desire, and situation or circumstance Read the full article here:

If you feel like your partner has been unfaithful and counseling feels like the right choice, there are ways to move forward. It's important to identify if the lack of respect and infidelity has been a recurring issue.

Most obviously, addiction might involve extramarital sexual activity. If so, then it isn’t really infidelity; rather, it’s just another form of addictive behavior. A person with such addictions will likely continue to engage in them until he or she gets help.

If working on the relationship is something you're interested in pursuing, make sure that both parties are willing to do their part to for a committed relationship.

What Causes Sex Addiction?

Sex addiction, also known as sexual compulsivity, sex dependency, out of control sexual behaviors or hyper-sexuality, is an obsession with sex that results in compulsive sexual thoughts and acts.

Since sex addiction remains somewhat unrecognized within the mental health community, the diagnostic criteria for such an addiction are often vague. Although many signs and symptoms may suggest that a person is suffering from sex addiction.

One difference when determining whether someone suffers from a hyper-sexual disorder is that they may suffer from a larger pattern of behaviors. These behaviors may include compulsive masturbation, compulsive affairs, cyber sex or a repeated pattern of other forms of addiction.

While there are speculative theories on the root causes of sexual addiction, research shows that certain brain chemistry disorders may play a part.

To prevent dangerous negative consequences of sexual addiction, it's important to seek professional advice.

Counseling may be necessary to determine whether an individual requires additional treatment for the addiction, or whether they are simply acting impulsively due to poor communication and connection with their spouse. A majority of sex addicts have a history of childhood trauma and or emotional neglect.

The signs of sex addiction

The symptoms of sex addiction (or out of control sexual behaviors) are similar to symptoms of drug addicts. Some common signs of sexual addicts include:

  • A continuous urge for sex that can be followed by guilt, regret, shame and depression

  • Compulsive behaviors or patterns of engaging in sexual behaviors with multiple sexual partners or extramarital affairs.

  • Chronic sexual behaviors, such as phone sex, pornography, and/or cyber sex

  • Engaging in risky behaviors, such as having sex in public places, with prostitutes, or regularly attending sex clubs

  • Being dominated by sex and having little time for any other activities


For those dealing with the pain and devastation of their partner's cheating, it's important to recognize that is is not your fault.

No one deserves to be cheated on. The unfaithful partner is responsible 100% for their actions and must take responsibility for self-healing.

Forgiving them and moving past it is a decision that you have to make on your own.

Similarly, if you're suffering from sex addiction, please seek help from a professional counselor or therapist. There is no shame in reaching out for help, and counseling can do wonders to overcome the addiction.

Please contact Evolve Therapy with any questions you might have about counseling/therapy.

702 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page