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Is Infidelity On Rise During COVID-19?

Posted by Dr. Dhaarna Bhardwaj
Published on : 2020-01-01

All long-term relationships have some changes over a period of time, none stays exactly the same. As couples navigate the tough times together, they grow and evolve as a person. Over the years, couple relation also transition through many different stages and go from lust to trust. True test of any relationship is during Adversity.

During lockdown everything including work, entertainment and even adultery became digital. Ashley Madison, a website catering to individuals looking for an affair, has reported an average of 17,000 new sign-ups per day since the pandemic hit the US, compared to 15,500 sign-ups per day in 2019 and also site found 30% of its female users now exploring cybersex.

India is also not far behind, Gleedan, an Indian extramarital dating app, recently saw 70% increase in subscription during COVID-19 lockdown. Everyone is trying to cope with the home quarantine differently. Some could not refrain themselves despite of the pandemic looming over their heads really need to reflect and analyse what is going on in their relationship.

Kriti found out about her husband cheating on her during the lockdown. She is a working professional and had a love marriage with her college friend after five years of courtship. Her world turned upside down when she caught him red-handed while her husband was on video call with the other woman in another room of her flat. He confessed that he had recently started this online affair and promised to cut off all ties she was in a state of shock and disbelief. She has been in therapy after she found her husband cheating.

At times our expectations that the spouse should provide everything for us, be it love, sex, social or emotional security, loyalty and also the belief that we deserve all of this causes some people to cheat.

Mrs. Shah confided during counselling session that she had started feeling that her relationship with her husband had become dry and he was very indifferent towards her. She belonged to a very affluent business family. Her husband was too busy expanding business and would spend hours in business related work even when together. Rest of the time he would travel and be away from home. This indifferent attitude led her to spend more time alone and started being emotionally and physically attracted to a friend. “I wanted someone I could talk to through these tough times”, “I wanted companionship” she said.

Researches indicate that such affairs are seen as being exciting especially in those circumstances when partners are not able to give each other enough time and that is the time when emotional lover fills in the void. Individuals stuck in sexless marriages look up to such websites to help them find an extra marital affair as a salve. Self-isolation a major factor in our lives now and virtual affairs come as a saviour to bridge this gap.

Mrs. Shah confided during counselling session that she had started feeling that her relationship with her husband had become dry and he was very indifferent towards her. She belonged to a very affluent business family. Her husband was too busy expanding business and would spend hours in business related work even when together. Rest of the time he would travel and be away from home. This indifferent attitude led her to spend more time alone and started being emotionally and physically attracted to a friend. “I wanted someone I could talk to through these tough times”, “I wanted companionship” she said.

Researches indicate that such affairs are seen as being exciting especially in those circumstances when partners are not able to give each other enough time and that is the time when emotional lover fills in the void. Individuals stuck in sexless marriages look up to such websites to help them find an extra marital affair as a salve. Self-isolation a major factor in our lives now and virtual affairs come as a saviour to bridge this gap.

What happens when we feel lonely?

We prefer being connected with one another. No Man is an Island. We prefer to be with others and shrivel if we feel isolated and thrive when feel well connected with others. Feeling isolated may induce depressive symptoms which overrun over nervous system. In lockdown specially, as there is a restricted movement, couples expect a lot from each other.

Positive communication with partner and expressing what one is feeling helps having strong bond.

Changes are inevitable but how one deals with these changes and work through them makes or breaks the relationship.

How can you seek help?

  • Look for changing phone habits– Technology is a big giveaway. If you see some new apps meant for secure communication be watchful. If partner is too protective of their phones beware!
  • A Sudden Makeover– Sudden focus on being fit, too much investment on appearance, clothing hairstyle may be a red flag when partner has been otherwise too causal in approach.
  • Changes in Intimacy– Sudden shift in libido and sexual frequency needs to be watched. Connection is most important factor in any relationship. Feeling disconnected or focus going to someone else is indicative of marriage running in deep trouble.
  • Finances & Travel– Sudden long working hours, cash withdrawals to avoid paper statements, increased touring or fuel expenditure may leave lot to ponder about.

A caution here is that we need to understand that we all constantly evolve as a part of our self-growth and many of these behaviours are innocently normal.

The best is to trust your intuition or your gut feeling and even if it is not about a raunchy affair but it may indicate something else which is real and of concern. One should be patient enough to get to the bottom of it without accusing the partners prematurely.

In majority of the cases it is the dissatisfaction in the relationship which is a cause of infidelity. Marriage or Couple Counselling helps to uncover these reasons and help to address as well as manage the negative feelings towards each other.

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