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Study claims that emotional separation is the key cause of infidelity

For numerous decades, the subject of infidelity has captivated and alarmed individuals due to its unsettling breach of loyalty and commitment. The mechanics of infidelity take on an intriguing dimension within the context of relationships, particularly in a country with a diverse and culturally rich background like India. Amidst the various contributing factors to this intricate phenomenon, one significant yet often overlooked catalyst comes to light – emotional detachment.

To delve into the online dating behaviors of midlife crisis-afflicted Indians, Gleeden, a discreet dating app in India, commissioned a comprehensive study by IPSOS, a renowned global market research expert, in February 2023.

As per the survey findings, 33 percent of respondents consider emotional separation to be a key factor contributing to infidelity. Additionally, 36 percent of women and 32 percent of men feel emotionally unfulfilled within their relationships. Understanding the multifaceted nature of infidelity becomes essential as relationships evolve and society transforms. Emotional distance, frequently overshadowed by more apparent causes, can exert significant negative influence on relationships. Identifying and addressing these emotional gaps holds the potential to foster stronger partnerships within the Indian societal context.

According to the survey outcomes, a significant proportion of participants expressed emotional dissatisfaction within their marriages, with emotional disconnect being a contributing factor to infidelity.

The susceptibility to infidelity arises when there exists emotional detachment, defined as the gradual or abrupt erosion of emotional ties between partners. The demanding modern lifestyle, shifting societal norms, and heightened expectations can lead to emotional drift between partners. While this initial separation may seem subtle in terms of communication, shared quality time, or growing emotional voids, it can pave the way for infidelity. The survey also revealed that 26 percent of the population claimed partial contentment in their relationships, while 6 percent from Ahmedabad, 4 percent from Indore, 8 percent from Guwahati, and 6 percent from Patna acknowledged facing emotional detachment within their partnerships.

The Temptation of Infidelity Despite its generally disapproved nature, infidelity can become a tempting avenue of escape for those grappling with emotional emptiness. This is particularly true in a society that is still evolving in terms of open discourse about emotional dissatisfaction within relationships. Tier 2 cities show a higher prevalence of emotional detachment compared to Tier 1 cities (1 percent from Kolkata, 1 percent from Delhi, 0 percent from Mumbai, 2 percent from Bengaluru, versus 6 percent from Ahmedabad, 4 percent from Indore, 8 percent from Guwahati, and 6 percent from Patna). The allure of finding emotional solace, understanding, and validation outside the primary relationship can hold significant allure under such circumstances.

“The preservation of social and familial ties holds great significance in the deeply traditional Indian civilization. However, within these constructs, personal aspirations and emotional needs might occasionally take a back seat. This creates situations where individuals, especially women, might seek emotional fulfillment beyond their primary relationships. Cultural expectations often place the responsibility of caring for others on women, leaving them with limited avenues for emotional expression and personal growth,” explains Sybil Shiddell, Country Manager of Gleeden, India.

Emotional Infidelity in the Digital Age The survey findings indicate that a higher percentage of females experience emotional dissatisfaction compared to males (36 percent of females and 32 percent of males). The advent of the digital era has transformed the dynamics of relationships, allowing emotional bonds to develop beyond geographical boundaries. Online communities, messaging platforms, and social media channels offer avenues for individuals to forge emotional connections with others outside of their romantic partnerships, sometimes leading to infidelity. The strength of emotional ties formed through these virtual platforms can rival those established in person, underscoring how technology can amplify emotional disconnect.

Rekindling the Flame: Addressing Emotional Detachment Acknowledging that emotional distance may signal the risk of infidelity prompts a reevaluation of how relationships are nurtured. A crucial initial step involves open discussions about emotional needs, expectations, and goals. Sustaining emotional closeness as a foundational aspect of the relationship requires conscious efforts from both partners to understand each other’s emotional landscapes.

By placing emotional connection at the heart of relationships, individuals can strive to bridge these gaps, build trust, and ultimately overcome the allure of infidelity.


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