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When you get married, you’re making a commitment to stay faithful, both emotionally and physically, to one person. While many people have long, successful marriages, some have to deal with infidelity. In those cases, physical and emotional infidelity may drive the slighted spouse to a Richmond Hill divorce lawyer’s office.

A cheater may become unfaithful due to many reasons. They may spend extended periods away from home, have an unhappy marriage, or simply believe it’s okay if their significant other never finds out. Oftentimes, the partner feels and experiences trauma over what their cheating partner has done. Naturally, cheating stands to affect one’s mental health and self-esteem. 

Yet, there may be situations where people cheat and feels justified in their actions. 

What Constitutes Cheating?

Every couple will have a different definition of what is considered cheating. Some people rigidly define an affair as sexual activity outside a monogamous relationship, while others believe that an emotional affair or an online affair (e.g. sexting, flirting through social media, using dating apps) is just as bad as physical cheating.

The general consensus doesn’t really matter, though. What matters is how you define cheating within your own marriage. If your spouse is engaging in behaviours that you feel betray your trust, monogamy, and your marriage, you’re entitled to any feelings that may arise.

Common Reasons Behind Cheating

Your Richmond Hill divorce lawyer can probably provide you with dozens of reasons people claim to have affairs—after all, your lawyer deals with divorcing couples from all sorts of backgrounds on a daily basis, so he or she has likely heard it all.

However, psychologists seem to have narrowed down the root causes of cheating to eight. Most often, people who cheat cite reasons like:

  • being dissatisfied sexually with their partner
  • unfulfilled sexual desire
  • being emotionally unsatisfied
  • wanting more emotional attachments
  • falling out of love with partners
  • falling in love with someone outside the marriage (e.g., a coworker, a friend, etc.)
  • wanting to exact revenge on a partner who cheated on them
  • boredom

But are any of these reasons morally or ethically justified? The short answer is: maybe.

When Is Cheating Okay?

You and your partner have to define what constitutes cheating before it happens; that way, you’re on a level playing field. You’ll also need to look at the “big picture” as a couple and as an individual.

The only way cheating can be justified is if the reasons behind the actions matter to you as a couple (or to you as an individual). Some people find the act of cheating unforgivable, regardless of the reasons behind it. Others consider all the factors.

It all boils down to your personal feelings. You may feel as if your (or your spouse’s) infidelity is justified based on your own beliefs, or you may feel that going outside your relationship boundaries for physical or emotional gratification can never be justified.

Talk to Your Ontario Divorce Lawyer

Even if you or your spouse thinks that infidelity is justifiable, you’ll need to discuss the legal ramifications with your Ontario family law or divorce lawyer. The law is “reason, free from passion” (we can thank Aristotle for that definition), so legally, the cause of cheating doesn’t make much impact on the way the courts view it.

At Gelman & Associates, we provide effective legal representation during separation and divorce, tailored to your individual needs. Our lawyers are passionate and understanding, but also tough when necessary. Our focus is not only on exceptional legal counsel but also on a positive customer experience from the moment you contact our offices. In keeping with this goal, we ensure our clients have all the information and resources necessary to make educated decisions throughout the separation and divorce process.

FAQs on IS CHEATING EVER JUSTIFIED? – what is cheating in a relationship

Yes. Individuals and couples have different values and tolerances for certain activities. Couples may opt to consult with a relationship expert or attend therapy to help them process the issue together.

These signs are not definitive, as many people have different ways of hiding suspicious behaviour. However, some common signs of possible infidelity or relationship trouble include:

  • Changes in communication or attitude
  • Changes in physical appearance
  • New interests they don’t want to share
  • Lying and avoidance
  • Changes in sexual activity

The only ground for a divorce in Canada’s Divorce Act is marriage breakdown. This could include spousal infidelity, although infidelity alone could be difficult and emotionally taxing to prove in court.

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