"I Love You, and I Cheated": Investigating Disclosures of Infidelity to Primary Romantic Partners

Andrew S. Walters, Brea D. Burger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The research presented in this article used a quantitative-qualitative mixed design to investigate components of infidelity. Two studies were completed. The first study compared responses from persons (n = 22, 16 women, 6 men) who, in the context of a romantic relationship, disclosed infidelity to their primary partner, with a matched control sample of persons (n = 22, 16 women, 6 men) who did not report infidelity. Study 2 involved in-depth, bibliographic interviews with those persons disclosing infidelity to primary partners. Study 2 explored how persons defined infidelity and the nature of their disclosure. As predicted, results from Study 1 demonstrated clear differences between persons who did and did not report infidelity on measures of sexual permissiveness and intentions to engage in extradyadic activity, but not on other sexological measures. In Study 2, disclosures of infidelity to primary partners were interrogated using principles of interpretive biography. Qualitative analyses revealed that disclosures of infidelity were embedded with multiple meanings, including transformative moments of self-understanding. Results from the current research add depth to researchers' and clinicians' understanding of how infidelity is defined and disclosed to partners.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20-49
Number of pages30
JournalSexuality and Culture
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2013


  • Cheating
  • Infidelity
  • Quantitative-qualitative mixed designs
  • Sexual self-disclosure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Cultural Studies


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