Does an absence of sex in marriage justify cheating?

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When a spouse is constantly denied sex, is it perfectly understandable for them to stray?

Is there ever an acceptable reason to cheat on the one you've committed your life to?

Not having their sexual needs satisfied may embolden some to cheat, thinking they've earned it to some extent.

Is sex an obligation? Is it your duty in marriage to fulfill your spouse's physical needs?

But before jumping to conclusions, professor and blogger Mark D. White thinks its important for couples to define what constitutes cheating.

For some, emotional cheating is just as bad as getting into bed with someone else. It is up to both of you to define "what you're willing to endure" for the sake of staying committed.

photo: shutterstock

It would help couples to determine what amount and frequency of intimacy is enough to satisfy their partner as well as their own needs.

Couples deserve to be happy, to have their needs met. But a line must be drawn to keep them from breaking those vows, even if married life isn't what they expected it to be. The promise to be faithful shouldn't come with exceptions.

Whatever unmet needs you're struggling with, cheating will only make things worse

So the question remains: when someone isn't satisfied, based on the pre-established benchmarks agreed upon, are they well within their rights to find this satisfaction elsewhere?

Professor White believes that two wrongs can't make a right. Whatever dissatisfaction one feels in the relationship, adultery will only make it worse.

The cause of sexless marriages can often be traced to deep unresolved issues that need to be worked through.

If you find yourself in this situation--where your partner is frustrated or has cheated because of this frustration--it's best to confront the issue. It won't be easy, especially if your spouse wants out of the relationship. But the only way to know if your relationship is worth salvaging is finding out where you're both at and comparing your level of commitment. Are you still on the same page? What could be improved?

From there, you both can decide how to move forward, whether it's together or apart.

What do you think moms and dads? Let us know in the comments below.

sources: Psychology Today, Prevention, The Huffington Post

READ: How can you repair a ‘sexless marriage’?

Marriage Marital Issues Sex