Phenomenology of strategies of justifying infidelity: Mechanisms to cope with cognitive dissonance of marital infidelity

Document Type : Original


1 Corresponding author, Ph.D. in Family counseling, Assistant professor, Department of counseling, University of Kurdistan, Iran.

2 M.A in Family counseling, Association of counseling, University of Kurdistan, Kurdistan, Iran.


Marital infidelity is one of the most important events that couples seek cure for, and its negative impacts on couples is placed second after physical harassment. In most cases of infidelity, individuals are faced with a cognitive dissonance in self-perception. The present study uses a qualitative method to response to this question how the individuals’ decision-making increases the risk of getting involved in marital infidelity, and more specifically how a man permits himself to engage in this phenomenon.A purposive sampling was run, which led to selecting 8 men who had referred to counseling centers over 2016 due to infidelity. Semi-structured interviews with the men with infidelity were recorded, and then transcribed in order to be encoded. Data analysis was conducted using transcendental phenomenological model (Moustakas, 1994). The results indicated that to decrease their cognitive dissonance and continue their infidelity, the individuals used two general methods: first, modifying their beliefs and attitudes and second, referring marital dissatisfaction as an excuse. Experts can use the justifying methods that the individuals use to reduce their cognitive dissonance and through which they permit themselves to engage in infidelity in interventional approaches, and clarify the power of such justifications for them through exposure


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