Purpose: The present study explores dating infidelity amongst Indian young adults, focusing on the impacts and coping strategies in betrayed partners.
Methodology: Semi-structured personal interviews were conducted with 11 Indian college students based on a qualitative exploratory design and analyzed using Braun and Clarke’s theoretical thematic analysis. Ethical guidelines regarding consent, confidentiality and debriefing were followed.
Findings: The young adults in the study expressed the presence of cognitive, emotional and behavioral impact, including social isolation, cognitive-affective impact and even suicidal tendencies. The findings highlighted the comprehensive impact of dating infidelity and the extensive personal resources that are expended in coping with the incidents. The emerging themes in the coping domain were conceptualized and organized using Stanislawski’s Coping Circumplex Model.
Implications: The study facilitates an understanding of personal and social concerns post infidelity, while providing insights into coping styles. This allows for modification of therapeutic approaches and techniques. The study also contributes to research on young adult relationships in developing countries. The cultural focus throws light on similarities across the globe when considering the impact of infidelity and how individuals cope across age groups.
Originality/ value: The study iterates that young adulthood is the developmental stage where intimacy is explored and therefore, chances of dating infidelity are exceedingly common. However, the phenomenon is not well-researched in comparison to marital infidelity and especially not in the Indian context.
Keywords: dating infidelity, young adults, college students, impact of infidelity, coping strategies