Difference Between Bigamy and Adultery

For a long time and even today, for many people marriage has been the purest way to consolidate a sentimental relationship and is also the basis of the family. Difference Between Bigamy and Adultery

In most societies, marriage is an element of great importance, not only because of the meaning it has for the couple in love; but also because of the legal issues involved. Especially for people with strong religious beliefs, marriage is something sacred, instituted by God and that can only be dissolved with death. For this reason, it should not be surprising that those who break their marriage promise of loyalty and fidelity are commonly very frowned upon in society.

Two of the things that cause the biggest problems between couples are bigamy and adultery. These terms designate two totally different realities, hence the importance that we understand the difference between one and the other.

ADULTERY  Difference Between Bigamy and Adultery

The word adultery comes from the Latin “adulterium”, although it is also said that it could derive from the French word “avouterie” and is used to refer to the fact of having sexual relations with a person who is not the partner.

In most societies , adultery is considered a crime that can even be punished with jail if it is proven. Adultery is also one of the leading causes of divorce for most of the world.

Adultery is only considered as such, when the person has sexual relations with the other person who is not his partner; in case there is no sexual intercourse, legally it is not possible to speak of adultery.

In some countries, the penalty for adultery ranges from 3 months to 1 year in prison or community service.


Like adultery, bigamy is another valid reason for divorce. Bigamy refers to the practice of entering into a new marriage, without being legally divorced from the first partner, that is, entering into marriage even though the previous marriage is still valid.

The term bigamy comes from the Greek bis  which means “twice” and  gamia  or  gamos which means “woman” or “marriage”. Generally, this is also considered as something illegal and therefore, it can be penalized with jail.

Bigamy should not be confused with polygamy, because polygamy is only used to refer to marriage between more than two individuals at the same time.

Key difference between bigamy and adultery

  • Adultery refers to the sexual relations that a married person has with someone who is not their partner or spouse. Bigamy refers to the act of remarriage when the first legal marriage bond has not yet been broken.

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