There is a lot of controversy when it comes to matters of the heart. One of the most common questions that I have heard is whether it’s cheating if the relationship is not sexual. If you are reading this article, you may be questioning your own behavior. If you “feel” like you are doing something wrong, chances are you already know the answer. Here are a few things to consider while evaluating your behavior.
The Emotional Affair
There was a recent study regarding infidelity done by Kentucky State University that showed that two-thirds of the women surveyed stated they would rather their partner have a physical affair than an emotional one. Sounds crazy, right? Here are a few points that totally justifies the thought.
- A physical affair that happens just once can be regarded as a mistake. The choice to call or text this person every day is not something that can be blamed on being a mistake.
- There may not be any feelings involved in a physical affair. There are almost always feelings involved in an emotional affair. It’s hard to deal with the fact that a partner cheated, but to hear that this partner is in love with someone else is even more devastating.
- When an affair is physical, some, if not all of it is done out of convenience. When an affair is emotional, there is a conscious effort made to lie to hide it. When the affair is emotional, the third person almost always knows that there is a significant other.
Would You Do it in Front of Your Significant Other?
You may think a little flirtation with that hot coworker isn’t a big deal. You may even refer to this person as a work spouse. Harmless? As yourself this, if your partner walked into the breakroom while you were spending lunch with your work spouse, would you feel busted? Would you hurry to intercept them before they made it to your table? Or would you invite your significant other to sit and lunch with you both? If you cringed at the thought as you read these questions, you just might be having an emotional affair. A great rule of thumb is if you would not do it in front of your significant other, don’t do it away from them either.
Would You be Okay with it?
No one likes being cheated on, not even the cheater. So, ask yourself, if you found out that your significant other was doing the same thing you’re doing, how would you feel? Would you be okay with a work spouse bringing them lunch and flirting throughout the day? If you don’t like the thought of them doing the same thing, it’s safe to say that you should not be doing it either.
Are You Bad Talking your Significant Other?
If you find yourself constantly bashing your significant other to your special friend, and even letting them bash him or her a little bit too, you are wrong. Of course, your significant other cannot play every role in your life. It’s normal to vent about relationship matters with your best friends or close family members. However, if you are seeking what you are missing from this other person, it’s a definite problem. Your disenchantment with your current relationship should not be the basis of your relationship with this person.
So, the question stands, is it cheating if there isn’t any sex involved? The answer is yes, it can be. We all know that all intimacy is not sexual. We know that intimacy can take many forms. You must be honest with yourself in this regard. If you feel like you’re lacking something at home, deal with it at home. The solution is not in another person.
Theresa Smith, CASAC, CRC, LMFT, LPC
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