I got a lot of great feedback from my post, Monogamy…is that even possible?. The feedback, and reflection on my personal journey, led to another question. What is cheating?
I think there is a huge disparity in how men and women define cheating. Or is it just a disparity in how cheaters vs. non-cheaters define cheating? (See, I listen, and, I heard what my male readers had to say :-)). A cheater gives himself a pat on the back, and thinks you should too, if you find out about the other woman/man before they had sex with one another. Because for a cheater, it is not considered cheating if they aren’t having sex. An “innocent conversation” here and there, a lunch date, dinner…that is nothing to a cheater. Everything is fair game as long as they don’t have sex! This is why you get the side eye as you “flip out” when you learn that your significant other is involved in an emotional affair. And, the only response you will probably get from a cheater, as you are flipping out, is, “but I didn’t sleep with her/him though”. And, with that explanation, the cheater believes there is no need for further conversation. I’m so sorry to have to be the one to let you know, BUT, there is no need to waste your time trying to get that person to understand the betrayal and pain that you feel from this emotional affair. He/she just won’t get it.
Sharing an emotional connection with another being requires energy. That energy spent on the emotional affair is going to have a negative effect on your “monogamous relationship” if your significant other is in tune with you and really loves you. And, it will probably have a negative effect on your “monogamous relationship” if your significant other doesn’t really like you too much because we all have ego’s and a blow to the ego is a hard pill to swallow. Not to mention, most emotional affairs become intimate affairs. And, say what you want, while cheaters like to believe that they are Superman/Superwoman and they can ‘spread the love”, usually when they are trying to juggle women/men, the women/men end up with a partner that leaves a lot to be desired. Plain and simple.
So, for all of those cheaters that want to pull the “Bill Clinton” on their significant other and act as though they did not know that what they were doing was “cheating”, or would more than likely lead to sex (which seems to clearly be recognized as cheating by most people), here is a little list of things that are probably strong indicator’s that you are involved in an emotional affair:
1. Consistent telephone communication with another person that you are interested in, while you are in a “committed” relationship is not going to sit well with your significant other.
2.Taking another person that you find to be attractive out for lunch or dinner is not going to sit well with your significant other.
3. Spending any personal time with another person that you are attracted to is not going to sit well with your significant other.
4.Spending time texting another person, instead of focusing on the one you are with, is probably not going to sit well with your significant other.
5.Going to a dating app to see “what is out there” is probably not going to sit well with your significant other.
6. An “innocent kiss” with another is not going to sit well with your significant other.
If you find yourself in this situation it is time to probably to have some honest conversations with that person that is somewhere believing you only have eyes for him/her. And, yes, those conversations are going to be painful, but the reality is, the pain one suffers from betrayal is much greater than the pain one will suffer from talking about what is really going on.
Check out my post, The Confrontation, for more on my personal journey.