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Cheating = Abuse


odile

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As most anyone who's been cheated on can tell you, it's a horrible thing to experience.

It's not just an issue of non-monogamy; it's the fact that having someone whom you trust knowingly completely betray that trust hurts in a way that can make recovering very difficult for the person who's been cheated on.

 

There's been research into just how much impact that such betrayal can have on a person, and while the link I've found is from a study done two years ago, it was really nice to find that there is some serious acknowledgement of just how harmful such an experience can be.

 

A greater shift in attitudes towards this kind of abuse can only be a good thing.

 

(Unfortunately, the primary reference found was mention of the study used in a promotional article for PI, but presumably the original research is available somewhere on the web.

If anyone else is able to find it, please share it here!)

 

 

In any case, here's the link and article (sections in bold highlighted by me).

 

link removed

 

Study Suggests Why Cheating Spouses Need to be Confronted Fast

 

A study finds that infidelity can be a form of emotional violence that leaves betrayed partners with the same symptoms as an abusive partnership. Finding out the facts and acting on the cheating early may help the healing process.

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Although I agree with you that infidelity is a horrible thing to go through for anyone and can lead to similar out comes as emotional abuse, it is NOT abuse and can't hold that definition.

 

Abuse is a pattern of behavior in which physical violence and/or emotional coercion is used to gain or maintain power or control in a relationship. A single incident of assault also constitutes abuse. Furthermore, abuse is a relative and direct action towards the victim. A person cannot lawfully or otherwise claim to have been abused by actions their partner takes towards other people (ie sleeping with others). The negative emotional/physical abuse must be direct, not through a third party.

 

Although the article is interesting, it doesn't fly with me. I've been cheated on numerous times by someone I trused more than anyone else in this world and I've also been emotionally abused by an older woman and I can tell you from experience that the two don't even come close to the damage they inflict.

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Although I agree with you that infidelity is a horrible thing to go through for anyone and can lead to similar out comes as emotional abuse, it is NOT abuse and can't hold that definition.

 

Abuse is a pattern of behavior in which physical violence and/or emotional coercion is used to gain or maintain power or control in a relationship. A single incident of assault also constitutes abuse. Furthermore, abuse is a relative and direct action towards the victim.

 

By your own definition, cheating certainly is abuse!

Do you not think by lying to someone (betraying, and demeaning in numerous ways) is manipulating to gain or maintain power over them?

When a person lies to another, it denies the one being lied to the power to make the choices that they might otherwise make were they to know the truth.

That, my friend, is an example of controlling behaviour.

 

 

A person cannot lawfully or otherwise claim to have been abused by actions their partner takes towards other people (ie sleeping with others). The negative emotional/physical abuse must be direct, not through a third party.

 

That's like saying if a person hits another person with a brick that they threw (knowing that someone would get hurt) the brick is at fault, rather than the thrower... or a better analogy I suppose would be that no-one was to blame, because the 3rd party (brick) just seemed irresistibly throwable to the thrower.

 

Although the article is interesting, it doesn't fly with me. I've been cheated on numerous times by someone I trused more than anyone else in this world and I've also been emotionally abused by an older woman and I can tell you from experience that the two don't even come close to the damage they inflict.

 

Perhaps that has more to do with the specifics to each of your experiences/relationships than with the nature of abuse in general.

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I would not classify cheating in the realm of abuse. Sure it is emotionally traumatic and it is betrayal but the INTENT of cheating is different from the INTENT of abuse. The INTENT of abuse, be it physical, verbal or emotional is to destroy the self-esteem of the target of the abuse so that the abuser has power over them and feels superior. It's purpose is to keep the target down..make them feel inferior. The INTENT behind cheating is most typically not about cutting down the partner....it is about being unhappy in the relationship or within themself and finding a thrill elsewhere. The lying and coverups to the partner are done with the INTENT of making sure the secret doesn't come out so that the cheating can continue. The goal is not to belittle the partner but to be able to maintain the affair without getting caught. The symptom may be the same (emotional trauma for the receiver) but the underlying reasons for the actions are very different between abuse and cheating...and that is why cheating is not equivalent to abuse.

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I do agree with a lot of what I was reading in that article - though it seems downright obvious.

 

Things such as:

-finding out the facts about an affair and infidelity can help the healing process (well, duh, hope they didn't spend money to find that out!)

-there are links between those who repeatedly commit infidelity and abuse (ditto to above).

 

Someone who would lie, betray, wear masks in the most intimate of relationships, basically live as a fraud - is it so hard to believe a person who would behave as such and show weak moral fiber (my words!) would also inflict some purposeful damage on others for their own gain? Nuh uh.

 

So basically I will say I will agree that someone who commits infidelity is capable of abuse. And probably is more likely to also be an abuser if they have no problem repeatedly cheating (and all that goes with that). But to consider the infidelity itself as abuse? Will have to think about that. It's a slippery slope to broaden what is considered abuse - - and I do believe it can go too far (in terms of, if so many indecent acts of people are considered abuse and that term becomes more and more flexible, then I'd be concerned we could create a victim-viewpoint-society). So what is meant to empower and help people could possibly end up doing the reverse; it's important to think of the practical applications of such definitions when deciding if they are worth accepting or not, I think. just my 2 bits.

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That's a good article, but I have a feeling it's sort of written with an underlying incentive to advertise for its PI firm or something.

 

Anyway, I do feel that cheating and abuse are two very dangerous things to do to someone and should not be tolerated in a relationship. The only difference, to me, is that when someone finds out about a cheating partner, the hurt would hit you like a storm (and more after when you realize how long the cheating has been going on), whereas with an abusive partner, it's an ongoing hurt.

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I thought the article was spot-on. As the victim of a spouse who has engaged in multiple episodes of cheating, the pattern described in the article was all too familiar. I had never put the pieced together before of how that same pattern would fit a physically abusive relationship as well, but it makes perfect sense.

 

But it should be noted that this particular article was written as a PR bleg for a private investigation firm. Their intent is to drive up demand for investigators who can provide hard evidence of cheating.

 

I'd be very interested in reading the original study on which this article was based. I can say from bitter experience that the part about the cheater being more worried about their own sense of remorse than the pain they have caused others is very accurate.

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I believe cheating is definitely a form of emotional abuse. But it takes two, you cannot play the blame game. My counselor says we marry someone who is our emotional counterpart, meaning we are as immature, or as emotionally developed , as they are. From my own experience this is true. Although time and counseling has changed some of this, yet it overall is true.

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Let me clarify, as a 'victim' of cheating, aren't we also worried more about our OWN pain then the pain we may have caused our spouse ?? And I am sure we caused pain too, in fact lots of it. I know I did. If you are honest, you did too. Living in that pain, re-living that pain, whether cheater or cheated upon, keeps us down emotionally and not free to emotionally love others as they deserve.

 

Believe me, I am a 'victim' of cheating but I understand now I did my fair share of equally unhealthy stuff too. Life sucks doesn't it ??

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