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Emotional Infidelity


rocketgirl30

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So, I'm wondering if one can cheat without any physical contact? For instance, if your partner is talking to another person (of the other sex if hetero) everyday for an hour about intimate things (i.e. work problems, emotional issues, relationship problems), going out 1-2 times a week with this person for 4-5 hours (i.e., shopping, movies, dinner, pub, antiqueing, etc. ). is this cheating. What if you tell your partner you feel uncomfortable with the growing depth of this relationship-is this posessive? What if your partner tells you, "I understand your concerns, by you have nothing to worry about he/she is married." What if your partner is increasing spending less time with you to be with the other person? Is this cause for concern?

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Short answer - yes it's a cause for concern if you are concerned.

 

There's a book by Shirley Glass call Not Just Friends - I recommend you pop into a bookstore and have a look.

 

The things about emotional affairs is that they replace the SO with a new person as the priority for emotional intimacy. It is certainly a threat, and in some cases (many?) can progress to physical intimacy.

 

I think that you have every right to calmly advise what makes you uncomfortable. Make no accusations, but tell them how you feel and how their behaviour is affecting you. Be clear what it would take to resolve the situation and also be willing to compromise if that seems fair.

 

There is a need for a couple to establish boundaries in a relationship, then protect those boundaries against interlopers. You need to be a team. Emotional intimacy with others can be a problem, specifically where the primary relationship is jeopardised.

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Hey there,

 

Everything you have described is emotional infidelity to me. Emotional cheating to me is taking time away from your current relationship and putting into a friendship/relationship with another of the opposite sex. There is that bonding, that time invested in the other when it should be occurring with the person he/she is currently with. And if hurts the others person, it is also cheating in my opinion.

 

Another member broke down what cheating is very succinctly:

 

It IS NOT cheating when the other knows of his/her partner's actions and is okay with it.

 

It IS cheating the other has no idea what the other is doing because she/he is sneaking around and knows the other would not approve and would be hurt by the actions.

 

It IS cheating when the other is privy to his/her partners actions, is NOT cool with it but the other does it anyway.

 

The bottom line is, if the person KNOWS these behaviors and actions will hurt the other and he/she does it anyway, the person is cheating. The person is taking time away from the relationship and investing it with someone else.

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I don't consider it cheating but at some point it can be behavior that is inconsistent with exclusivity. It is more comorting/validating to call it "cheating" but that can also be inflammatory to your partner. Rather, why not explain why the specific behavior makes you uncomfortable without relying on labels and see what he says. We all have different boundaries - I love that my boyfriend has female friends but I would draw the line at him spending one on one time with them on a "date night" or having female friends that didn't know about me or where I wouldn't be able to meet them.

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someone else being married is not the magic amulet against cheating, so the excuse that so-and-so is married so don't worry is NOT a valid one... there are tons of affairs between people where one is single and the other married, or both are married...

 

if this woman is 'just a friend', then there is no reason that you can't be friends with her too... do you get invited along? and are you sure that they are just 'shopping'? most affairs with married people don't start with them just leaping into bed together... they start with this kind of interaction, until one of the other admits to feelings/desires, then that can lead into bed if both are attracted to one another. so an emotional affair can be as disruptive an a physical one, and can lead into a physical affair eventually.

 

at any rate, it is an excessive amount of time for a boy/girl friendship to spend together, especially if it means that you are getting cut out in the process. either they are trying it out to see if they like each other enough to leave their partners, or there may be an affair brewing, if it hasn't happened yet...

 

i would attempt to go out on these outings with them sometimes, to get a better idea of what is going on, and if he refuses to include you, then that would be a heads up that an affair may be brewing, or that you may be headed for a break up.

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im on the "bad guy"end of this whole deal.lol I love a girl who is with another guy.She loves me,too.But she also loves him.I dont know what to do.We kissed,I didnt kiss her and she didnt kiss me.It just happened.the advice I can offer is that if the infidelity continues bad things will happen.I'm getting closer to her every time I see her face.If I were you I would definitely be worried.In my case though,I need advice,too.I love her more than I can bear to admit.I'm waiting for her to end her relationship,which is unrealistic and naive,i know,but I cant help it .I'm human.I cant help loving her,shes perfect.She says Im perfect,too but she is still with him.WHAT DO I DO???!!!!!!

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mr. grim, i think you have to consider that she is NOT perfect because she is someone else's girlfriend and fooling around with you. how would you feel if you were her boyfriend, and she was doing this with another guy?

 

i think you should tell her that you would love to date her IF she breaks up with her boyfriend... then see what she does... she may have no intention of leaving her boyfriend, and just be using you for a little spice on the side. but if she is winding down with her boyfriend and wants to leave him and hasn't yet made the break, if she really wants to be with you, she will break up with him as soon as she hears you are no longer willing to see her if she is someone else's girl.

 

and if she wants to stay someone else's girl, then she's not your girl, or perfect either becuase she was just using you...

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yes...here is my mantra on this...go get a book called, "not just friends" by shirley glass....it is so insightful on this kind of behavior and how an innocent friendship can turn quickly into a full blown affair...

 

when you start confiding in someone of the opposite sex about your relationship (say things you wouldn't say in front of your sig other) you are stepping over the line and setting your self up to become attached to the other and pull away from your partner.

 

and it does not matter if the other person is married...my husand was married and so was is affair partner...she started sharing stuff about her marriage at work and then they started sharing more and bam!...an affair!

 

good luck...you have every right to set some boundaries for this behavior!

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I completely disagree. Obviously some people are vulnerable to all sorts of temptation and can't even be platonic friends with the opposite sex. I cherish my platonic male friends and that I can go to them for relationship related advice - sometimes they have that different "male" perspective that can be very helpful. Similarly I am glad that my boyfriend has close platonic female friends.

 

Obviously a couple can agree on whatever boundaries are comfortable but I would think there would be a serious risk of divorce if the woman or man were to insist that they never speak to a member of the opposite sex about the relationship (other than matters they agree are totally private). That would be stifling and suffocating I would think.

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So, I'm wondering if one can cheat without any physical contact? For instance, if your partner is talking to another person (of the other sex if hetero) everyday for an hour about intimate things (i.e. work problems, emotional issues, relationship problems), going out 1-2 times a week with this person for 4-5 hours (i.e., shopping, movies, dinner, pub, antiqueing, etc. ). is this cheating. What if you tell your partner you feel uncomfortable with the growing depth of this relationship-is this posessive? What if your partner tells you, "I understand your concerns, by you have nothing to worry about he/she is married." What if your partner is increasing spending less time with you to be with the other person? Is this cause for concern?

 

yes to me this is cheating. to be honest, I would rather my bf get drunk and have meaningless sex with someone then cheat on me like that.

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I think that trivializes the definition of cheating - which is sexual contact with someone where there is a promise in the relationship or marriage of exclusivity. Being with someone else emotionally might be inappropriate, disrespectful and hurt like heck but to call it "cheating" I think overly broadens the definition of cheating and permits someone who thinks his girlfriend or spouse has a platonic male friend to use the inflammatory term "cheating" just because that person might be emotionally intimate on a platonic level.

 

People who call that "cheating" I believe just want to be able to label the behavior as something that is objectively "wrong" - to use a word that is sure to provoke a strong reaction- rather than having to explain why it hurts to have someone who is emotionally close to someone of the opposite sex.

 

I would never want to be called a cheater in that instance. If he wasn't happy with my having platonic male friends we could discuss that but not in the context of him calling it cheating. I will never promise a spouse not to be emotionally close to a member of the opposite sex (and I suppose those who call it cheating would also have to include a member of the same sex - certainly even if there is no sexual contact you can be emotionally bonded to your friends - is that cheating too? Where does it end and who gets to define cheating when you open up the floodgates like that?).

 

As far as sexual talk with a member of the opposite sex - that is inappropriate, tacky, disrespectful and I would not date someone who did that - but it isn't cheating or adultery.

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I think that it really depends on the person--how the person feels is what is most important---it is unfair to tell other people what they should feel and that their feelings are wrong. In fact, Roscoe published an article on infidelity and gender differences-according to her research, the women she interviewed would rather have their partner have uncomitted sex with another than have an emotionally intimate affair...see excerpt below.

 

In a study of unmarried undergraduates, Roscoe et al. (1988) found that 56.9% of the sample believed that dating/spending time with another was an unfaithful behavior, 41.9% mentioned sexual intercourse, and 39.8% reported sexual interactions including flirting, kissing, petting, and necking infidelity behaviors. These findings are noteworthy because acts constituting emotional infidelity were more strongly identified as infidelity than sexual acts. This is strong evidence that infidelity is not just sexual but emotional too. Three sex differences emerged indicating that men and women may identify different behaviors as acts of infidelity. Women identified dating and spending time with another partner, and keeping secrets from one’s partner as unfaithful acts more than men, while

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men reported engaging in sexual interactions with another partner as acts of infidelity more so than women. These findings suggest that women more than men identify acts of emotional betrayal as acts of infidelity and more men than women identify sexual interactions as acts of infidelity. These sex differences in what constitutes infidelity are noteworthy in the sense that sex differences in the commission of infidelity may result because men and women have different definitions of what they identify as an act of infidelity

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Not at all telling you or anyone else what to feel - just opining on how to react to how you feel - throwing around defined terms like cheating or adultery to also cover non-physically intimate interactions with the opposite sex is I believe broadening the definitions to an unfair point especially since those are highly volatile terms. Feeling betrayed or cheated on can be a very real and valid feeling of course - I would feel the same - but burdening your partner with the label of "cheater" for having an emotionally close relationship with someone of the opposite sex I believe is unfair to the partner in question. Obviously, the couple can decide for themselves that cheating will include all sorts of behaviors that others might not define as cheating. That's couple thing. I would not support someone filing divorce papers for example accusing a partner of cheating if there had been no physically intimate contact with the person with whom he or she is accused of cheating.

 

Hope that makes sense - I am referring to technical definitions and terms where the couple really needs to communicate in advance about how they define cheating and what is acceptable/unacceptable - otherwise they are entitled to assume that unless there is physically intimate contact it is not cheating (although it may be tacky or inappropriate).

 

The other problem with the vague "emotional infidelity" is as I mentioned - where does it end? I am in email contact with one of my exes - we joke around, we keep informed on each other's families and friends - I wouldn't say we're still close but we were at one time of course. I've seen him a few times in connection with fixing my computer. My boyfriend knows about it and is fine with it. If he considered that "emotional infidelity" I would run like the wind.

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i agree....emotional infidelity can be just as harmful or worse than physical infidelity...you should get that book i menitoned earlier if you are interested in reading materials ans statistics..it is loaded with them and so insightful! "not just friends" by shirley glass...how are you doing with it all? set any boundaries yet?

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i understand what batya33 is saying to a point...you can have friendships with the opposite sex..it is when you start spending more time with the friend and confiding in them and telling them "secrets" or things you wouldn't feel comfortable saying in front of your spouse...her boyfriend may not be cheating but the environment for an affair to happen is there with the right chemistry...my husband starting listening to a co-worker compalin about her bad marriage and eventually they started telling those "secrets" and he felt more bonded with her and had an affair...i just think that sometimes it happens to people even when they weren't looking for it!

 

but i do agree with rocketgirl that emotional infidelity is a possibility and she would be aware and set boundaries if she is uncomfortable with all that contact....

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Absolutely there is playing with fire - I have experienced that as the woman who was the recipient of the married man's attentions in that regard - I didn't encourage anything beyond platonic friendship and indeed actively discouraged crossing those lines. I cut off contact when the lines were crossed (i.e. voice mail messages commenting on my legs, coming up to me in my office and kissing me on the cheek, inviting me out for drinks late at night after work). My concern is going to the extreme of calling someone a cheater for confiding in a member of the opposite sex. No way would I give up my close friendships with men just because I was in an exclusive relationship with a man and no way would I put up with being accused of "emotional infidelity." Never have been and never accused someone else of being.

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No way would I give up my close friendships with men just because I was in an exclusive relationship with a man and no way would I put up with being accused of "emotional infidelity." Never have been and never accused someone else of being.

 

 

Good for you--not everyone is the same.

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Of course - that's obvious. What is the same though at least in my country is the definition of adultery in a marriage and it does not include emotional contact. So, it's all well and good to have a definition of "emotional cheating" that works for you but that wouldn't fly if one wanted to accuse a spouse of adultery. That was my only point in your decision to broaden the definition beyond sexual contact (physical that is).

 

As far as your specific situation, I haven't read the other comments but I would say that if there seems to be a sexual attraction there AND you are not ever invited to go out with them I would view this as inappropriate in an exclusive relationship. Also I would wonder why you're not double dating with her and her husband, etc.

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[

Of course - that's obvious. What is the same though at least in my country is the definition of adultery in a marriage and it does not include emotional contact. So, it's all well and good to have a definition of "emotional cheating" that works for you but that wouldn't fly if one wanted to accuse a spouse of adultery. That was my only point in your decision to broaden the definition beyond sexual contact (physical that is).

 

 

If someone felt uncomfortable with their partner having an emotionally intimate relationship with another adult it would be up to them how to handle it.

I don't think the point of the post was to debate the nomenclature for legal purposes. Additionally, I don't think anyone posted in regards to determining the definition of cheating or adultry for the purpose of divorce. If you are concerned with the nuances of the terms cheating/adultry/emotional intimacy, perhaps you should start another thread.

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Disagree that your post did not ask for the definition of cheating. I believe it did and my perspective is on point.

 

Have a great evening and good luck with your boyfriend!

 

That is all you needed to say.

 

Your logic in the other posts did not make sense to me--it seemed to me that you were setting up a straw man.

 

Thank you for your well wishes, but I put this forth as a hypothetical situation and did not mention that I had a partner.

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