Emotional Adultery and Its Consequences
At what point does a person commit adultery? It is really easy to think of adultery in terms of black and white. If you are in a relationship and you kiss someone else, then it is adultery. Or isn't it? Do you have to sleep with someone else for adultery to happen? Can you have an adulterous relationship with someone, yet never sleep with them?
Well many people believe that this is indeed the case. Although men and women can be friends and not be in a relationship that is in any way wrong, it can also happen that men and women can become emotionally dependent on each other, emotionally string and yet never actually go as far as even kissing. So they can protest to their loved ones, or their friends that they aren't doing anything wrong, because, after all, they are just friends with the person of the opposite sex. They aren't hurting anyone and they really don't want to cause their primary relationship any hurt. No problem, right?
Or can it be a problem? Are you cheating on your lover without even realising that you are doing it? Are you telling a 3rd party all your dreams, your fears, your thoughts and not trelling your partner or spouse? If so then aren't you guilty of emotional adultery? Are you not in severe danger of putting your relationship at risk?
Are there Different Types of Betrayal?
It is true that sometimes you can sleep with someone and go through the physical act of lovemaking, but have no emotional attachment to that person: but on the other hand you can just be friends with someone, without sleeping with them, but find that you are betraying your lover, through being emotionally attached to your friend.
So which is worse, emotional betrayal or physical betrayal? Well, there is no hard and fast answer, since it depends on the individuals involved and the nature of all the different relationships. Ultimately you can argue that if no one is hurt, then there is no reason to object to adulterous relationships, whether physically adulterous or simply emotionally too close for comfort. However, whichever is happening, the end result can be that people can get hurt and that is what makes them so difficult. But at times it can also be hard to move away from the emotional bond that you have formed with another person. If you do manage to form a bond with someone else then this can actually highlight inadequacies in your main relationships, which at times can be quite unsettling.
If you care about your relationship, then basically be very aware of just how close you get to someone else when you are in a relationship and do not feel as if you can get away with extremely close friendships so long as you don't get physical: your betrayal may be as intense, even if you never even touched lips or hands.
What Happens When Good Intentions Fail?
There are times when we can feel drawn to someone like a moth to a flame. We can almost feel as if we have found someone to whom we are not attracted, who doesn't light our fire of desire, but to whom we can just talk. So we like to have a cosy lunch, we like to share secrets, we talk about things that have gone right and perhaps share things that not many people know about us.
But what happens then when you have a bad day at the office. You come home and you tell your other half. They are pretty sympathetic and they can see why you are so upset. But that isn't enough for you any more. You need the other person, you need the person with whom you are in an emotionally adulterous relationship. So all you can think about is phoning them or talking to them.
And what happens? Well your other half, your spouse or partner has to sit there listening to you confiding in someone else. So they are no longer all that you need, basically you have introduced another person into the relationship: they can no longer give you all the emotional support that you need. so where there were two, now there are three.....
Can An Emotional Menage a Trois Actually Work?
Well despite all the negative arguments that can be put forward about how risky and how much of a betrayal emotional adultery can be, there are some positive aspects to it. For a start in can breathe new life into jaded relationships. Where you have felt slightly flat, slightly staid in terms of how much support you give each other and how you feel about each other, you may find that with an interest in someone else and someone else being interested in you, you have more emotional energy to devote to your relationship and so you become more relaxed about your emotional health. It is almost like having therapy. Indeed many people in therapy say that it does indeed feel as if they are often betraying their partners, because they are actually talking about their emotional secrets with someone else: so where is the difference if that person is a member of the opposite sex (or in same sex relationships, a potential spouse or partner)?
Ultimately only you will know whether your relationship with someone else is verging on being adulterous, even if you never touch, never kiss and never even have the faintest notion of physical intimacy: but if you are concerned about the nature of a relationship, then do not ignore any warning signs. If it starts to feel like betrayal, then it probably is something of a betrayal and you need to be aware of the risks associated with this, even if it seems perfectly innocent and above board. So above all, to thine own self be very, very true......
People do view things very differently and what is perfectly acceptable to one person may seem like the ultimate betrayal to another. And let us not forget that many people may not actually be emotionally unfaithful to their partner or their spouse, but instead, they may choose to spend every night eating cream cakes, drinking far, far too much, or smoking themselves to death. In which case it may actually be better to have another person that you can 'sound off to' rather than spending the time clogging your arteries or making yourself ill through drinking.
Ultimately few relationships are actually perfect. None of us actually know what happens behind closed doors: relationships can seem perfect, but when you scratch beneath the surface, they all have the same cracks, tears and splits that the rest of relationships have, so don't despair, just do whatever feels right for you, bearing in mind how your partner will view your friendship....
Just enjoy each other....
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
ktdyd from Upstate New York on May 25, 2012:
There's nothing wrong with having an emotional attachment to a friend of the opposite sex. If there is no physical or sexual contact, then it is not adulterous. We have different connections with different people, for different reasons. I have many friends of the opposite sex, a few who I trust and confide in, but my husband is aware of them & they are no threat to my relationship. The threat starts when the friendship becomes a higher priority than the relationship or you keep certain aspects of the friendship a secret from your partner. If you're open and honest with your partner about the nature of the friendship, it is not betrayal. If you feel the need to hide parts of it, and keep secrets, then either it is a blatant betrayal or your partner is likely to view it as such, even if it's harmless...which would mean they aren't the person for you anyway.
If there is a romantic attachment to someone else, and you exercise self control and do not act on it,... that is the epitome of faithful. We cannot always control emotions, but we can control whether we act on them or not.
LaZeric Freeman from Hammond on March 05, 2011:
It's tough being in a relationship when you don't feel appreciated, but otherwise I still agree with you.