Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Cheat sheet

Cheating is a deal breaker for a lot of people in relationships.

But what constitutes cheating "for real" is different for many couples.

Is it worse to physically cheat or to be emotionally involved with someone else?

I recently came across an article where a man admitted that he'd TRIED to kiss another woman and found himself falling in love with her but that it was "okay," because it never went any further.

His wife was livid.

She didn't care that it "had ended there" (mostly because the other woman wasn't interested in MEN at all).

She was hurt by his almost just as much as she would have been by the deed being done.

Because for her, cheating wasn't about physical proximity.
It was about his desire for someone else.

What is "cheating" for you?


The Retropolitan said...

Physically cheating is bad. Emotionally cheating is worse, in part because it will most likely lead to ALSO physically cheating.

Basically, emotional cheating is like starting another romantic relationship with someone else. And that's no fun at all for the jilted one to watch happen.

Chrissie said...

i agree with you entirely!

when i envision the worst case cheating scenario, it isn't catching my man in a steamy session with Ms. No-Name.

it's finding a love letter written to another woman. or overhearing him call her by a sweet pet name.

not that i'd like to catch him in a primal physical encounter with someone... but i think knowing he had an emotional connection to someone else rather than a purely physical one would be much, much worse.

(either way, neither types of cheating are forgivable;)

Sten said...

I think if you are in a relationship and develop feelings for some one new it is a good indication that things aren't working out. In which case, either work it out, or break up.

Is it cheating though?

I think that depends on the intensity. It's pretty natural to find chemistry with many different people. It doesn't mean you're in love with them, or want to seek out something more than friendly banter from time to time.

Chrissie said...

i definitely see what you're saying sten...

i was mostly referring to those moments of DEEP intensity, where you're falling in love with someone else.

i think it's natural to find other people attractive, to flirt from time to time etc. but i think once you cross the line and desire to be with someone else, that's when it becomes like cheating.

Mario said...

I think you could look at this from a different perspective and come up with a different answer. I'll give you one possible hypothetical.

Let's say you're married and have kids. You always wanted to live in the city, but instead settled in suburbia because of the good schools and "safe" environment. Your spouse was one way before you had kids, but now an entirely new side to him or her has developed -- not bad, just not focused on you. The romance has petered out. Worse, the attention to one another has all but ended because of your "busy" lives.

At work, or elsewhere, you meet someone of the opposite sex. That person, too, is living a life that was different from the life he or she fantasized about when young. You have a basic connection -- you're one another's type -- which now seems to be a solid connection because of your shared wistfulness.

The two of you get close, emotionally. You begin to fantasize about how wonderful things could be.

But, prior to crossing that physical divide, you realize that you're throwing a whole life and family away. There's no sure thing, but you decide to try to work things out at home and hope for the best. So, you break it off with your fantasy friend.

Where's the crime?

I think the crime is largely in the heads of those on the shiny side of 30. Sorry, but life's complicated.

"Thought-crime" is no crime, outside of an Orwellian novel.

Sten said...

Conspiracy to commit murder is a crime ... even though no one dies.

I tend to agree that if you don't follow through on anything, it isn't really cheating.

There is still the feeling of betrayal for your partner though, who has been pushed from your heart. Can't pretend that doesn't maybe hurt more than a wayward romp in the hay.

Sten said...

I kinda just contradicted myself. My point is that I don't think emotional straying is cheating. Just painful from the strayee.

Chrissie said...

i definitely see what you're saying mario, and i've considered that very scenario.

i guess, like sten pointed out, my opinion is that it still feels like a betrayal for the spouse who was left in the dark.

Mario said...

It may sound cynical, but better that you leave your spouse in the dark, provided you straighten up and fly right, afterwards.

I've read, many times in various advice columns, that when spouses confess, it's usually in an effort to ease their own guilty conscience. The other poor spouse, the betrayed, usually doesn't appreciate the "honesty" as much as the first spouse anticipates ;-)

I've read the opinion that the confession is the second selfish betrayal.

Chrissie said...

You know Mario, I've read the same thing and I believe it to be true.

Admitting to an "almost cheat" is being too honest I think.

It's like telling someone you don't like their new haircut. You want to be "honest" with them, but in the end the only thing your "honesty" does is make them feel poorly about themselves.

Sometimes I think it's best to keep your opinion/experience to yourself and hope that the spark comes back once the hair grows in.