Traditionally, sexual cheating is when someone who is in a committed relationship becomes physically involved with a person who is not their intimate partner of spouse. Recently, the definition of cheating has expanded to include emotional infidelity.
Emotional cheating is best described as infidelity that occurs through thoughts and feelings. The development and advancement of new technology, communications technology in particular, has opened the doors to this newly defined behavior. Persons can now correspond and build a strong emotional bond with people they have never even met. Someone who has access to a mobile device or a computer with an internet connection can find themselves emotionally attracted to someone they met through these mediums. It is also not uncommon for persons fall in love with others through network games. Some games notorious for emotional affairs include Second Life and World of Warcraft. People are known to have emotional affairs so intense that they are willing to neglect real life situation to please their game partner. Therefore, emotional cheating includes intimate correspondence with someone via the internet, mobile phone, portable digital device, or anyone else who is not your spouse. The other person could even be a close friend or relative of yours or your spouse.
Difference between Emotional and Sexual Cheating
The main difference between emotional and physical sexual affairs is the actual contact involved. Cheating usually involves the meeting of persons face to face while engaging in physical sexual intimacy. On the other hand, with an emotional affair, there are many meetings and conversations involved. You may not have physically met the person or maybe you have, but the fact is that your contact is strictly based on feelings and thoughts. Whether it is someone you are familiar with like your friend’s wife ‘Melinda’ or someone you don’t actually know like ‘KittyKat2000’, the fact remains that you yearn for intimacy with them in your mind.
Many individuals who are involved with emotional cheating never considered it as a form of infidelity. They believe that because they are not doing anything physical with that person, they are not cheating. This is where they are wrong. They fail to realize that love can occur without sex. Even though they are physically intimate with their spouse, they can develop a stronger emotional attachment to someone else. In the end, the emotionally unfaithful spouse pays more attention to the person they are mentally attracted to. By doing this, they remove themselves from their matrimonial commitment.
Emotional Affairs Can Get Physical
Emotional affairs start off with the regular introduction between persons. They get more and more acquainted as time goes by. Later down, the acquaintance becomes more personal. You begin to realize that you actually like many things about that person until one day; you become totally emotionally dependent on them. There are those who argue that emotional affairs are harmless simply because they are closely related to casual relationships. However, emotional cheating involves intimate communication and tremendous emotional investment. These factors place emotional affairs on the same level or greater as physical cheating.
Emotional Affairs Are Dangerous
Emotional affairs can be dangerous to a marriage, even more so than physical affairs sometimes. Unfortunately people tend to overlook emotional affairs by physical ones. This tendency arises because of the subtle nature of emotional affairs. If a spouse finds him/herself emotionally affectionate to another person, the spouse should consider the consequences of the affair. Emotional cheating will most likely lead to physical cheating and divorce.
Having friendships and building bonds are essential parts of human socialization. The act of bonding emotionally should be reserved for the person you have committed your life to. We are attracted to our friends because of their qualities, personalities and interests; all these being compatible with our own personalities. Friendly relationships that are healthy most likely will not be threatening to a marriage. Neither will good friendships break the emotional bond that spouses share together. Emotional affairs however, will destroy your marriage eventually. Prepare to prefer making contact with your emotional lover, spending valuable time away from your spouse.
In the end, emotional commitments should be given to your spouse and not to someone else. Emotions are stronger than physical contact. Anyone can have physical sexual relations with someone else without falling in love with them. Emotional intimacy is far deeper; it is like falling in love all over again, hence the enormous difference between the two. Potentially, emotional cheating is not something that you would want your spouse to get involved in. The mind and body of spouses should be shared with each other, not with someone else.