Cheating in a relationship is always wrong, destructive and leaves scars.

Cheater may end up cheating because he/she isn’t feeling well in the relationship but doesn’t have the backbone to do something constructive about it and resorts to running away (emotionally) and cheats.

Or the reason for cheating could be a moment of opportunity that is taken advantage of (“S/he was just there, at work/school and we just hit it off”). Or, as in many cases, it’s something you do drunk: the drinking lowers the inhibitions and suddenly there’s just someone there that you accidentally slip into (hate when that happens!).

It seems that there’s a difference about levels of cheating though.

For men it seems quite simple: sex.
If their better half has sex with someone else, that is cheating.
The idea that someone else has been touching your woman is often too much to bear.

For many women it’s more complicated though.
Although the idea or knowledge that your better half has had sex with someone is bad, what can be worse is the knowledge of an emotional affair/relationship that has been going on.
Sex is often just sex, but the idea that your man has been having fun, laughed, has had deep discussions with someone (else) that understands – well that’s just too much.

Since for women the emotional connection in a relationship is often the most important, the fact that that connection has an interloper is devastating. Somehow it feels that there’s just so much of emotional connection to go around in a relationship; it’s not right to give your attention, time, emotions, wit, laughter and understanding to someone else. It’s reserved for you, not the other one!

And this difference is often very hard for a couple to understand: for a woman it might be understandable to forgive the spouse for “just having sex”.
More difficult to forgive would be to hear that he has been spending time with her, talking, sharing ideas, views, dreams and wishes even if there hasn’t been sex.
He has given her something from deep within himself, something that is not reserved for outsiders, only for the significant other.
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For a man to forgive the sex is almost impossible, but for many men it’s not that difficult to forgive the spouse for just talking to another man. Even if that would mean deep discussions late into the night, sharing of secrets, dreams and funny things that happen in everyday life. Sharing an emotional connection isn’t as bad as sharing a bed. After all, it’s not like they’re having sex!

Because of these different standpoints on cheating the sentence “it was just sex honey!” may have different implications. A woman may understand that hearing it from her man, a man can’t hear it from his woman. Same goes for “we’ve only been talking for a few months!” It might mean nothing to a man hearing it, but for a woman it might signify the end of a relationship.

Would you forgive a kiss? Or sex? Or an emotional connection?

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