So, we say – after emotional infidelity, marriage may even become more resilient. Let’s see how.
Marital unfaithfulness and why it hurts so much
The meaning of infidelity in marriage is, in most cases, equal to that of a hurricane in a town. It destroys the structure. It tosses everything upside down.
It wreaks havoc, and it takes lives with it. When you take a look at such a town, all you can see is destruction, pain, chaos.
However, let’s focus on what’s not visible to the bare eye. It’s the potential. The potential to heal and to grow stronger – together!
Infidelity of any sort hurts so much because it’s the breach of trust that has to be overcome. You lose the comforting safety of an affair-free marriage.
However, the reality of things is that people are burdened with the tendency to cheat. Monogamy is more of a socially constructed notion.
Yes, many people around the world remain faithful. But, that’s a moral and ethical choice. And the choice is based on social norms. That much more is of relevance to talk about emotional infidelity in marriage.
Types of infidelity
How to classify infidelity? Some would say that even being dishonest with your spouse is infidelity.
Others only consider a full-blown relationship outside of marriage to be an affair, including falling in love, spending time together, and being physically intimate. The rest lies somewhere in between. Here are some common types of infidelity:
“Classic” infidelity – the partner develops a secret relationship outside of the marriage, involving physical intimacy of different levels.
Repeated infidelity –a serial cheater keeps getting involved with other people, and the cheated partner can either know about them or not.
Financial infidelity – a breach of trust of any sort surrounding finances that jeopardizes the relationship.
Emotional infidelity – marriage is under jeopardy by one or both of the partners developing affection for someone else.
What is emotional infidelity?
What is emotional cheating in a relationship? It’s when a partner develops romantic feelings for another person. In most cases, we speak of emotional cheating when there’s no physical contact.
However, emotional affairs tend to develop into “classic” infidelity cases, which is usually why they seem so threatening.
Is an emotional affair cheating? What emotional infidelity does for marriage is often identical to what any other sort of an affair does.
Some would even argue that emotional infidelity is even more damaging than if one of the spouses got involved with someone else for sexual reasons.
Women are especially vulnerable to being hurt because of their husbands cheating on them emotionally.
Men are more territorial and are more hurt by their wives having sex with other men. A study conducted in 2013 revealed that men feel less upset if their partner has been emotionally unfaithful as compared to physical infidelity.
What is the meaning of cheating in a relationship?
With emotional infidelity, marriage may dissolve or grow stronger. Where’s the line? What makes the difference? It’s hard to pinpoint exactly one factor that would tip the scale.
People are multifaceted, and so are relationships. However, there are a few things for you to consider if you’re facing emotional infidelity in your marriage but wish to save it.
The most important aspect of any relationship should be acceptance of the other person and the reality as such. What does this mean? We got married with a desire for the fairytale.
But, even fairytales have villains. The role of the villain is to teach the hero to overcome the obstacles, become a better person, and fight for the right cause. So, accept the fact that nobody’s perfect. Better yet – that we’re all perfect in our imperfection.
If you want to be a great character, you should learn to accept your spouse’s (and anyone else’s) perspective, their weaknesses and shortcomings.
Relativity of the norms
It’s a bit trickier concept to grasp, but the reason why we’re hurt by infidelity was actually forced upon us. There are cultures where infidelity isn’t sanctioned, isn’t judged upon.
In those cultures, people aren’t hurt by it. So, this means that the only reason that you’re hurt is that you grew up in this particular society. It does give you some freedom of thought, doesn’t it?
Emotional infidelity can be a sign
Use it to understand what it is that your spouse needed but wasn’t getting from you. Take control over your relationship and use this incident to grow as a couple. It can be done, we promise!
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Rachael Pace is a noted relationship writer associated with Marriage.com. She provides inspiration, support, and empowerment in the form of motivational articles and essays. Rachael enjoys studying the evolution of loving partnerships and is passionate about writing on them. She believes that everyone should make room for love in their lives and encourages couples to work on overcoming their challenges together.