Cheating used to be purely physical, but now there's emotional cheating thrown into the infidelity mix. Some doubt the validity of emotional cheating, saying that it's only a mix of flirting and friendship that's blown out of proportion by paranoid or jealous partners. As someone who's been both physically and emotionally cheated on, I can truly say that both are very real and quite painful. Although both are detrimental to a relationship, there's debate over which is worse and which is more forgivable.
Emotional cheating can happen any time, anywhere -- in person, on the phone or on the computer. The main reason people argue against the whole concept is because they're still following the standard definition of cheating -- that it's something that's only purely physical. It hasn't crossed that line into anything physical, but it's as if your heart is doing the cheating for you. You share intimate and personal details with another person, some of which your own partner doesn't even know, and in many cases you feel more connected to this person than you do your own partner. It's a dangerous situation when you find yourself connecting with someone in a way that is typically reserved for the one you're in a relationship with.
Although everyone is familiar with the definition of physical cheating, many have different views over what type is worse. Some say that all forms of intimate physical contact -- from kissing to sex -- with someone other than your partner are all equally as bad. Others say that sex is the worst type of physical cheating, and all other types of physical intimate contact, although horrible, are much lesser forms.
Which is worse, physical or emotional cheating?
"Both are just as bad. They equally mess with your heart and your head, but if I was going to forgive for one or the other it would be for physical cheating." - Sherry, NJ
"I wouldn't be able to forgive someone who cheated in either way. Emotional cheating is worse though. Instead of having your mind on the person you're with, it's focused on someone else." - Mike, NJ
" I think physical cheating is worse because I strongly believe in monogamy. I could forgive emotional cheating because you can have feelings for many people in your life, and sometimes those feelings can't be controlled, but you can control how you allow yourself to physically react. I might be angry if he were having phone sex, but I would go ballistic if he were having real sex." - Katie, OR
"Physical cheating is worse because it includes a big emotional and ego-challenging hit to your psyche. Emotional is bad and could be cause of separation in the long run, but I feel things can be healed easier with less effort than the heavy toll physical cheating involves on the heart and mind." - George, NY
Personally, I couldn't get past either. As bad as physical cheating is, emotional cheating requires a lot more investment -- feelings and time are involved. It's for that reason that being emotionally cheated on shreds your heart; you know how much your partner invested emotionally with someone else rather than with you.
The worse case scenario would be someone who's both physically and emotionally cheating on their partner. While everyone can say what they would do if they were faced with physical or emotional cheating, it's hard to know exactly how you would react until you're actually involved in the situation. Regardless of the type of cheating, it's important for both partners to converse with each other and really lay out all their feelings. Nothing can be resolved unless there's honest communication.
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