Okay, that title isn’t entirely accurate…I just really wanted to say it. I mean, NObody’s a “long time reader”…yet…’cuz we’re just getting started. Soon, though. Right?
Okay, carrying on to our actual, real-life first topic of discussion.
This is brought to us by Dawn…not directly to us here…but I (Erin W.) saw it on my Twitter timeline, she & I talked about it a little bit there and then I asked if we could use it here. She’s given her permission AND said we’re allowed to use her name…we love Dawn!
Here was here original tweet:
Dawn went on to explain that her question relates to a couple that she knows…the husband is despondent at home, ignores his wife & children but then gets a text from “a girl” and completely perks up. Worse than that is that the “girl” is also married and at one point the couples were all good friends.
So. What’s worse in your mind: “just sex” or an emotional relationship when it comes to cheating?
Erin W.: My take is that an emotional relationship is worse. Don’t get me wrong…both are cheating and neither is acceptable but “just sex” would be more easily forgivable (and, I use “easily” loosely). For me “intimacy” is a big deal…and I don’t mean sexual intimacy. I think that everybody has this idea that sex is the most intimate “thing” you can experience. I disagree. Obviously, sex CAN be intimate…some would argue that it SHOULD be. But I think there are a lot of cases where sex can just be fun, just for pleasure…it doesn’t have to be about love and intimacy, it can just be about “I really like you, I think you’re hot & I have an itch that needs to be scratched.” (as I’m typing this I’m thinking that I could easily be giving you the impression that I’m WAY promiscuous…totally not the case…I’m not even sure this can still be called a “dry spell”…I’m way too picky/scared…not sure that’s the right word…to get out there and date…but I digress).
Back to business. To me intimacy is more about the deep (non-sexual) connection you have with somebody. Knowing exactly what each other wants/needs at any given moment. It’s also about the little things that you do together that you never compromise on…like agreeing that Friday nights are always just for the two of you…or doing the crossword puzzle from the paper together on Saturday morning after you’ve gone to get groceries together. Maybe that’s the key word for me: together. I’m not saying that you don’t also need to live your own life…’cuz, obviously…but any “regular” thing that you do together, with nobody else, is intimate to me. (Like, putting my head in my boyfriend’s lap…face up, pervs…while I’m reading & he’s watching TV…I wouldn’t mind if he was mindlessly playing with my hair…whatever…that’s intimate and I’d HATE it if I knew he was doing that with anybody else.)
The emotional type of cheating is worse to me because I feel like it’s a deeper connection. Almost ANYbody can have (or create) sexual chemistry…we, as women, are pros at it. We don’t have “hot or not”. We have: hot, cute, nerdy cute (which is totally different than regular “cute), dangerously sexy, delicious-but-I’d-never-date-him, older/sophistacted debonaire…all of these things can put us in the frame of mind to get our itches scratched. But, to have an emotional connection…you both have to be open and vulnerable and confide-y (yeah, I just said that). And, to me, THAT’s the worst kind of infidelity. I don’t want somebody else being the one you confide in, the one you tell secrets too, the one that you’re talking to about your work day, the one that you’re probably complaining about ME to. THOSE things are intimate & I should be the one you turn to about those things. When I stop being the “one” (or you stop being the one for me) we need to either get out, or work things out. But please don’t make me hate you or question what I could’ve done differently ‘cuz that’s just not fair.
Bottom line: I truly don’t believe cheating is the problem. There are problems in a relationship that lead to cheating. So, in my opinion, if infidelity occurs and the relationship is salvageable in any way (maybe the cheating was a huge eye opener/slap in the face and has made you realize that you HAVE to make some changes?) “just sex” would be easier to get over than the emotional connection ‘cuz once THAT’s broken, I’m not sure you can come back from it.
UPDATE: I wrote my part of this back in April…long before Kristen Stewart did the unthinkable and put herself in the position of having to spend a fuckload of money on extra security. So, here are my thoughts on that whole thing.
I don’t condone cheating. At all. I’ve been cheated on…it wasn’t fun. I’ve also cheated, I know…I suck…in all fairness, I was a teenager. I wasn’t married with children or really, in any position where I should’ve been thinking seriously about my life. That doesn’t make it better…it was still wrong, but…I was a kid. And that’s what I kinda think about this. Kristen is 22. She’s grown up in the bizarre show business industry…ends up in this crazy relationship with her co-star…both of them forced into a craziness that I’m sure NObody could’ve ever imagined and then she’s on this movie set, with this older man/director (so cliche) and he’s paying attention to her and she’s liking it and she fucks up. It’s not unheard of. Again, it’s not right…but she’s a kid, she made a mistake. The bigger problem that I see here is this 41 year old married man who has children at home and whose wife was IN THE MOVIE!! Come on. He’s disgusting. He should’ve known better.
I don’t know exactly what he told Kristen to make all this happen…obviously I don’t know the girl but I have a hard time believing she’s the seductress here… using all her awkward, feminine wiles to lure him away from his wife…I’d hazard a guess that he was flirty, paid her attention that almost ANY 22 yr old would like, probably told her that things weren’t great with his wife, she doesn’t understand him, they’re separated…whatever…this isn’t a new scenario. Men do it all the time (women too, I know) and the women they’re spewing this shit to believe it and then start to justify their actions. Whatever’s in them to make them NEED to be loved/wanted/flirted with makes them believe it’s okay, which is sad. Still, I have to put the blame on the guy here, not the 22 yr. old, naive, socially awkward girl. Maybe that’s unfair of me. Whatever.
Bigger than all of that, I’m seriously sad for the wife & kids at home whose lives have just been torn apart. It’s horrible enough when it happens in “real life”…away from the public eye…but this IS their real life. And it is everywhere. There’s no avoiding it. THAT is devastating.
I’m not even sure if I can get into the whole “fandom” reaction of it all. I’m scared for these people. I’d really like to start teaching classes on perspective. These people need some (a LOT) of it.
Erin F.: I have the hardest time with this cheating question. Deep down in my soul I know that it is ALL cheating and ALL bad. No grey area. Black and white. Cheating is cheating. Emotional, physical, metaphorical. It’s all wrong.
Of course, real life does not exist in black and white.
OBVIOUSLY having sex with someone besides your spouse or committed significant other is cheating. Heavy petting, foot massages, one tiny drunken kiss with someone else? Still cheating. I am all about inebriated accidents but that shit still counts. Even if you never get caught. Even if there is no photographic evidence. STILL CHEATING.
It’s the emotional stuff that turns grey for me. And mostly because, as a wife, I feel guilty of some of it myself. And I am sure that this is beyond the spectrum of this question but, I totally crush out on people, things, places, fictional characters (oops) and it does take my attention away from my husband. I tend to blame it on my OCD and maybe that is part of it but is it cheating? I really hope not. Otherwise I have a LOT of apologies to issue. Anyone know a good publicist?
As to which is worse? They’re both pretty awful. I hate the idea of my spouse getting ANYTHING from another woman. I don’t even want another woman buying him a soda. My husband is handsome and lovely and MINE. Every time I want to try and say that one is worse than the other, I imagine it being done to me and immediately change my mind. This has been going on in my head for months.
All I can say is, if it’s you doing it, STOP. Speak up or walk away. But don’t continue to hurt the person you’re supposed to be loving. If it’s being done to you? Speak up or walk away. Life is way too short to spend it unhappy.