I posted this article a while ago and thought I would re post it:
Entry for April 17, 2007 II
Why you don’t have to have sex to cheat
Test your emotional faithfulness with 8 questions
All of us know that adultery — sex outside the marriage — is one of the gravest blows to a relationship as well as a painful rejection for one partner. But you don’t have to have sex with anyone else to be unfaithful. Emotional infidelity is just as — and at times even more —destructive to relationships. Couples I counsel are absolutely outraged when I tell them that they could well be committing emotional infidelity when they flirt with co-workers, send around funny e-mails to colleagues, or hang out with members of the opposite sex at gatherings. But they are, and so, probably, are you.
You’re not going to want to hear this, but stopping this kind of behavior is the single most important thing you can do for your relationship. It’s not about where it may lead. It’s about where it has already gone — far from your focus on your relationship. Remember what it is you’ve always wanted from your committed relationship, and start considering the large, determined commitment that is absolutely necessary to creating a happy coupling.
What’s the harm in a man having a casual friendship with a woman when either has a partner? Or a married woman having a casual friendship with another man? Surely, every friendship doesn’t lead to an affair. Yet we forget the emotional harm of relating to someone outside the relationship when that same energy can be used to relate to our own spouse. A committed relationship is about relating to another person with an intimacy felt with no one else.
How do you know if you’re being unfaithful?
Consider your personal relationships:
When you hear a funny joke or good piece of gossip, do you first tell other colleagues? By the time you get home, have you chewed it all over so much at the office that you don’t feel like telling it again to your partner?
Do you discuss all of your work problems (or issues involving volunteer work or other important things you are involved in) so thoroughly with colleagues that you’re all talked out by the time you return home? Do you feel like it would take too long to review and explain the entire issue from scratch to your partner?
Do you go out alone to lunch or after work for drinks with members of the opposite sex?
Do you enjoy harmless (by your definition) flirtation at a cocktail party?
Do you believe that getting emotionally excited by flirting with someone else is helpful to your relationship? Do you think it helps educate you as to what you need more of from your partner? Do you tell yourself that the juice you get from flirting with others brings more vitality to your relationship?
Do you spend as long buying the “right gift” for a colleague as you do for your own partner?
Do you ride in a car sharing with someone else pleasant, personal conversations on the way to meetings or other work-related events?
Do you share intimate issues about yourself or relationship with a member of the opposite sex?
If you’re doing any of these things, you’re being emotionally unfaithful to your partner. You have only so much energy. If you’re spending it with co-workers or outside the home and then getting home and feeling too tired to spend anymore on your partner, that’s emotional infidelity. You’re effectively relocating vital relationship energy into the hands of others. Forget about where it might end up. Even if you never touch this other person, you have still used that person to relate to, and in doing so, you relate away from your partner.
You may be shaking your head and disagreeing. But I’ve spent years helping couples pool their energies toward each other, and it has changed their relationship immediately. Stop all of these outside relationships and bring all your emotional and sexual energy home to your partner, and you, too, will change your relationship immediately.”
So, that’s some food for thought! Seriously, think about the 8 questions in the article and put yourself in those questions. I will admit, in the past, I have been guilty of numbers: 3, 4, and 8. But, in my defense, those were at the time that Adam wouldn’t communicate with me. So, in a sense, I tried to not ‘cheat’ but he drove me to seek someone to ‘cheat’ with.
Now, the relationship Greg and I have is completely different than the one I had with Adam and what makes this huge difference is our communication with each other. He tells me everything that has happened at work (either via email throughout the day or when we talk to each other after work), he even tells me that he’s been talking to his ex’s (like today, he’s been talking to both of them and even shared an email from one of them during lunch). I don’t get jealous because he still talks to both of them because I know that his commitment is to me and that he would never do anything to ‘loose me’. And, Greg knows that I still communicate with Adam (also, I usually BCC’d Greg on any correspondence between Adam and me) as well as with a few past ‘FWB’s (friends with benefits). Greg doesn’t feel any jealousy either. We trust each other because we are completely honest and open with each other. Shit, he knows that one of my old FWB has been asking about he and I getting together for lunch one week and that I’ve accepted his lunch offer and Greg isn’t jealous one bit because he can trust me and knows it. Adam, on the other hand, didn’t trust me and each time I would go out with a group of friends he would ask, before I left, ‘Can I trust you?”.
I posted the article on April 17, I believe. As I type, I am at Greg’s office and we just had a major discussion about being honest with each other, trusting each other and how we measure someone as a real friend vs. and acquaintance. I believe, that if you’re a real friend to someone you must be truthful and honest with them no matter if the result hurts them. At least they know the truth and are not being mislead into believe that things are ok between them and the other person.
Greg doesn’t like confrontation. He’d rather avoid the truth, him telling it, and just deal with ‘it’, what ever it is, with himself. I tell him that he is then misleading the person in believing that there isn’t anything wrong when in fact there is.
The whole discussion Greg and I had is about about his ‘friendship’ with someone from his past. It doesn’t bother me that they still talk, but it bothers me that he isn’t truthful with this person. He doesn’t tell them when they piss him off or defend himself if they say something that makes him look like the bad guy. Greg says he doesn’t care. Yet, my argument is that if what is said has some emotional reaction, such as anger, then he does care. Greg is so passive about this whole… whatever I call it. I feel that if this person treated you, in general, like shit, lies about you to others, makes you look like a bad guy, then why would you even want to be ‘friends’ with them? So what if you have history; the history wasn’t even all that positive a majority of the time. Why even associate yourself with someone that made you feel miserable sometimes. Is the ‘friendship’ really worth it; especially if you can’t or won’t be honest with them? In my opinion, no.
Like I said, Greg doesn’t like confrontation. So I asked him last night what would he call our disgusion and he said it was confrontation, in a sort. I trust Greg. I have no reason to not trust him. I know some of the actions he did with his past relationship and he knows what I did with my last relationship. Even though they say “Once a cheater, always a cheater” I don’t believe that. At one point in time I did, but only while I was with Adam. I thought that while I was with him, I would always cheat on him. But, being with Greg, I have absolutley no desire to be with another man nor do I confid
e my emotions to someone else when there is a ‘issue’. I tell EVERYTHING to Greg, the good, bad, and ugly. I don’t hide anything from him. Even when I did something ‘sneaky’ this past March and when the truth came out, the first thing I did was confide to Greg about what I did and he wasn’t even upset! I, on the other hand, felt horrible about my actions because I did something that I would never even consider, usually. But, even though this isn’t an excuse, I blame the damn birth control I was on at that time. Since then, I’ve been much better. Even though I still get emotional mood swings just before or after my cycle. In due time, I am hoping that too will go away.