What constitutes cheating? I’ve wondered about this ever since the discussion around the campfire in the L Word. And I’ve realized that for a lot of people, sleeping with someone else is the first and last straw. I think this is very interesting, because this begs a very simple question: are emotional and mental fidelity not as important?
I feel a relationship is built on three solid pillars: emotional, mental and physical involvement. And all three are equally important. Quite often, the physical bond follows when you’re emotionally attached and mentally involved. So what is it about the physicality that makes it so easy to pass judgement on your partner’s transgressions? Especially since the very base of a relationship is made of emotional and mental attachment?
Assuming I’m in a relationship (one that’s not open by mutual agreement), will it be cheating if I turn to someone else for emotional support? What if I’m thinking about someone? Just thinking, not undressing them in my mind or wondering what it would be like to make love to them? What if I do fantasize about making love to them? And what if I’m thinking about someone else when I’m in bed with my partner? And what if (I’d love an answer to this one, really) I’m immensely enjoying someone’s company – no flirting, just a deep connection – and I get wet just because of all the intellectual stimulation? What then? Would I be cheating then? Are there degrees of betrayal? A spectrum on which you’re judged?
What I’ve seen is this. If you’re talking to someone and enjoying their company, it’s all good. If you’re seeking out emotional support from someone else, even that’s fine. But the moment it gets physical, it’s like you’ve crossed an invisible line.
So help me understand something, people. Why is a physical betrayal so much worse than an emotional and mental one? Why is it the yardstick for determining whether one has cheated or not?