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Things have been suspicious for a while. You are seeing them distance themselves from you. Their eyes do not light up like they used to when you were around. They do not laugh at your jokes anymore. Where could all this be leading to? Are they falling out of love? Has someone else gotten their interest? How can you be so blind not to notice it in the first place? Did you fall for the wrong person? Whether it is a physical affair or an emotional affair, it has the potential to psychologically mess up the person who is being cheated on.
It seems like for women, emotional affair are more painful, whereas for men, physical affairs of their partner behind their back hurts them greater than anything else does. Some may argue that if two people are not sleeping together, it does not constitute as cheating. Obviously, it is not as easily defined and it is more complex than just a simple black and white answer. At times, it is even the emotional infidelity that does the most damage. Generally, women connect with their romantic partner through emotions. This connection gives birth to the emotion of love, and don’t we all long for that kind of emotional connection? No matter how innocent the emotion infidelity is, it is more destructive for the person as well as for their marriage.
When that intimate emotional connection, which should be between spouses, is shared with the third person, the damage to the relationship is already done. The intimate stories, the funny jokes, the childhood incidents, which they only shared with you, are not just yours anymore. Their love, which was once yours, is not there anymore. This does not mean that physical affairs do not hurt. Anything that goes against the rule of the relationship, and is done behind the back of one of the spouses will hurt as much.
However, some people are more open towards forgiving sexual intimacy than emotional intimacy. You can connect sexually with anyone because of the heat of the moment, but to connect at an emotional level, it really requires vulnerability and emotional investment. People understand that satisfying the physical need does not require the feeling of affection, but for emotional connection, the sentiment of warmth and fondness is essential.
Sexual intimacy is all about availability of the person that led to the affair. Most of the time, people involved in physical affairs are either punishing their partner, themselves, or trying to fill the void inside of them. Men express themselves in a physical way; this is why they rate the pain from physical affairs higher. They are also instinctively possessive and protective of their spouse. They do not like sharing what is theirs, in a literal sense, and if that is done, they cannot help but feel betrayed. Some male spouses also tend to imagine what went down, and torment themselves again and again.
Where women like being the secret sharers for their spouses, and their emotional support, men like satisfying their women. If there is someone else to do their work, they feel threatened and inadequate. Sex is an important aspect of a relationship, and most of the time, the sexual affair has a potential to turn into an emotional one. At times, it also reversed, when friendship and emotional connection evolved into sexual relationship. Similarly, emotional affair can transform into a sexual one because you start becoming comfortable with the person. You start to develop a certain kind of likeness towards them, and then you just have to connect with them in every way possible.
Seeking any of these affairs outside a committed relationship will cause you nothing more than trouble. There is no telling whether one hurts more than the other. As Cheryl Hughes said, “The truly scary thing about undiscovered lies is that they have a greater capacity to diminish us than exposed ones.” Therefore, it is important to seek relationship counseling if you find yourself straying in either of the directions. Couples counseling will also help if you are the one going through the emotional roller coaster that your spouse has put you on.