Is there a difference between an Emotional Affair and Using Porn?
In my last post I started to address the issue of cheating on your spouse versus using pornography. As I learned of alleged cheating of my wife, I recalled the time when I was viewing pornography. She was hurt when she learned of this as I was of her. Can the two be reasonably compared as one in the same? I think we need to take a look at each one specifically.
Let’s first analyze the viewing of pornography. Is viewing pornography cheating? The person who is engaged in watching pornography will usually sneak away, view the material, and then sexually gratify himself.
The man in this example knows his wife would not approve of this behavior, so he finds a window of opportunity to be alone. He will always destroy the evidence of his deed by hiding the materials and history. The part where he sexually gratifies himself while looking at another woman would not sit well with his wife either.
Is this cheating? In the man’s eyes he is only using this material to relieve tension or to escape the daily grind. He still loves his wife and family and he is not actually involved with anyone else. To the wife, this man does not find her attractive enough and does not long for her. She is hurt that he seeks the intimacy of sex with strange women even if they are only in his make believe world and the intimacy is a lie. He thinks this is normal behavior for a man, but she would feel betrayed and hurt if she found out.
Emotional cheating is when one spouse seeks out the confidence and close friendship of someone of the opposite sex. This friendship may be known by the spouse, but they do not know the extent of the relationship. Most of the time however, the spouse does not even know of this relationship.
The example of an emotional affair involves a woman who recently found an old friend on Facebook. At first the woman and this man exchange a few messages over Facebook to catch up on life. They then exchange email addresses and phone numbers and wind up talking to each other more frequently. The woman likes this guy because he listens to her, pays her compliments and is generally upbeat. They both wind up sharing personal struggles about their marriages and meet for coffee; all the while their spouses do not know about the relationship.
In the wife’s eyes, this guy is a good friend who provides an escape from the reality of life. He doesn’t remind her of the bills to pay or housework to be done. She really enjoys talking and spending time with him. She still loves her husband, but finds a piece of her heart going out to the other guy. The husband of this wife would not like the fact that his wife is covertly talking and meeting up with this other man. His wife is not having sex with the other guy, but she is emotionally attached and sharing personal things that should only be reserved for her husband.
In both examples I try to show you the point of view from each person in the marriage. We could argue the specifics on whether each situation is technically cheating. She didn’t actually sleep with the other guy or he didn’t have sex with a real person, but does that matter if the spouse feels betrayed? In my opinion, No.
I could argue all the day long that my viewing of pornography was not physical with anyone real. Those women only helped me to achieve the end result which was sexual gratification. Would that matter to my wife who feels hurt, betrayed and unattractive? No. I hurt her with my actions whether or not they were technically cheating and she feels cheated on.
How about the husband who learns of his wife’s sneaking around with this friend of the opposite sex? She could argue up and down that he is only a friend, they never had sex, and the only reason she kept it from him was because she didn’t want him to be jealous over a friendship. Do these arguments matter to the husband who feels hurt, betrayed and ineffective at meeting his wife’s needs? No. She hurt him with her actions and even though she did not technically cheat on him he feels cheated on.
Now am I saying that whether or not this is classified as cheating all depends on the feelings and reactions of the offended spouse? We will explore that in our next post.
In the meantime, please feel free to leave your comments below. I will respond personally to any questions or opinions you have on the matter. I want to know your thoughts!!