Any healthy adult will have a few important relationships in their lifetime. Each of these relationships contribute something meaningful in their lives. They may share close bonds with certain friends, family members and colleagues; and could care deeply for them. So, what constitutes infidelity? Which of these relationships violates the sanctity of a marriage? Is it always defined by whether there’s physical intimacy?
Discovering that your partner is cheating on you is nothing short of an intense, emotional crisis, says marriage and family therapist Linda Charnes. She explains that dealing with infidelity can be “traumatizing,” and people feel a rush of varied emotions, including hurt, anger, guilt, revengeful, hopelessness, lost and helplessness.
But before you get onto this rollercoaster of emotions and opt for infidelity counseling, it’s important to understand what constitutes infidelity.
What Counts as Cheating?
Different people have different thresholds for what their partners can do. While some consider mild flirting as blasphemy, others understand that their spouse may have heart-to-hearts with his/her close friends. What one person may view as acceptable, another may consider appropriate. According to an article in livestrong.com, a deep, passionate connection between two people can constitute infidelity, even in the absence of physical intimacy. What this essentially means is that infidelity is an act that violates trust.
Clarity is Essential
With the definition of cheating being so ambiguous, one needs to think hard and clear about what constitutes a breach of your trust. The definition of infidelity will vary according to an individual’s personality, upbringing, life values and experiences. Once you have defined what you consider cheating, it’s time to have an open and honest conversation with your spouse.
Communication in Key
When there’s a blatant act of cheating, the future course of action can be decided based on this reality. This is in no measure an easy situation to deal with. One may need several months of infidelity counseling to begin rebuilding one’s life. However, often there are small acts of infidelity, which a spouse may feel too petty to question. In fact, according to an article by Huffington Post, the lines are so grey that some people cheat without even realizing it.
For instance, many people experience feelings of inadequacy due to their partner’s increased attention to another person. These feelings go unaddressed and keep building up until one day when the person explodes emotionally, often without any apparent reason.
Thus, it’s not only important to define cheating, but to share and discuss that with your partner.
Most importantly, don’t ever hesitate to ask for professional help. A marriage and family therapist who specializes in infidelity counseling can help you cope with different forms on cheating and discover your emotional strength.