Infidelity isn\'t just about sex anymore

Infidelity isn't just about sex anymoreIMAGE: Jason Lloyd Evans

There was a time when infidelity meant falling into bed with someone other than your partner. Well, no more.

A survey by cheating website (yes, that’s a thing) Ashley Madison has revealed that in our modern world there is a whole range of behaviours that constitute cheating. 

Top of the list, mentioned by more than half of the men and women questioned was ‘forming an emotional bond’ with someone.

While emotional cheating isn’t exactly new, it’s interesting that the members of a site like Ashley Madison, which is for people seeking to cheat, identity it as the highest form of infidelity. One would have assumed a website focused on affairs would have resulted in more, well, sex-focused definitions of cheating. Yet 55 percent of those asked said an emotional connection is more of an infidelity than sex.

(Perhaps less surprising is that over 40 percent of respondents said sending naked photos to someone other than their partner would constitute cheating. A similar number also said sexting would be a form of cheating.)

Relationships are complicated and the he/she monogamy forever template no longer fits for all. Which is fine, if those in the relationship are on the same page. But you’re not in an open relationship if your partner(s) don’t know they are too.

Our digital focused world has perhaps made this all easier too. Chats with your work wife/husband in the office canteen move seamlessly to a WhatsApp chat-for-two at all hours. If you’re unhappy in your actual relationship this can end up being a support, a comfort. You tell them more than you tell your other half, there’s the in-jokes and the little heart-skip when a message pings in. No hands have been held, kisses exchanged – there may never be – but the attachment is there.

Perhaps then it’s is a case of a sexual encounter being easily written off as lust, a moment of madness or even using the one-too-many excuse. An intellectual or emotional connection is harder to explain away. It may not even be about this new person, but an unspoken unhappiness in the relationship – and therein lies the issue: communication.

When partners don't talk that's when unhappiness thrives and people seek comfort elsewhere. Any happy relationship begins and thrives through good communication. We don't need a survey to tell us that. 

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