Many people believe infidelity is black and white.
They see it as a straightforward act where one of the partners is in the wrong and the other one is hurt. But in reality, things are rarely this simple.
Sometimes infidelity can fall in the grey area.
Oftentimes, infidelity isn’t only about engaging in intercourse with someone other than your partner.
There are quite a few other activities that can be viewed as ‘cheating‘, even when there is no physical contact involved.
For instance, in the ever-evolving times we live in, sending a Facebook friend request to an ex can be considered as an emotional betrayal.
According to psychologist Ari Tuckman, some of the activities that may fall into the grey area of cheating are:
- Looking up an attractive coworker on social media.
- Giving an appealing friend a peck on the cheek (especially if this isn’t something you typically do).
- Having lunch with a potentially appealing friend without your partner.
- Having lengthy text chats with a friend that you don’t tell your partner about.
- Sharing intimate details of your romantic relationship and sex life with a friend.
- Discussing sexual fantasies and turn-ons with a friend.
Each of these acts is more or less hard to discuss with your partner. How can you look your significant other in the eyes and tell them you just checked your cute coworker’s Instagram page? Is there a right way to tell your loved one you’ve discussed your intimate fantasies with someone other than them?
Technically, these and similar activities don’t represent a serious problem by themselves. However, they could awaken a concern for further steps toward actual relationship troubles. A simple chat with a colleague you find attractive could lead to an emotional connection, especially if there’s something missing in the bond you have with your partner.
What matters the most in such situations is the initial motivation.
There is a tremendous difference between calling your coworker to discuss a project you’re working on and using the project as an excuse to call them.
Sometimes, even if you believe there’s nothing to worry about, your significant other may feel emotionally betrayed by the way you act around certain people. If you don’t want your other half to feel this way, the best thing you could do is to avoid such tempting situations. But in reality, doing so is not as easy as it sounds.
What many people fail to realize is that transparency is a powerful tool in such complicated situations.
If you believe that there is nothing your partner should worry about, be clear with them. Let them know how you really feel. Hiding little things from your significant other may lead to lies and serious complications that could easily be avoided by simply being honest from the very start.
If you feel there’s something missing, talk to your partner about it instead of looking for it in someone else. If you don’t feel happy in your relationship, let your loved one know, instead of bottling up your negative emotions.
Don’t exclude your partner from your emotional issues thinking it would be better that way. Because it won’t.
And if they bring something up and blame you, try to stay calm and hear their concerns. Do your best to understand why they feel this way. Think of the issue as a project that requires serious partnership and lots of empathy. The journey may be tough, but it sure will be worth it, as both of you will realize what you need to work on to strengthen your bond.
In case you both find it difficult to decide your next move on the road to improving your relationship, asking friends or family could be helpful. Seeking advice from someone close to you could help you change your perspective and see issues you couldn’t notice before. However, you shouldn’t let others decide the fate of your relationship. Besides, you shouldn’t make such crucial decisions based only on the opinion of people outside you and your partner. While they could help you in making the decision, you should mostly listen to yourself and consider the way you feel.
When it comes to something as nuanced as fidelity, it’s the couple’s job to figure out how to handle the challenges. It’s almost never simply black and white. The story always has more than one side, and all of these sides should be taken into consideration. But if you try your best to be transparent with one another and establish a strong connection where you both feel comfortable discussing your problems, things won’t seem so difficult to handle.