Last time we explored the different types of affairs and analyzed whether or not they were cheating. I made the point that since the actions of the one made the other feel hurt and betrayed they were considered cheating. Does the classification of actual cheating depend solely on the way the offended spouse’s feelings and reactions?
Whenever we think of cheating we generally consider the act to be mainly physical. When someone says that he cheated on her, they usually mean he had sex with another woman. That phrase is generally interpreted in the same way.
I think we could all agree that having sex with someone other than your spouse is indeed cheating. Sex is the most intimate way that we humans can connect with each other. There is an actual bonding at levels beyond just the physical. There is an emotional and spiritual connection made. When you have sex with someone you are giving yourself to them in the most vulnerable way humanly possible. The exchange between the couple is physical, emotional and spiritual.
Let’s bring pornography up as it relates to having sex with someone. Pornography does not connect you physically with someone, but it does connect you emotionally and spiritually.
Every image gets seared into your mind. The physical pleasure along with gratifying images makes them so hard to forget. You loose your ability to emotionally connect with real people. There are no emotions shared with pornography. It is one sided where the person engaged in watching it will ‘treat’ the person in the video any way they please. This treatment is many times abusive and objective. This one way emotional exchange disconnects the user from interactions with real people.
The spiritual side of using pornography is one of the scariest. I don’t know whether you give away some of your spirit or take on some dark spirit while using pornography. I tend to lean towards taking on some evil spirits because it will start to change you. Pornography is a dark world. You enter in through enticing seemingly harmless images, but get dragged down into a dark place that will change you. Anyhow, I hope you can see the reason I view pornography as cheating without even delving into the feelings of the spouse.
If you don’t have sexual relations outside of your marriage, but have real close intimate friendships with the opposite sex you are cheating. I know that you might disagree with that statement, but hear me out.
Marriage bonds a couple together not only physically in sex, but spiritually and emotionally as well. Yes the act of sex bonds in the same ways, but there is power in the bond of marriage.
God said that the two will become one when He speaks about marriage. He was not just speaking about sex. Believe it or not, God views a husband and wife as one, a unit. You know the phrase – “My better half”. There is a magical joining of the two in the physical, emotional and spiritual realms.
If a spouse seeks to emotionally join themselves to another person through relational intimacy, they are breaking one of the bonds of a marriage. Our spouses were meant to be our closest companion on earth with whom we can share anything. An emotional affair breaks that bond in the marriage and bonds with another.
I know what you may say – That’s just emotional, there is no spiritual and physical connection. How many emotional affairs wind up turning into physical affairs? I don’t know the statistics, but I would bet it is high. If emotional affairs are not stopped, the natural progression is into sexual relations.
Now I realized that I did not yet touch on the feelings of hurt and betrayal experienced by the spouse of someone into pornography or having an emotional affair. If you felt betrayed and hurt, does it matter what excuses or rational is used to explain to you that they did not actually cheat on you? Does the technical definition of cheating sway your feelings?
In my case, you could have told me that my wife was not actually cheating. I mean, she wasn’t sleeping with this other guy. She was however having private conversations with someone I didn’t know. It made me feel threatened, betrayed and hurt. It did not matter one bit if she came out and said ‘But we are not sleeping together’.
The trust was broken. Our bond of marriage was weakened. She had attempted to give herself emotionally to another person instead of me.
What it boils down to is your relationship with your spouse. If you love them, you would not want to hurt them, even unintentionally. If anything you did was offensive to your spouse, love would make you want to stop those actions even if you felt you did nothing wrong. My wife does love me because she stopped communications with this other man and was seriously sorry about it.
Maybe the real test of whether it is an affair or not is the impact it has on the bond of marriage. If it does not weaken any of the bonds of marriage, then it is not cheating. If the actions damage or seek to weaken any of the marriage bonds, then it is an affair.