>Picture this: You’re getting ready for work and your husband offers to help with packing lunch. He insists you stay in bed while he goes to the kitchen and instructs the maid what to cook and how to pack the food. And because it’s unusual for him to be so nice to you, you decide to check what’s really cooking in the kitchen. Turns out that the husband is fooling around with the maid, fondling and caressing her. And not the first time. He’s been physically infidel for a long time.
Now picture this: A recently-married boy is caught exchanging SMSes with his ex. They go out for coffees after work. He apparently still has feelings for his ex, as does she. And the wife intercepts their messages – they aren’t love messages, just messages friends would exchange. She accuses the husband of cheating on her. The ex thinks it is just friendship, but the wife doesn’t. She thinks it’s emotional infidelity.
(Both are real life incidents.)
What would irk you more – the emotional or the physical infidelity? Would you be able to sleep with a man who goes looking for easy physical gratification elsewhere? And would you be able to sleep with a man who seeks solace in someone else’s company? Which is worse – a spouse (it could be an unfaithful wife as well) who’s with you only physically or a spouse who’s with you only emotionally?
Technically speaking, it may seem easier to forgive a person for their physical transgressions than emotional ones. But when you catch your wife or husband in the act with another person, can you ever forget it? Can you overlook his carnal desires and be happy that he’s in it only for physical pleasure, nothing else? I, for one, wouldn’t be able to. If my man finds another woman so much more attractive that he cannot resist her, I would label him unfaithful and would never be able to love him the same way again. Because for me physical intimacy is also an act of love. It’s not something that exists outside the realm of feelings and emotions.
But it would be bad enough if I knew my man loves another woman, wants to be with her and is bound to me by only a superficial show of fidelity. If I cannot have his affection, I will not want any part of him. What makes emotional infidelity worse is that it is so much easier to hide. How do you draw the line between harmless flirting and repressed feelings? How easy it is for someone to say ‘We’re just friends’ but still harbour a love that can’t be categorised as mere friendship! And how difficult it is to sit and find categories for love!
But it could be different for you. I know so many women who overlook their husband’s physical rendezvous because they probably look at marriage as more elevated than any other kind of relationship. What would bother you more – emotional or physical infidelity?