Monday, April 02, 2007

Physical Cheating vs. Emotional Cheating: Which One is Worse?

Cheating, as is stated over and over in Dateline NBC exposés on the dangers of the internet, takes on many forms. The most traditional is physical cheating, where as one typically unsatisfied partner in a relationship finds another person with which to engage in various acts in which the regular partner usually will not. Typically blow jobs for married guys. But what is getting more and more attention now is what they like to call “emotional cheating” where maybe there is no sex involved, but there are definitely feelings. A lot of them. Now which one is ultimately more damaging and more of a betrayal? This is a hard topic for a lot of people, but I am going to go ahead and vote for the emotional variety. And here is why.

As someone who has partaken in physical cheating on a number of occasions, I can safely say that never has one of these incidents adversely affected my relationship. Nor has anyone been hurt by it. Had it been discovered, of course someone would have gotten hurt. But if I go out without my girlfriend and meet some skank and spend the rest of the evening doing things I probably shouldn’t, and I keep my mouth shut about it, my relationship never misses a beat. Is it right? Hell the fuck no it’s not right. Ideally I wouldn’t be cheating in the first place. But we’re not talking about not-cheating vs. cheating here, we’re comparing what is the lesser of two evils. And assuming no children or STD’s arise from said sexual encounter, life moves on and nobody is the wiser.

Now lets take emotional cheating. Imagine if you will you are dating someone and then you meet somebody else with whom you click. But you are not quite the scumbag to just jump their bones and call it quits, so you continue talking to the person. Behind your S.O.’s back. Maybe it’s emails, maybe phone calls, maybe even hanging out in person under the guise of being “friends.” Pretty soon you start to think “hey, maybe this is who I am ‘destined’ to be with.” And the next thing you know you start losing interest in the person you are with and become distant, cold and disinterested. The relationship gets bad, everyone thinks about cheating and what was once a pretty good thing is thrown down the drain in the name of some ridiculous romantic illusion. And then you know what happens? While you’re with that person you thought was so much better, you go and meet someone else and do it again. And it becomes and endless cycle of you ruining good relationships. Better to just fuck and move on.

Now, one would read this and say “Gosh, White Dade, you are a guy so of course you think physical cheating is preferable. You can fuck without emotion.” And, yes, men are probably more prone to the physical cheating vs. the emotional for women. But since we invest little if any emotion in extraneous sexual encounters, it really is the proverbial tree in the forest. If I never call my bar skank again and my girlfriend never finds out, nobody gets hurt. But if I meet a girl in a bar and go on long walks with her and have deep conversations and hold hands and then say “Stop, I can’t, I have a girlfriend,” well then she becomes the forbidden fruit and therefore more desirable than the girl I am with. She takes on mythical proportions and begins to represent everything my girlfriend is not and then, poof, good relationship ruined by romantic delusions. The other advantage some prefer in emotional cheating is that they can always justify it themselves by saying "Well, I never slept with them!" It leaves some ambiguity so the cheater can feel better about him or herself. Nice try. Sadly, the physical cheater always is made out to be the bad guy or girl because what they do is defined by a physical action and not an intangible emotion. But in truth neither one is better than the other. One is just a little easier to define.

I suppose if you are not a jaded as I, you may say “Well, if that emotional affair turns out to be the person for you, then it is worth it.” But, sadly, that is rarely the case. Usually what it is is you finding in someone else what was lacking in your relationship, then finding later that this new person is severely lacking in a lot of other areas as well. And, given this country’s pension for divorce and staying in unhappy marriages, my guess is you ultimately realize that you are no better than the guy who fucked a blonde because his girlfriend was Asian, and admit you are a bad person just like the rest of us.

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At 3:49 PM, Blogger Some Catchy Chic said...

Having been cheated on myself, I would have to agree with you that emotional cheating inevitably leads to physical cheating, both of which are horrific experiences, but once emotional "cheating" starts, I would say it would probably be a good time to consider ending the first relationship.

At 7:01 PM, Blogger The T Bag said...

Spot on buddy. Great piece.

At 9:41 AM, Blogger The Diva's Thoughts said...

Emotional cheating is more difficult but physical cheating is just as hurtful to the person being cheated on. If my man cheats I don't care if it's physical or emotional, I view it as a betrayal and I am hurt.

At 10:43 AM, Blogger mm said...

Emotional cheating is worse, hands down. I'd much rather have my significant other slip up and get a blow job then start getting an actual crush and having meaningful long conversations with some random girl. When your significant other starts raving about their new friend of the opposite sex, that's when you know you are fucked.

At 5:03 PM, Blogger Gland Jupiter said...

First, to qualify it by saying "if no stds or children arise. . ." is to make the playing field uneven. OF COURSE when you remove the biggest risks from any course of action it looks preferrable. What if I said "if no damaging, long-term consequences happen from emotional cheating", is it worse than physically cheating? Well, shit, of course it's not worse, because I've removed the worst things that can happen but I left the worst things for the other course of action.

STDs and pregnancies are probably always a risk of physically cheating, therefore I think I'd rather risk my and my wife's emotional well-being by developing feelings for someone else that I can either come to grips with or get over, than I would risk my and her physical health.

Quick, would you rather get your heart broken or get herpes? I don't care if you eat my heart, shit it out, and grind it into the dirt with your boot, it's still better than a lifetime of disease.

Lastly, "emotional cheating" is a bunch of shit. I can care about someone and have a little crush on her and think she's great and wish my wife were more like her and then get over it - did I cheat? The jury is out. If I take a long "business weekend" introducing her to the business end of something else, I definitely cheated. You just can't compare the two - the risks are different, and one is a thousand shades of gray and the other is black and white.

At 9:55 PM, Blogger lily said...

I can't accept Emotional cheating .It's a right for a man to love anybody, but he hasn't the right to cheat anyone.
Nice Tips! I 'll share it on

At 9:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

it is harmful because the girl you are cheating on isn't allowed to protect herself from the STD's you might be bringing back. And that's not fair. Plus HPV can be brought back with more partners, and doesn't show up right away but can lead to cervical cancer.

It's easy to justify things when you're a man and have less risk.

At 9:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To clarify...

Yes, you do hurt a girl by physical cheating, even if you don't see the STDs right away.

A girl should have the right to know that you are exposing her to more diseases, including the ones you will only be a carrier for (like viruses like HPV that lead to cancer.)

Condoms don't always prevent HPV. Which leads to cancer.

You guys have it easy and you hurt us and justify it without studying the risks. We are more likely to get cancer from your cheating. Like that?

But if we bring it up in bed, it's not romantic...

At 10:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post - it led me to confront a guy I had been seeing but thanks to google, had found out that he was married. While we did hook up once (prior to my learning about his wife), it was much more of an emotional relationship, and I talked myself into it, thinking, well, we're only talking, its ok. Thanks for showing me what I really knew all along.


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