Is it considered cheating when it’s emotional? Like, telling one that you love him/her? Saying you miss them? Confiding in them the way you would with your SO? Spending all your available time conversing with or texting him/her?
I’ve been mulling over this question since I received it, to the point where I asked around to get other people’s feedback. I’ve finally come to the unsatisfactory yet accurate answer of “it depends.” As it turns out, people hold different values, come from different pasts, and have different expectations. Emotional infidelity has the convenience of plausible deniability; you are able to tell your friends, your significant other, and yourself that you are not culpable of wrongdoing. Perhaps the line of demarcation between a platonic friendship and infidelity is deception. If you’ve deliberately misrepresented your interactions with your friend to your partner, you’ve committed the latter. This is where we get to the meat of it. If you’re going to mislead your significant other, then why? Or, if you’re getting needs fulfilled by this other person that aren’t being met by your current SO, what bounds you to that relationship? I’d consider these things before moving forward.
The reason I mentioned that people are different is because we all have different boundaries. Trust, intimacy and vulnerability are pillars of emotional bonds. You trust that people have your well-being in consideration. You intimate thoughts that go beyond the norms of polite conversation which reveal your inner persona. You expose your vulnerable emotions which could just as easily become devastating weapons. Every person alive has endured their own unique traumas, each betrayal leaving behind a crack in those pillars. Thus, we put up a boundary guarding those highly sensitive cracks, and only the people we love get through. I think the word “insecurity” gets too bad a rap; it means that a person’s defenses have been breached in a painful way. I have come to know that trust, intimacy, and vulnerability are the most common boundaries for most people. It’s absolutely vital in a relationship to negotiate what your specific boundaries are. Keyword: negotiate. Sometimes compromises have to be made out of practicality.
For many, those are the boundaries they allow their partners and their partners alone to cross. If you subscribe to the same school of thought, I understand why that may have come to pass. However, I consider this an affront to my very being. I might be atypical here, but I consider sincerity and even outright frankness to be virtues in it of themselves, and something I cherish among my inner circle of friends. I have spent time with people who possess the boundaries outlined above, and I find them dull. I find people who either have partners who would be jealous to a maddening degree of them expressing themselves sincerely and emotionally, or are terrified of the appearance of them doing as such, to be squandering their limitless potential. For reasons I have yet to fully grasp, people have a tendency to confide in me. Maybe the qualities in me that inspired me to write an advice column are the same which convince others to tell me what deep, dark secrets have consumed them. My friends’ wives have called me “the other husband” due to this. It’s been in jest, sure, but it sure feels derisive.
I don’t have a satisfactory answer here beyond what you and your SO decide. But I will leave off with this: emotions can be overwhelming, but on their own they have no power. Emotions are like mayflies, and quickly turn to dust. They’re merely the seeds which grow into action, and we pass through many of them which never grow beyond that. Whether an emotion becomes a call to action is ultimately up to you.
I’ve been playing Smash on the Wii U. I prefer shotos and quick characters. Mains and why.
-Richard, Los Angeles
Okay: Little Mac for speed because he’s quick and his punch specials are powerful and defensive at the same time. Shiek is good too, but I know you play her. For a shoto try the Duck Hunt dog, Use the frisbee to pressure your opponents and tag them with tilt-A.
Addendum: Since the publication of this column, Ryu, the definitive shoto, has been released as DLC for Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. Just main him instead.
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