Which is worse?
My best friend called me yesterday to tell me that her boyfriend, who’d never called, texted or come home the night before, had turned out to have spent the night in another woman’s apartment. My friend said she felt empty, immediately sent hurtling into the nothingness that surrounds unfaithfulness. It was like she’d been swallowed whole and was looking at her life from the vantage point of someone else. She wasn’t here, but she wasn’t there, either. She was suspended in the void.
Among the many things I asked her once she stopped talking a mile a minute, was whether or not he’d cheated.
Call me crazy, but I wanted to give the woman whose place he’d stayed at the benefit of the doubt.
This woman — this stranger who had infiltrated my best friend’s relationship and stopped her world in the throngs of its spinning — who was she? Why did she do it? WHAT did she actually do?
“She’s a friend,” my bestie told me, adding, “They’ve been friends for years. He leans on her.”
And in that moment, my heart exploded. I no longer cared whether or not he’d technically cheated because, in that moment, I knew that his emotional abandonment was unforgivable. He sacrificed their connection to “lean” on another woman.
Now I felt empty too, a chill running up and down my spine.
When we hung up, I couldn’t stop wondering what men think really counts as cheating and why men cheat on good women.
Is it just sex to them? Or do they see it as an emotional disregard of everything that’s sacred about calling a partner, well, a partner?
Apparently, I didn’t need to look far. A new study by EliteSingles found that men and women view cheating on completely opposite ends of the spectrum. Of the 667 singles who participated in the study, 65 percent of the guys ranked sexual unfaithfulness as far worse than emotional, whereas 55 percent of women ranked emotional unfaithfulness as a higher transgression than a strictly sexual affair.
I wanted to know just how high on the scale of things that constitute betrayal the guys I know weigh emotional cheating.
- Is it better or worse for them than hopping into bed with someone who just happens to have a bigger rack than your girlfriend?
- Does building a connection, feeding it, letting it grow and escaping into it with someone who isn’t their girlfriend bother them?
- Where do they place emotions on the sex scale?
- Does “leaning on” someone who isn’t their partner even register on their Richter scale?
Here’s how 9 men feel about the concept of emotional affairs and what really counts as cheating — and why they cheated on their own women:
1. “For lots of guys, it’s just sex.”
Marko, 29 and a former cheater, admits that a lot of guys probably don’t even give it a second thought — at least, he didn’t.
“I was young, and in college, and she was a girl I wasn’t really serious about,” he admits. “She didn’t want to go out to a party and so I went by myself, not even considering what might happen when I was surrounded by dozens of other pretty girls who were ready and eager to take me home …
I can’t speak for men as a whole, but I know that for me, it was just about the sex, which I know doesn’t make it any better, but it really truly was. I didn’t even know the girl’s name that night or even the next morning. I left before she woke up.”
2. “I wasn’t happy, sexually, in my relationship.”
Austin, 26 says, “My girlfriend was great and we’d been together for nine months. She was a really good girl, did everything perfectly, was so by-the-book that it drove me crazy, in a good way and a not-so-good way …