Whenever cheating and infidelity are mentioned, our minds go straight without diversion to the physical act of love, Sex with with someone else outside a relationship or marriage. This may not be totally accurate, infidelity takes on so many different forms, physical, emotional, material etc. A scholar once said that infidelity is committed in the mind way before it happens in the physical, so most types of adultery start in the mind before it metamorphoses into the physical act of cheating. People often boast that they have never cheated on their husband or wife, erroneously assuming that it only takes sex to cheat on your partner. Infidelity and cheating are multifaceted and can mean different things for different people.

Some claim they haven’t cheated yet they have one friend of the opposite who is unknown to their spouse, they tell them things they cannot dream of telling their spouse, they own properties that their spouse has no knowledge of, they have money they have hidden yet their spouse is looking for just a fraction of that to solve a problem. When you put a lock on your phone and don’t give your spouse the code, when you start deleting text messages after reading them, hiding your phone or putting it face down when it rings, leaving the room to answer your phone, refusing to answer certain calls when your spouse is present and answering same when you are alone, saving names in codes, maintaining a relationship with the opposite sex without the knowledge of your spouse, hiding money and assets, putting your family above your spouse, if you are guilty of any of the above, you have cheated, they are all serious forms of cheating and are equally as bad as our conventional definition of infidelity. I heard of a case where a woman owned a property before marriage, she made her husband rent the same property for them through a proxy, he had no idea it was hers. She will send her proxies to harass her husband if he is late on rent. This woman may not have had sex with someone else but she has cheated heavily on her husband. In an ideal marriage, anything short of full disclosure is cheating.

In Collins dictionary, Infidelity is defined as 1. lack of faith or constancy esp sexual faithfulness, 2. lack of religious faith; disbelief 3. An act or instance of disloyalty. Having determined that, we will move on to Emotional infidelity which is the purpose of our discussion today. It is the most dangerous type of infidelity and has ruined more marriages than any other type. It usually starts casually, probably out of the need to share your problems with someone when your spouse is unavailable due to either absence from home or an already existing domestic problem, the new friend offers a listening ear and a shoulder to lean on.

The pace of growth of this new bond increases if the new friend is also having problems in his own marriage, your common problem strengthens the bond, builds it gradually and it consolidates as it progresses. You develop a very addictive relationship and rely heavily on each other for emotional support. Being initially a platonic relationship, guilt which is usually a deterrent is totally absent since you are not sexually involved. This masks the steady and unchecked progress of the developing bond. As you become closer, the relationship at home suffers, you find yourself leaning more to your friend on all matters including those affecting your family and your spouse in particular. Once at this stage you are totally at the mercy of the friend who may systemically and deviously start the dismantling of what probably used to be a close relationship.

As your marriage deteriorates, the friendship blossoms, and as you become more distant from your spouse, the bond between you and your friend now becomes rock solid. If unchecked, this will set in motion the beginning of the end of the marriage. Depending on their intention, this may be the time for them to take things up a notch to physical infidelity, sex. This is where it gets really dicey, with a booming friendship already in place, coupled with the new sexual relationship, your marriage is as good as over, and at this point it will take the grace of God to turn things around. It is important to note that with or without sexual infidelity, emotional infidelity affects marriages more than any other type. because it involves emotions, by the time your spouse realizes that you have become emotionally unavailable, you have may have become extremely dependent on your friend for emotional support, with this comes a total loss of common sense and you become a puppet in the hands of the friend.

The most dangerous thing to do is let an emotional vacuum develop between you and your spouse, engage them regularly, talk often, gossip and enjoy each other’s company, these things are even more important than money and sex, a woman will go to the extent of using your money and her body to buy the emotional support she needs. The qualify time you spend talking and laughing with your spouse is actually what they miss when you are not around. Make your presence at home enjoyable, do not be a tyrant, do not let your response to the most gentle arguments be cursing and screaming, relax, be gentle she is your wife, he is your husband, if you don’t engage her/him someone else definitely will. Everyone needs emotional support, especially women, and they must get with or without you, if a marriage breaks down for lack of emotional support, it is almost impossible to restore normalcy, divorce is usually the expected end.

The minute you find yourself calling someone else other than your spouse in emergencies, when you begin to talk to another man/woman more often and much longer than you talk to your spouse, when you find yourself comparing your spouse to your friend of the opposite sex, you are heading towards committing emotional infidelity, you need to retrace your steps, you are going down the wrong road and may end up destroying your marriage. This is not a matter of strength or tact, you may not have the control or will power you think you have when you expose yourself to a friendship which may lead to an emotional involvement. “I know what I am doing” will typically be your response when friends and family try to advise you, the truth is that you don’t know. It is best to avoid situations like this from the beginning. Think home always – Sir Stanley Ekezie