We're not wild about any kind of cheating, TBH
You’d be forgiven for thinking that the worst thing you could do in a relationship would be to sleep with someone who wasn’t your partner. But it turns out that ‘getting busy’ with someone who isn’t your significant other isn’t actually as big of a deal as you first thought. Because according to a new study from Dr David Frederick at Chapman University in California, the most damaging thing you can do to your relationship doesn’t actually involve sleeping with someone else, but is having an emotional affair.
Published in the Archives of Sexual Behaviour, Dr Frederick asked over 60,000 gay, lesbian, bisexual, and heterosexual people how they felt about emotional and physical affairs, and the resounding answer was that emotional cheating was worse.
Emotional cheating: aka getting super close with someone, flirting, sharing messages and generally acting like a couple when you’re not in a couple. Whilst it doesn’t involve any actual physical intimacy, emotional cheating can be just as painful to discover and, as this research illustrates, be just as destructive to a relationship.
The research found that 65 per cent of straight women considered ’emotional cheating’ worse than physical cheating. On the flipside, only 46% of men felt that emotional cheating was worse than sexual cheating (go figure).
The difference in opinion between men and women on the kind of cheating that would most distress them is explained by Dr Frederick: ‘The proposed explanation is that men, in contrast to women face the risk of unwittingly investing in genetically unrelated offspring.’ Basically, men are worried that they’ll end up raising children who aren’t their own, whereas for obvious reasons, women don’t run that risk.
Maybe the most interesting thing about the study is that unlike so many others, it doesn’t just look at how straight men and women relate to each other. Dr Frederick found that 70 per cent of bisexual men, 68 per cent of gay men and 73 per cent of bisexual women were more upset with the prospect of their partner’s emotional infidelity in comparison to sexual.
Where do you stand on this?