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Emotional Infidelity

SoDisappointed's picture

Marraiges can be destroyed by infidelity, or in some rare instances, the infidelity can be the catalyst for greater change. But both parties need to want change and have a common goal. That’s my premise. 

Infidelity is not always an affair, which is the first thing people think of when you say infidelity. And obviously recovery from an affair is much more difficult than what I have proposed. 

So let me be more clear. There are all types of infidelities. A hobby, work, gambling, alcohol, drugs, and anything that takes that place in your heart that was once reserved for your significant other. You can have only one soul mate, and that’s the place in your heart you protect for them. 

Emotional infidelity is difficult to understand because there is no sexual component. But it fulfills your needs outside your marriage and pushes your spouse out from your heart. This type of infidelity can rob your marriage of intimacy and connection.

Most of us dealing with skids have experienced this first hand. Some experience an awakening in their spouse and corrections can save the marriage. Some find a way to soldier through it using disengagement as a means of survival. But their marriage is not what they truly want. 

As for me, I don’t want average and I don’t want to just survive my marriage. I want to thrive, grow, and be part of something that is amazing and beautiful. I want extraordinary and I am willing to do anything to achieve that. I don’t think anyone should settle for anything less. 

Those that know my story know I have tried. But you can’t want more for someone than they want for themselves. Nobody should be made to feel less of a person because they didn’t simply roll over and act exactly as expected. People can grow together, but you cannot simply change someone. 

In a marriage, your true self will eventually reveal itself because there will always be some issue that comes up. The issue is not the issue... It’s how you work on the issue that will determine how your marriage will grow or fail. If you put a problem between you and your spouse, it will divide you. If you look at it together, then you are literally on the same side. 

But as adults we need to take responsibility for our role in every situation. Marriage is a series of issues that will require compromise. Disagreements are inevitable and can actually be healthy because they offer you a way to give unconditional love to your spouse. But this cannot be a one sided process. And you cannot measure love by what you get, only by what you give. 

So, where does that leave us with this thought of emotional infidelity? If there is no room in your heart for your spouse, how can you give to them? You are giving that in your other relationship. If you cannot take responsibility for your actions, how can you truly be sorry for how you have hurt your spouse? You focus is on your other relationship. If you push your spouse away, how can you expect your marriage to survive? You have put your other relationship first and set your marriage aside  

The short answer is your marriage is in peril and doing nothing is a sure way to see that marriage come to an end. The key is to know in your heart that you tried your best and grow from the experience. There is no right or wrong. Just choices people make because that is their true nature. And sometimes people’s natures don’t align and they require different things from their marriage. 

Just my thoughts as I watch what was once a beautiful love story have the last chapter written as a tragedy rather than one of overcoming all odds. 


theoldredhen's picture

Thanks for sharing, SoDisappointed! A sensitive and caring fellow like you is certain to find a suitable partner. It's destiny, Hon! Good

elkclan's picture

There's another kind of emotional infidelity - a cleaving to an ideal formed by one partner rather than a living, changing relationship built by two. Unrealistic expectations can be just as divisive. If you see the love a parent has for a child as emotional infidelity then I'm sorry for you.

ldvilen's picture

How the H- did you get that out of this?  The love one has for a spouse and the love one has for a child are two different kinds of love.  We all know that.  We also all know that there can be perversions when it comes to love, any kind of love.  Not sure why you had to throw that last sentence in there, other than to poke the bear or stir the pot or to just stick it to someone.  Congratulations, you suceeded.  Have a nice day.

SoDisappointed's picture

Everyone has their view which comes from their blueprint for life. There is no right or wrong, just different views. To that person, what I said did not ring  true, so they challenged it. That’s ok. Everyone is entitled to their viewpoint and opinion. 

We have the ability to choose what we believe. That’s free will. We also can use that free will to not let our emotions drive our actions. I chose to align my actions to be consistent with my values and vision. I can’t always be 100% with this. I am human and do have my times of not doing these things. But I am learning. 

Be the change you want to see in the world. Come from a place of love and you will rarely go wrong. Come from a place of conflict and you will almost always receive conflict in return. We must all break this cycle whenever we can. 

I already responded to the poster and merely expressed my view, as I did in the original post. But once more, I must be the little boy that peed on the floor instead of getting it all in the toilet and must be severely reprimanded and shamed. Sending out love and understanding in hopes that people can see all I was doing was writing about a sad situation and what I perceive as one pice of the problem. It’s my view, which I am entitled to, even if everyone does not subscribe to it. 

But it should start people thinking about why they are so resistant to a concept? What is going on in your life where you need to lash out and shame someone for sharing their feelings and emotions?

SoDisappointed's picture

I would hope you see some level of enlightenment in what I first posted. I know I have gained insight from others here and focused on my fixing. I came here out of frustration and confusion, as so many do. What I found was (for the most part) understanding and (always) alternative viewpoints. 

From that I have done my best to grow, expand my view, leaned to listen, accept responsibility, apologize, and to forgive others. All good things. I am no saint and I have to accept my imperfections from the past while taking full ownership for what I said, what I did, and what I failed to do. 

SoDisappointed's picture

But I would ask you this, is leaving your spouse for days at a time, without letting them know where you are going something that you would be ok with? Is it also ok to drop all communication with them except for a couple text messages a healthy dynamic for any relationship? Is it ok that they get all their emotional needs fulfilled outside of the marriage a healthy thing? Just because it’s not sexual does not mean it’s not infidelity. They have put your marriage way down on their list of priorities. Essentially they are sending everyone the message that their marriage is only important if any number of other things/people aren’t their current focus. 

Please understand that I fully support my wife to have her relationship with her kids, even though I am clearly not welcome in that world. Everyone seems to jump to making a choice between the spouse and kids. Why is that? When we have another child, do we decide which one to love? Do we make a choice then?

My point is when one spouse becomes defensive and starts blaming the other because they “know exactly all the reasons you are doing these things” or they question their intention, they start killing the relationship. 

I take full responsibility for how my spouse feels and have apologized for hurting her. Her feelings are a wake up call that we have something we need to work on, and specifically I have things I need to change. But it’s not a problem between us. It our problem that we need to work on. But to say I do it expecting something or I have other intentions besides supporting her in a situation that is difficult for both of us is just not true. That shows she has stuff for us to work on too. There are two people in this relationship and they both have responsibilities to that relationship and each other.  

How about this point of view... If you were trying to potty train your little boy, and they went into the bathroom on their own to pee, but they got more pee on the floor than in the toilet... What would you do? Because you hold space for your child in your heart, most would tell him he did a good job getting to the bathroom and didn’t pee in his pants. Maybe even tell him he did a good job getting some pee in the toilet and maybe next time he can get more in the toilet instead of the floors, walls, or trash can. What I don’t think anyone with love in their heart would do is scold them and shame them for not doing it exactly the way we want. It’s a process you help them grow into because we come from a place of love. 

Why do I share that? Because this is a difficult situation for everyone, not just her, me, or the kids. The problem may never get resolved. But how you approach the problem is the problem. When a man cannot make his wife happy, he feels like shit. We don’t need to be scolded and shamed that we failed to emotionally support her when or actions were to encourage her to spend time with her family. It’s difficult for EVERYONE. 

Because it failed this time, you try something different next time. When that fails, you try something else the next time. Every time there is another failure, you get shamed, so you pick yourself up and try again. Meanwhile, your spouse keeps doing the same thing each time expecting different results. 

When you approach a problem from you head instead of your heart, and that problem is agreeably not one that can be fixed (others need to fix their own problems), the whole thing will consume you. When you approach it from your heart, you make space for the other person and start asking yourself “What else could this mean” instead of assigning your own meaning to it. You hold space for them and you break the cycle. 

I know that I love my wife and she is stuck in this cycle. I continue to hold space for her in my heart and love her no matter what she does or says. She is struggling with all of this and her kids telling her I am all the things they think is influencing her. I love her. I am there for her even as she pushes me out of her heart. There is not right or wrong. There is no them or me. Only us. I am not giving my love with conditions or expectations.

I am giving love because that is how you create love. I am being the change I wish to see in the world. Not the change I wish to see in her. I am doing this because it’s who I am. I walk in my own truth. I am far from perfect. But I take all of this as fuel for growth and know what my fixing is. I cannot change the past, but I can learn from it and own my portion of it. I can ask for forgiveness, but only the other person can offer that forgiveness. 

SoDisappointed's picture

My point is there are all sorts of things that take us away from our marriage. If those things occupy that place in your heart and push your spouse out, I consider that to be a problem. If these things satisfy your needs outside of your marriage, and they don’t always do - but if they did, then you close off that part to your spouse. That, to me, is infidelity- Getting your emotional needs fulfilled outside your marriage and not allowing your spouse to. If you get it outside your marriage, you won’t be looking for it in your marriage. If you do “allow it” to come from your spouse, will you measure it against what you get outside your marriage? 

All I am saying is that when a marriage is in peril, why would you even allow this? Is it more important than your marriage? What is your priority? Is it about you and your needs being met?

You cannot get love. You can give love and what you experience is love. By giving and receiving, but receiving without the expectation of receiving. Do we feel love from our children? I would say most would answer YES. Is it for how much love they give us? Probably not. I would suggest it’s from the love we give them. Their love for us ensues and is not a measure of what needs they fulfill for us. 

Just my opinion...

moving_on_again's picture

Goodness, I had to stop reading. I seriously think this spouse needs to be heard. Not lectured. Just a thought. 

SoDisappointed's picture

I never want to reply without first understanding. Are you saying that I need to hear my wife? Are you saying you feel I am lecturing her?

If that’s you point, I will say my blog is a place for me to journal my thoughts and solicit feedback. This is not a report of what goes on between me and my wife. That conversation is personal and I protect the sanctity of that space. 

These are my thoughts that I try to capture in order to organize my thinking. I am grateful for the perspectives of others because it challenges my way of thinking. I think that is valuable.  

But I haven’t even brought this up with my wife. I own my feelings and more importantly my actions. The reason I put these thoughts out there is because deep down inside my heart, I don’t want to believe they are true. And I certainly don’t want to assign my meaning to them. The first question I ask is “What else could this mean?” 

Am I hurt by feeling that I am not being in her heart? Of course. But that’s because of the meaning I have assigned to these actions. I am doing my best to reframe these feelings, and writing them out and digging deep into them is one way I am trying to grow as a person. 

moving_on_again's picture

You feel your wife is "cheating" on you emotionally and you haven't said a word to her? Yet you feel the need to blog about it so much that I got bored? Ya. I have a feeling you aren't being truthful with yourself. 

SoDisappointed's picture

I however did not use the language of “cheating” because that (to me) assigns blame. What I am honest about is there is something in the way of my wife and I connecting at our core. I proposed that she is having her emotional needs fulfilled outside of our marriage and has (my opinion) closed me out from her heart. 

I said my communication between my wife and I is sacred space. But to address your comment that I have not discussed this with her... I have. But not “accusing” her of emotional infidelity. That’s all I will say about that. It’s nobody’s business as to what words I use. My blog is a tool I use to organize my thoughts to better align my actions with my values and vision. I choose this forum because I value feedback, especially when it challenges my viewpoint. That’s being open to new ways of seeing things. 

I will not judge anyone for their opinion because it differs from mine. I also try not to make assumptions based on my limited view into their life. I appreciate your input and certainly don’t expect to change your view, because it’s yours and you have your way of seeing things. Not right or wrong, just not in line with my view. But that doesn’t mean I simply dismiss it. This place is a valuable source of insight from those that may be experiencing similar thoughts and/or feelings. 

Survivingstephell's picture

It could be very well true that your wife is getting her emotional needs met outside the marriage somehow.  Now which emotional needs are they?  Its not healthy to expect your spouse to fulfill you every emotional need.  That kind of relationship devolves into unhealthy territory rather quickly.  There are things that kids bring to your life that a spouse never could.  But to taint that connection to your kids into an unhealthy one by taking adult issues to them to help solve is boarderline mental abuse in my book. Find another adult to help you sort your issues, not your kid.  

You find yourself shut out from your wife and I have to wonder why.  Does she know you feel this way yet?  I also suggest reading at the website surviving  They spend plenty of time on emotional infidelity, explaining it, working with it.  etc...   You might find some insight over there that might help you sort this all out.  

SoDisappointed's picture

“But to taint that connection to your kids into an unhealthy one by taking adult issues to them to help solve is boarderline mental abuse in my book. Find another adult to help you sort your issues, not your kid. “