What constitutes cheating in a relationship? From the most blatant example of an all out under the covers romp to a so-called innocent flirtation with a co-worker that your partner or theirs doesn’t know about; the definition is broad based. A marvelous guide that could be a relationship saver and healer was written by Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Sheri Meyers, Psy.D It is called Chatting or Cheating: How To Detect Infidelity, Rebuild Love and Affair-Proof Your Relationship. As a therapist myself, who has witnessed the devastating impact of what many of my clients have expressed felt like betrayal and violation, I see this book as a tool that should be in every couples counselor’s library.
Sheri lays the groundwork from word one by acknlowedging the importance of love and partnership with those in her life. It is the very foundation of healthy, thriving relationships. If this is so, then why would someone risk losing that? The reasons are many and varied. What jumped out at me from the beginning of the book is that we are hungry for connection and initmacy and yet, on some level, fear it. She contends that ‘emotional sex’ is more likely to occur when one of the partners feels that their needs are not being met in the primary relationship. Loneliness, Lack of Communication, Love and Attention Deficit, Boredom, Complacency and Emotional Distance, A Sexual Disconnection and Lack of Intimacy are all risk factors.
The term ‘emotional sex’ is described as ” an unspoken attraction, the deeply rooted need to bond, attached and feel loved, that turns a friendship into an affair…an affair of the heart that feels the same as romantic love…involves a great deal of deception, lies and betrayal…is extremely damaging to a relationship.” Boundary setting and ground rules for a relationship are the first step to assess where your feet are planted in this murky swamp. For some, the idea of acting in flirtatious ways that indicate he or she is single, crosses the line; for others, fantasizing about someone else while having sex with them, is out of bounds. With the marvels of modern technology, texting and social networking make it easier to go undetected, for a short while, but it leaves an electronic trail that will inevitably be stumbled upon.
Some startling stats: 45-55% of married women and 50-60% of married men engage in extramarital sex at some time or another during their relationship. 70% of married women and 54% of married men did not know of their spouses’ extramarital activity.
The user friendly sections of the book have engaging titles such as: Catching Them In The Act, Trust Is A Two Way Street, A Healthy, Heart-Happy Partnership. Each chapter has grow it yourself tools and exercises that are practical and applicable to a multitude of circumstances. Real life examples and checklists are scattered throughout.
Although the language in the book is heterosexual, the dynamics apply to same sex relationships. Also, to clarify; there are other relationship models including ‘responsible non-monogamy’, also known as polyamory (translated as ‘many loves’) which is not the same as cheating if there is full disclosure and aggreement that other partners are possible in the midst of a primary relationship paradigm.
One of the most valuable aspects of the book, is that it doesn’t make anyone the ‘bad guy’ (although it doesn’t excuse abusive or manipulative behavior) and it offers a sense of hope that healing and forgiveness are possible if each partner is willing to extend themselves and do the work.
http://youtu.be/-ebtjgK8NNU I couldn’t resist(: Straight From The Heart by Bryan Adams