Saturday, May 16, 2015
Though everyone may have a slightly different definition of what qualifies as infidelity, most people seem to believe that it involves sexual betrayal. This type of betrayal is incredibly painful for the partner who has been cheated on, and countless self-help books discuss ways to cope with this kind of event when it happens.
Much less is documented and discussed when it comes to emotional infidelity. I’m not talking about finding out that your partner follows pornographic websites or is connecting with others somewhere in sexual cyberspace. Even though those partners may not be actually having sex and may not ever meet, the nature of the infidelity is still sexual.
Emotional infidelity refers to behavior that one partner engages in that fosters emotional intimacy in the here-and-now and sometimes promotes the possibility of sexual intimacy in the future. Many people maintain secret or semi-secret friendships when there is a clear mutual interest or attraction, while others may not be interested but encourage others’ interest in them.
The sad reality is that emotional infidelity is often totally hidden to the extent that you may not know if and when your partner is emotionally cheating. Because the connection is not sexually based, there are fewer opportunities to detect the infidelity. For example, when there’s no need for a hotel room, it’s difficult for anyone to find proof of the betrayal upon review of your credit card bill.
Many articles and books will give you the top tips to tell you if your partners cheating, but what are the tips to tell you if your partner is emotionally cheating? The truth is that it is very difficult to tell – in some cases, next to impossible. The best indicator is to consider the character of your partner and to ask yourself how much you truly trust his or her integrity. How loyal is your partner to his or her friends? To his or her job? To his or her family? Is there a history of unfaithfulness in any form in the past?
Ultimately, we all have strong instincts that guide us. Your instincts will have a hard time telling you someone is emotionally cheating on you, but they will easily tell you whether your partner is inherently trustworthy or prone to infidelity. It never hurts to discuss this issue with your partner so that you can be sure you have the same definition of infidelity. It is my belief that your definition of cheating should include both emotional and sexual components.
Finally, one point I would like to emphasize is that couples often wait until they’re in a trouble spot to discuss uncomfortable issues. In my clinical work I always tell my clients that the best time to discuss problems is completely counter-intuitive – do it when things are going well!
PLUS: Check out my book about how to stop repeating the same negative relationship patterns, Dr. Seth's Love Prescription: Overcome Relationship Repetition Syndrome and Find the Love You Deserve! You can explore the book here: http://amzn.to/1e78z7q.
Saturday, May 2, 2015
The issue of rebound relationships is not as clear-cut as you might guess. It would be easy to say that all rebound relationships are unhealthy because you haven’t given yourself time to mourn the end the relationship you just ended.
If you’re starving for a good generalization, it’s safe to eat this one for breakfast: As a rule, rebounds are bad news. However, this generalization fails to take into account the fact that the relationship one just ended may have been over for a long time prior to the official end. In other words, a man can be in a relationship and be mourning the loss that it is ending prior to the actual end of the relationship. In some relationships, the love and connection died a long time ago, and the two people simply stay together to avoid the upsetting breakup words.
For these individuals, they may seek out another relationship soon after. That relationship is not necessarily going to be unhealthy provided that he or she did the work to make sense of why the last relationship failed. This work, I must emphasize, must be done prior to beginning the next relationship.
Looking at the picture from this angle, it becomes apparent that you must define what a rebound relationship is, because not all relationships that begin soon after the previous one ended are actually rebound relationships. What defines a rebound relationship is the fact that you have worked through the issues of your last relationship so that you can avoid bringing them into your next one.
As long as your next relationship is not a rebound relationship and you have learned from your previous relationship, you are poised to find a relationship that will actually work for you!
Wednesday, April 8, 2015
My new article for Psychology Today takes a look at integrity and describes seven behaviors that show bona fide integrity in everyday life. Sadly, a few of these behaviors are dreadfully rare - see my reference to physicians. My full article can be read here: http://bit.ly/1NUyqdz.
Check out my new article for eHarmony about the types of emotional baggage that can destroy a relationship. While everyone has some issues that make them imperfect, certain types of baggage can mark starting - and sustaining - a relationship next to impossible. Check out the article and see if you agree!
Full article here: http://bit.ly/1CxGmLi.
Sunday, March 22, 2015
If you think about some of the good sex you’ve had, you were probably feeling extremely emotional at the time. For some people, good sex involves feeling deeply in love, while for others, it involves feeling wild, naughty, or even connecting with darker emotions surrounding dominance or submission fantasies. Regardless of which end of that spectrum your good sex would fall on, Deepak is right that all of these emotions signify emotional freedom. In other words, there is no one fixed way to have sex, so the consenting partners have a blank slate onto which they can create whatever they want. After a long week at work, the last thing anyone needs is one more experience in which they feel bored or unstimulated.
What Deepak says about bad sex is quite true, as well. If you think about some of the bad sex you’ve had, it’s probably because you were feeling emotionally disconnected, bored, or preoccupied. In other words, having an unsatisfying sexual experience suggests that you even though you were having sex, it’s not something that you truly wanted to do – it’s more like going through the motions.
In my practice with clients, I always encourage them to take their emotional temperature at the start of a sexual interaction. If you feel a little off that day and don’t really want to connect in that way with your partner, your date, whomever –make the conscious choice to not have sex.
Breakups are awful, plain and simple. But as long you are strategic about what you do after the breakup, moving on can be a lot easier. Many strategies that work are actually counter-intuitive. Check out my full article for eHarmony, where I am one of their resident relationship experts. I hope you find the article helpful!
Full article: http://bit.ly/19Jqlff.