March 4, 2024

“Maybe you Didn’t have Sex but…”—the Cost of Emotional Infidelity.


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You stripped your soul bare for another to see.

You created an intimacy-shaped hole where your partner should be.

You sought the farthest border of emotional fidelity and then cast your line into those muddy waters hoping to catch a bite.

No, a single person can’t and shouldn’t be expected to fulfill your every need. And while most monogamous couples agree that physical infidelity is a kiss of death to the relationship, the boundaries of emotional intimacy aren’t as obvious.

So while you would never cross the clearly defined markers of hand holding, kissing, and love making, you fearlessly marched into the lawless land of emotion emboldened by your guise of naivety. Past the warning signs of secrecy, emotional withholding, and preoccupation, you poured all your love and support into another at the expense of the one awaiting your return.

Without firmly established boundaries to guide you, you pushed on ignorantly until you reached the precipice of infatuation, from which there is no turning back.

The line between platonic and romantic love is so easily obscured when you haven’t had sex. For many, sex distinguishes the indistinguishable: 1 or 2, B or E, profound friendship or emotional affair. As long as you never F-*-C-K, your partner will never be able to spell out the letters on the wall.

Or so you thought.

When one of your senses is dull, the others compensate for the deficit. They may not see the lipstick stains on your collar, or smell the lingering waft of perfume in the passenger’s seat, but they feel the void of your absence all the more intensely. In moments of intimacy while you fantasize about her, and in the distance that stretches between you as you emotionally detach, they hear the love siphoning out from the tone of your voice in the things that you say, and more importantly, the things that you don’t.

Sometimes, the most striking details are the ones that we choose to forget.

But when your partner has finally had enough, you can comfort yourself with the fact that you merely opened the door—and never walked through it. You only wanted a better view of what’s outside, to let in some fresh air.

Nevertheless, that open door changed the household climate, and the weather ate away at your home’s foundation. You let in a chill and created an environment that was no longer sustainable. And whether your partner walked out the door themselves or let your love die in those harsh conditions, you admonished yourself of guilt and warmed yourself with one comforting delusion:

You never cheated.

So maybe you didn’t have sex but you created a gaping maw out of ambiguity. Maybe you didn’t have sex but you poisoned the air you breathe with distrust. Maybe you didn’t have sex but you shook the foundation of your relationship beyond repair.

You didn’t have sex…but you may as well have.


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