Where does infidelity begin and end in a marriage? Is it limited to having sex with someone other then your partner or can it be something as seemingly innocent as viewing pornography or having an emotional relationship with someone other then your spouse? Where does friendship end and infidelity begin?
Infidelity in a marriage can take shape in many different forms. It is not limited to just having sex outside of the marriage. In a marriage, a spouse should be able to go to their partner in order for several essential needs to be filled like love, affection, intimacy, etc. But, often times, a spouse expects their partner to fulfill needs that are due to an emotional lacking that is internal and a problem for them. A lack of confidence is one that many women and men deal with. Confidence should be fulfilled internally by the knowledge that we are good enough. Often times, and to no fault of their own, we lack the ability to believe this. We look to our spouses to fill that void in us. While it is necessary for a spouse to receive compliments and kind words of encouragement and praise, with a lack of self-confidence, sometimes these words are not enough. It is then that one might look for this need to be filled elsewhere.
Emotional intimacy is a relationship between a person and someone other than their spouse that has an impact on their level of intimacy. Once you have created a bond with another person other then your spouse where you receive fulfillment on an emotional level that is reserved for your spouse and has created emotional distance, you have committed emotional infidelity. But, where does friendship cross the line? If you are friends with someone of the opposite sex because they make you feel good about yourself, you have crossed the line and are putting your marriage in danger.
Is it okay for a married man or woman to be friends with the opposite sex? The answer to that is, of course it is okay for you to have a friend of the opposite sex even if you are married. However, there still needs to be boundaries in place for such a relationship. If you are married, there is no need for you to be alone with a person of the opposite sex. This does not mean that you have to take this to the extreme. This simply means that in order to avoid temptation or any kind, limit your interactions to spending time at work with co-workers, going out with a large group of friends, etc. Another way to place boundaries in the relationship is to keep conversations casual. It is okay to bring problems to a friend or vent about a bad day but, limit intimate conversations that really get into your emotions. This kind of conversation should be reserved for your spouse. If you have had a fight with your spouse, for example, and looking for someone to confide in, look to a friend of the same sex. But, more importantly, make sure that the argument is worked out with your spouse. Don’t tell someone else something that you would not tell your spouse.