Emotional vs sexual infidelity - Which is a greater sin?

Posted by James, 18 Feb 10

Most women have emotional affairs. Most guys have sexual affairs. Both types of cheating cause feelings of jealousy and hurt in the other spouse.

According to some study, men tend to be bothered more by sexual infidelity while women are bothered more by emotional infidelity. This study found that men felt guiltier after sexual infidelity and women after emotional ones. But much as most men rated sexual infidelity to be a greater sin, there still was a small percentage that ranked emotional infidelity top of their list.

Clearly, this is not a question of man thinks this and woman thinks that. There is something else that controls how we view these two types of infidelity.

Your perfect partner could be online right now...

What are you looking for?

What type of cheating is worse? What kind of cheating would you find more distressing and why do you think so?

29 responses to "Emotional vs sexual infidelity - Which is a greater sin?"

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  1.   bkbass44 says:
    Posted: 16 Jun 11

    Cheating is cheating... and I do NOT subscribe to the generalizations of how genders behave when they cheat. Women can be JUST as motivated physically as a man.. and men just as emotionally as a woman. It boils down to the character.. which seems to be lacking on BOTH sides of the gender fence.

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  2.   anonymous26 says:
    Posted: 24 Jul 10

    Both,, although fenway2k made some good points

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  3. Posted: 24 Jul 10

    Both should be considered equally deceiving, but I do agree with the article that each sex tends to find one form worse than the either. I would ASSume that a higher percent of women find the emotional worse than the sexual and vice versa. Many times when a man has been caught cheating, the first question a woman will ask him is if he loves the other woman...if he says no, that seems to make it easier to forgive. For the majority of men, and no offense, they will not think about if it is emotional they just want to know if it was sexual. If I had to choose I would say the emotional infidelity, solely because giving someone an emotional part of you is typically a bond you create with someone you are in love with. Sex can be just that-sex. It is cheating, it is risky, and dirty but doesn't necessarily hold any merit.

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  4.   PetiteChick says:
    Posted: 12 Jul 10

    @Tom4Blaq: If you're reading, thanks. Hope you stop in upon your return! Take care!

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  5.   Tom4Blaq says:
    Posted: 09 Jul 10

    Petite, I must go, but have a wonderful weekend!

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  6.   Tom4Blaq says:
    Posted: 09 Jul 10

    Dear Alexander: I must say you are the one who looks like the imbecile. I have no doubt that others would agree. I think she has every right to be angry. And she is! Good for her.

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  7.   sam says:
    Posted: 08 Jul 10

    Emotional vs sexual infidelity - which is a greater sin? Both. As a stone cold monogamist, I stay true. If one must cheat, drop the relationship. If and when I commit myself, it's all the way all the time. No ifs butts or other crap. Maybe I'm just dumb romantic, but if I love somebody that means I love her, come hell or high water. Cheating is a big No No. I can't tell if she's cheating but I know if I am and I don't allow myself to do that. Period.

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  8.   PetiteChick says:
    Posted: 16 Jun 10

    Comment by icfny.com on 23 March 2010: In the early days of online dating sites were filled-with online profiles of people who are thieves, con artists and fraudsters ----------------------------------------------- LOL. So, what's changed? If anything it has gotten worse with technological advancements. Skype anyone?

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  9.   PetiteChick says:
    Posted: 16 Jun 10

    I must agree with Furry Jeans on this one. Emotional and Sexual cheating is in fact, A Betrayal of trust. If a relationship's foundations are built upon these tenets, then stepping outside it's boundaries with either is betrayal.

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  10. Posted: 14 Jun 10

    Hmmm, look at the issue in a different way. The one who feels hurt by the "cheating" may feel too posessive. The feeling of "I own YOU" leads to the feeling of " you broke my trust". Too much ownership has been put upon us by relegious dogma. I have been through this in my life more than once. I know the hurt, humilliation (sp?)and anger of a spouse "cheating" both in an emotional and physical way. I had to change my way of looking at the situation to overcome the hurt. I grew up in a very relegious community and believe me when I say "following the rules" does not lead to a fair, good, or even a "godly" life. Our emotions are very much linked to how we look at a situation, and often linked to the dogma we grew up with. Our happiness related to "owning" or "possessing" is not as great as in being able to "share" with others. Sex is very personal. Perhapps we would have less hurt if we learned to be less possessive and share in the glory around us. I'm not suggesting free orgies, we must be careful about disease, but lets stop controlling each others biological urges and talk about what each person needs to feel loved and whole. Good communication goes long way. Biologicly men and women have different goals; as humans we can overcome our biology only to a degree. Be opened to each others feelings and make a decision as to what you be comfortalble with. I just don't like to see people blindly follow what another group or person says is the only why for Humans to be.

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  11.   FurryJeans says:
    Posted: 15 May 10

    Both are in my decidedly biased opinion equally bad. They both are trust destroyers.

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  12.   icfny.com says:
    Posted: 23 Mar 10

    In the early days of online dating sites were filled-with online profiles of people who are thieves, con artists and fraudsters.

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  13.   Happybunni says:
    Posted: 21 Mar 10

    Maybe men should be with men and women with women, clearly opposites do not work!!

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  14.   Emy says:
    Posted: 05 Mar 10

    Hmm..so much commentary and not all relevant to the original question. I think the answer is in the question and some of the comments. How bad either one is considered depends on whether you're a man or a woman and how well rounded you are as a grown up human being. In most cases cheating is cheating and will be seen as that but is it physical or emotional betrayal that hurts the most. For a woman I think perhaps equal measure though maybe swaying towards emotional. Men are much more in tune with sexual issues so in most cases probably it would the physical for them. But this is a very clever and emotive question with a multitude of answers depending on the individual and past history, especially if you've been cheated on.

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  15.   fkoi says:
    Posted: 03 Mar 10

    Ms. Geli - A classic case of wanting his cake and eating it too. Run don't walk! I suggest ignoring his every communication. Every time a thought of him comes up, just pray for him and occupy yourself with something else. Every time! Eventually, and in not too long a time, you will find you have moved on.

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  16.   mecca77 says:
    Posted: 24 Feb 10

    yo!!.. GELI you left yourself wide open for that one girl. here is the scenario. its not rocket science . blinded by i love you. first off. he wants his cake and eat it too. god put things and people in your life for a reason. this is to let you know you have some work to do with self. now do not blame him. he got away with it. he still want you as a just in case. the other woman for some odd reason. finds out he has someone else. which she will. if she open her eyes. say good ridiance to bad rubbish. we all been duped. if your human. but look at it as a blessing. guess what you would have ended up with if you did marry . the punk!.. yeah you guessed it. a man child. hey what he did to you. he will do to others believe me. he was not man enough for you anyway. sometime when we tell people the truth they get angry. truth always hurt. go to counseling heal . spirtually from this. i know it hurts. yes. your fragile right now. take your time. be a challenge for men. do not allow them to feed you game. if they can they will. a real man would not have done what he did. some men are commitment phobic. yeah they will marry or live with someone else. in some cases its called addictive behavior . ask your self these questions: did he cheat on his last woman how is he with people in a social setting ? did he take you to meet momma? and the familia? is he trustworthy? "apparently not" but these are some future questions to ask the next man in your life. and always do a background check. you will heal. a lot of us healed. but once you do. do not and try not to go back to old patterns. your meet a different man. but guess what the same scenario. get it?. be well.

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  17.   mecca77 says:
    Posted: 24 Feb 10

    ask a dumb question you will get a dumb answer.. look of course sexual infidelity is the sin. because all humans i do not care who you are does not like anyone messing with their stuff! ..it's just something personal about. what end up happening is the parties turn the anger on to them selves. and tiger woods wife. and many others. we think we are not good enough. or handsome or pretty enough . when someone does "if they are human" does get emotional when you keep bedding someone. usally it's the woman . men just like pussy.

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  18.   fire321 says:
    Posted: 23 Feb 10

    @gell he's trying to have his cake and eat it too. if things don't work out for him and the new lady, he has you as a back up. don't fall for the BS. he's telling you exactly what he knows you want to hear. know your worth and don't settle.

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  19.   therapylady says:
    Posted: 22 Feb 10

    To fenway2k: Good commentary and I understand your analysis.

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  20.   geli says:
    Posted: 21 Feb 10

    So, what do you call this? I was in a committed relationship for 2 years. Enganed! Next thing I know he leaves without any warning. I was left wondering what happened? Only to find out he was moving her in Thanksgiving weekend. Come January he sends me a Happy Birthday wish via text. Needless to say, I took advantage of the opportunity to ask, ask, ask. He kept saying I Love You, I'm sorry. This past weekend I found out he met through an internet dating service 9 months ago.... Valentine's Day he proposed to her!!! However, he keeps telling me he Loves me, he misses me, can't take me out of his heart.... Oh and I Love You, but not In Love with you... what is the difference? Someone please explain and tell me what the heck I need to do to move on.....

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  21.   fenway2k says:
    Posted: 21 Feb 10

    @ Sam "BS - When the man made a commitment to be faithful to his woman, then it cannot be just about sex when he cheats. The man broke her trust forever. Also it being a mistake please….. The man (in your scenario) knew he was committed to someone else and still made the conscious decision to cheat anyway. This was never a mistake but an intentional action." What is it with people who try to make an issue out of something they INTENTIONALLY took out of context? No one denies the point you made, but if you put my statement back in its proper context, you'll quickly see that I also mentioned the following: "They can see a real or perceived image of a woman or a certain part of their anatomy and this can trigger their hormones. Over 50% of men haven’t realized this fact, so don’t realize that this is something they need to put in check when they get aroused." Allow me to expound on that for you. There are a lot of men who have never been taught that their physical senses can trigger their hormones, and if left unchecked, they can RAGE through a man, causing him to act impulsively and compulsively. A man can say, do or agree with anything if they can get some, all rational thought can and does stop if a man doesn't learn to recognize those 'urges' and keep them in check. Those urges can override any sense of worth, morals, values, or beliefs. The fact remains that men are not taught about how to be in tune with their bodies like women are. Most boys are taught from their lying friends that if you can't get none, then your game ain't strong. The people young men look up to today are in the videos with women hanging off them in droves, or having women chasing after them on tour or in the hotel lobbies after a game. What kind of message do you think that's sending to our young male population? It's a sad fact that most fathers do NOT teach their sons about the importance of the emotional side of relationships and how sex is an extension of those emotions. Conclusion: Men of today can and do separate sex from emotions. So in their mind they can love one person while having physical encounters with others WITHOUT have any emotional attachment to those encounters. You need to read the question asked again. I never stated that one was right and one was wrong. He asked for opinion for which was THE GREATER SIN. I simply stated why I feel that emotional sin is the greater sin. Because if a woman cheats, unlike the dysfunctional men, they are intentionally putting their ALL into that affair because they feel something for that person they cheat with. And I really have no clue what infedility is. headnubianincharge.wordpress.com

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  22.   Sam says:
    Posted: 21 Feb 10

    It’s why men can look a woman in the eye and say with 100% conviction: “It was just sex and a mistake" ********* BS - When the man made a commitment to be faithful to his woman, then it cannot be just about sex when he cheats. The man broke her trust forever. Also it being a mistake please..... The man (in your scenario) knew he was committed to someone else and still made the conscious decision to cheat anyway. This was never a mistake but an intentional action. Emotional or sexual infedility - hold the same weight – both are wrong.

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  23.   ACEBENICE says:
    Posted: 20 Feb 10

    i believe the emotional cheating is worse. you neglect the significant other, leaving them feeling empty. in time the emotional cheating leads to infidelity. in emotional cheating, you loose desire for that special someone. in time, the worst shall arrive at your front door.

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  24.   fenway2k says:
    Posted: 19 Feb 10

    check me out at: headnubianincharge.wordpress.com

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  25.   fenway2k says:
    Posted: 19 Feb 10

    I would like to put some things in their proper perspective in order to help understand my $.02... Men in general are stimulated by their senses (what they see, hear, smell, etc.) They can see a real or perceived image of a woman or a certain part of their anatomy and this can trigger their hormones. Over 50% of men haven't realized this fact, so don't realize that this is something they need to put in check when they get aroused. For most men, emotions can be easily separated form sex because to them, sex can be simply satisfying a physical need. The can feel guilty after the fact, not because they feel any emotional attachment to their 'conquest' but because OF their emotional attachment to their significant other and the fear of how THEY would respond. While all men don't cheat, ALL men would if they could, regardless of their moral fiber. And there is not a man alive that doesn't go through the day without having a sexual fantasy about someone OTHER than their significant other. Most women on the other hand, are emotionally stimulated. While they can appreciate a nice looking man with a body and a tight butt, that is not what arouses them. Women are stimulated by how a person makes them feel. Most women are not promiscuous by nature, so if they are interested in a guy, they have the BIG picture in mind. When on a date, while the guy is trying to figure out a way to get the woman in bed, the woman is trying to figure out if this man will be a good husband, father, role model, choir member, the whole nine yards. They are also looking at everyone else's reaction to the two of them together, they consider what their friends and family say, what the preacher says, what their children say, because women are looking for Mr. Right. Once a woman is secure in this particular man, then women start listening to what that man has to say. He can make great strides in this area because the more the man can make them feel like they are the center of their attention, or the queen of their universe, the more stimulated they become. And to a woman, sex is an extension of their feelings towards a person, so to them, they are giving men a gift, a part of them, to make this commitment official, to 'seal the deal' so to speak. It is the green light for a woman to pour all of their heart and soul into the relationship. It why they can remember all those details about the first time they had sex with you, like the color of the sky, how many petals were on the rose you gave them, etc. Here's the conflict: Women expect men to be just like them in this area and men expect women to be just like them in this area. It's why men can look a woman in the eye and say with 100% conviction: "It was just sex and a mistake, but I love you baby!" To him it really was just sex. They don't put the emotional attachment to that. It's why women feel so betrayed and become so vindictive when their man cheats: Because they put their all into the relationship and the proof of it is them giving their body to their man. The sad thing is that most women don't even realize that the quickest way to a man's heart is to simply stand behind him and encourage him in everything he does. Men have very fragile egos and all they want is a woman who appreciates all his efforts to make a relationship work and shows that appreciation. The only reason he will move mountains is for his woman. Having said all that, it is a far greater crime to have an emotional affair. Because if a woman gets to the point where they are pouring their heart and soul into someone else.... It's game over for the man.

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  26.   Neicy05 says:
    Posted: 19 Feb 10

    I think that both are bad on a relationship, but I do believe that to have an emotional affair means that more of one's self was put into it. When it is emotional, nothing is given or taken lightly... but sexually it can be as simple as the way a person smells, sounds or any number of things. The things that can sexually arouse us are so vast that it can happen without any more thought to it, than breathing. I know it sounds bad, and I'm not condoning cheating... I just believe that it takes a world more to become 'emotionally' involved.

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  27.   fire321 says:
    Posted: 19 Feb 10

    I don't think one is worse than the other. For me, both would be just as damaging to the relationship. However, I think i could forgive the emotional infidelity before the sexual infidelity. Either way, to develop these relationships with someone other than your significant, shows something is lacking between you and you mate.

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  28.   UNH07 says:
    Posted: 18 Feb 10

    I'd have to say sexual infidelity. Not only because I really do find that to be the most distressing, but also because of the health factor. Who knows what your partner contracted from someone else that you are now unknowingly at risk of getting.

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  29.   fkoi says:
    Posted: 18 Feb 10

    I'm not a real fan of either one. Sexual infidelity puts me at more risk and I'm not sure that emotional infidelity doesn't come into play in that regard. Emotional infidelity robs the relationship of an essential quality of trust. I think a relationship can recover from either but it ain't easy.

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