Published in Marie Claire Magazine, Jan 2010
People who have intimate friendships, but not sex, may still be cheating, say experts.
Men and women who are married or in relationships, who form a close friendship with a member of the opposite sex, may justify the new intimacy on the basis that they are not cheating sexually.
But an emotional betrayal can amount to the same thing, says Phillip Hodson, fellow of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.
‘I believe that committing adultery in your heart is committing adultery,’ Hodson told the Daily Mail.
Hodson was referring to cases like that of Tamsin, a 34-year-old curator, who talked to the Mail about her special new friend, David.
Despite being in a long-term relationship, she and David – who is married – spend many of their lunchtimes together, share many interests, and, she says, ‘he’s pretty much all I think about’.
She would never cheat on her partner, she says, but when she buys underwear now, it is with David in mind.
‘I don’t think it matters what you call it, but she has switched her intimate allegiance,’ Hodson told the Mail.
‘We have a difficulty with the fact that the law concerning marriage is a medieval one, and modern relationships are constructed in a different way,’ he says.
‘We used to see sex as a conjugal right and that no marriage was lawful in the full sense unless there has been sexual intercourse. However, what really keeps modern relationships going is quality of intimacy.’
‘It’s easy to think that everything’s all right because of these sexual boundaries. You’re relying on that legal technicality. But you have broken the moral and emotional rule.’