1. People & Relationships
Cathy Meyer

Is it Cheating If There Is No Sex?

By August 15, 2012

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You haven't had sex with him. However, you do exchange numerous emails a day, talk on the phone several times a week, discuss your marital relationship with him and every so often wonder why you didn't hook up when you two were in high school.

No sex, just a special friendship that you keep to yourself.

No sex, just a confidant, someone who understands your problems.

No sex, just long conversations on the phone, chats online and cozy lunch dates.

No sex, just a connection on Facebook with an old high school flame.

No sex so, what is the harm?

August 17, 2012 at 6:56 pm
(1) Hurt says:

Every line of this is exactly what’s been going on with my husband. He’s been in such a funk for months and I recently found more texts and phone calls than I could ever imagine to this woman who turns out to be a client of his. He claims there has been no physical side to it, but doesn’t seem to see that it was probably leading up to that. I’ve since made him break contact with this person so we can focus on us, but he is reluctant to discuss things in depth with me and tells me he doesn’t know what he wants and how messed up his head is. So I’m just supposed to sit in a holding pattern until he figures out what he wants? I said if he even has to ask, then it’s obvious he doesn’t want his wife and family and it stands now. He does not want to go to counseling and I have told several family members about it (which I probably shouldn’t have) because I don’t know where else to turn. Therapy is expensive and while it would let me vent, he is the one that is going through this mid-life crisis and needs to talk to someone. We’ve been together for 26 years and I never thought I would be in this position. I’m not sure what to do and it is very painful emotionally to live with every day, not knowing what the future holds for us.

August 18, 2012 at 7:26 am
(2) Kelly says:

I’ve had same problem for 15 yrs with my husband, it started with porn magazines, movies i feel so betrayed! He says well there’s no contact,my a$$ in my book if you’re getting sexually gratification by another woman to me that’s CHEATING! I watched a episode of Dr.Phil n the experts say YES that’s cheating n %7of ppl who do this are also child molesters! He had to get help!!!! We now have grandchildren I couldn’t take that chance!!! Just another thing you may way to look @ this! Also they won’t stop without professional help
ppl don’t understand this has hurt me tremendously! If you don’t go through it u just wouldn’t understand, I FEEL FOR U! !!!!

August 20, 2012 at 1:34 pm
(3) Miguel Hortiguela says:

Here´s a twist on your question. Does there need to be sex to be infidelity. Put another way, can one be unfaithful by withholding affection, friendship, conversation, time, dreams etc?

August 20, 2012 at 1:37 pm
(4) Rich says:

This got crystallized with Clinton. My then-wife and I had a bit of trouble with the “spin” he put on his statement. We sort of decided that people have different perspectives, so what is cheating for one may not be for another. The working definition was- “Can you tell your spouse about it?” if the answer is yes, then it’s not cheating. Some activities really are innocuous, others are just temptations waiting for fruition. “The work crowd went to lunch and I sat between a couple of pretty gals” is one thing. “I pour my heart out to my internet friend” is another, especially if the compliment to that latter utterance is “about my troubles with you.”

It’s really tough to know what’s inside someone’s head. An ultimatum, like “I want you to stop emailing all your female friends,” can aggravate things, because the potential danger exists only in the spouse’s head, not yours. There may be no right answer to the issue of “How much contact, and of what nature?” constitutes cheating.

Best you can say is that if cheating *feels* like an issue, it’s time to get counseling.

August 20, 2012 at 2:08 pm
(5) Kevin says:

Absolutely! Emotional intimacy is even more powerful than physical intimacy. It’s flirting plain and simple. And rude to do to your partner.

August 20, 2012 at 2:10 pm
(6) Louise says:

Mid-life crisis is real. Its not a story line that happens on TV. Seek the couseling that is needed for the marriage to survive. Men do drastic things and take drastic measures at this time. They feel that they have failed in their life and are a failure to their family and friends. Chemical changes within their body are adding to this. This is a serious condition(?) medication and couseling are needed, dont let them ruin your life and your childrens because they THINK they need something else in life.
I live with could’ve should’ve and would’ves but I didnt know how serious it was so please get the help that is needed.

August 20, 2012 at 2:32 pm
(7) Debbie says:

My divorce was, in part, caused by this. My husband would not abandon his “no sex paramour” for our family so in my mind, he made his decision – her over me. It had gone on for years, building up and it was only a matter of time that it would likely develop into more. Unfortunately for him, she decided to stay with her husband and make it work. My husband was still mourning her and ignoring me. At that point I didn’t even know she was ending things – he never admitted it to me until after I divorced him. He later realized the mistake but by then I was unwilling to trust him again. Divorce is always sad in many ways but this kind of regret is not something anyone needs. If a person was wise and values family, they would stay away far from the edge of the cliff.

Counseling is wise if both partners are willing. Dragging him in doesn’t work.

August 20, 2012 at 2:41 pm
(8) Jeff says:

My ex wife did this with more than one man. She got hooked up with an “ex” friend of mine, helping him through his divorce, but because they spent way tooo much time together, I began to question it, she got defensive. When she stated that she wanted a divorce, I was shocked, offered counseling, she wanted nothing to do with it. She went immediately into another relationship, we don’t talk at all, not even about our son because she won’t engage him nor me. She doesn’t appear happy, she should get some help, but I know she won’t. She’ll just continue to play the victim. Sad really, the midlife crisis is real, for both men and women. It’s not just a guy thing.

August 20, 2012 at 3:36 pm
(9) In a mess says:

I have contemplated divorce over the past three years, lost my older sibling to cancer and am living with her last words to me, “How long do I have?” I have talked to one attorney and fear of his angry response freezes me up. With no family in town, I do have my church, and friends out of state, luckily no small kids
at home. I have flirted heavvily on internet out of loneliness and now am beginning to stand my ground, draw the line in the sand so to speak… He has developed a hoarder mentality and I have to get out, have suffered numerous allergy and respiratory bouts past 6 months.. My worst character flaw is my impatience, I want to start over , clean slate, walk away…discover the joy in my golden years ahead, after 31 years of marraige…. think after the holidays will get started, cannot live this way another 5-10 years……if I thought counseling would help I would do it but too many behavioral issue of his he sees as not a problem yet affect my life daily.

August 20, 2012 at 9:04 pm
(10) Longing to be Single says:

I am a man in a ‘no sex’ marriage. Is THAT cheating? My second and FINAL marriage. I enjoyed 20 years of single bliss between my awful 20 years married. I file this week. There is no benefit to anyone in the USA over the age of 40 to be married….only legal complications (unless both are dysfunctional co-dependents). No attorney would recommend marriage in contemporary America to the over-40 crowd. Marriage is obsolete and harmful. If in your 30s and will definitely have kids–get married. But do your divorce first—draw up prenups. If you can’t get through a divorce first, you will surely regret going through one later & you have NO BUSINESS marrying. Churches in America are the only cheerleading squad left for marriage and even honest & practical clergy see disadvantages. Marriage does not guarantee fidelity, happiness, or fulfillment. All those CAN be enjoyed easily without marriage. To my observation those are more apparent in relationships not shackled by the state. Marriage does guarantee is a lot of time, trouble, complication and expense especially when one party decides it’s over…a nice fairy-book concept. When women could not support themselves maybe it had some value. Not now.
If you marry for the approval of others (church, family, parents) you are a hypocrite who deserves the pain you will possibly endure. I have remained loyal but this whole thing has been a type of death (the sexless marriage). Men like & need sex. Really! And, yes, if you don’t like that obvious fact, you can scold us. You can impinge our character….even put us in jail. So what! We did NOT make ourselves this way. Our creator did. Deal with it.
I cannot think of any single reason why any man over 40 in America would want to marry…..nor any healthy, independent woman. OK, clobber me with objections……I can take it.

August 20, 2012 at 10:23 pm
(11) Blu says:

An emotional affair is still an affair. If you want to stay married to your current spouse, you need to stop the secrecy & possibly the relationship. Instead of putting so much time & effort into this “friendship”, you need to put all that into your marriage. If you can’t do that, then you need to talk to your spouse about it & possibly get counseling. If you didn’t think there was issue with it, then you wouldn’t feel guilty enough to want insight from others. All the things you are doing with this other person should be things you are doing with your spouse first & foremost & if after you do all of that, you think you can still be friends & only friends, then you may be able to keep contact with this person, but the fact that it is a secret relationship that you are keeping from your spouse, makes it wrong…no matter how much you try to explain it away.

August 20, 2012 at 11:52 pm
(12) pissed says:

My husband is currently involved in a texting relationship with a woman he was working with. It stopped for a brief 6 weeks or so but has started back up. They text each other from the time he leaves for work till he gets home, and longer if im asleep. Then he erases all the messages. I have gone back and fourth in my mind about weather or not this is cheating and reason enough to go through with divorce and yes i beleave it is CHEATING. He knows it causes me pain and he continues to do it. And is very sneaky about it. I search his phone records online and he changes his password, i find it and he changes it again. This is the 3rd woman he has done this with in the ALMOST 5 years we have been married.

August 21, 2012 at 5:20 am
(13) sucker-punched says:

It’s cheating. What I’ve always said and others commented here as well, if you have to hide it, it’s cheating, PERIOD. This is what happened to me last year, and I’m still reeling from it. He swears she’s “just a friend”, he’s “known” her for a few years from WoW [World of Warcraft], they just talk on Vent, text, etc., nothing happened, blah blah blah. Except that July last year he told me he didn’t love me anymore, wanted a divorce, and more or less kicked me out. He believes he’s being nice and the good guy by changing divorce to us just living apart (I wound up having to leave my home and move out of state to where my family has been for more than a decade, and now at 43 I’m living with my (awesome) parents again. I told him just last week I didn’t want to be casual friends and please go away. He’s still convinced that he’s a nice guy, but he really has turned into a smarmy, phony used car salesman-type, so completely different from the guy I married he’s unrecognizable to me. He was confusing in HER because, as he put it, he was trying to protect me from himself (I have OCD and was very depressed after his mother died from accident related injuries). He’s always been passive aggressive, and like I said, he’s convinced himself he’s not a cheater, he’s a nice guy who got saddled with a mental case, and sending me presents and calling my family members on their birthdays makes him the good guy…because there’s nothing wrong with him. He refused counseling, and why not? He had his little “friend” to talk to. He was talking with HER when he SHOULD HAVE been talking with ME.
I’m a looong time REFORMED cheater, so I know firsthand what I’m talking about. An emotional attachment you make that causes you to doubt your feelings for your significant other and neglect them is CHEATING.

August 21, 2012 at 7:59 am
(14) Carol says:

I have been married for 20 years. Approximately 1 year ago my cell phone bill was extremely high so I went on line to look at the bill figuring one of my children had gone over their minutes, etc. Was I surprised to see that my husband was texting the same number 1000 times a month. I called the number to see whose it was and it is a teacher who works at his school. I looked at previous bills and saw that this had been going on for quite a while. When I questioned him about it he said that they are “just friends”. I told him I thought it was inappropriate for him to be texting another woman so many often. In his eyes, he is doing nothing wrong. In my eyes he is having an emotional affair.

August 21, 2012 at 11:50 am
(15) Michael Patrick says:

Cheating is defined by your bondedpair mate, your partner….

If the behavior is defined by your partner as cheating than it is. Not a popular notion but you married them and there boundaries are part of who they are.

Unfortunately many choice to select a definition that fits there own choices…if you are lusting after someone other than your partner it is not healthy for the relationship.

All it cheating or whatever you want to label it, the outcome will be the same; a breakdown of a healthy relationship. Mp with wheretofinddates.com

November 29, 2012 at 9:15 am
(16) Betrayed says:

It’s cheating. I have caught my partner 4 times i nthe past year. He claims that they don’t know his real identity, which is true except for a few that know his first name but not last. He tells me he uses them to get stuff for our family which makes it even worse. I am not stupid but do realize that by staying.. I look stupid. The cheating is one thing, taking advantage of inncocent women who are alone is another. Neither one sits right with me.

Why do I stay? Because I know that it has nothing to do with me. It is just where he is at this time. Once I am no longer able to accept his behavior as being ok in my world.I will leave.

The only think that saves me is that I do not allow his behavior to affect who I am.

I am so sorry that you are going through this.

January 1, 2013 at 3:51 pm
(17) Dns says:

Well my wife is the social butterfly type she is always on the go. While I am not. So she has ple of guy friends. Lately though she has a new guys who she is staying the night or day with yet she promeces me she is not having sex with him.
I ofcourse don’t know for sure. I love this girl with my whole heart we have only being married 5yet years and I cant go on staying up allnight calling her and have her show up the next day at 2you or so like nothing happened. I am not the f…ing police who needs a confetion. To me she is cheating.

January 21, 2013 at 5:36 am
(18) jamie says:

I am a male age 55 years old on my second marriage I am I am told attractive and generous with sense of humour I re married at 41 to a great fun woman she was not married before , we had 2 children and sex fell off the cliff it has been very sporadic since , I have stuck with it and she is on anti – depressants so not easy to live with , in the last 2 years I have 7 male friends divorcing or sepearting all around 47 to 55 years old , all the men have confirmed the reason they had affairs it was so simple there was no sex in the marriage and no passion, all have children and all have said when the kids arrived sex was off the menu any sex was seen as a chore over quickly without any love …. reading some of the female comments few actually mention sex it is as I have said quite simple give the man some good loving and sex not everyday but at least once a week , you will then keep your man it is a 2 way street , we need love and respect and working to give your partner a roof , holidays , gifts , attention , remember men are simple , yes some women will totally disagree with my comments , after speaking with their wives all have admitted sex was limited because they were tired , stressed etc etc , we men get tired and stressed trying to make ends meet and making sure the family are well cared for financially so it is equal responsibility .. the quicker women are aware of this fact the more chances they have of not losing their men to younger women !!

February 20, 2013 at 2:34 am
(19) Woman says:

I will speak as someone who had an emotional affair, because i had and still having. Married for 3 year, with 2 beautiful kids with my husband. I love flirting, I love sexting, i love talking stuff which drive me crazy and so in the mood, as long as I am doing it with my husband. the problem is, he is an extremely busy man, always out and about, he doesn’t have time to return my flirty texts.he is the conservating type, am not. B4 we got married, i used to flirt with a friendd of mine, who is married too to someone else. After we got into our diffrent vows, we din’t stop flirting, sexting and dicussing personal stuff, though we’ve never had sex. I hv tried to stop but i can’t. Reason being, this other guy offers me something my husband doesn’t. But to be honest, i feel guilty.even though i love this kind of flirting,I feel guilty coz i have violated my wedding vows, hv emtionally cheated on my husband which is not right. I want to get out , but no matter how much i try, no matter how much i fight with my emotions, no matter how much i try to keep off, i just find myself getting back. i try to chat with my husband but he won’t hv time to reply, so am in crossroads. i think its only God who can help me now and fight with my desires. I tell you all who would want to involve yourselves emotionally with other people other than your spouses, DON’T TRY. To get out of an emotional thing is very hard. To cheat on your spouse whichever way is a asin! Keep off, as for me, am trying to. all the best.

June 26, 2013 at 10:53 am
(20) Michele says:

Younger sibling put me in touch w/HS boyfriend. We email now and then. Sibling claims we were “limited to one email a month”. All about control. Sibling has contacted and threatened wife of old boyfriend, claims she is “suing” both boyfriend and wife. I am dialysis patient; sibling claims she put me in touch with boyfriend to “add a spark” to my life. It has turned out to be a nightmare instead. Sibling has history of suicide attempts. 8 year affair with married man who abused her. He kept her around with expensive gifts. My HS friend sent me a package of books, CD’s, etc. and sibling ordered me to refuse gifts; wants HS friend to stop packages immediately. Says she is “protecting me”. Not so. I have a current 20 yr. boyfriend – she says she will put a stop to that too.

December 19, 2013 at 1:13 am
(21) Amy says:

Is my husband cheated or is he really dought it very much. I’ve spent a lot of money on having him followed by some private people. Why would I do this to begin with we have been married 46 years and only had sex once on our wedding night. My first, last and only time in my life, was it good I don’t know! The day after our wedding went down hill no off a cliff. He told me he hated sex and me for suggesting it! So he decided that sex wasn’t going to happen again. He moved himself to our basement and has been there all our married life. We haven’t talked or even been together! Nobody can get through to him he won’t talk to anyone. He lives like a hermit no TV, radio, phone, computer or news papers. Were in our 60s now and its unimportant now. Its a shame that I feel that way and stupid of me for not moving on. I guess I thought I could fix any thing. I wasted my life and I can’t forgive myself for that mistake.

February 18, 2014 at 6:07 am
(22) Ann says:

I found out my husband was being unfaithful to me five months ago with a neighbour who lives just four doors up from us she was also a friend to me too, what hurts more is they both used me and our home for their own gains he allowed her to copy my ideas such as paint and decorating ideas and he encouraged me to go shopping with her as well they became such good liars and so convincing in every way to. It was me who caught them together in our spare room late at night being intimate and emotional with each other, I might add i was asleep in our own bedroom at same time he went into our spare room with her, it is very rare for me to wake up suddenly ” knowing something was wrong. ” that is when I caught them out”. The pain and heart brake is so intense I sometimes think I am dying. I trusted him with everything I had and I respected him as well, now I feel nothing, What do I do? I have lost every bit of trust and do not love him any more. We have been married for 21 years he was my life in every way. I might add we are both christians too. My husband has destroyed me I and no longer look at him as my husband ” I see him as a man who was once a part of me and is now a stranger who lives in our home.

February 20, 2014 at 2:02 pm
(23) Chelsea says:

I just found out that my husband of 13 years has been having a relationship with another woman, they never had sex but exchanged words like love you, miss you and etc. I’m so confused, not sure what to do. Divorce, counseling or what’s next…

March 8, 2014 at 6:38 pm
(24) Teresa says:

My husband of almost 25 years told me he wanted a divorce while my mother was dying in the hospital. 5 days after she died his phone was vibrating in the bed, he was asleep and I saw the message from Sandi and the close of Sweet Dreams. When questioned he said she was a friend from high school who now works at his office. they only text but have feelings for each other. He agreed to go to counseling but found out from the counselor he is just going because he doesn’t like confrontation and doesn’t want to appear as the bad guy because my mom died, our anniversary coming up and our special needs son who is 23 operations. I have given up my education and way to make a living to raise our son. He texts her all day on the weekend, right in front of me. His drinking has gotten worse 9-12 beers a night in a 3 hour period during the week and worse on the weekend. He has decided and told the therapist that this woman is his destiny and he doesn’t want to be with me. He is a coward because he can’t be a man. A liar because he has lied to me and our son…he said the marriage went bad when our son was born and a thief because he has stolen have my life away from me. HE IS A CHEATER EVEN THOUGH HE SAYS HE HAS NOT HAD SEX AND I WILL SOON BE RID OF HIM. Once his fantasy really gets to know him, drinking, snoring, ED, no hobbies, no friends only work…let her have him
My son and I are going to make the best of what life he has left and to hell with him

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