Infidelity: deeds or thoughts?

A woman friend of mine told me that she considers thoughts of infidel deeds, such as thinking about having sex with another woman, is infidelity in itself.

I have always maintained that you can’t sentence a person on thoughts alone.

What do you think?

She’s stupid. Heaven help her significant other.

She’s not alone, though a bit extreme.

Psychologists have investigated sexual jealousy and found that most women (85%) are more disturbed by emotional infidelity than simple sexual infidelity (eg Buss et al 1992). Men, on the other hand, are more threatened by the prospect of their woman in bed with someone else.

The evolutionary explanation for this is supposed to be that in order to ensure the survival of her genes, a woman needs to have a reliable, permanent partner to bring up her kids, while a man is more concerned to ensure that his partner is carrying his child and his genes, and not some other bloke’s.

A favorite line Lady Chance and I share:

“If women knew what men were thinking they’d never stop slapping us.”

I don’t know who said it. But it’s true.

She’s an idiot. All men, without exception, fantasize about other partners. A guy who says he doesn’t is like a guy saying he never farts. It’s impossible. It’s what you do about it that matters. Urban’s friend sounds very insecure.

i think you could condemn a person on his thoughts, but they’d have to be the right kind of thoughts.

for the idea of infidelity to occur to someone, he need not do anything. it happens. it’s natural. to actually want to act on those thoughts is a thought that i would personally consider pretty much of a deal-breaker. but if the thought occurs and the person chooses not to act on those thoughts based on his loyalty and respect for his mate, what’s wrong with that?

i suppose there are people who want people who think of no others but them. that the idea occurs to them is evidence that they are not truly in love. i think those people will be wholly disappointed with life.

This POV is not uncommon among Christians, based on…

Guys will never, ever stop looking and lusting. I honestly think plenty of women are the same way. Expecting anything else is setting yourself up for lies and defensiveness within your relationship. Some things your significant other does can be changed. Some can’t. Know which is which and either accept the latter or break up.


We can all agree that it’s natural for men (at least) to look at other women and to feel tingles between the legs coming in contact with certain stimuli.

However, actively pursuing the thoughts of sexual intercourse with other women seem to be on another level all together.


What’s the difference between thinking and actively pursuing a thought?

For that matter, even if it was “on another level”, how is the level of active thought pursuit closer to the level of physical action?

Tell me which of the examples below are infidelity:

Scenario One - Man sees hot woman and thinks to himself, "WooHOO, I’d like to get me a piece of THAT!

Scenario Two - Man realizes he married the wrong girl and pines for her endlessly. He never acts on it and never mentions it to his wife, but he feels that he’s in love with the old girlfriend and feels this way for years.

Scenario Three - Man fucks stranger he meets in a bar.

Also, which of these indiscretions can a couple recover from?

Idonno. What’s the diference between me thinking about murdering someone and actually doing it?

If thinking about infidelity is as bad as the act itself then mind as well go all the way and at least get something out of it.

But isn’t “loving” another person, even if you don’t act on it, a betrayal in itself? That’s a lot different than thinking about a roll in zee hay.

I tend to be of the opinion that making relationship agreements about emotions is generally a bad idea; my observation is that most people who do such a thing wind up bitten on the ass by it. (If someone were to ask me for advice on making such a commitment, I would tell them it is ill-advised.)

Infidelity is breaking faith; it’s going against whatever’s in one’s relationship commitments. I don’t think it’s possible to answer the question of what is betrayal without knowing what the other people’s commitments are; further, I think that a lot of damage is done to relationships by people presuming that their partners share their cultural basis for what having a relationship automatically entails, relationship-wise. Sometimes people get lucky and actually did share the same culture; more often, someone does something that’s entirely acceptable within their cultural background and someone else feels betrayed by it.

Someone who comes to a relationship with the cultural belief that “relationship” = “emotional exclusivity” may well feel that they are being unfaithful in fantasising about or caring for someone else. Someone who comes to a relationship with the cultural belief that emotions are okay, just “doing something about it” isn’t may be shocked that their affection is considered infidelity; someone who thinks that “infidelity” requires “having sex” may get blindsided by someone’s claim of betrayal over having lunch with an attractive coworker. In my relationship system, “infidelity” requires “having sex without using a condom or other appropriate barrier protection” or “not telling me about it”.

(And I want my husband to come home so we can go out and hang with his local girlfriend and her partner. :wink: )

Damn, Lilairen, how you doin?

What the hell am I supposed to do, Matthew? Never lay eyes on a woman I haven’t married? I don’t know about other guys, but if I look at a gorgeous woman, naughty thoughts follow. This is not a matter of choice. It’s not like I fantasize about rolling in the hay at length every time I see a beautiful girl - it’s more along the lines of Kalhoun’s first scenario.

I find that protestant evangelicals are particularly fond of this one, but that’s because it basically turns every single human on the planet into an adulterer, and therefore feeds their worldview that every human is a sinner in need of salvation. Despite the lip service Christians pay to the notion that this means lust = adultery, I don’t ever notice them acting as if they believe that. If they really did believe that, they would show as much contempt for all men as they do for adulterers. They clearly still recognize, in day-to-day life if not in theology, a difference between the two.

  1. You are walking in a mall with your SO. You catch sight of a woman who makes you tingle between your legs. You forget about it a bit later.

  2. You are walking in a mall with your SO. You catch sight of a woman who makes you tingle between your legs. A bit later, you sit down with your SO at a sidewalk cafe. She starts talking with you, but your mind is somewhere else, thinking about the woman you saw. You are imagining taking her clothes off, and the use of your tongue, hands, and other body parts on and inside her.

  3. You are walking in a mall with your SO. You catch sight of a woman who makes you tingle between your legs. Later on that evening, you start thinking about the woman you saw in the day. You are imagining taking her clothes off, and the use of your tongue, hands, and other body parts on and inside her.

We can all accept scenario #1 is natural. It’s in a man’s genes, you can’t fault him for it.

Surely scenarioes #2 and #3 are different from #1?

Correct, she is very insecure.

Given that how badly she was hurt previously, though, there’s no way I can fault her about it.