The worst kind of betrayal

My husband and I were talking about this the other night. I was curious if there difference in thinking among men and women.

Which is the worst kind of betrayal?

Betrayal of the mind?
( wanting to be somewhere else )
Betrayal of the heart?
( loving someone else )
Betrayal of the body?
( having sex with someone else)
IMO, It is worse to love someone else.
He thought sex with someone else was the worst.

What do you guys think?

In my opinion, I can’t control who I love. In that regard, it’s not a betrayal. Having sex and wishing you were somewhere else are both choices you make, so loving someone else would be at the bottom of that list.

I don’t think you can really control wanting OR loving, so I would say betrayal of the body. I’m a man, if you’re counting.

Can’t control who you love? That’s crap. If I found out that my husband was having an affair with someone he had no feelings for, it would be a pretty big betrayal. If I found out that he had wined and dined her, told her he loved her and shared a whole bunch of emotionally intimate feelings with her, it would be SO much worse.

Sexual attraction alone may not be something we can control. ACTING on that attraction, however, is completely under our control. And so is allowing yourself to fall in love with someone who is not your spouse. Either stay the hell away from that person, or get out of the marriage.

BFM, I think you’re really muddling the difference between heart and body. What if you found out your husband loved someone else, but did nothing about it? That’s the issue. Of course if he acted on it it would be much more worse. But that’s not the question.

Yes, ACTING on the attraction is under our control. But you seem to define falling in love as a willfull act. I disagree.

Emotional betrayal is worse. Sexual betrayal can be fixed by no longer having sex outside the relationship. Emotional betrayal can’t be fixed. (female here).

Incidently, I think men are somewhat conditioned to think the worst betrayal is a physical one. It may go back to that whole “ownership of one’s wife” thing from days of yore.

Look, I’m just saying. If you’re are spending time with someone and your feelings for them start to go beyond plain old sexual attraction, there’s a problem. Either you need to stop being around them, or you need to take a serious look at why you still want to be married.

I’m male. IMHO, the sexual betrayal would be the worst.

*Originally posted by Kalhoun *
**Emotional betrayal is worse. Sexual betrayal can be fixed by no longer having sex outside the relationship. Emotional betrayal can’t be fixed. (female here).


Well put!

20 years ago i used to think sexual betrayal the worst - probably less about ‘ownership’ than loyalty [or possibly a ‘penetration’ issue?]

now after a bad marriage and a worse divorce?

emotional betrayal.

without emotional betrayal there is no intellectual betrayal, without which there is no sexual betrayal.


The worst kind of betrayal is the partner who dosent have the balls to tell you that she/he feels for another person in a romantic way. Sex is sex. Loving is something else completely.
It can be a very positive thing to discuss your feelings regarding others with your SO. Prevents alot of heartbreak, even if by telling you are breaking your SO’s heart.

Originally posted by aaslatten

I tend to agree with aaslatten, we really have more control over what we do as opposed to what we feel or think so it seems a physical betrayal might be the worst because it is done willingly.

IMO they are all a betrayal of intimacy and trust whether done separately or in combination. I would be hard pressed to pick one above the others but probably the physical would be my choice as the biggest betrayal.

This is just food for thought – I read a book one time regarding how men and women have affairs:

When a man has an affair, most of the time it’s just for the sex he isn’t getting from his wife. It’s just sex. Nothing more, and he still loves his wife, and not his mistress.

When a woman has an affair (sexually), it’s because she is actually in love with the man she’s having the affair with.


I would tend to agree that men consider a physically cheating spouse a worse betrayal. I’m not sure it has as much to do with an “ownership” issue as it has to do with a procreation issue. Biologically, men can be betrayed by being “tricked” into supporting someone else’s offspring, while woman can be “tricked” into raising the offspring of a man who has left.

Guy here :slight_smile:

I think that pretty well sums it up. I’ve heard this argument a few times, and that’s generally what it comes down to. Women are more willing to forgive physical betrayal–how many women do you know who have an SO who cheats on them constantly? While men are more willing to forgive the “other” kind of cheating.


'Tall depends on what you mean by ownership. I mean, which of the following is the more oppressive kind of ownership: restricting what someone does with their body, or restricting what they do with their mind? If the inside of your own head isn’t your own property, what is?

Interesting. It’s important to remember that men and women view sex entirely differently. I’ve read (I believe it was on these very boards, so make of that what you will) that for men, sex within a committed relationship is an affirmation of love. That is, men show how much they love their partner through sex, and having sex is an affirmation of love and committment between the two parties. The physical is connected to the emotional.

Women, on the other hand, show love in more emotional and less physical ways (not that they don’t use sex in the same way as men, to affirm love, but that there’s also much more of an emotional component). They must have the emotional commitment to want to have the sex, so to speak. In this case, the physical is less connected to the emotional - women can love without sex, as it were, and must feel emotionally loved before wanting to have sex.

Dunno - it’s made a lot of sense to me. And in that context, it makes sense why men would view sexual betrayal as the most bitter. Because in that context, the sexual betrayal really is a betrayal of love (it is an emotional betrayal). Whereas for women, who are more likely to separate sex from love, would view emotional betrayal as the worst.

Or I could be full of hooey. But it makes sense to me (female, if anyone’s asking). Take from it what you will.


The worst is none of the above: the worst is lying about betrayal. Especially when the person does not respect you enough to own up to the lies when you call them on it. It makes you feel that no matter what you do no one will ever treat you like a real person.

Having always thought that emotional betrayal is by far the worst, I suddenly feel positively unmasculine…