Los Angeles, California (PressExposure) July 14, 2008 -- Christie Brinkley is shocked and distraught over her soon-to-be ex-husband Peter Cookâs emotional infidelity consisting of an expensive and hidden online porn habit, combined with his physical infidelity with an 18-year-old co-worker.
Madonna accused of having an affair of the heart with baseball star Alex Rodriquez during Rodriguezâs divorce.
âEmotional infidelity can be just as destructive as physical infidelity,â says Stephany Alexander, an infidelity expert who has been quoted by countless major media outlets and is the founder of WomanSavers.com, a free infidelity date screening service for women.
âThere is no doubt that emotional infidelity can be just as painful as being cheated on physically,â says Alexander. âBoth emotional infidelity and physical infidelity are a painful breach of trust and a blow to ones ego.â
Emotional Infidelity can Happen in Many Forms
Alexander, author of Sex, Lies and the Internet â An Online Dating Survival Guide, explains the definition of emotional infidelity and some of the different ways emotional infidelity can happen.
Alexander says, âemotional infidelity is the new fad on the internet and is appropriately titled âcyber cheatingâ.â Alexander adds âmany homes have one to two computers making it convenient to carry on an emotional affair without the partner ever knowing. A person can learn a lot about an internet stranger by communicating through a few emails, texts or chats, all without the embarrassment of meeting in person.â Christie Brinkleyâs husband is accused of frequenting the website Adult Friend Finder and offering strangers money in exchange for intimate photos.
âThe sharing of personal information with strangers online is commonplace on the internet and personal details are shared on chat boards, personal websites, blogs, message boards and porn sites,â says Alexander. âEmotional infidelity is an infidelity that occurs through emotions, feelings or thoughts, rather than physical in nature and with the increase in technology through the internet and cell phones, the traditional term of infidelity has become broader to include thoughts and/or feelings.â Alexander states âemotional infidelity can include anything from texting someone intimately via cell phone to emailing intimate correspondence, exchanging personal photos or viewing pornography.â
According to an emotional infidelity poll of over 12,784 women conducted by WomanSavers.com 92% (11,824) of women believe that online affairs constitute infidelity, whereas a mere 8% (960) do not. http://www.womansavers.com/relationship-polls.asp
Alexander explains that the main difference between physical infidelity and emotional infidelity is physical contact. âPhysical infidelity involves people meeting directly and then engaging in physical intimacy,â says Alexander. âEmotional infidelity can occur in distant locations with absolutely no physical contact occurring. With emotional infidelity, there may be a meeting, but it can occur on a cell phone or a computer.â
In another WomanSaverâs emotional infidelity poll of 7,617 women, 93% (7,111) felt that emotional affairs lead to physical affairs and a mere 7% (506) disagreed. http://www.womansavers.com/p_pollresults.asp?pID=31
Alexander has found that some people who emotionally cheat donât consider the act to be a true form of infidelity because there is no physical contact as in the case of Madonna and the Rodriguez, whereas others see no difference between physical and emotional infidelity because emotional infidelity has the same basic behavioral actions as traditional infidelity. Madonna is accused of emotional infidelity with Rodriguez by wooing him through Kabbalah. However, Madonna claims she is not romantically involved with him in any way. Alexanders explains that âwhen a person cheats, they flirt and seduce another regardless of whether they are in physical contact or not. The problem results when the partner pays emotional or physical attention to someone other than their mate and this effects the relationship in a negative manner.â
An emotional affair can begin quite innocently and as time passes the information two people exchange becomes more intimate,â says Alexander. âAs the trust factor increases, so does the curiosity, which many times ends up in a physical meeting.â
Alexander explains âwhen a person is not getting their emotional needs met in a relationship, they seek it from someone who will give it to them. She adds, âall people want to be loved, acknowledged, validated, desired and needed and if those needs aren't getting met through their partner, they go find someone who does meet their needs.â
With the internet, there are plenty of strangers online who can fulfill those needs, especially if deceit is involved. Alexander says âmany people lie to the online strangers in order to get the attention they think they deserve. The person may tell the stranger how mean and distant their partner is so the stranger feels pity for them.â She continues, âmany married people tell online strangers they are separated or divorcing when this is far from the truth.â
With the ease of meeting new people through the internet and through various communication devices, the number of people engaged in emotional infidelity and cyber cheating will increase. However, it is important for the parties engaging in the communications to consider the consequences and pain these acts may have on their partner.
Alexander has counseled thousands of infidelity victims and says âa good way to determine what is and what is not acceptable is to ask yourself if you would be okay with your partner engaging in the same type of behavior with another. If the answer is no, then you should definitely back off because emotional infidelity can hurt just as deeply as physical unfaithfulness.â
Alexander gives the top 10 signs of emotional infidelity. If any of these ring a bell in regards to your relationship, perhaps you are not as close to your partner as you should be.
1. You have little or no sex. Partner is always too busy or tired. 2. You have petty arguments. 3. You feel like you donât have anything in common any more. 4. One of you is no longer attracted to the other. 5. Partner spends unusually long periods of time on cell phone or computer. 6. Partner suddenly becomes hypercritical about your appearance. 7. Partner becomes secretive or defensive when questioned about their behavior. 8. Partner loses interest in relationship or family activities. 9. Partner stays on computer very late at night after you have retired. 10. Partner secures their computer in a locked area or with passwords you donât have access to.
Alexander gives the following advice for reopening communication channels. âTalk to your partner and tell them what you need and want. Donât be afraid to express your true feelings, including your insecurities and concerns.â Alexander says, âa loving mate will be understanding of your feelings and work through it with you. She advises to âtell your partner that you miss them and you need their devotion and attention.â
Free Advice and Support for Victims of Emotional Infidelity
Alexander says there are many great sources to get help and advice if dealing with emotional infidelity. âWomanSavers.com is home to the most popular infidelity advice forum on the internet and you can get free advice from women who have experienced similar situations at http://www.womansavers.com/forum-for-women.asp.â