Emotional “Cheating” – Harmless or Not?May 9, 2018
Years ago, I had a boyfriend and our relationship was having problems. Then a common friend introduced me to Steve (not his real name) at a party. I enjoyed talking to Steve that night, relieved to be away from the problems I had with my boyfriend.
Days after, we exchanged some “harmless” messages: “Stuck in traffic! What u doing?”, “Hey I just passed by your school!” , “Know any good restos in QC?” , “Bored! ‘Musta???”
I didn’t want to admit it back then, but Steve’s messages weren’t ordinary to me. May konting kilig, so I felt guilty. I’d make myself feel better by thinking, “I’m not doing anything wrong. Steve is just a friend.”
I kept my “harmless” chats with Steve from my boyfriend. I didn’t want to fight over “nothing.” Again, I told myself “Steve is just a friend…” Or a worse excuse: “I’m just getting a guy’s perspective on my relationship problems…”
Talking to Steve didn’t help my relationship AT ALL. I looked forward to Steve’s messages more than my boyfriend’s. I was becoming emotionally tangled with Steve. Looking back, this wasn’t as harmless as I thought.
Would I be OK, if my boyfriend was exchanging messages with a girl that he had some “kilig” for? It’s absolutely NOT OK. I would feel uncomfortable, or even betrayed. So it was unfair of me to do it to him.
Today, stories like mine remind Richard and I of how vulnerable we are to feel-good emotions like kilig. It pushed us to make excuses for what we won’t admit in our hearts to be wrong or unfair —all in the name of “love.”
Our mentors told us to do our best to guard each other against increasing levels of emotional attachment to another person, especially in a committed relationship.
It feels uneasy, but Richard and I tell each other in detail who we are attracted to. Admitting the truth makes the kilig emotions less powerful. Hiding it from each other makes them stronger! (Secrets —> more mystery —> more kilig!)
We also help each other keep our distance, and make sure we don’t have long conversations alone with the “attractive” person. Richard and I realize that fighting for our relationship is a team effort!
As our mentors say, “People don’t start out planning to cheat. Laging hindi ‘yan sinasadya. But it usually starts with a harmless message…”
May we learn to guard our committed relationships well, everyday! Take heart!
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