Whats Worse Emotional Physical Cheating

Men's Dating

What’s Worse, Emotional or Physical Cheating?

Dr. Wendy Walsh

Written by: Dr. Wendy Walsh

Dr. Wendy Walsh

Known as America's Relationship Expert, Dr. Wendy Walsh is an award-winning television journalist, radio host & podcaster, and the author of three books on relationships and thousands of print and digital articles. More than 1.5 million people follow her sage advice on social media. She holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and teaches in the Psychology Department at California State University Channel Islands and has been the host of "The Dr. Wendy Walsh Show" on iHeart Radio's KFI AM 640 since 2015. Walsh is also a former Emmy-nominated co-host of "The Doctors," as well as former host of the nationally syndicated show "EXTRA." She was named a Time Magazine Person of the Year in 2017 after speaking out about harassment at a major news network.

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Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

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Being unfaithful — either sexually or emotionally — is never a good thing, but if you tell me that one kind of cheating is worse than the other, I have a pretty good chance of guessing your gender.

Bottom line: Men tend to fear physical cheating while women fear emotional cheating. And the roots of each feeling date back to our anthropological past.

Since male hunters provided vital protein and time spent protecting their offspring, sexual infidelity could lead to a man showering his valuable resources on the another dude’s genes. Definitely not a way to win “the survival of the fittest” game.

And there’s still real reason to fear this.

A secret study of DNA in American maternity wards showed that nearly 10 percent of newborns do not match the DNA of their doting daddy. And even though newborns have few distinguishing features, new mothers are most likely to insist that their baby looks more like daddy than mommy.

The researchers suggest this is Mother Nature’s ingrained habit of encouraging paternal participation by assuring him that his genes lie in that precious bundle.


“If you wouldn’t say it or do it with your spouse

in the room, then you are betraying a trust.”

Women, on the other hand, have a different set of fears.

Many women understand that most men can separate the sexual act from an emotional connection. But all women know that when a man lets down his guard and exposes the tender parts of his psyche to a woman, it’s only a matter of time before resources start leaving the household.

Whether it’s his money or his time or his attention, when a man has an emotional connection to a woman, he becomes a giver. Thus, one study asked wives if they would prefer that their husband saw a prostitute for one hour each week for a set price, or have long, lingering platonic lunches with a co-worker.

Not surprisingly, plenty of wives considered the prostitute the lesser evil. That emotional infidelity was a much bigger threat.

Truth be told, both kinds of cheating do serious damage to a relationship. Even an online friendship that breaks boundaries by divulging confidential information about the primary relationship is classified as cheating.

Remember the rule: If you wouldn’t say it or do it with your spouse in the room, then you are betraying a trust.

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