When the sex stops, is it OK to engage in adultery? That’s the question Dr. Mark White posed in a recent Psychology Today article, and it’s created some strong responses from people on both sides of the fence. As a New York City matchmaker and dating coach, I’d like to weigh in on the debate.
There are those who say denying sex is a betrayal on par with adultery. When two people enter a relationship, there’s a natural expectation of sex. Of course, sex should always be voluntary. But when sex is refused for long periods of time, it can start to feel like a violation of the relationship itself.
It’s no secret that people in relationships have sexual needs. But technically speaking, there’s no real obligation for their partner to satisfy them. And trying to suppress or deny those needs is a tried and true tactic to drive your special someone into the arms of another. So what can you do?
You can be the noble fool who puts the relationship above all of your own needs, but that doesn’t mean your needs are suddenly going to go away. They’ll still be there below the surface, breeding quiet resentment for your partner.
When sexual needs aren’t being fulfilled, nine times out of ten the cause is a communication breakdown. If one hundred of you gave me your own definition of cheating, I’d have one hundred different definitions. Certain things are going to be common, namely the physical acts. But the fact is, cheating in a relationship means whatever each partner decides it means. And you shouldn’t be in a relationship with someone whose behavior you don’t approve of.
If both people aren’t having their basic needs satisfied, then there is a problem in the relationship and that problem needs to be discussed. Not talking about it will only make it worse, and committing adultery just brings a third person into the mess. As uncomfortable as it might be to bring up, you need to make your partner understand your needs.
Sure, you can run out the door and find sex elsewhere. But if you don’t identify the cause, you’re only setting yourself up for the same problem in future relationships. So look your partner in the eye and just say it. If that conversation ends the relationship, trust me when I say it was already over. At the end of the day, you have to do whatever makes you feel good about yourself when you look in the mirror.