Photo Lourdes Ribas

January is the most adulterous month of the year’ so says Victoria Milan, a contact page that caters for married individuals or couples looking to enjoy a discreet affair. I wonder if the intention of being unfaithful is the same as being unfaithful. What is infidelity and what are the limits?

1. Fantasies About Others
Fantasising about someone other than your official partner is a reality in all relationships. All over the world we’ve seen how the persona of Christian Grey has captivated thousands of women. To the extent that it has produced a sexual renaissance in the lives of those women. Their partners have been only too happy to reap the benefits of it. I wonder if it would amuse us so much if the situation were reversed. What if all the men in the world became compelled by the actions of the same fictitious woman or a particular porn actress? Fantasising about someone who’s been invented or obsessing about someone you’ve seen on the screen can become a real problem. When it happens with someone you know personally, that’s not as bad-it’s much worse.

2. Having Intentions to be Unfaithful
For some couples, having the intention of being unfaithful is just as bad as carrying those intentions out. For example, being on the look-out actively-enrolling on contact pages, flirting openly or trying it on with people you know-implies a clear intent. Even if nothing actually happens as a consequence, those actions leave a mark and, if they’re discovered, the damage is done.

3. Cybersex and Sexting
When suggestive messages become more explicit, it’s like having sex with someone without touching them. Although no physical contact takes place during cybersex and sexting, it’s still an intimate act. Sharing fantasies, explicit images and engaging in mutual masturbation has never been easier thanks to smartphones and other devices. You can practice virtual infidelity just about anywhere nowadays, even in the toilets at work.

4. A Kiss.
A kiss is, without a doubt, a very intimate act that triggers a response in the whole body and it can be difficult to stop there. It is a point of no return that can create a sense of guilt or awaken the imagination and leave you wanting more. If it is seen by a third party in a public place it will be proof of your infidelity. This is the worst crime connected to infidelity in my opinion because it involves the humiliation of your partner.

5. An Affair
Often unfaithful people who’re looking for an affair do so with the objective of having a one night stand without having any intention of ending their official relationship. Many people want to have the best of both worlds. That is to say the emotional (and sometimes financial) stability of a “serious” relationship while enjoying a variety of sexual exploits with other partners outside the home. It can be considered as greed, selfishness or even a vice, but what do you do if your official partner never wants sex? Should we live a life without sex or do we break up? I think there is a big difference between a one-night stand and being constantly looking for affairs (or paying for sex) behind your partner’s back. If you intend to live like a single person, you might as well be one.

6. An Emotional Affair
Wanting another person may be natural. Many people might be able to forgive an infidelity if it was just about sex. But when it comes to an emotional affair everything changes. We can control our actions, but not our feelings. Should such an infidelity is discovered, it ends up doing inevitable damage not only to those directly involved, but to entire families. This is something to keep in mind from the start.

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Translation of ‘Seis grados de infidelidad’, published in El Pais.

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