In Summary

Emotional infidelity. What if you found out that your partner would rather share their deepest secrets with their friend and not you? Truth is they would be cheating on you emotionally. Not all infidelity is sexual, some couples cheat on their partners when they chose to let other people know about their secrets

Sharon Kukundakwe was shocked to learn of her husband’s inability to bear children from her husband’s friend. She says when her husband found out he was sterile, instead of sharing it with her, he confided in his best friend – moreover a female. Kukundakwe was kept in the dark for about three years.

Every time the couple was with the husband’s parents, she would be tasked to explain why they hadn’t had a child yet. Her husband was always mute.

Because the husband’s best friend was female, one day jealous got the best of Kukundakwe and the two had a heated argument. Out of anger, her husband’s friend let the secret out.

“I was devastated that my husband could not trust me with such an important secret about his life. I confronted him and hopefully we found a solution because I was not ready to leave my then three-year-old marriage,” Kukundakwe says.

Kukundakwe’s case is what some couples sometimes grapple with - emotional infidelity. Now infidelity is not just sexual like most people believe but a partner can cheat on you emotionally.
Partners who share vital secrets with other people other than their partners are showing their partners that they cannot trust them enough. And in most cases if one finds out, it breeds mistrust in the relationship.

Sexual relations
Kukundakwe and her husband may have overcome the big secret but for Sylvia Namugenyi, a 28-year-old business woman, emotional infidelity led to break up with the father of her child.

“While I was still working in Juba, my son’s father stayed in Kampala but I was to learn later that my sister whom I would ask to check on my son was instead trying to seduce my husband,” Namugenyi says.

She adds: “My man confided in a friend of ours whom he would always update on my sister’s quest. He even slept with my sister and when I got to learn of it from our neighbours I called it quits.”
There are some things that call for couples to be one another’s top confidant.

Whether they have happened or are yet to happen, one’s partner must get to know to avoid shock of learning it from a third party.
For instance if one’s job is in balance, couples must tell their partner first before their friends. Couples should avoid situations where a partner get fired from a job but keeps pretending to leave home for work every morning until they are discovered.

Some partner’s use family property as security to acquire loans which moreover they have not told their partner’s about.
Micheal Serwanja, a 32-year-old teacher, recalls a time when his wife needed money for her mother’s emergency surgery and did not tell him that she had used their land title to acquire a loan from the bank.

“I learnt from her best friend that my wife had used our land title for a loan when she got stranded after failing to pay back the loan. The friend was me asking me to intervene after seeing my wife stressed for some time,” Serwanja says.

He adds: “I was angry at my wife for about three months because I thought I should have been her confidant. I have since become secretive too because if the person I relied on could not talk to me when in trouble why would I?”

Give partner more time
Joseph Kiberu, a counsellor, says emotional infidelity is a double-aged sword. It is right for one partner to seek advice from someone who will not use their emotions when advising them.
“Most people always put their emotions first that any advice they give their partners is often biased or sugarcoated. Therefore, a partner can seek help from outside as long as they make sure they let their partner know of it first even if they are not considering the advice,” Kiberu says.

He says letting your partner know about what is disturbing them might not help but will help them adjust to your current mood and probably understand you when you cannot meet certain expectations in the relationship.

However, relying on another person to be your go to person whenever you want a listening ear other than your partner hurts their feelings so it is wise to create an atmosphere where couples get to confide in one another about all things.

“Being emotionally dependent on someone other than your partner is not right. Reduce on the amount of time you give your confidant and work more on sharing feelings with the person who deserves it,” Kiberu advises.

irnalubega@ug.nationmedia.com