If people are not satisfied with their intimate life in a relationship, they cheat. If they don’t get proper emotional support, they cheat too but in a more delicate way. They have an emotional affair. Is emotional cheating real? It is, indeed. Is cheating a form of emotional abuse? Yes, this is how a partner deprived of emotional support punishes the other partner.
Brief guide to the matter of emotional cheating
What do you conjure up when you think about cheating? It turns out that men immediately imagine sexual infidelity while women think about both physical and emotional affairs. Basically, emotional cheating means having a very good friend of the opposite gender while being in an exclusive relationship with somebody. You feel the affinity of souls, you share your thoughts and opinions, seek support, hold interesting conversations, etc. You have a kind of emotional affair. Is having an emotional affair cheating? – you may ask. The pitfall of being emotionally close to someone who is not your exclusive partner is that you may gradually feel sexual attraction and get physical with that person turning your innocent affair into real adultery.
What we call emotional affair or emotional cheating
According to the latest studies, you don’t need to have sex with someone outside of your long-term relationship to be considered a cheater. 88% of women find the emotional attachment of their partner to some other woman a much serious problem than physical infidelity. This is because women prioritize the emotional connection between partners. It requires more time and efforts to establish it, as it develops on a much deeper level. This explains why women sometimes forgive their men after the fact of physical cheating if men sincerely repent and admit that it was a momentary weakness, pure physics with no feelings involved.
Reasons why people do it
Emotional cheating is a quite insidious thing. You don’t intend to cheat on your partner, but you finally don’t notice that line where emotional affair turns into a romantic one. There are two good examples of emotional affair. You meet someone on the Internet and keep chatting with them because you have a lot in common. You have a good friend in your workplace, you spend at least 8 hours together a day. Those can be purely platonic relationships without any prospect of growing into an affair. However, it can be pretty easy to yield to temptation if there are certain issues with your partner, such as you spend less time together or have become emotionally distant. The thing is that you know your colleague or your virtual friend only superficially and are focused on their best qualities. They also know your better version. The lightness of your communication is explained by the absence of common routine and responsibilities which you share with your legitimate partner.
The main cause of emotional cheating in marriage is that partners get used to each other and start taking each other for granted. Their conversations become less intimate. Due to conflicts, which are an integral part of a married life, they become emotionally distant. So, when there is an understanding and cheerful person on a horizon, odds are you may develop a connection with that person which may result not only in a friendship but perhaps in an emotional affair.
If your partner stays friends with their ex, this situation can be perceived by you as emotional cheating with ex. Some couples break up but they manage to keep a friendly relationship, especially if they have a kid as a connecting link. If this is the case in your relationship, it understandable that you get suspicious and jealous at times. Surely, it’s not very pleasant to hear your parent chat with their ex over the phone. You know that they share many pleasant moments, but you want to be the one and only in your partner’s life. The way out of this situation is to have a conversation with your significant other and express your concern. An advice for the partner who is friends with their ex is to make clear to their current partner that it’s their ex and everything is in the past.
Warning signs your partner emotionally cheats on you
You may suspect your partner is having an emotional affair, but you don’t want to make any groundless accusations. That’s why you need to gather evidence in order to distinguish emotional cheating from a pure friendship. Here is a checklist.
1. Sudden privacy. If you live under the same roof with your partner, it’s quite easy to notice some changes in their behavior. For example, your partner suddenly starts spending much more time on the Internet or their phone seems to be stuck to their hands – they are constantly texting and smiling. When you enter the room, they immediately put away their phones. There is a direct link between emotional cheating and texting. Especially if you partner conceals with whom they are corresponding.
2. Frequent mentions of some other person. Your partner told you about their new colleague or acquaintance, and you didn’t pay much attention to that news. However, if your significant other mentions that person in your conversations and doesn’t miss a chance to praise them, it means they experience strong emotions to her or him. The worst part is when your partner emphasizes that person’s merits and covertly compares her or him to you.
3. Physical distance. Since your partner has an emotional attachment to another person, they keep “loyal” to that person and this directly influences the frequency of your sex. It doesn’t mean they have sex with that person. For them, having sex with you is like cheating.
4. “Just friends” excuses. Your partner mentions her or his colleague or new acquaintance and considers it’s necessary to add that they are just friends. When we speak about our colleagues or friends, we usually say “my coworker Jane” or “my friend Daniel”. It’s a red flag when your partner defends herself or himself.
5. Inside information leak. What happens within the relationship should not go outside. Partners should discuss their relationship and not share the details of their family life with others. If your partner gets so close to another person that she or he reveals some inside information and asks for that person’s opinion, it’s a warning sign.
How to prevent your relationship from emotional cheating
Why do people cheat? It happens when they lack something in their current relationship. If we speak about men, they cheat mostly because of their instincts. As to women, the underlying reason for their extramarital relationships is the need for attention and love she doesn’t receive in her relationship. Female cheating is more complex since it almost always involves emotional attachment. It always starts with emotional cheating and then transfers to a physical one. In order to prevent the first from happening, you need to work on your relationship, cherish it, and keep it harmonious. The recommendations are quite general. You should keep each other emotionally and sexually satisfied. There should be mutual understanding and trust between you. For this, you need to communicate effectively. You should constantly show interest in each other’s lives, just the way you did when your relationship just began. It’s important to share your thoughts, dreams, and worries. Otherwise, when your partner will meet some person of the opposite gender and find in them what they lack in the relationship with you, chances for an emotional affair grow significantly.
Heal your relationship after emotional cheating
If you suspect your significant other is emotionally cheating on you, you should have a talk about it. Dealing with emotional cheating is possible through a conversation. How to strike it up?
Be patient and don’t throw accusations. Always keep in mind that your partner can be just friends with their colleague or friend of the opposite sex. Yelling and hysterics will not work here. You should approach the conversation easy and ask your question delicately.
Start with expressing your concern. Don’t ask a direct question immediately. Test the waters first. Drop some phrases like, “Something has changed in our relationship” or “You’ve changed recently”. This is how you’ll find the way to overcoming emotional cheating.
Know what you want to say to your partner. You want your partner to change, so think in what way and tell them. Say how you feel about them texting too much and hiding when calling somebody. Express your concern over your partner’s heightened interest to their colleague they often mention, etc.
Give emotional support. Have a frank intimate conversation that will cause your partner to open up. The more such conversation you have, the less they will seek support from other people this preventing emotional relationship cheating.
Basically, this is how to repair a relationship after emotional cheating. Both partners should do their best to accelerate emotional cheating recovery.
What if this is you who cheats?
When a new interesting person of the opposite sex appears in your life, you need to know how to recognize that you’re engaged in the emotional affair in order not to carry it too far. The following signs will help you check out your situation.
– You discuss too personal topics with your new acquaintance.
– You feel a stronger emotional connection to this person than to your partner.
– You begin to notice some traits of this person which you like very much and which your partner lacks.
– You look forward to your next chat or encounter with her or him.
– You make some changes to your schedule in order to allot more time to that person.
– You are hiding this person and the facts of your interaction from your partner.
– You often think what it would be like if this person became your date.
– You spend a good chunk of time with this person, even more than with your partner.
All this pretty much resembles a classical affair. Although there is no room for physical infidelity here yet, it’s going in that direction. What can you do about it? You need to decide what this emotional connection means to you and decide whether you’ll detach from this person or split up with your partner. If your partner knows about your emotional affair and doesn’t hide their jealousy, you should have a talk about it. At the same time, don’t blame your partner. The fact that you have an emotional affair is not your partner’s fault, although many cheaters say that they start an emotional affair because they don’t get enough emotional intimacy from their partners. There are always two parties to blame if something goes wrong. It can be that you are not able to open up to your partner because of the fear to appear vulnerable. Or you deliberately become emotionally attached to someone to tease your partner. Once again, you should have a talk with your partner and figure out the ways to become more connected on the emotional level.