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What Is Emotional Cheating? (The Truth You Should Know)

by Sonya Schwartz

Relationships and marriages are complicated things that take a lot of hard work to stay healthy and happy. Cheating on one another is so often where a relationship will fall down and cause pain or hurt. 

So many of us consider cheating as a physical act, however - where your partner is physically intimate with someone else outside of your relationship. However, it is possible for people to have emotional affairs which can sometimes cause just as much hurt in a relationship as a more traditionally thought unfaithful affair. 

Here in this article, we look at defining what exactly it means to emotionally cheat on someone as well as how to know if you are emotionally cheating. Finally, we look at what you can do when your spouse is caught or owns up to emotionally cheating. It can be a very hard time finding out that he or she has been emotionally unfaithful, so it is good to keep in mind that you have some actions you can take to help.

What Does It Mean To Emotionally Cheat On Someone?

Emotional cheating on someone is a blurry part of infidelities and being unfaithful to a partner. The reason being is that some people will only consider cheating as something that includes kissing someone else or having sex with someone else. Emotional cheating does not include this, but it can include developing romantic feelings for someone outside of a relationship. 

Within that remit of developing feelings for another person, there is a huge scope of what can go on. A person can start to have a crush on someone else, without any intention of taking it further than that. They know to act on any of their feelings will be a greater form of an emotional affair or emotional infidelity. But if you are in a relationship with a person who develops a crush on someone outside of your marriage or partnership, you would still be hurt to know that that your partner has managed to find another person attractive

Emotional cheating or an emotional affair can be more than just a crush however. An emotional affair can include two people interacting with one another in a romantic sense - discussing feelings, telling each other that they are falling in love with them, and simply enjoying each other’s company in a way that is more than pure friendship. What an emotional affair and emotionally cheating on someone won’t include here is any physical sides of romance - from kissing to sex. 

At some point, emotionally cheating on someone outside of your relationship will most probably include some form of deception or secrecy. To emotionally cheat may sound confusing at first given that there are so many levels to how far a purely emotional relationship can go, but at the crux of it, there is usually some form of betrayal on the part of one person’s behavior. 

How Do You Know If You Are Emotionally Cheating?

People get easily confused with whether or not they are partaking in an emotional infidelity as it really tests the boundaries of their current relationship with a person. Below we have listed some questions to ask yourself, to see if you have been having an emotional affair or have been emotionally cheating. The questions ask you to look out for key signs that can indicate that you have been unfaithful to your partner in an emotional sense.

Do You Feel Guilty?

A big question to answer if you are worried that you are emotionally cheating is to look to whether you feel guilty about your behavior. If you do, then the likelihood is probably that you have been having an emotional affair with someone else - whether those emotions are reciprocated or not.

Guilt is a good way of ascertaining whether your actions have been those of someone emotionally cheating as it shows that you know that your behavior could hurt your partner’s feelings. This is fundamental to know as it’s a good way of keeping your actions in check. Emotional cheating or emotional infidelity can be such a confusing area, but if you try to ensure that your actions or feelings for other people won’t hurt your partner, then you will always be on the right side of the line.

Do You Have An Attachment To Someone Else? 

Answering this question can really help you understand the connection you have between both your partner and the other person to whom you may be having an emotional affair with. If you think that you have a connection with a person that is beyond the usual realms of being with a friend, then the likelihood is that you have formed an attachment that is more romantic than your partner would be comfortable with. 

Sometimes it can be difficult to ascertain whether you simply just have chemistry with a person, which can sometimes be mistaken for an attachment. To some, that chemistry could be a form of emotional infidelity, but for many, emotional cheating will be someone looking to build on that chemistry and form an attachment or a serious connection with them. It is, again, a blurry boundary - so it’s good to go with your gut feeling in times like this. If you think the relationship you have with a person has started to become more serious than it should be, it points to you being part of an emotional infidelity. 

Do You Look Forward To Spending Time With Another Person?

If you are still unsure as to whether you have been emotionally unfaithful or not, as you do not know whether the attachment you have formed is a serious one, answer whether you look forward to spending time with the other person outside of your relationship. This can be a very quick question to answer with a yes or no question. 

This can take out any confusion for you if you are uncertain as to whether your actions are an emotional infidelity or not. An attachment to a person can be hard to define sometimes, so asking yourself if you are looking forward to seeing him or her is easier to grasp.  

Are You Keeping Secrets From Our Significant Other?   

Another hard and fast question to answer is whether you have been keeping secrets from your wife or husband to cover up your actions or feelings. This can be a key sign that you have had or are having an emotional infidelity with someone else outside of your relationship. 

Keeping a secret from your partner is never going to be a healthy aspect of a relationship, as it’s key to be honest with each other at all times. With reference to having an emotional infidelity, if you have ever kept a secret about your true feelings for another person, or what you have done with another person or whether you have even been texting or messaging another person romantically, then you have most likely been having an emotional affair. 

What Do You Do When Your Spouse Is Emotionally Cheating?

Finding out that your spouse is emotionally cheating can be a very tough time for a relationship. It’s possible to be happy again, but it takes some proactive decisions and actions from both parties in a partnership. 

Talk To Each Other

One of the best ways to improve your relationship when you have found out that one of you have been emotionally cheating is to talk to each other. Opening up the lines of communication between one another is key to working through the issues in your marriage or partnership so that they don’t happen again. 

Knowing how each other is feeling is fundamental to you both being happy and content.

Be Honest

When you open up the communication in your relationship, you both need to be honest in the process. Without being honest, and laying all your feelings and ideas on the table, you won’t be able to work through all the problems you have and resolve them. Being honest can be painful to your other half sometimes, but it is essential to do so that you both have the best chance of moving forward. 

Look At Your Relationship

In being honest with one another, you are giving your relationship the best possible chance of being in a happy and healthy relationship again. However, being honest with one another will identify problems between the two of you and you need to tackle those issues head-on. Be as analytical as you can with why those problems arose so that you can ensure that they don’t cause problems in the future for you again. 

Go To Couples Therapy

If, when you talk to each other about how emotional cheating has affected you, you find that you do not improve your relationship, it may be a good idea to go to couples therapy. A therapist is a good way of working through problems as they allow you both a safe space to air your views. 

FAQs

What Does It Mean To Emotionally Cheat On Someone?

Emotionally cheating on someone means you start a relationship in a romantic way without the physical side of things taking place. This can manifest itself in many different ways - for example, through actual dates or simply the want to sleep with someone else outside of the relationship.

How Do You Know If You Are Emotionally Cheating?

You’ll know if you are emotionally cheating if you are honest with yourself. If you are going outside of your relationship or marriage for a love interest from another person, whether you are sleeping with them or not is emotional cheating. 

Why Do I Emotionally Cheat?

People emotionally cheat and have emotional affairs because their current relationship falls short for them somehow. There could be issues in your current relationship with communication, intimacy, or attraction perhaps, which is why you could be looking for emotional connections elsewhere. 

Is Having Feelings For Someone Else Cheating?

The problem with emotional cheating is that it has a lot of blurred lines. If you have romantic feelings for someone else, it may not be cheating, but it could definitely suggest there are issues in your current partnership which may benefit from your addressing. 

Is Texting Considered Cheating?

Emotional cheating can sometimes be a purely mental thing. It does not always need to end up in two people meeting up. If you are texting someone with romantic sentiments, then this is a clear indication of emotional cheating taking place that has moved from just the mental emotional cheating. 

The Bottom Line

Emotional cheating can be a difficult time for any relationship. When someone has an emotional connection with someone else outside of the relationship, it can play havoc with your confidence and your happiness. It is a natural reaction to start double guessing both yourself but also your partner’s every action

Whether it is you or your partner that emotionally cheats, it is possible to move forward and be happy in your relationship again. However, it takes hard work and dedication to resolve any issues that you have between the two of you - both because of the emotionally cheating but also before the emotional infidelity took place too. Emotional affairs can often be a symptom of something else that is wrong a relationship, so it’s a good idea to work through those issues to ensure that affairs don’t happen again. 

Sonya Schwartz
A hopeless romantic that struggled for many years to find her Mr "Right" and made all the mistakes you could think of while dating. Known for always choosing the wrong guys or messing up relationships, Sonya was finally able to change her approach and mindset when it came to dating which helped her eventually find the man of her dreams and become happily married. You can read more about me here...

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