8 Signs of Emotional Cheating

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Physical intimacy may not be involved in an emotional affair. However, it can still be considered infidelity if one partner undermines the other by putting too much trust in another person for emotional attachment.


What Is Emotional Cheating?

Emotional cheating in committed relationships refers to the act of a primary partner relying on emotional support from someone outside the relationship. Because it is not a sexual affair, people frequently regard emotional cheating as micro-cheating. The person outside the relationship may not be a romantic partner, but they are someone with whom the primary partner has a strong emotional bond. Emotional cheating can violate relationship boundaries, increase sexual tension, and create an emotional bond that is harmful to the primary relationship.


Emotional Cheating vs. Friendship

Platonic friendships and emotional cheating both involve a sense of emotional intimacy and closeness, but their implementations differ. Emotional cheating occurs when a partner crosses boundaries that harm the primary romantic relationship. A platonic friendship should not lead to sexual infidelity or physical contact that violates a relationship rule.

Couples should invest emotionally in close friends, family, coworkers, and others in addition to the one they share. Emotional cheating occurs when one partner is unhappy with how much time and attention a partner devotes to another person, often at the expense of the committed partner's well-being.


8 Signs of Emotional Cheating

Emotional deception can manifest itself in a variety of ways:

1. They are far apart. People who are emotionally cheating may distance themselves from their significant other, resulting in diminished sexual attraction.

2. They are easily irritated. Emotional infidelity can cause the cheating partner to be irritable and unwilling to discuss the changes in their relationship.

3. They violate trust. A breach of trust in a relationship is a red flag and a common occurrence in emotional cheating. You may experience an unexpected emotional distance, and your partner may lie about where they spend their time.

4. They form suspiciously close friendships. Outside friendships are necessary for all healthy relationships. However, if a partner relies on someone other than their romantic partner to fulfill their relationship needs, it can disrupt the foundational emotional connection.

5. They keep secrets.  If a partner sends text messages or spends time with someone but refuses to reveal their identity, they may be emotionally cheating.

6. They lack emotional availability. People who cheat in this manner will seek emotional support from others while withholding feelings from their primary partner. Emotional cheating can be indicated by being emotionally unavailable.

7. They prioritize nonworking hours with a coworker. If a person spends nonworking hours with a coworker in a way that interferes with the primary relationship, they may be emotionally cheating.

8. They talk more about the outside person than usual. A partner who constantly brings up the person with whom they are having an emotional affair may be a sign of too much emotional intimacy.


Why Does Emotional Cheating Happen?

People emotionally cheat on their partners for a variety of reasons. Consider the following considerations:

A significant other is emotionally unavailable. Because one partner may not be emotionally available, the other looks for it in someone else. When partners are unhappy in their relationship, they seek solace from others.

A partner feels belittled. If the emotional cheater believes their partner does not respect them, they may cheat in order to gain their partner's attention.

A partner is underappreciated. People may also emotionally cheat if they do not appreciate their partner. Emotional cheating can cause harm and make the cheated-on partner feel insignificant, negatively impacting their mental health and emphasizing the importance of respect and trust in the relationship.


The Impact of Emotional Cheating

Breakups and breakthroughs can result from emotional cheating. In the worst-case scenario, emotional cheating reveals a lack of respect between people, which can lead to a breakup and negatively impact the cheated-on partner's mental health.

Emotional cheating, which is sometimes considered a lesser form of cheating than physical cheating, can also expose flaws in a relationship and encourage growth. The pain caused by emotional cheating can spark healthy conversations between couples in order for them to better understand their partners' needs.


4 Tips for Preventing Emotional Cheating

Creating emotional safety in your relationship is critical for preventing emotional cheating. Consider the following strategies to avoid emotional infidelity:

1. Be truthful to yourself. You are the most aware of your emotions. If you believe you are getting too close to someone or that someone is attempting to get too close to you, be aware that emotional cheating can be dangerous. Face these feelings head on, establish boundaries with this outsider, and talk about your fears with your partner, as hiding behind them can lead to resentment later on.

2. Maintain regular communication. Make a place and a home where both parties can express themselves freely. Make eye contact, hold hands, and openly express your feelings to your partner.

3. Practice emotional availability with your partner. Be open and vulnerable in front of your partner, and they will reciprocate. Tell your partner how much you value them and consider your life without them to help prevent emotional cheating.

4. Consult with a relationship therapist. Couples therapy does not require that you be in distress. Ongoing, standing appointments can benefit everyone involved by providing an open forum to discuss concerns and expectations.


How to Navigate Emotional Cheating

There are a few options for dealing with emotional cheating in your relationship. You may:

1. Restore trust. First, if you believe the relationship is worth saving, consult with a relationship expert. Therapy can assist you in regaining trust. Emotional vulnerability should be practiced by both you and your partner.

2. Discuss boundaries with your partner. Share your needs and feelings about outside friendships in your relationship. Outside of your primary relationship, you and your partner may discover that having deep emotional relationships with others is acceptable. In this case, try nonmonogamy, but be sure to define which boundaries are important to you.

3. End the relationship if need be. Finally, and in the worst-case scenario, emotional cheating may reveal that you are not in a healthy relationship, and this type of disloyalty may be the final straw.

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