Cheating is used in many different contexts. To cheat on a test is one thing, but to cheat on your partner? What does that really entail? Most often, people associate cheating with physical intimacy between two people, where one or both are in relationships with other people. But if a person is involved with someone without getting physical and only sharing emotions, is that really seen as cheating?
Does emotional infidelity count as cheating? Let’s find out.
What Is An Emotional Affair?
Emotional affairs, also known as emotional infidelity or emotional cheating, start with a friendship or an acquaintance, such as a coworker or the barista at your favorite coffee shop. What may start with an exchange of texts about work or a hobby soon warps into conversations that take up hours of your life. You funnel all of your emotional time and energy into being with that person, leaving nothing left for your spouse or partner.
In the back of your mind, you may realize this is wrong, so you hide the conversations, messages, and gifts for as long as you can. Meanwhile, you are discussing things with this new person that you don’t think you could with your spouse.
Why Do Emotional Affairs Happen?
For those who find out their loved one has had an emotional affair, discussion can be painful. Unlike physical affairs, which can stem from lust, boredom or revenge, emotional affairs are more complex. Without the aspect of immediate lust, particularly for those relationships that begin over text or the internet, emotional affairs mean the relationship was slow to form and built on real feelings.
For most, emotional cheating begins when someone finds a person that shares an interest. Or the person engaging in the emotional affair wants to feel validated and wanted. Social media has made it easier than ever for people to come in contact with those who share hobbies, interests, and personalities.
However, if you truly want to understand how an emotional affair began, you have to evaluate your relationship. Ask yourself:
- Do you communicate healthily? Has communication been flagged recently?
- Are you spending more time apart from one another?
- Has the initial excitement of your relationship died?
- Have you been married for a while?
Does Emotional Infidelity Count As Cheating?
Can an emotional affair, where sexual intimacy rarely happens, count as cheating? Yes, it certainly can. Because of the way an emotional affair evolves, those involved may withdraw farther and farther from their partner. This withdrawal includes a lack of intimacy and passion. Soon, the emotional affair impacts everything due to the dependency of those having the affair experience.
Discovering this kind of relationship between your spouse and someone else can be appalling and heart-wrenching. After all, a marriage or relationship is more than a physical commitment of monogamy. You’re supposed to share your heart, to be able to communicate with one another.
The emotional connection between two people can be just as strong—if not stronger—than a physical one. For that reason, when your spouse’s attention is drawn to another, leaving you neglected, it is undoubtedly emotional cheating.
The Signs Of Emotional Cheating
Recognizing the signs of emotional infidelity can keep such a relationship from happening in your life, be it with one of your friendships or your spouse’s. The first clue that an affair is going on is a change in demeanor.
From there, you might notice the following common signs:
- Your spouse begins changing their appearance or style of dress.
- They spend more time on their physical appearance than they used to and may even have begun working out.
- Your spouse talks a lot about their new friend. Conversely, they may be very defensive about the person and not want to talk about them at all.
- Your partner spends long periods of time online throughout the day and may change their schedule to stay up long into the night. Because of this, it may feel like you never see them.
- They hide their devices or lock their phone when you’re around. This protectiveness may strike you as odd, especially if they didn’t care in the past.
- Your spouse becomes more secretive about how they are spending their time and with whom. For example, they might say they are too tired to remember where they went for lunch.
- They are distracted whenever they are with you and may not want to engage in displays of affection or sex. While your partner won’t tell you this, they are having
- sexual fantasies of being with the other person.
- You notice that your partner has removed mementos of your life together from their office or wallet or other belongings.
- They ask you not to contact them at certain times.
- You are unfairly compared to this individual.
The main indicator, however, is the gut feeling that something is wrong between you both. You might feel as if the connection you once had to your partner is gone.
Does an emotional affair count as cheating? Yes. Regardless of whether there is sexual intimacy because attention is being taken away from the marriage and given to someone else, it’s cheating. There is no way around it. If you suspect that you or your partner is having an emotional affair, something is going to have to be done about it.
Start by enrolling in Couples Academy. You and your partner can learn valuable skills that help you communicate your needs better. Stop infidelity before it begins and build a stronger, healthier marriage together. Get in contact with Couples Academy today to learn more.