Couples Academy

Is Mentally Cheating Equally As Bad As Physically Cheating?

Is Mentally Cheating Equally As Bad As Physically Cheating

Many people think that cheating is black and white. Either you physically cheat or you don’t. However, cheating is complicated these days. Beyond having sex with someone who isn’t your partner, there are many other boundaries to cross. Even if you do not physically touch someone else who isn’t your partner or spouse, you can find yourself thinking about the other person all the time. So is mentally cheating equally as bad as physically cheating?

What Does It Mean To Mentally Cheat?

Mentally cheating is thinking about cheating or being with someone else outside of your marriage or relationship. If you are in a relationship or married and there is someone you cannot stop thinking about who isn’t your partner, it could be said that you are cheating. Mentally cheating may or may not lead to emotional cheating.

After all, thoughts are not always something that people act upon. However, if those thoughts are making you question the commitment that you ultimately have with someone else, that is wrong. No, you are not a bad human being for thinking about someone else even though you are in a relationship. Having thoughts, though, could suggest that something is wrong with what you currently have.

For instance, if you would be compelled to cheat if the opportunity arose, then you are mentally cheating.


Signs Of Mentally Cheating On Your Partner

How do you know what you are doing is actually cheating and not something else? As mentioned above, if you find yourself unsatisfied in your current relationship for whatever reason and you decide to “look around,” you may be mentally cheating.

There are some other signs of mentally cheating to consider:

  • You notice yourself checking out other people while out with your partner.
  • After talking to someone who caught your eye, you feel the need to hide it.
  • Your fantasies contain other people, not your significant other.
  • Even though you’re not single, you tell people you are.
  • You actively feel things for someone else who isn’t your significant other.
  • There are residual feelings for your ex.
  • You put off spending time with your partner.


Look, it is within human nature to check out other people; it is why people-watching is a popular pastime. There is no harm in seeing someone and acknowledging that they look good. However, it becomes a problem when you are checking out others and wishing you were with them instead of your partner.

Furthermore, thinking about someone is not a crime. If it was, we would all be guilty. However, if you are fantasizing about your new coworker picking you up for a date at an expensive restaurant or what your friend from the gym would look like in a swimsuit, there is a problem.

Is Mentally Cheating Equally As Bad As Physically Cheating?

Physically cheating on someone you care about can be devastating for everyone involved. The trauma your partner may experience when they find out you have been intimate with someone else could stick with them for years. With that in mind, could anything be worse than sexual infidelity in a committed relationship?

Is Mentally Cheating Equally As Bad As Physically Cheating?

Well, yes.

Mentally cheating may not be as terrible as emotionally cheating on someone for years, but it does damage your relationship should your partner find out. Mentally cheating is a clear sign that you need to reassess your views on your current relationship. To mentally cheat means to see all the other opportunities with others, and while you may feel guilty about it, you don’t stop.

This is doing your partner a grave disservice.

When you are married or in a relationship, you are committed to one another. You need to put energy into building that relationship and making it stronger. The best analogy for this is to stop eyeing the green grass in someone’s yard miles away and start watering your own. If you don’t tend to your own lawn, of course, it will look more green elsewhere. Letting your emotions lie somewhere beyond the relationship is not healthy for either of you, especially when you are married.


How To Address Mental Cheating And Move Forward

If you believe you are mentally cheating on your partner, you might be wondering how to stop and move on. Ideally, you need to put the mental cheating to bed for good. Does that mean you should tell your partner? In the end, it is up to you if you wish to disclose what has been going on inside your mind. If you believe that it will help your relationship get stronger and more secure, then perhaps discussing your thoughts with your partner is for the best.

The other way to move forward from mentally cheating on your significant other is to start figuring out where the problem in your current relationship lies. Are your needs not being met? Are you not communicating well or set up boundaries? Figuring out what happened is the first step.

Since doing this alone can be challenging, you may consider hiring a couples counselor or therapist. Together with your partner or alone, you can start discussing what is causing you to mentally cheat. Then you can learn healthier communication and coping skills. Being able to speak openly and honestly to one another is the best way to build a stronger foundation. With time, you can move forward together.


Building Better Relationships With Couples Academy

Mentally cheating on your partner may not always be as devastating as physically or emotionally cheating, but it does mean you are not being faithful. Your partner can still feel betrayed by your actions. Sometimes, this means that the relationship you have will not bear fruit, but for those who are and wish to remain committed to their significant other, the issue needs to be addressed.

Couples Academy can provide an open and accepting environment, where you and your partner can talk over issues and learn how to avoid or recover from infidelity. We take a compassionate approach to couples counseling. If you would like to learn more about our services, give us a call or send a message today.