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What Are Some Common Signs Of Emotional Infidelity?

Cheating Signs. Girl Looking At Her Boyfriend Texting On Phone Suspecting Infidelity Sitting On Couch At Home. Selective Focus

What Are Some Common Signs of Emotional Infidelity?

Cheating is purely sexual, right? Turns out, there are instances when it isn’t a physical thing. You don’t need to have a sexual encounter, be it in real-life or online, to cheat on your partner or spouse. All you need is to breach their trust in some way; sometimes, though, that breach is difficult to spot, even in yourself. When infidelity is based on an emotional connection, it’s known as emotional infidelity or emotional cheating. And it can be as equally bad as a physical affair.

What Is An Emotional Affair?

No matter how you frame it, emotional infidelity is when you have a sustained close relationship to someone beyond your spouse or partner. You might think of this individual as a friend, but the relationship is far more intimate than a platonic friendship. By investing in this emotional connection, the relationship with your spouse or partner is undermined and weakened.


While there can be intimacy to an emotional affair, it doesn’t require it. That is why emotional infidelity is challenging to name. Yet, emotional cheating is just as hurtful, because partners have to watch the one they love develop a close engagement with another, to the point where they are excluded.

What Does Emotional Infidelity Look Like?

Emotional infidelity usually begins as a friendship. Let’s say you meet someone particularly funny at the coffee shop. You sit down, start talking, and before you know it, this becomes a weekly occurrence. Soon, you are more excited to see your coffee shop friend than your spouse after work. You develop hobbies and interests that bring you close to this friend.

At home, you may be struggling with your spouse. Maybe they’re emotionally distant right now and can’t give you the validation you need. So you latch onto your new friendship for emotional support; soon, you’re even fantasizing about your friend throughout the day.

While this emotionally charged friendship might feel amazing in the moment, you also dread your partner finding out about it. Because of this, you hide your communications from your partner and may shy away from sexual intimacy.

Common Signs Of Emotional Infidelity

So you now have a snapshot of what an emotional affair might look like in one instance, but there are many ways emotional infidelity can develop. Take a look at the common signs of someone having an emotional affair:

Your Partner Is Distracted All The Time

A tell-tale sign of emotional infidelity is a distracted partner. This manifests in a few ways. First, they may be constantly on their phone or computer. They spend hours daydreaming and don’t initiate much contact with you. While they might accept hugs and kisses, they are too distracted for sex. Even when you hold a conversation, they’re unreachable and unenthusiastic.

Your Partner Is Hostile

Do you notice your partner becoming more mean? Are they making snide remarks about you or criticizing you needlessly? Sometimes, when someone is having an affair, they try to find reasons that make the affair more justifiable in their mind. This can lead to increased amounts of cruelty that are both jarring and upsetting.

They Give You Too Many Details

Has your partner suddenly started blurting out facts about cars when they never had an interest before? Have they developed a sudden fascination with a video game franchise they’d never liked? This isn’t always a tell, but it can mean that your partner has absorbed someone’s knowledge. It’s the same way you binge-watched your high school crush’s favorite show.

It was innocent back then. Now? Not so much.

Your Partner Begins To Change Who They Are

When you first become interested in someone, it seems instinctive to want to look your best for them, right? Then as you get more comfortable, you dress down more often. The same happens during affairs. Both physical and emotional affairs often lead to those having them changing something about themselves. They might change their wardrobe, start working out again, get a haircut, and so on.

They Guard Their Information Or Devices

Secrecy and lies are common in an affair. You might notice that your partner protects their information all the time. They change the password on their phone. They leave it face down. Part of the reason they get agitated when they can’t find their phone is that they don’t want you seeing signs of their emotional infidelity.

Your Partner Talks About Their Friend…Often

People have a tendency to talk about things they like. While it’s not always insidious to mention a friend in conversation here and there, someone who is always talking about someone else clearly has that person on their mind constantly. So if you notice your spouse mentioning their new co-worker all the time, it could be a sign of emotional cheating.

They Make Comparisons Between You And Their Friend

While people make comparisons between people all the time, this kind of comparison is going to be more demoralizing. Some comparisons are just observations. When your partner has grown emotionally attached to someone else, though, they may make comments about you that make you feel less in many ways.

This is common in relationships where the cheating partner’s needs were left unmet for some time. They might compare you to their friend in an attempt to really portray: “I need this and they give me this. Why can’t you do the same?”

They Change Their Schedule

Is your partner adjusting the schedule to fit in more time with their friend while decreasing the time they spend with you? This is a red flag that something is wrong. While changes in schedule are sometimes unavoidable, changes that are made willingly can point to someone being attached to another.

Keep an eye out for signs that your partner is waking earlier to staying up later to speak to someone online or that they start taking longer to come home from work.

The Next Step During An Emotional Affair

Now that you are aware of the signs of emotional infidelity, it might be time to confront your partner or, if these sound like something you’re doing, rethink your relationships. Emotional infidelity is just as problematic as sexual infidelity, so you are going to have to work through it slowly. Recruit an infidelity therapist for assistance, as they can help you and your partner communicate more effectively.

Don’t let emotional infidelity be the end of your marriage. Once the affair has been discovered, it’s pivotal that you two start working towards reconciliation and forgiveness. Couples Academy has services and programs that teach you to better your marriage and make it stronger than ever. Contact us today to learn more.