“Emotional Cheating” refers to a certain kind of covert, prolonged intimacy with someone who is not your primary partner. It is a unilateral choice made by one person to develop non-sexual closeness with someone other than their leading romantic partner in a manner that deteriorates or undermines the relationship. While emotional cheating often involves an underlying romantic or sexual energy, it may also occur in the absence of romance or sensuality.

Emotional cheating happens when you establish a close, intimate connection with someone who isn’t your partner.

Why Does Someone Embark on Emotional Infidelity?

There are many reasons and circumstances that may prompt someone to seek emotional support outside of their relationship, and in many instances, this is quite acceptable.

One partner may have difficulties expressing their emotional demands within their relationship, or they may be with someone who is unable (or unwilling) to fulfill their expectations in this area.

This is not to say that the other partner is always at fault. In a healthy partnership, there are many methods for a partner to meet specific emotional needs inside the relationship before going outside in a manner that seems like emotional cheating.

How Do You know You Are Cheating Emotionally in A Relationship?

Specific behaviors associated with emotional cheating vary.

You can usually tell a connection has passed the point of friendship when you:

  • spend more time talking to (or thinking about) the other person than your partner
  • avoid mentioning them to your partner
  • know they’re attracted to you
  • notice physical signs of chemistry around them
  • feel less physically or emotionally attracted to your partner
  • share frustration or dissatisfaction with your relationship with them
  • wish your partner could be more like them
  • avoid open communication with your partner

Here Are Some Signs That Your Partner is Emotionally Cheating on You

  1. They Are Not As Interested In Sex As They Used To Be.

If your partner no longer initiates or seems detached throughout the act, that may be a reason for worry, especially if you are there isn’t a significantly worrying  issue  in their live at the moment.

Whether it’s intercourse, kissing, or holding hands, physical intimacy is a significant and necessary component of a healthy relationship, and an abrupt shift in that area may be a symptom of a more significant issue.

In certain instances, an emotional affair may serve as a doorway to sex since it is a natural progression. However, for others, emotional cheating may be motivated only by how another person makes them feel (in which case, a physical connection is ruled out).

  1. They Become Very Defensive and On Edge around you.

Whether they’re instigating arguments or not, if they go to the defensive every time you engage in a contentious discussion, it’s an indication they’re concealing something.

If they take things a step further and begin to make you feel guilty for having concerns, they may be on the verge of engaging in a kind of manipulative emotional abuse known as gaslighting.

While gaslighting is not necessarily indicative of emotional or physical cheating, it is used when someone wants to make you feel guilty instead of themselves.

Therefore, keep an eye out for when they refer to you as “crazy,” reject any polite efforts to discuss the condition of your relationship, and/or often turn accusations of destructive emotions against you.

  1. They Get Enraged With You For No Apparent Reason.

Picking arguments out of the blue may indicate a variety of problems, one of which is emotional cheating. Simply put, if your partner has emotions for another person, they may sometimes strike out at you out of frustration or a need to alleviate their guilt.

  1. They No Longer Prioritize Your Needs.

In comparison to a one-night stand, an emotional affair demands the participant’s time and attention due to its personal nature. Therefore, if you begin to feel as if you are an afterthought rather than a priority, it is possible that your partner is busy with someone else.

For example, if you’re out with someone and they seem to be preoccupied and/or addicted to their phone without a legitimate reason, that’s an issue.

The same may be stated if your partner has developed a tendency of canceling arrangements with you at the last minute (mainly if they include a specific individual).

Ask yourself whether you are being treated correctly and if your partner’s conduct seems out of character. If you can honestly answer “no” to the first portion but “yes” to the second, it’s time to speak with them about it.

  1. They’re Sharing Less with you.

It’s critical in a good relationship to communicate freely about what’s going on in each other’s life, even if it’s mundane day-to-day things. Therefore, if your partner stops sharing information with you and responds to your inquiries with third-grade-level responses (“fine,” “nothing,” “okay”), this may be a warning sign.

They may be avoiding you since they are aware they have committed an error. Alternatively, it may be somewhat worse: they could be spending so much time talking with whoever they’re emotionally cheating on that they’re entirely chatty by the time they get home.

It is quite conceivable that your partner is going through a difficult period at work and would like to avoid disclosing the facts. However, if his or her conduct seems out of character, it is better to follow your instincts and speak.

  1. They Seem To Be Overly Knowledgeable About This Individual.

If your partner sometimes mentions a friend’s name and reveals information about them or their lives, it’s most likely not a big deal. However, if you notice that they often bring up the same person (of the sex they’re attracted to) for seemingly innocuous reasons, be cautious. Not only does your partner obviously know a lot about this individual, but they’re also thinking about them often.

Bear in mind that this is usually a very mild and early indication of emotional cheating, since once a real passionate affair begins, your partner may be extra cautious not to discuss their other love interest in front of you (because, hi, obvious). Therefore, take note of it whenever possible.

  1. They Are Behaving Differently.

On that point, any noticeable shift in your partner’s conduct may be worth examining. This is true regardless of whether they spend substantially more time on social media or decide to go to the gym alone rather than as a pair.

A noticeable shift in behavior does not always indicate that they are emotionally cheating, but it does suggest that something is likely wrong. They may not even be spending time with this person, but they may be attempting to increase their physical distance from you in order to compensate for their emotional detachment.

  1. They Do Not Want You To Get Too Close To Their Phone.

If your partner abruptly moves away from you while using their phone or seems irritated when you approach it, they may be attempting to conceal anything.

Increased texting and social media usage may also be cause for concern about emotional cheating. However, if they’re suddenly carrying their phone in their pocket or taking it to the toilet instead of leaving it on the sofa, it makes them even more suspicious.

If you’re partner exhibits more than half of these behaviors, you should have a conversation with them about where you stand on the issue. It is possible that they need to be medically reviewed if they repeat these activities and genuinely have no control over it.