Posted on: October 20, 2009 Posted by: Nicole Harding Comments: 15

The definition of cheating varies from person to person. Can it really be called cheating if there is no crossing of physical lines? No matter your personal definition of the subject, crossing certain emotional barriers can be very damaging to the relationship you are currently in.

Emotional cheating has to do with the development of feelings for a third part outside of your committed relationship.

In all likelihood, you did not intend to end up in this situation. You met someone, and felt something that intrigued you. Or, perhaps you ran into an ex and were instantly reminded of the good times you had together.

Yes, perhaps you took things too far emotionally, and you’re feeling guilty about it. You’ve been lying to your current partner, sneaking around, and having thoughts of taking the cheating even further. If you truly value your current relationship, it’s time to put this to an end before you do something that you regret. Keep on reading to explore how to get rid of your emotional cheating.

1. Recognize the Problem.

If you’re reading this, it’s likely that you have recognized that you have an issue at hand. However, is what you’re experiencing really emotional cheating? It can be difficult to recognize what is happening, as you haven’t yet crossed any physical barriers. See the signs of emotional cheating.

If you are feeling guilty about what you are feeling for another person, it’s likely that there is a problem. You would have no reason to feel bad about it if it was an innocent situation.

If you feel the need to lie to your partner, or find yourself sneaking around, you can guarantee that this is an issue. Feeling like you need to be dishonest is a recipe for relationship disaster if you feel like your emotional ties to the outside party are threatening to your relationship. Or, perhaps these feelings are severely distracting from your feelings for your partner.

You are definitely cheating emotionally if you feel that the benefits of the act outweigh the value of your current relationship.

Here’s the biggest one—if you are tempted to leave your current partner for the outside party, this is a very obvious sign of emotional cheating.

2. Evaluate this Situation.

If you can relate to at least a couple of these signs of emotional cheating, it’s important that you accept the fact that this is your reality. Now, it’s time to deal with it.

The first thing that you must do is to evaluate the situation: figure out what may have caused you to cheat emotionally. This involves asking yourself tough questions, and answering them as honestly as possible. Ask yourself the following questions:

Is there something that is not fulfilling me in my current relationship? If so, is this fixable?

Do I simply enjoy the excitement of the emotional cheating, or do I have real feelings for this person?

How would I feel if I ended my current relationship?

How would I feel if I ended my emotional cheating?

Does my need for attention outside of my relationship stem from self-esteem problems?

As yourself these questions, and expand on the answers. Try your best to determine what may be the cause of your emotional cheating. This, in turn, will help you to decide what to do about it.

3. Come to a Decision.

Currently, it probably feels like you are living a double life. In a way, you are. You have your life with your partner, and your secret life with the outside party. This simply isn’t fair to anyone in the situation, and has to stop.

As hard as it may be, you must decide what it is that you want. You need to be honest with yourself, and really listen to your inner feelings. You don’t want to wind up regretful, as this may cause you to wind up in the exact same situation a few months down the road.

4. Think Long and Hard.

Be sure to ponder all aspects of the situation. Again, ask yourself tough questions, and remind yourself of things you may not have taken seriously at first.

Think about how committed you are to your partner. If you are married, this can be even more difficult to do. Relationships aren’t always easy. They require work and sacrifice. However, the good ones are always worth it. Do you feel this way?

Do you think that your emotional cheating was caused by something in your relationship? Perhaps you feel like you are missing something, or feel unhappy and want to escape.

The cheating could also derive from self-esteem or stress related issues. You must take a long, hard look at yourself—or even see a therapist to determine this.
Now, you must decide if you are going to end your relationship, or if you’re going to try to fight to make things work.

5. Route #1: Breaking things off.

Deciding to end a relationship is not at all easy. However, if you’ve decided that you’re truly unhappy, it is a necessary step. Be as honest as possible with your partner (but be kind about it), as they deserve to know the truth.

Don’t point the blame at them for your emotional cheating, but be as straight-up as possible.

Remember why you made this choice, and do your best to stick to it. Stay strong, things will get better!

6. Route #2: Fixing your relationship

If you’ve decided to stay in your relationship, there are many steps that you must take to make things right again.

The first thing that you must do is to end all ties with the outside party. Let them know that you value your relationship too much to put it at risk. You must cut off ties completely—meaning absolutely no communication from that point forward. It will be hard, but it’s the right thing to do.

After this, participate in some self-reflection. Write things down, or even see a therapist. Face and evaluate your demons. You will be a better person and partner for it. It’s crucial to get to the root of the problem in order to ensure that you won’t wind up in the same situation again.

This is the most important one: communicate problems that were the root of the emotional cheating with your partner.

For example, if you feel that a lack of fun together was what caused you to withdraw, let them know. If you feel like you have a lack of communication, express this to them.

Also, ask them questions about how they feel about the relationship. Do they have any problems that they would like to discuss?

Make the necessary changes to address the problems that you’ve gone over. If you feel that you don’t have enough fun, plan a fun-filled date night once a week (no excuses!) It’s important to address these problems from the outset in order to up your chances of relationship success.

No one wants to be an emotional cheater. It doesn’t feel good to know that you are hurting someone you care about. The important thing is to recognize that you have a problem, and address it directly. Find out what you really want, and make it happen! It will be okay. Many others have gotten rid of emotional cheating in their life, and you can too. Just be honest with yourself and take the necessary steps forward. Best of luck!

15 People reacted on this

  1. I met a guy online 10 1/2yrs ago. We have never met in person but text, send pictures, and phone calls almost every day. Sometimes multiple times a day. There are things we have shared with one another that we haven’t shared with our spouses. It has progressed to text msgs such as: “On way to work” “leaving work” . Here is my schedule for the week. When traveling sending pics and texts. “Good night, sweet dreams”. Started as friendship, now we are both emotionally involved. We are afraid to meet because of where it would progress. We are aware of our status regarding marriage. Do you believe our involvement can continue wihtout meeting? It is very difficult for us both now.

  2. Wow 10 1/2 years??? That is impressive. I have to say, if you guys really have such a connection, why don’t you just meet? More than that, why don’t you get together? It may be difficult at first, but obviously you are both not happy with your current spouses and lives since you still feel the need for each other….. I don’t see why you are propagating your pain.

  3. Ya! I think you should just give up also! I mean, you’ve been married for 10.5 years, that relation ship is so ready to be thrown away. Besides, that’s always the right thing to do when you don’t feel happy. Give up, throw things away, walk away, and get new ones.
    Whatever you do, don’t commit to making your current relationship better. We all know, no one, should ever, do anything that docsnt make them happy or feel better. Working out docent make you happy? Then eat like a pig! Having a child wont make your life happy? (Lord forbid it!) Have an abortion! Dont feel happy being a heterosexual? Sleep with your own kind!
    Id recommend maybe getting someone to “do away” with your unwanted spouse.
    There is no “god” were all just evolved splats of protoplasm, so there is no such thing as right or wrong, its just hormonal and chemical evolutionary reactions!
    Why make a big deal out of it? When you die, you cease to exist, so nothing matters.
    In one million billion years or so, the entire universe will either expand till it disperses to death, or it will reimpolde into nothingness.
    So even IF you become immortal, and humans evolve to be a supreme being, its all going to end anyways.
    Nothing matters.

    Or, Im wrong. Then there IS a God, and things DO matter, and there IS immutable right and wrong, and there ARE eternal consequences.

    Naaaa, theirs no proof of that, and only idiots believe in things without proof.
    Which would include anyone whos ever been married, because at the moment of “I Do”, no spouse has ever opened a window into the future proving they remained faithful and loving “till death do we part.”
    They just say so, and the other sucker believes it without proof.

    Unless, Im wrong again! and sometimes proof isint why we should believe in something, but we should believe in some thins because they are WORTH believing in.

    Naaaaaaaaaa … THATS, just stupid.

  4. Nick is a self-righteous a**hole and Elena is encouraging escapism. Needless to say, both extreme interpretations of and solutions to the situation. Let’s look at this objectively. I think your digital relationship serves a dual purpose: you are gaining emotional support from a third party who gives it unselfishly and the giving is mutual. Also, the secret life your living gives you a thrill indicating your life is lacking. You probably married young. Simply said, this is a metaphysical cancer which has its benefits but will kill you in the long run. Otherwise, this is a disaster just waiting to happen.
    I suggest you take up skydiving and splurge on a trip to Las Vegas with your husband. I suggest coming clean, but you can keep this a secret as long as you make the necessary changes: just break up with him and suggest he go base-jumping with his wife. Either way, good luck to you!

  5. Hello Suzanne,
    Wow, some interesting responses (cringe). I think you need to give your marriage a try (or at least some more thought) first. Why did you marry this man? Are you happy? Could you be happy if your husband was the man you were texting to and from work, etc.? Where the things you’ve shared with this other man about your marriage? We you just confiding in him and reaching out for a friend. If you think about it, people do this all the time (girls night gossip). The only issue is that you’re doing this with another man. Do you feel guilty about it? All of these questions are things you should be asking yourself. Before saying something to your husband (although, you probably should to “come clean”), please take the time to understand why you’re doing this, and what you’re getting out of it. If you approach your husband and ask for more attention (or whatever is lacking) and ask him how you can improve your marriage, you might make progress. Better yet, seek counselling, either with or without your husband. If, in the end, you both realize the marriage is over, you may consider meeting this other man. Please remember that he is in the same situation as you. He may find that he and his wife can work out any issues they may be having. I don’t think you should be quick to jump to any conclusions, unless, of course, you’ve already worked on everything above. I hope you can find the balance that you’re looking for in life.

  6. Emotional cheating, I have seen it first hand. It is the same as sleeping around if you ask me. If you are taking ANY aspect of the relationship away from your partner and giving it to another, it’s cheating. Eck. Only a scum would do such bull. This is a rule I follow. If you wouldn’t do it or say it with your partners knowledge, then it shouldn’t be done at all.

    P.s. LOVE the article !

  7. Nick: Why do you need a “God” to tell you right from wrong? Do you do good things and refrain from doing bad things only so that you can suck up to God so he’ll let you into heaven, or so you can avoid going to Hell? That’s pretty weak. What people like you don’t realize is that we don’t need a God to tell us right from wrong. It’s simple: if an action will directly or indirectly cause pain and suffering in another (be it emotional or physical) then it is wrong. Period. I don’t need God to tell me that. I can figure it out using my own intelligence and free will, thanks very much. Maybe you should be asking yourself why it is that you need some supernatural external force to tell you what is right and wrong. If you can’t figure that out for yourself, I’d say something’s wrong.

    Suzanne: Grow up. If you have a problem with your spouse, deal with it. If it can’t be worked out, end the marriage and pursue your “digital Mr. Right”. One or the other, but don’t continue this B.S. emotional affair behind your husband’s back. It’s weak and it’s not fair to him or to you.

  8. Wow, why is everyone assuming that her marriage with her husband is in shambles? Isn’t it possible to have a really good friend that is not your spouse? I admit that my spouse is my best friend, but there was a life before her and I had a best friend before her (i.e. my best man). We go to games without our wives, we go to bars and clubs without our wives, and I’m pretty sure there has been some things that I have confided in him that I have not confided in my wife … so this must be taking emotional cheating to the homosexual level. There is nothing wrong with having an online buddy for 10 1/2 years (even of the opposite sex) that you communicate with on a personal level. Getting married is not the end of your life, and she never said that she was unhappy with her husband.

    And to M (and anyone else that shares similiar beliefs): We do not need “a God” to teach us morality, that is not the only thing taught in Christiananity or other religions. There is the whole “thank you for sacraficing your life to give me everlasting life; I will live my life for you because I am forever in debt to you for doing so” thing too. I would rather live my life worshipping my God that “might not exist” and lose nothing in the end than to live my life “morally balanced” and lose out on a whole lot more when I die.

  9. So, my wife is supposed to be my only friend, the only person I care about, the only person I’ll ever confide in, and the only person I’ll ever trust? Is it really betrayal if I care for someone else, but have never been romantic with anyone but my wife?

  10. People who act as if an emotional relationship is no big deal and its just a way for a spouse to be more controlling of their partner have never had it done to them. I agree that the concept might sound a little silly, and perhaps it is used in situations where it really is just friends. However, if a friendly relationship gets to the point where it is detrimental to a marriage, thats when it’s no good. Everyone needs to have friends and additional emotional support outside of a marriage, but having a relationship that interferes with a marriage is wrong. In my opinion if an outside relationship escalates too far, it can be just as damaging as a physical relationship.

  11. What if the two of you decide to stop the level of emotional attachment and just be friends. Is it possible to be friends after an emotional affair

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