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!