Relationships

What Is Emotional Cheating? Recognize The Signs

what is emotional cheating

When most people think of cheating, they imagine their partner being intimately involved with someone else. And usually, that means physically intimacy, likely because society and entertainment have made this type of cheating seem to be worse. Even though, other forms of cheating can be just as damaging to a relationship, and just as much of a betrayal. Emotional cheating can be hard to define as everyone has different interpretations of cheating. Some people believe that their partner merely looking at someone else is a form of cheating, while others believe that texting a person of the opposite sex is cheating. The list can go on and on but here’s the answer to, what is emotional cheating?

Emotional Cheating Definition

This type of cheating is more difficult to define because it doesn’t have as clear-cut boundaries as physical cheating. With physical cheating, you know it right away either from catching your partner in the act (I hope not) or reading a text message that alludes to the physical intimacy between the two people. Emotional cheating and micro-cheating have been linked together and do have similar meanings. Micro-cheating refers to behaviors and actions that seem innocent but actually have a darker motive. This is of course done outside of one’s relationship.

what is emotional cheating
An Emotional Attachment To Someone Other Than Your Partner

Emotional Cheating Examples:

  • Keeping secrets from your partner
  • Hiding text messages from your partner
  • Lying to your partner
  • Thinking of this person when with your partner

Signs Of Emotional Cheating (For The Partner Cheated On)

1. Trust Your Intuition

Most people can tell when their partner is cheating on them or has mentally checked out of the relationship. Not only that but have you heard the phrase “trust your gut” What this is actually referring to is your brain and/or body alerting you when something is wrong. This is why many spouses aren’t surprised when they finally learn that their partner is cheating. And in TV shows and movies, a lot of them even say “I knew it”. They knew something was happening but either ignored it or didn’t want to believe it.

2. They Emotionally Pullback

Does your partner always ask about your day or care about how you’re feeling? Then all of sudden they no longer seem to care? You can tell when a person starts emotionally withdrawing from a relationship. Your spouse doesn’t seem as excited to see you after coming home from work. This could be because they are receiving emotional support elsewhere. Very few people just leave a happy relationship or marriage for no reason. Usually, something or someone else takes us away from it. 

what is emotional cheating
Secretly Calling Or Text Messaging The Person

3. Your Partner Always Mentions This Person

If you’re always hearing about this particular person, there must be a reason why. Pay attention to how your partner talks about them. Do they sound like they are infatuated or in awe of them? Also, do they talk about them differently than other work colleagues? It may be because they are having an emotional or physical affair. When in a relationship, you should never become fixated on another person besides your partner, especially since you made a commitment to that person.

Emotional Cheating Texting

Emotional cheating through text messaging usually occurs at night. So, if your partner is hiding their phone from you at night or up late texting, that’s a red flag. This makes you wonder, who are they texting at this hour? If you’re even having these thoughts, then it is very likely that your partner is having an emotional and/or physical connection with someone else. You should consider figuring out how to catch a cheater When your significant other gets home after not seeing you all day, their attention should be on you. And yours should be on them as well. If their focus is on their phone, especially at nighttime, then someone else is receiving their attention. 

This type of cheating in a relationship creates some degree of emotional unavailability and will eventually affect the person’s true relationship. The person cheating is dedicating their time and emotions to someone else, meaning, there isn’t much left over to give to their partner. And they’re probably getting validation and flattery from the person they’re texting, only continuing the cycle. Before outright accusing your partner of being emotional or physically unfaithful, talk to them first. They might become defensive if you accuse them of this. Instead, tell them you feel like they haven’t been paying enough attention to your relationship. Because of guilt, they may admit it to you right then and there.

You May Also Like: How Do You Define Cheating?

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Mallory Mercer
Hot yoga—and hot latte—enthusiast who enjoys getting out there and experiencing everything that life has to offer.

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