Emotional infidelity: how it manifests itself and what its risks are

As you can guess from the title, we are not talking about sexual intimacy. Here, treason is not about the physical but about the spiritual relationship with your partner.

For example, when you are in a relationship, but you prefer to spend time with someone else, not your significant other. When you communicate, share secrets, and feel better, for example, with a new acquaintance or a close friend. And in doing so, you hope your partner doesn’t find out.

Cheating is about sharing emotional intimacy with someone other than your partner. Usually these situations arise when there is a “cooldown” in a couple. And one person stops giving attention or time to the other.

But, of course, this may not sound like cheating to everyone. That’s why psychologist and family therapist Robert Allan gives this phenomenon another name. “The term I use in my work is attachment trauma (when one partner violates the other’s expectations). Rather than dwelling on what types of behavior constitutes cheating, this term reframes the conversation to how one person’s actions affect the other.”

Sometimes attachment traumas are incidental, but that doesn’t mean they don’t damage the relationship. How, then, do you know if you’re out of line and if a friendship relationship can really be called emotional cheating?

Signs of emotional cheating

First, this kind of “friendship” affects the relationship with your partner. You become uninterested in spending time with him, you want to see him as rarely as possible, but a friend – as often as possible.

Every time something happens to you, you immediately want to tell your friend (and not your partner or husband) about it. It seems that it is a friend who understands you better than anyone else, and next to him you feel safe. On the contrary, with a partner, you often quarrel. And, perhaps, even began to avoid physical contact.

Secondly, emotional infidelity can be expressed in actions. When you make gifts to a friend without reason, or under any pretext trying to see him. And most importantly – you hide it from your significant other. Because he will not understand why you spend so much time with another person. You, on the other hand, understand.

What can lead to emotional infidelity

“There are actually many factors and situations that can cause a person to seek emotional support outside of their relationship, and in many cases it is reasonable,” explains Robert Allan.

Typically, someone in a couple may have trouble trying to express emotions to their partner (or talk about needs). For example, because attempts have already been made, but the other person has not responded in any way. In this case, they look for “support” from outside. Although it would be necessary to first try to sort out the problem with the soulmate.

Can emotional infidelity be dangerous?

On the one hand, it seems that there is nothing wrong with this – if there was no physical intimacy with the person, then it does not count as cheating. But this is only at first glance. The danger of emotional infidelity is that while you are “just friends,” your love relationship is slowly falling apart. After all, you are no longer devoting time to your other half, thinking less and less about him or her. and asking less and less about how things are going.

Also, emotional cheating can only be the beginning. And next thing you know, there may be a sexual attraction to each other. The more intensely you communicate, the more likely it is that one day sex will still happen.

Also, emotional cheating is dangerous for all three parties involved – you, your partner, and your so-called friend.

At some point, you will still start to feel guilty for spending more time with your friend and also for constantly lying to your partner or not telling your partner something.

Your partner will feel more and more cold and detached on your part, and, if he or she cares, will become jealous.

The third party (aka friend) may also be dissatisfied with this situation. Because, for example, he secretly hopes that your friendship will develop into something more at the end.

As you can see, emotional cheating is just as serious as physical cheating. If you notice its symptoms – stop and think: maybe you should try to fix the relationship with your loved one? Or not to torment neither him nor himself and finally put a stop to the relationship, where there is no real intimacy.