When it comes to things that destroy a relationship, cheating is usually number one. Being in a relationship with someone means that you put all of your trust in them to not go off and find someone knew.
Many times when cheating comes into play in a relationship, it’s physical. One person hooks up with a stranger at a bar on a drunken night out. Another person sleeps with their ex in a moment of weakness. Another just had a “moment of weakness.” All in all, when it comes to cheating, people neglect to realize that there is such a thing as cheating without getting physical.
Emotional affairs, while hard to spot, are just as bad as physical cheating–if not worse. In fact, many people would argue that having an emotional affair on your partner is way worse than having a physical one.
According to Michael J Formica MS, MA, EdM:
Emotional infidelity is any situation that creates or causes some degree of emotional unavailability on the part of one partner that interferes with one particular aspect of the relationship, along with the quality of the relationship as a whole.
Essentially, any relationship with another person outside of your actual relationship with an emotional connection that leaves you emotionally unavailable to your partner is an emotional affair. The problem with emotional infidelity is that many times, the “cheating” starts off innocently and not as an intentional affair. But, after a while, things get out of hand.
When the affair comes to light, many people revealed that they felt worse knowing their partner emotionally cheated rather than physically. Why?
5. They’re harder to spot.
Emotional affairs are hard to spot at first because they seem innocent and normal. Maybe your partner is good friends with a classmate and they study together. Or, your partner takes their lunch break with a co-worker frequently. These things seem normal and natural. Over time, they could turn into an emotional affair if there are feelings involved. But, from the beginning, it looks like a casual friendship.
In relationships, we want our partner to be independent and have their own life–so, we don’t get angry when they have friends and platonic “relationships” with others outside of ourselves. However, pushing them to make friends can also lead to sparks. It’s a slippery slope.
4. Your partner gaslights you into thinking you’re crazy.
When you do feel jaded, or uncomfortable that your partner is seeing someone too often, they are usually on the defense. In the beginning, emotional affairs are confusing to everyone involved. Your partner knows they enjoy talking to the other person, but they haven’t fully grasped the fact that they’re “cheating” just yet. And, either way, they may not be ready to face the truth.
Therefore, they get aggressive and angry when you think that something is going on. Gregory L. Jantz Ph.D. claims that with social media, it makes emotional affairs twice as confusing and twice as complicated.
For many people, this virtual world unfortunately becomes their primary outlet for intimate communication. They become more willing to share their thoughts, feelings, and concerns with their virtual community than with their “real” friends, family, or significant other.
4. There are real feelings involved.
With physical affairs, someone can slip up and make a drunken mistake. But, with emotional affairs, they usually happen over a long period of time. Someone gets close to another person and eventually, realizes they have strong feelings for them.
Many people are able to separate sex and emotions. Emotional affairs, however, are all based on emotions. Your partner inevitably falls for someone that’s not you. According to reports and surveys, people in relationships have said that they feel worse knowing their partner fell in love with someone else over having a one-night stand.
3. Your partner falls out of love with you in time.
It’s pretty difficult to love two people at once–or, at least, be in love with two people at once. If your partner is getting emotional fulfillment outside fo your relationship, it’s because they are slowly but surely falling out of love with you.
2. People want what they can’t have more.
In emotional affairs where there is no physical contact, the desire is super high. People always want what they can’t have, and many times people in emotional affairs are “justifying” their actions by not actually physically cheating on their partner.
However, the lust, desire, and affection between the two people in the affair are enough to make it an addiction. Glamour states that intense connections with people can also trigger the same hormone as sex–therefore, it’s pretty much giving them the same satisfaction.
1. You’ll feel worse for not knowing how you “missed it.”
When your partner finally does come clean–and you either work on your relationship or break up–you start to wonder how the f**k you missed it. Emotional affairs take a lot of communication and time–not like physical ones that just take one moment of heat. You start to look back at the times your partner stayed up late on their phone, or stayed at work late for “meetings,” and “deadlines.” Everything in your relationship starts to become an investigation.
Many times, people who are emotionally cheated on blame themselves, as well. They feel stupid for missing the subtle hints and clues, and they also feel bad for not giving their partner everything they “needed” emotionally.