It started out in a good way. You are talking to a new coworker at work. During lunch, you flirt with each other. You even tell them about problems you’re having in your marriage. You are now sending secret texts late at night and thinking about them all the time.
Aren’t they just close friends? Or have you done something wrong? If you ask yourself these questions, you may be cheating on your partner emotionally.
What does cheating emotionally mean?
Srinivas Dannaram, MD, a psychiatrist at Banner Thunderbird Medical Center in Glendale, AZ, said, “Emotional cheating is when you form a close emotional connection with someone other than your main partner.” “Close friendships have limits and are open and not secretive, but emotional affairs have a romantic flavor, are secretive, and cause emotional tension, which can be there from the start or build up over time.
Most emotional affairs begin as friendships, which can make it even harder to know when you’ve crossed the line. A friendship that seems harmless can turn into an emotional relationship out of the blue.
“The cause of emotional cheating might be something you don’t even realize,” Dr. Dannaram said. “You might become emotionally dependent on someone else because your partner isn’t meeting your emotional needs.” “It may also lead to a conscious effort to pass the time, especially when there is a temporary physical or emotional gap between partners.”
Why is it bad for relationships to cheat emotionally?
When you think about your partner cheating on you, you probably picture them with someone else. Emotional cheating, on the other hand, can sometimes hurt more deeply, and it can even weaken the foundation of your main relationship and your commitment to each other.
Dr. Dannaram said, “Over time, this process disrupts the emotional investment you’ve made in your relationship.” “This leads to less emotional bonding, which makes you wonder what the point of your relationship is and weakens emotional support and support from the other person.”
Signs of Emotional Affairs
So, how do you know if you’re cheating emotionally? Even though it’s not always easy to tell, here are 10 warning signs:
- You tell the other person things you haven’t told your partner yet.
- You talk to the other person about the problems in your relationship.
- You’ve grown more distant from your partner and stopped feeling as close to them.
- You always think about the other person.
- You don’t know each other as well as you used to.
- You tell your partner a lie about how you feel about the other person.
- The other person is compared to your partner.
- You make up romantic ideas about the other person or dream about them.
- You hide or delete texts or emails on your phone, computer, etc.
- When your partner asks about your relationship with the other person, you get upset and defensive.
What to do about cheating on the heart?
How do you start to deal with them if you recognize some of the signs of emotional cheating? Dr. Dannaram shared some steps:
Tell the truth to yourself.
Recognize that your feelings are growing for someone other than your partner.
Stop being so emotional.
Break up with your partner instead of setting boundaries to keep the relationship going if you want to get back to the reality of your relationship.
Think about what your current relationship lacks.
Figure out what you liked about this other person that you didn’t like about your current relationship. You might even want to get help from a licensed mental health specialist.
Talk to your partner about your emotional needs and why you have them.
Whether you tell your partner about your emotional affair or not, you should tell them that your relationship needs work. You might be surprised to find out that they agree with you. Be honest and clear about what you and your partner need from the relationship on an emotional, physical, and mental level, and then put each other’s needs first.
Make a new promise to your partner.
Set aside time to be together. Be helpful to each other. Check in with your partner often and let him or her know what’s going on. Spend time together on dates and find new ways to have fun.