Ever been asked are you emotionally cheating? Contrary to popular belief, cheating is no longer limited to the physical. One common way that we cheat is emotional. According to theinsider.com, emotional cheating is when platonic feelings toward another person turn sexual or romantic while one is currently in a relationship.
And this type of cheating is on the rise. About 45% of men and 35% of women have admitted to emotionally cheating, which is 20% more than people who cheat physically. One reason for this phenomenon is that many don’t view emotional cheating as cheating. I certainly didn’t.
One night I was sitting next to my boyfriend, watching some dumb internet video, and the next thing I know, I’m texting my friend (whom I used to sleep with) and I found that more stimulating than watching Ugandan Knuckles say, “show me the way.” Or whatever it is they say. However, when I texted my girlfriend about it later, she said that it was bad. And suddenly, I felt bad. I felt like I had cheated. Are you asking yourself now are you emotionally cheating?
But that’s how simple it is. Whether it’s connecting with a new person on social media or sending a text to an old friend (whether you’ve engaged in sex or not) and now you’ve emotionally cheated.
So why is this type of cheating so easy to achieve? Well, probably because people don’t connect emotionally with the person they’re actually dating. This could be because “our emotional needs often get pushed to the side,” according to clinical psychologist Lynn Saladino. “We stop seeing our partner as an emotional being and more as a person who helps us complete tasks and meet obligations.” Thus the temptation to seek support elsewhere is easier to give in to. And this situation can occur “as simple as people being distracted by their phones,” or watching television, etc.
Emotional cheating can occur as easily as checking Facebook while eating dinner with your partner or checking text messages, replying to them, then deleting them, all without your partner finding out. “This kind of being-far-away while still-being-close allows us to hold secrets” from the person we care about most and hide those secrets so easily.
So how can you tell if you’re emotionally cheating? Are you beginning to look forward to your chats with this person? Do you become eager to get their input on whatever is going on in your own personal life? Do you feel sad if you missed a chance to talk to that person that day or didn’t get a chance to see them at all?
These are all signs of a physical affair, without any of the physical aspects. But things can go a step further. Now you’re fantasizing about them sexually or imagining what it would be like to date them, depending more on the emotional connectivity with them instead of your partner.
Once you realize you’re emotionally cheating, consider whether or not you want to stay in your current relationship. Furthermore, ask yourself why you are emotionally gravitating to this other person? “Either way, you need to come clean to your partner.” Figure out what emotional need is not being met in the relationship; do you feel invisible, or are you keeping your partner at arm’s length? Take time to talk with your partner, check in to how they’re feeling and let them know how you’re feeling. Open lines of communication can alleviate emotional loneliness and even prevent it, thus stopping emotional cheating before it begins.