What is cheating? Is it still cheating if it never becomes physical? Is there such thing as emotional cheating? The answer is yes.
Emotional cheating is real and happens way more often than people realize. This article will teach you what emotional cheating is, how to know if you are emotionally cheating or your spouse is emotionally cheating on you, and what to do about it. I’m also going to tell you how you can access a free guide to understanding more about emotional cheating.
How would you define emotional cheating? Have you been emotionally cheated on by your spouse? And how did you handle it?
What Is Emotional Cheating?
First, let’s define what cheating is. I was asked this in a podcast interview the other day, and the answer I gave was as follows. The best definition that I can provide of infidelity is when a person gains fulfillment physically or emotionally from someone who is not their spouse. That’s a baseline and is not entirely accurate as people gain emotional satisfaction from many other things, such as friends, children, and co-workers. And, of course, those things wouldn’t be classified as infidelity.
However, there’s an additional layer when a person gains some fulfillment physically or emotionally from someone who is not their spouse. They feel the need to hide interactions from their spouse and look to that other person to fulfill needs that are supposed to be fulfilled by their spouse, especially if that person is someone of the opposite sex. So what is emotional cheating?
When a married person looks to another most of the time, someone of the opposite sex, to fulfill an emotional need, that is emotional cheating. Going to someone else instead of their spouse and being unwilling to give up that relationship is emotional cheating. At the bottom of it, emotional cheating is when you look to someone other than your spouse to fulfill you in areas that only your spouse should fulfill you.
It’s okay to have best friends. You need those people in your life to have fun with and to vent to in certain moments. What is not okay is beginning to develop an emotional connection with someone of the opposite sex. The kind of relationship where you start to feel that this person understands you in a way that your spouse doesn’t, makes you feel better about yourself, and you continue to want to be around them.
When someone is evoking emotions that you enjoy feeling at a high intensity and a high frequency, it’s probably emotional cheating. So here are some things to consider.
First, think about the person in your life that you feel emotionally connected with other than your spouse. Have you ever felt the need to cut down on the amount of time you spend with this person?
Have you ever felt annoyed at people talking about how much time you spend with or speak to this person?
Or have you ever felt bad or guilty about how much time you spent with this person?
Do you feel like you need to talk to this person first thing in the morning? Or when something terrible happens, do you view them as an eye-opener?
If you answered yes to even two or more of those questions, you are probably emotionally cheating on your spouse. Many times affairs begin this way. The emotional connection leads to developing what the social sciences call limerence. I don’t have time to cover all of this in this video. Still, you have to watch our video, Married But In Love With Someone Else, to further understand limerence. Do not miss that if you are emotionally involved with another person or think your spouse is.
What Do You Do If Your Spouse Is Emotionally Cheating?
If you’re worried that your spouse is emotionally cheating, then the first thing you need to do is pause. Please take a deep breath. You are probably doing what we call spiraling. When you have a ton of thoughts spiraling around in your head, it can lead you to a dar place of anxiety and fear. We see this all the time in marriages facing problems.
For instance, a wife may call us and explain how she knows for sure that her husband is involved with someone else because he’s staying at work longer. She sees him following different people on social media he hasn’t before, and her thoughts begin to spiral. She begins to blame her husband for a million other things that maybe he hasn’t even done. And part of that is because of her insecurities and assumptions. Therefore, she begins to treat her husband differently because she’s assuming the worst. That is only going to make things worse.
So what does all that mean? If you feel like your husband or wife is involved in an affair, it doesn’t mean that you do nothing. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to treat them like they’re in an affair if you’re not sure yet. I know, that’s a lot of stuff to consider. I can’t explain all of it in this video. We have many more videos on our YouTube channel about knowing if your spouse has had an affair.
How Do You Approach Them About Emotional Cheating?
If you know about the affair, how can you approach them? What are things you can do to save your marriage? We can help you with all of that at Marriage Helper. Please don’t do the things that are going to make it worse.
There’s Still Hope
Take a deep breath. And know that there’s hope. At Marriage Helper, we have worked with thousands of marriages affected by an affair. In fact, in our Couples Turnaround Workshop, we have over a 70% success rate of saving marriages, even when there’s been an affair. In fact, according to research, somewhere between 30 to 50% of marriages are affected by an affair. But you don’t have to let statistics dictate the future of your marriage.
We see couples who choose to forgive each other after an affair and work towards reconciliation every single day. So again, take that deep breath and know that we are here for you. I want to give you that free guide to understanding affairs and limerence. Click here to get the free guide for understanding limerence. Now, remember, this article, Married But In Love With Someone Else, can further explain limerence; what’s going on when you or your spouse is in an affair. It will help you move towards what we hope saves your marriage.
You can also contact us here to speak with our client representatives about your situation and the best next steps. We are here for you and your marriage.