Emotional cheating

Emotional cheating: What it is and how you can protect yourself from it!

The term “infidelity” is an extremely flexible term, and its definition can vary based on who you ask. That said, I work with a lot of people who come to me for help when they’re struggling with emotional cheating in their relationship.

With the rise of social media and how easy it is for people to be in contact with each other, there was also been a rise in emotional cheating.

A lot of people don’t realize that being confronted with emotional cheating can hurt just as much as being confronted with physical cheating, and the best way to guard against it is to strengthen the foundation of your relationship.

In today’s article, I will be going over what exactly constitutes emotional infidelity, how to zero in on the problem, and how to make sure that your relationship isn’t threatened by this sort of thing. I will also give you some tips and tools to bounce back from emotional cheating if it has already reared its ugly head in your relationship!

The clearer idea you have of your definition of emotional cheating, the easier it will be to communicate with your partner in terms of what kinds of boundaries you both need that will strengthen and protect your relationship.

What exactly is emotional cheating?

People generally have a pretty clear understanding of what physical cheating is, but it can get a little more unclear when it comes to emotional cheating.

The official definition of infidelity is “the action or state of being unfaithful to a spouse or other sexual partner,” but as I was saying above, outside of a dictionary and in reality, “infidelity” is an incredibly flexible term. It will be different depending on who you ask.

For some people cheating emotionally can be defined by having sexually charged conversations with someone who is not your partner. For others however, they might see having deep, heartfelt conversations about your emotional state and sharing personal information with someone who is not your partner as emotional cheating as well.

Some people might feel that chatting with a stranger online and having suggestive or flirtatious conversations is not cheating, simply because they don’t know the person and nothing physical is happening anyway.

This makes me think of a story that one of my clients, Laura, told me recently. She was struggling with repairing the damage in her relationship after her boyfriend, Dimitri, had cheated on her with a girl he met on vacation.

Laura and Dimitri had been together for about two years before he was unfaithful to her, and she found out because his phone kept lighting up with text messages after he had come home three hours later than the time he had told Laura to expect him.

She had a bad feeling in her gut, so when he wasn’t looking, she took a peak at his lock screen. Sure enough, she saw a string of messages from another girl that made it very clear that he had just been with her before coming home, and it wasn’t anything platonic.

Dimitri had clearly physically cheated, but he ventured into emotional cheating and texting after the fact. Once she decided to forgive him, Laura asked him to delete the girl’s number and remove her from his list of friends on Facebook. Dimitri then switched his list of friends to private… Though he was not seeing this girl (because she lived in a different city), he was still in contact with her and was hiding it from Laura.

The more things he hid, the clearer it was that he was still emotionally cheating by entertaining a relationship with someone that was not appropriate. In Laura’s case, we are now working on restoring her sense of self confidence so that she can really stand her ground and develop a relationship that serves her.

With some time and distance, she’s decided that this relationship with Dimitri is not going to make her happy in the long run because he was not willing to make changes that would protect their bond.

So when you’re wondering, “What is emotional cheating,” it can be broken down like this. As written in Psychology Today, “The line between innocent, playful flirtation and downright betrayal is elastic. Some people argue that confiding in anyone, other than your partner, can mean betrayal.

Even too much interest in another person’s social media postings can amount to a breach of trust. Still, others think that chatting (online or otherwise) approaches a problem. There was no “sex” involved, so what is the issue? It all depends on individual perspective.

Women, in general, are more concerned with emotional involvement, while men deem sexual interaction as deep duplicity. In reality, any activity that takes place without a partner’s knowledge may lead to problems down the road.”

At the end of the day, each person’s definition of emotionally cheating is going to vary, but here’s a pretty useful tool for determining if someone’s behavior can be defined as cheating: Any activity or conversation that you feel the need to hide from your partner is at risk for being a form of cheating – whether it’s emotional or physical.

Emotional cheating

How to survive emotional cheating in a relationship

As I was saying, the best way to prevent emotional cheating in the relationship with the one you love is by making sure you two are on the same page. So in order to understand whether or not emotional cheating is a challenge in your relationship, have an open dialogue with your partner regarding what their definition of cheating is. That way, you can both establish the boundaries of monogamy in your relationship! You can hammer out issues like emotional cheating vs friendship, what types of behaviors would make you uncomfortable, and what you need in order to feel safe and stable in the relationship you have with each other. Trust is one of the more important elements of any romantic relationship, so make sure that it is always a priority!

This is the best way to avoid having to figure out how to deal with emotional cheating.

Now, what happens if you’ve already been confronted with emotional infidelity in the relationship? Well, I’m not going to sugarcoat it. It’s going to be challenging and the relationship is not going to heal overnight. That said, it IS possible for a relationship to bounce back after emotional cheating.

Oftentimes the two people were just not on the same page because the relationship started to lack something, so one of them decided to look outside of the relationship for it. This is the main cause behind emotional cheating. So the solution comes in pinpointing what the relationship was lacking and working on making sure that element is brought back into it. When solutions are being implemented, it will reinforce your relationship and make it much easier to learn how to forgive emotional cheating.

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How to get over emotional cheating: Change IS possible

We are a team of dedicated love and relationship coaches, so I can confidently tell you that change is possible. So many people make incredible changes when they realize that their relationship with the one they love is in jeopardy, and if you and your partner have been faced with emotional cheating that has shaken the foundation of your relationship, I want you to know that it’s not the end of the world.

Sometimes this is the exact type of shock that a relationship needs in order for two people to wake up, realize how much they mean to each other, and what they’re willing to do to save their love story. What ends up happening is that it serves as a catalyst for very important change that will transform the relationship into something that is stronger than ever before.

We can all change and grow, even when emotional cheating has threatened our relationship! It’s not easy, but it is absolutely possible.

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Emotional affair: Giving someone a second chance

If your partner is the one that veered off the path of faithfulness, it’s going to be important that you take some time to analyze the situation and determine whether or not you’re willing to give them a second chance. As I was saying, I truly do believe that people can change, and there is nothing worse than walking away from a relationship realizing later on down the line that you have regrets.

I have worked with so many people that left their partner after he or she had an emotional affair, only to realize that they didn’t give them a chance to change. And I can tell you right now, it’s a lot harder to patch a relationship back together that has already ended, than to repair the damage in one that’s still active.

So I invite you to really explore how you feel, whether or not you feel that your partner WANTS to change, and think about whether or not you’re willing to give them the chance to do so. You just need to keep in mind that change does not happen overnight and patience will need to be a part of the equation. You can give your partner sixty days to prove to you that they’ve learned from this experience and that they can be different. If things are still the same after this time period, then you will have concrete answers to your questions and you can move on from this relationship without having any regrets. That is what my client Laura is doing now.

Emotional infidelity: Overcoming it and protecting your relationship

At the end of the day, if there is emotional cheating happening in a relationship, there is a delicate element at play. The truth of the matter is that the person who is emotionally cheating is unhappy in their relationship with their partner. Something is missing, and something is making them have doubts about this relationship’s overall ability to make them happy longterm, so they’re looking for happiness outside of it.

This doesn’t mean that it’s all your fault! Relationships are a two way road and if there is something missing, then it is usually both people’s fault. What’s more, people can be in a position of unhappiness and still not cheat, whether it’s emotionally or physically.

So if you’ve spotted signs of emotional cheating, it’s up to you to analyze what you’re willing to do about it, and whether or not you’re going to give your partner the chance to change. If you do, you’ll need to choose to forgive him or her every single day so that you can approach the situation with a positive mindset.

If there hasn’t been any emotional cheating in your relationship yet, it’s important to protect against it by having honest conversations with your significant other about what you define as cheating. Being on the same page will make it easier to avoid making mistakes that hurt the other person! Honesty and transparency will protect your bond, because remember: The most clearcut definition of infidelity is doing something with another person that you feel the need to hide from your significant other.

If you are struggling with the presence of emotional infidelity in your current relationship and would like some guidance, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us by clicking here. Join the Happily Committed Project and learn how to transform your relationship in a meaningful and dignified way! We are here to answer any questions you may have and help you to define a game plan that will grant you access to more happiness in your love life than ever before!

I sincerely wish you all the very best in life and love,

Your coach for understanding and steering clear of emotional cheating

By coach Adrian

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