When does emotional infidelity occur?

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When does emotional infidelity occur?


Emotional infidelity is a rather vague concept and has many interpretations. What is emotional infidelity to one person is mere friendship or innocent flirtation to another. But it can leave its mark on your relationship.

Read also: What is relational intelligence and how can you work with it?

What is emotional infidelity?

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Emotional infidelity means forming a close, intimate relationship with someone who is not your partner. You can generally distinguish emotional infidelity from ordinary friendship because interactions often involve sexual tension or romantic attraction.

This type of relationship also makes you more attached to the person than a regular friendship. It may not seem threatening or problematic because you don’t intend to get physical. Yet emotional cheating can tarnish the very foundation of your relationship.

Read also: Communication in a relationship: the five languages ​​of love

How do you recognize emotional infidelity?

In general, emotional cheating occurs when your relationship with someone else makes you less invested in your partner. You recognize it by specific behavior:

  • You spend more time talking to (or thinking about) the other person than your partner
  • You avoid talking about him or her with your partner
  • You know that the other person is attracted to you
  • You notice physical signs of chemistry in his or her presence
  • You feel less physically or emotionally attracted to your partner
  • You share frustrations or dissatisfaction with your relationship with the other person
  • You wish your partner was more like him or her
  • You avoid open communication with your partner
  • You do not tell your partner about the bond you have developed with the other

And what if you are on the other side and your partner suspects emotional infidelity?
Pay attention to the following signals:

  • You have an insecurity around your partner, but you can’t name what exactly is wrong
  • During sex, your partner’s mind seems to be somewhere else
  • Your partner uses his phone more than usual and has it with him all the time
  • Your interactions remain fairly superficial. Your partner says funny things about work, but little about serious things. If you try to create a more intimate connection, your partner seems annoyed or rejects you

Read also: A relationship with a narcissist? These are the features

How do I protect my relationship from emotional infidelity?

Both partners must work together to best protect a relationship from emotional infidelity. A good foundation of friendship, intimacy and trust is indispensable. Some tips to help with that:

  • Schedule regular dates or quality time
  • Communicate daily about practicalities as well as feelings
  • Learn to manage healthy conflicts
  • If someone got hurt, you better fix it fast
  • Show respect for each other
  • If you feel that you cannot figure it out yourself, you can also call in professional help from a relationship therapist

Read also: How do you recognize a toxic relationship?


Last updated: October 2022

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