Added: Jilliam Vargas - Date: 07.11.2021 03:14 - Views: 46004 - Clicks: 3135
We tend to think of cheating as sexual, whether it's a one-night stand, virtual sex, or an ongoing affair. But in committed love relationships, "cheating" isn't always about a sexual encounter, secret flirtation, or online erotic event. Fundamentally, it's about breaching trust.
It's one person making a unilateral decision to cultivate nonsexual intimacy with someone other than their primary romantic partner in a way that weakens or undermines the relationship. Many see this type of connection as having an erotic component to it. Though there often can be an underlying romantic or erotic energy in emotional cheating, it can also occur without the element of romance or eroticism present.
I've worked with couples who feel "emotionally cheated on" by partners who share too much with friends, work colleagues, or even family members—people with whom there's no romantic frisson whatsoever. Nonetheless, they've experienced it as "emotional cheating" because their partners have engaged in an inappropriately deep, sustained closeness with someone else in a way that excluded them. I've even talked to people who feel their partner is emotionally cheating on them with a therapist! Because this type of cheating can look "healthy" from the outside, it can be hard to name and confront: non-erotic emotional cheating—a powerful spiritual friendship with a pastor or teacher, an idealized mentor with whom you have an ongoing passionate exchange about poetry or art, flattering DMs from a well-known business coach on Instagram that have been getting increasingly personal.
The advent of the internet and the abundance of ways to connect with people all over the world has opened up the of channels available for different forms of cheating to take place outside of a primary relationship. Many who cultivate this type of closeness defend it with phrases like, "They're just a close friend," or "But you said I should turn to other people for support," or "They listen to me when you're too busy.
One way to "diagnose" whether you or your partner are engaging in emotional cheating is to look at the impact. Does the outside connection strengthen or weaken your bond with your partner? Does the intimacy you have with someone else—a co-worker, Facebook friend, trainer at the gym, or yoga teacher—support your closeness with your partner or erode it? Another way of assessing whether emotional cheating may be taking place—particularly if you're the one doing it—is to tune in to how you feel.
Does this outside person temporarily relieve a sense of loneliness but leave you feeling lonelier in the long run? Is your closeness with them something you crave—like a sugar fix—that comes with a lingering sense of guilt when you get home to your ificant other? No single item on this list means your partner is emotionally cheating. But if you're noticing that multiple items on this list are at play, it could be a that there's a degree of emotional cheating occurring.
It could also mean that you've stopped prioritizing the intimacy between you and your partner, and it's time to recommit to one another—to lean into your feelings and vulnerabilities, despite fears or obstacles. Caveat: You shouldn't use accusations of "emotional cheating" as a way of justifying coercive, controlling, or manipulative behavior toward your partner. The short answer is that with friendships, there are different boundaries than in a primary attachment. When a romantic partner becomes a priority in your life, it's important for friendships to flex and give, even as they remain present and supportive.
This allows more space for your relationship to develop as your main source of closeness and support. Opening up to depending on a romantic partner fosters bonding, trust, love, and intimacy. How do you know whether an outside connection is a friendship or "emotional cheating"? Here are methods you can use to help you figure it out:. If your partner is emotionally cheating, you might be wondering: Why are they doing this? Is it because they're secretly in love with this outside person? Have they stopped loving me? Is it because there's something wrong?
Is our relationship over? Sometimes, the unilateral decision by one partner to "emotionally cheat" is consciously and strategically made, but more often than not it's about small, cumulative, perhaps well-intentioned, and unconscious boundary slips—something that a partner thoughtlessly indulges in when they regularly share thoughts, hopes, dreams, feelings, frustrations, passions, or other aspects of their inner world with someone else, unbeknownst to their partner.
More often than not, emotional cheating is a way that one partner is trying to get a deeper need met—or to protect themselves from a feared scenario. Why aren't they trying to get this need met with you? How come they don't just share their inner world, their fears, and vulnerabilities with you directly rather than cultivating a close bond elsewhere? These are big questions with complex answers that vary.
Maybe they've tried to get close to you, but you've been dismissive, judgmental, or unavailable. Maybe they themselves are afraid of driving you away with their "neediness. Maybe they're mad at you. Or maybe they don't see emotional cheating the same way you do. Maybe they need lots of connection with a wide variety of people, whereas you don't. There could be a lot of reasons, and these reasons could overlap and shift with time.
Emotional cheating is often one way we or our partners try to stay in control. No particular way of communicating is inherently a form of cheating, whether texting, talking, writing, ing, or skywriting. It's a breach of trust, a break in an implicit or explicit relationship agreement. Flirting per se isn't cheating. Of course, like any behavior you engage in, it's important to look at it contextually. Why do you or why does your partner flirt? Does it support and enliven you both? Is it a positive force in your life and relationship?
Or is it weaponized? Does it subtract something from you or your partner and distance you from one another? Sustained flirting with ulterior motives, fueled by unacknowledged fears and needs, may not be cheating—but it can be a of trouble. Look at the context, consider the impact, and talk about it with your partner.
What we allow ourselves to share with a person, and what they share with us, can seep into our hearts and our fantasy life. In fact, it can sometimes feel easier to experience closeness with someone we don't touch, don't spend time with, and don't interact with in an ordinary, mundane way. For this reason, we need to be wary of the seductive appeal of connections that aren't "real"—that take place at a distance, with someone we don't truly know, in an ethereal internet ivory tower, far from the down-and-dirty, nitty-gritty reality of everyday loving.
Of course not. Close connections with others are essential to self-care, which is at the foundation of healthy relationships, whether you're single or partnered. There's no way one individual—whether a soul mate, lover, boyfriend, girlfriend, partner, or spouse—can meet our vast and varied needs. Ideally, however, your relationships with outside people are there to empower you to show up more honestly and authentically in your primary relationship, to help it thrive—not to contribute to its decline.
And if you have emotionally cheated before in your relationship, here's what to do after cheating and how to stop cheating for good. Want your passion for wellness to change the world? Become A Functional Nutrition Coach!
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How to Recognize Emotional Cheating — and What to Do Next