Emotional Cheating: Here’s What You Need to Know

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Whether you saw it coming or were completely blindsided, being cheated on hits hard. Typically, we think of cheating as having sex with someone else, but unfortunately, there’s another equally-devastating type: the emotional affair.

When someone turns to emotional cheating, they invest more emotional support into someone outside of the relationship than they do their partner. Maybe they met someone new who offers a shoulder to lean on, a safe space to discuss emotions, or a fun escape. Regardless, the effects of an emotional fair can be just as devastating as a physical one.

Emotional cheating usually stems from someone feeling distant, neglected, or misunderstood in a  relationship. More heartbreakingly, maybe they’ve simply fallen out of love with their partner and are falling for someone else. Some people try to justify emotional cheating by believing it’s not “as bad” as a physical affair—but that’s simply not the case. Just like sexual infidelity, emotional cheating causes a severe break in trust and feelings of betrayal.

If you’ve caught yourself having an emotional affair and truly want to save your relationship, here are a few ways to stop it:

Create Distance

Put simply, It’s time to back off. It shouldn’t feel like a breakup, and if it does, you’re likely more invested than you thought. The best way to end it? Cold turkey. Make a clean break and focus your energy back to your partner.

Be Honest With Your Partner

If you’re hoping to restore any bit of trust in your relationship, you should start by confessing your emotional affair to your partner. It’s easier said than done, but taking initiative to tell your partner before they find out is the first step in fixing broken trust.

Discuss Your Relationship Problems With Other People

But not the other person you are emotionally invested in. Whether it’s a family member or best friend, it’s important to have support outside of the relationship to help get you through tough times. Of course, they should be supporting your decision to end the emotional affair rather than enabling it to continue.

Rekindle Romance With Your Partner

Emotional and physical intimacy are deeply connected, so it’s important to put that spark back into your relationship. Even if you weren’t physically intimate with the other person, affairs of any kind always have that potential. Try planning ways to rekindle what you once had with your partner, whether it’s more affection, date nights, or new ideas in the bedroom.

Check In

Affairs are never justified, but there are times when a person may turn to someone outside of the relationship when they feel undervalued. Checking in with each other frequently is a great way to avoid this. Discuss how you’re feeling, any concerns you have, and where your relationship stands. If you need a little extra help, relationship coaching is a very beneficial way to get things back on track.

Admitting affairs (whether physical or emotional) is always hard. While it’s possible to rebuild broken trust, you need to be sure you want to. After all, affairs happen for a reason, and sometimes, it’s because the relationship isn’t meant to be. But if you’re both ready and willing to give it a shot, you can move past it one day at a time.

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