Is An Emotional Affair Really Cheating?

Man and women usually have very different opinions about emotional affairs. While for women they are as important as physical ones, men tend to dismiss them as being inconsequential. Here is what Gail Saltz, psychiatrist and best seller author, has to say about it.

An emotional affair means being emotionally invested in another person other than your partner. Confiding in them, telling them intimate details and starting to invest in them through flirtation. The emotional energy that you need in order to keep a long term relationship going is getting confiscated by someone else. This is often a prelude for a physical affair.

MORE: 4 Signs He’s Emotionally Cheating

The problem with an emotional affair is that you’re not telling your partner what you’re telling this other person. Your partner doesn’t know about the close relationship you have with this other person. It’s a secret, a betrayal because you know that if your partner knew about it, they would be hurt.

An emotional affair is not all about thoughts, but also about actions. It’s going on date that’s not a date, it’s dressing for them to notice, it’s casually touching.

MORE: Here Are The Reasons Why People Cheat, According To Science

The difference between having an emotional affair and simply connecting with someone else is the flirting. While the latter is innocent and healthy, the former involves a kind of betrayal that can have many degrees of wrongness attached to it. A factor that makes it worse is complaining about your partner to this other person. This is a double betrayal: because you invest emotional energy in another person and because you talk about your partner behind their back.

When in doubt, use the golden rule to make things clearer: ask yourself whether you would be hurt by it if your partner did the same thing. Chances are your partner would be hurt by the same apparently innocent mischief.

MORE: Being Cheated On Hurts Even If You Don’t Know It

Second of all, you should ask yourself why is this happening, what it’s missing in your current relationship that the illicit one gives you.  And then address the problem you just realized you have with your partner and start working on it.

If you truly value your relationship, don’t keep your partner in the dark. Even if they never discover your emotional affair, the underlying problem will show its ugly head sooner or later. Please, share this!