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Signs of Emotional Cheating

By Stacey Elkins ; Updated June 13, 2017

Emotional cheating happens when one partner behaves in a way that creates emotional intimacy with someone besides the other partner, says Seth Meyers, a clinical psychologist and author of "How to Define Emotional Infidelity: Different Types Cheating" on the website, Psychology Today. While seemingly innocent initially, such intimacy can damage trust between partners and destroy their relationship. An awareness of the signs of emotional cheating is an important step in stopping it.

Intimate Details

A indication of an emotional affair is intimate communication between you and someone other than your partner. Sharing personal information about your significant other, your relationship or your fears, desires and hopes can constitute emotional cheating, says TwoOfUs.org in the article, “Emotional Cheating.” For example, sharing intimate details about an argument with your partner or your fear that he doesn’t understand you may cross the line. Wanting to share exciting news or talk over an upsetting situation with a "friend" rather than a partner is another sign.

Obsessive Thoughts

Constantly thinking about a friend is a clear warning sign that you may be having an emotional affair, says Athena Staik, a licensed marriage and family therapist and author of “12 Warning Signs That It’s Emotional Infidelity -- And Not ‘Just Friendship’” on the Psych Central website. For example, if you daydream about the next time you will see your friend, wonder what he is doing and replay your last conversation over and over in your mind, that could indicate your friendship has crossed the line into emotional infidelity.

Fantasizing Thoughts

If you fantasize about a romantic or sexual relationship with a specific person other than your partner, it is a sign of emotional infidelity, says Staik. Whether you keep such fantasies private or discuss them with your friend, although you haven't yet crossed the line to sexual infidelity doing so may only be a matter of time.

Divulge or Not to Divulge

Another sign of emotional cheating can be how you talk about your friend. Talking incessantly about the other person to your significant other and friends or keeping the other person completely secret both can be signs of emotional infidelity, says Staik. For example, you might gush about how your friend contributed to a project at work or how he complimented you. On the other hand, you may spend time with him or talk with him and not breathe a word about it.

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