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Cheating isn’t just physical.
Just like relationships aren’t just physical. If cheating is only about sex, relationships are too—which is anything but true.
A relationship is a physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual connection. When we commit to a partner, we commit to them in each area.
That’s why sexual affairs don’t only define cheating but emotional experiences.
What is an Emotional Affair?
An emotional affair (also known as emotional cheating) occurs when one partner invests more time and energy with someone outside of the relationship. It’s building inappropriate, emotional intimacy with someone else, eventually turning to them instead of their partner.
What’s the difference between friendships and emotional affairs?
Yes, we’re allowed to have friendships and connections outside of our relationships. That’s not what emotional cheating is, but platonic friendships can evolve into vibrant affairs.
There are three critical defining characteristics of a passionate affair:
The moment a partner or spouse downplays or covers up the extent of a “friendship,” it becomes betrayal. Seemingly “casual” conversations build into sexual tension and preoccupation, leading to a disconnection in the committed relationship.
2. The knowledge that it hurts their partner.
It’s emotional cheating when they know it bothers you, but they keep doing it, anyway. You’ve talked about it. Maybe you’ve even set boundaries, but they continue to disrespect your relationship and emotional well-being.
It’s not just thinking about someone else. It’s actively reaching out, hanging out, and connecting on a deeper, more intimate level with them. As the cheating continues, it becomes full-on emotional abuse. Their denial of the relationship gaslights their partner, leading them to question their sanity instead of their partner’s honesty.
Emotional Affairs and Exes
Exes and emotional affairs go hand in hand, as they have already built this emotional intimacy at one time.
Let me illustrate an example scenario:
For almost two decades, a husband talks and keeps in touch with his ex-wife, who cheated on him. The husband never had any children with her, so there’s no excuse to stay in contact.
As both get involved in their new relationships, they lie to their partners about this “friendship.”
This betrayal forms a wedge in the husband’s new relationship, creating physical and emotional distance—even celibacy.
Whenever he gets caught in his lies, he denies it. He even points the blame at his new wife for bringing it up, not him.
As this cycle of lying, gaslighting, and betrayal continues, the husband strings his wife into an emotionally and mentally abusive relationship. With no “proof” to share with him but her emotional pain, she remains alone in a relationship.
She holds onto the hope that one day, it will change, but it never will unless the betraying partner is honest.
Separating gracefully is the only option.
So how do we navigate loss of love?
No matter the relationship, we grieve; it’s completely empowering to tap into the practices of being mindful, meditative, and present, develop important perspectives, take ownership of your decisions, and emerge with peace and closure.
Emotional betrayal is a choice.
This isn’t an “accident.” It’s a choice. One partner chooses to continually invest more time and lean on an ex or “friend” over their current partner.
It’s keeping secrets, knowingly disrespecting your partner’s emotions, and denying the relationship between it all.
Emotional cheating is betrayal.
It’s time to choose you.
If you know this story all too well, choose you.
You deserve a physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually supportive and committed relationship. Whether couple’s counseling, relationship coaching, difficult conversations, or separation is the answer, it’s time to choose you.
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