Is Emotional Cheating Infidelity?

When a platonic relationship with a member of the opposite sex becomes emotionally involved, many people can get hurt. At Divorce Detox, we know that an emotional relationship can be more harmful than sexual infidelity to each affected spouse because of the many unknowns, the betrayal and the lies involved in an emotional relationship.

What is Emotional Cheating?

Emotional cheating occurs when a person gives more of themselves emotionally to a friend of the opposite sex than to their spouse. They discuss inappropriate parts of their married relationship with the friend, and they share their hopes, dreams and fears with the friend but not with their spouse. Signs that a friendship has become an emotional cheating relationship include:

* The relationship is kept secret from the spouse, or parts of the relationship, like how often the friends speak to one another, are kept secret.
* A person shares more about their lives, including hopes, dreams and fears, with the friend than with their spouse.
* The person shares details about their marriage with the friend.
* The spouse never meets the new friend or the interactions are purposefully limited by the cheating partner.
* The person is withdrawing emotionally and physically from their spouse as they give more emotionally to the friend.
* There are sexual undertones and sexual attractiveness to the friendship, even if the friends never have sex.

Why is Emotional Cheating Considered Infidelity?

Even if the emotional friends never have a sexual relationship, Divorce Detox and many other experts still consider emotional cheating infidelity because it causes the spouse pain. Emotional affairs can be more harmful to a marriage than a sexual affair because so much emotional energy is spent on the relationship, including energy spent on hiding the relationship. Taking that emotional energy away from a spouse and expounding it on a friend of the opposite sex hurts the marriage in these ways:

* There is less emotional energy available to give to the spouse. The spouses both therefore feel disconnected from their partner, and the marriage will struggle.
* Jealousies arise from any relationship kept secret from a spouse, but a spouse is more likely to feel jealous of a friendship between their spouse and a member of the opposite sex.
* An emotional disconnection from the marriage partner affects every part of the marriage. Love, sex and emotional connection are all negatively affected by an emotional absence from the spouse.

How to Safeguard Marriages from Emotional Infidelity

If a marriage is struggling with an emotional infidelity, the best way to get back on track to a healthy marriage is to return the emotional relationship to a platonic relationship. Changing discussion topics, inviting the spouse to join meetings, and seeing the friend less frequently are ways to re-establish a platonic friendship. If decreasing the relationship from an emotional relationship to a platonic relationship is not possible, any contact with the friend should be avoided. Re-kindling the marriage relationship from this point takes effort from both spouses. Spouses should take the following steps:

* Schedule date night once a week.
* Talk to each other about hopes, dreams and fears at least once a week.
* Discuss marital issues with each other.
* Schedule at least one romantic love-making evening per month.
* Find ways to have fun together. Re-connect with past activities from the beginning of the relationship or find new fun activities.

Even though emotional affairs can affect a marriage, marriages can bounce back from emotional infidelity. If both spouses are willing to work on the relationship, Divorce Detox believes a marriage can be re-established.

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