A good question with a difficult answer. Physical cheating is easy to define, but emotional cheating is more difficult to define, and the lines are often blurred. However, there are a few major red flags to be aware of. Let's take a look at them.
Emotionally Cheating/Having An Emotional Affair Signs
1)You find yourself daydreaming about someone who isn't your partner.
- You might feel as if you have a "crush" on them.
2)You can't stop yourself from fantasizing about kissing or touching them.
- In the most extreme cases, you may even develop sexual fantasies.
3)You begin to wonder if they, rather than your current partner, are The One.
- This sensation could be quite strong, leaving you feeling estranged from your partner.
4)You secretly believe or suspect that you'd be happier with them than with your current partner.
- You may develop even more unhealthy fantasies about them as a result of this.
5)You experience sadness when you realize you may never see them again.
- You might even consider ditching your current partner in favor of them.
6)If it's a coworker, you jokingly refer to them as your "work wife" or "work husband," but it's no laughing matter to you.
- You might even sincerely desire a more intimate relationship with them.
Signs Your Partner Is Cheating On You Emotionally
1)They try to keep you from receiving text messages and emails.
- It could be a red flag if their phone is always face down.
2)They make you feel insufficient by comparing you to the other person.
- The other person's comparisons are frequently more glowing.
3)In general, they appear detached or disconnected from you.
- This may become more apparent after spending time with the other person.
4)They've stopped talking to you about the more serious issues they used to discuss.
- If they no longer vent to you about work or other issues, this could be concerning.
5)When you complain about the other person, they tell you you're "too sensitive."
- If you bring it up, they may lash out at you or shut down.
It's important to remember that even if you've never hugged the person with whom you're emotionally cheating on your partner, you're still betraying them in some way. Put yourself in their shoes and consider whether you'd be okay with your partner thinking about someone else all the time. Knowing that your partner is so invested in another person would most likely make you feel betrayed. Emotional cheating can also be a stepping stone to full-fledged physical cheating.
Is it, however, always a deal breaker?
The answer to this question is entirely dependent on the couple who is dealing with emotional infidelity. Because emotional cheating comes in various degrees, some of the lines crossed may be forgiven while others are not. Emotional cheating can be just as damaging as a more "traditional" affair in many cases. It could end up being a deal-breaker for a lot of couples.
How To Deal With Emotional Cheating
If you suspect your partner of emotional infidelity, try to start a conversation first. However, do not snoop through their phone or email. There's a good chance you'll come across something you don't want to see. You'll also be invading their personal space. There are more mature approaches to confronting your partner available. It is the right thing to do to talk it out, as difficult as it may be at times. If your partner's emotional affair isn't too serious, there's a chance your relationship can be saved. If it's more extreme (they're actively having sexual fantasies about the other person), you might want to reconsider the relationship altogether. Perhaps you should seek couples counseling. Perhaps it's time to call it a day. These are, however, decisions that only you can make.