April 30, 2009 | | Comments 2

Is an Emotional Affair the Same as Cheating?

In this ever-changing world, it seems that even the terminology of old is taking on new context. It used to be that the idea of cheating was something that was black and white. In today’s society, there is now a grey area known as an emotional affair.

For some people, an emotional affair is just as bad as cheating in a relationship whereas others feel that an emotional affair is nothing more than an annoyance in a relationship. To understand what an emotional affair truly is, there needs to be a more defined definition of the term.

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An emotional affair is when you or your significant other starts an adult friendship that goes too far. This is not when one person physically cheats on another; it is when they seek out the love, and affection, of somebody besides their significant other. Emotional affairs oftentimes start out innocently enough, but if there is an emotional void in a relationship, sometimes these adult friendships cross the line and take on a dangerous dynamic.

While an emotional affair is a form of cheating, many times, the “cheating” partner may not even realize what has happened initially. No, it does not fall into the old-world definitions of cheating, but it is a form of it, nonetheless.

When someone commits an emotional affair, they are pulling themselves away from their spouse mentally and emotionally and relying on somebody else for their emotional needs. This usually results in the person spending less time with their spouse and more time with their new friend. They find that it is easier to go to their friend with problems and concerns and build an emotional comfort zone with them. This is truly an affair of the heart – physicality does not have to be involved, but often will be eventually.

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For many people, an emotional affair will eventually lead to a physical affair. Once the emotional connection is made with another person, it is much easier to become intimate with him or her. Instead of being emotionally connected to their spouse, they are more in tune with their friend; this change of heart and attitude can be devastating to a marriage. A natural progression of an intimate emotional bond is physical intimacy — being caught up in an emotional affair is a slippery slope.

In fact many partners feel more betrayed by an emotional affair than a physical one. Someone sleeping with a stranger they just met while on a sales trip can seem less threatening than a ‘platonic’ affair that involves confidences, trust and affection.

Just as a physical affair is cheating, so is an emotional affair. In some ways, having an emotional affair is much worse than a physical one. While the pain inflicted due to a physical relationship outside of the marriage can be devastating, the wounds due to betrayal of the heart may never mend.

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  1. I consider an emotional affair to much worst than a physical one. This is why women want all of the facts about an affair.

    A one night stand would make me mad, but if my husband had feelings for another woman it would crush me.

  2. I agree, and there’s also the added factor of what your partner is saying about you to their new ‘understanding friend’! That’s a betrayal in my book!

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