For example, you may find yourself connecting to a parent in the same way you connect with your spouse through spending quality time together, sharing things, conveying emotions, and so on.
Hazards quickly arise if no boundaries are placed on who receives this kind of affection and attention from one or both partners.
Emotional cheating does not rely on physical contact. It is a giving and receiving of affection from someone other than your significant other in ways that cross the boundaries of a normal healthy friendship.
Your spouse should be the only one allowed into the most intimate parts of your life. If you are letting another person touch those places of your heart and being, you may be toeing the line of an emotional affair or emotional adultery.
It is, therefore, pretty common to witness emotional affairs at work because the office or workplace is the place where you tend to spend most of your waking hours.
So, in such scenarios, when you reach home, you are too tired to indulge in some quality time with your spouse. You thus tend to get engulfed in an endless cycle of discontent at home and seeking emotional gratification at work or outside.
Emotional cheating signs
The emotional affair does not always look the same. There are different signs and stages of emotional affairs.
It is not unusual for couples to seek connection outside of the partnership, but when others have taken the place of knowing your secrets, you may find your significant other on the outside looking in.
Watch this video on common relationship mistakes. Perhaps, you could be overlooking these mistakes in your relationship and seeking solace in an emotional affair instead.
Emotional cheating has serious repercussions
Now, if you are wondering, do emotional affairs turn into love?
Well, there can’t be a definite answer to this.
Love is possible if you are stuck in a hopeless relationship, where you see no headway with happiness and fulfillment.
On the other hand, emotional affairs and texting, although it might seem the best resort to satiate your emotional thirst at the inception. But, that could be ephemeral.
There is a possibility for the issues between you and your spouse to escalate, which instead could have been solved if you would have focused on them before indulging in the emotional affair.
There are conflicting studies as to which type of infidelity is more harmful to a relationship. Some report physical contact with another person is something a spouse or partner will never forget, and both parties suffer equally.
Others have indicated that emotional infidelity is more difficult to overcome; an emotional connection between two people who are not actively engaged in an open relationship can be detrimental to those relationships which already exist.
With emotional cheating comes distrust, decreased communication, and physical contact, and hindered closeness.
Emotional affair recovery
If you see for yourself, signs of guilt after cheating, and wondering how to get over an emotional affair, the best solution is just to stop it then and there.
Of course, it would seem to be distressing at first, but once you make your decision, just put a full-stop to your emotional affair. Stop getting in touch with the other person and stop sharing your feelings at once.
On the other hand, if you feel you are the victim of an emotional affair from your spouse and wondering how to forgive emotional cheating, the foremost step is to talk it out with your partner.
Have open and honest communication with your partner, and if you feel that they are guilty of doing so, it isn’t a big crime for you to punish them for life.
Preventing emotional infidelity
Knowing the impact that emotional infidelity can have, have you considered how you can avoid it in your relationship?
There are several precautionary measures a person can take to ensure their relationship is protected from this kind of cheating.
First, be open and honest with your partner at all times!
Even if you feel it is silly to say who it is that called or who messaged you on Facebook, be willing to talk about it with your spouse or partner. Be mindful of controlling and abusive behaviors, but know that dishonesty and hiding information has no place in a healthy relationship.
Reverse the roles and consider how you might interpret that kind of behavior were it your spouse engaged in an outside relationship. And third, create and stick to boundaries.
There is nothing wrong or “old-school” about creating boundaries with others.
Friends the same sex as your significant other can gradually become someone more significant if you let it happen. So take steps now to consider ‘how far’ is too far; talk it over with your spouse or partner to refine or determine appropriate boundaries.
Affairs happen; some are worse than others. Many will never experience the temptation to cheat emotionally; some may never experience the pain of being on the receiving end of cheating.
Prevention is your best protection – if you find yourself creeping closer to the edge of your boundary, take a big step back and reevaluate those things which are essential to you. You can go too far, but it is never too late to take a step back and start anew.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Rachael Pace is a noted relationship writer associated with Marriage.com. She provides inspiration, support, and empowerment in the form of motivational articles and essays. Rachael enjoys studying the evolution of loving partnerships and is passionate about writing on them. She believes that everyone should make room for love in their lives and encourages couples to work on overcoming their challenges together.