What is Emotional Infidelity?

April 23, 2009 by  
Filed under Cheating and Infidelity

Many people in a relationship would define cheating as physical intimate acts with someone other than a partner. Others would consider even emotional infidelity as a totally viable form of cheating.

Sometimes, members in a relationship will have differing opinions about this issue, and that can cause severe flare-ups between the two. This is why it’s always a great idea to have a conversation with your partner and determine how your individual definitions of infidelity compare.

You don’t ever want to find yourself in a situation where you believe you are being totally faithful, but your partner feels you have slighted them and been dishonest. This will save you considerable heartache and arguments in the future by simply ensuring you either agree on the issue or understand your partner’s view entirely.

Emotional cheating can occur on various levels. Secrecy or lying by omission (failing to disclose vital information) is one of the most common forms of emotional cheating. If you’re hiding information from your spouse, you may as well be lying outright about it. This could include anything like failing to mention grabbing an after-work drink with another man or woman, or the fact that a co-worker has been flirting and asking them out.

Failing to disclose this type of information to your spouse can give the impression that you are holding secrets from him or her, even if you’re not physically cheating. Restricting the lines of communication and openness in your relationship by offering only select information will almost indefinitely lead to issues in the relationship down the road.

Roaming eyes may be another form of emotional infidelity. Visibly looking at other members of the opposite sex, especially in front of you, is very disrespectful and can create trust and security issues in the relationship. This is not the same as simply admitting that someone is attractive. Roaming eyes are much less outright, but still very noticeable to you and anyone around you and your partner.

An example of roaming eyes may be an obvious ogling of a member of the opposite sex, or even verbally making inappropriate statements about them. Even if your partner thinks of this as harmless fun, it can absolutely be considered a form of sexual abuse.

Physical contact can also be a form of emotional infidelity, versus physical infidelity. This physical contact could encompass anything other than sexual acts, and may or may not be considered cheating by the offending party. Not having sex with someone doesn’t mean that inappropriate behavior never occurred and now your partner has reason to feel betrayed.

Lap dances at strip clubs, hugging and kissing friends or co-workers and other actions would likely cause conflict in your relationship. Make sure you understand any difference in cultural backgrounds and acceptable physical contact between two people not in a serious relationship together.

The most important thing is to ensure you and your partner are on the same page, and either agree on or understand each other’s positions on emotional infidelity and respect the other’s wishes. Maintaining open and honest communication about this subject can help prevent serious relationship issues in the future, and possibly even progressions to physical cheating as well.

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