0060 – Is an Emotional Affair Really Cheating?


What is an emotional affair, and how do we get in…or out of them?

Teaser Bullets

by the end of this episode you’ll learn:

  • What is an emotional affair
  • Emotional affair characteristics
  • Is an emotional affair worse than a sexual affair?
  • Signs that an emotional affair is going on
  • How to end an emotional affair

Describe the problem

No one wants to be cheated on, and it’s easy for those in relationships to set physical boundaries for their partner. But many couples would also say that there are emotional boundaries that can be crossed, as well. So what happens when one partner begins investing in emotional relationships outside his or her primary one? What’s the line? And how do you know if you’re crossing it?

Segment #1

  • What is an emotional affair?
    • The Root | Is It Really Cheating If There’s No Sex?
      • In David J. Moultrup’s book Husbands, Wives & Lovers: The Emotional System of the Extramarital Affair, he defines it as “a relationship between a person and someone other than [their] spouse [or lover] that has an impact on the level of intimacy, emotional distance and overall dynamic balance in the marriage.” Even though there’s no sex, the relationship you describe can be just as devastating to a marriage as sexual infidelity.
    • Terri411Cato.com | EMOTIONAL AFFAIR
      • First of all, let’s clarify what emotional cheating is and what it is not. Emotional cheating is defined as an affair where there is no physical intimacy – but there is emotional intimacy. These relationships often start out as friendships and serve to create an emotional distance in the marriage. Once the affair has been consummated, the relationship has crossed the line and is considered infidelity.
  • Emotional affair characteristics
    • Terri411Cato.com | EMOTIONAL AFFAIR
      • Some of the characteristics of an emotional affair include: secrecy, denial, sexual and/or emotional chemistry, and spending inappropriate amounts of time with person – this can be in-person or on-line. The person involved in an emotional affair will often keep the other person a secret from their spouse.  Intrinsically, perhaps they know that their relationship with the other person is inappropriate and they may not feel comfortable telling their spouse about this person. The partner may also deny that they are involved in any way with the other person for fear of being found out. The partner may also deny or down play the amount of time they are spending with the other person. The fact that secrecy and denial play a major part in this affair indicate that although not sexual, but inappropriate actions are taking place.
  • Is an emotional affair worse than a sexual affair?
    • Care2.com | Is Emotional Infidelity Worse Than A Sexual Affair?
      • Expert Lisa Shield says: Are physical affairs bad? Of course they are. Anytime you break an agreement with your partner, you undermine the trust and safety in your relationship. As damaging as sexual infidelity can be, emotional fidelity is the hardest thing to build — and it takes the biggest toll on a relationship when it is betrayed.

Segment #2

  • Signs that an emotional affair is going on
    • PsychCentral | 3 Sure Signs of an Emotional Affair
      • You contact them outside of “friendship hours.” – If they start calling you in the evening, you are crossing the line. If you are texting on the weekends, you are no longer just work friends. If you find yourself waiting for those texts and those phone calls, anxiously checking your phone and responding immediately, you should refocus your attention and look honestly at the situation. You may be more emotionally involved with them at this point than with your spouse. Ask yourself: is there more to this friendship than I want to admit to my partner? Am I being honest with them and with myself?
    • The Female Gene | Secret signs if your boyfriend is in emotional affair with someone else
      • He may start comparing you with his friend/colleague – It is the first sign that you may start feeling about in him. If he likes to compare you as a person with his friend or colleague, it clearly shows that he knows them very well, spends good time talking with them, and find them better than you. On the other hand, it is a good thing that he does not mind talking about his friend or colleague with you, or may be he trusts you as well. But, you will get an idea that he is very much comfortable with other girls too.
  • How to end an emotional affair
    • CNForce.com | Learn how to End an Emotional Affair
      •  Foster Your Relationship – You will have had an emotional affair for any reason. Perhaps you felt an emotional disconnect from the partner, or maybe you have your own emotional issues. If you couldn’ t talk to your spouse in the same way as your own friend, there are some things seriously incorrect in your relationship. The one good thing about an emotional affair is that it will make you realise which you have been ignoring your primary relationship, so utilize it as an chance to nurture this.  
  • How to forgive an emotional affair
    • Forgive Infidelity | Coping With an Emotional Affair – 3 Steps to Help Bring Healing  
      • …begin having open and honest conversations with your partner about your relationship. It’s crucial to began getting all of the cards on the table. This requires both of you speaking truthfully about what’s going on and why. It’s important not to argue and point fingers about who is at fault. The goal is not to tear each other down but to start figuring out how you can work together to fulfill all of each other’s needs.


Final Thoughts:

  • Elijah’s Thoughts
  • Sarah’s Thoughts


In Closing

In closing, on behalf of my fantastic co-host, Sarah J. Storer, author of “How to be Dumped: The Definitive Breakup Guide” I want to thank you for spending time with us today, now let’s continue the conversation at relationspodcast.com/[ShowNumber] and:


Final Question:

[Create a question based on the total show, or a quirky incident that happened during recording]?

Tell us about it in the comment section and let’s see if we can’t continue to relate to one another. We’ll talk soon.

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