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Is an emotional affair cheating?


An emotional affair is when you turn to a friend or co-worker for emotional (not physical) intimacy.

The seduction is that this person gives you what you feel that your spouse does not: support, ego boosts, playfulness, empathy, flirting, and understanding.

This relationship begins in a very innocent way, yet you may begin to share more with this person than with your spouse.

You know you are having an emotional affair when:

1) He/She is the first one you want to share good news with;

2) You text a lot;

3) You blow off your friends for him/her;

4) You share secrets or information you haven’t shared with your spouse;

5) You fantasize about him/her;

6) He/She just “gets” you;

7) You plan what you are going to wear around him/her;

8) You keep this friendship a secret from your spouse;

9) You start wishing your spouse was more like him/her;

10) You spend significant time alone with him/her.

You may think having an emotional affair is different than a physical affair. The major difference between a physical affair and an emotional affair is the actual physical contact. Usually cheating involves people meeting face to face and then engaging in physical intimacy (sex). An emotional affair does not involve sex, however, over time inappropriate behaviors begin to develop. Many people who are emotionally cheating do not consider it to be infidelity.

Their thinking is that because there is no physical contact, the behavior cannot be cheating. The result is that the unfaithful spouse is paying more emotional attention to someone other than their spouse and they are removing themselves from the commitment of marriage. An emotional affair can lead to a physical affair.

Emotional affairs are hurtful. If you suspect your partner is having an emotional affair or if you are having an emotional affair, know that your marriage requires work and can be improved.

Focusing on someone else will not solve the problem. As a matter of fact, if you have not explored what the problem is in your marriage, you will be sure to repeat it again.

At the Hellenic Therapy Center, we have a team of professionals who can assist you with individual and couples therapy. We specialize in marriage therapy. We are available day, evening and weekend hours. Call 908-322-0112 for an appointment. Visit us at

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