It is always a debate as to whether emotional cheating is the same as physical cheating. Regardless of your views, emotional affairs cause significant damage to relationships.
Emotional cheating is receiving appreciation, care, or attention from a third party outside of the relationship. The third party is someone with whom you have romantic feelings.
Cheating can be virtual now, occurring over messaging sites or text. The other person is a fantasy you crave and gives what you are not receiving from your partner.
Maybe it is a close friend you have on social media. You exchange messages, sometimes flirtatious, sometimes supportive. But they seem to provide comfort and assurance. You look forward to hearing from them frequently as they show interest when your partner is not.
In this article, we will dig deep into emotional cheating and how to find forgiveness for you or your partner.
What are the signs of emotional cheating
The first sign of emotional cheating can be that you argue over a person who has come between you and your partner. When you express your concerns, your partner may defend the relationship or call you jealous. The fights may seem never to resolve, and your partner may be unwilling to end the third party relationship.
It is common to feel the other person is more important than you are. It may also cause you much distress and suffering.
Does the other relationship impact your self-esteem? If you are feeling worse about yourself or constantly comparing yourself to your partner's "friend," then you have a reason for concern. Your partner should be providing love and security, not doubt and jealousy.
If your partner refuses to end the relationship with the other person, then your relationship is in trouble. They may hide the ties or speak to the person behind your back. Eventually, emotional connections can become physical if it doesn't change.
Maybe you aren't concerned it will become physical, but the relationship still seems to be taking a turn for the worse. Your partner may be more distant, or you are fighting more frequently. Defensiveness, blaming, and giving the silent treatment are all signs your relationship needs work.
Is flirting emotional cheating
Flirting is a form of emotional cheating because you attempt a conversation using charm to attract the other person.
The question to ask yourself is, "would your partner approve of this conversation"? If they would be hurt or a conversation you would hide from them, it is emotional cheating.
The truth is you can never have a healthy, happy relationship if you are hiding anything from your partner.
How to talk to your partner about emotional cheating
You probably have many questions that deserve answers. You can start by asking the following:
How did the relationship begin?
What is the relationship doing for them emotionally?
Why are they continuing the relationship?
Is alcohol involved?
Did it turn physical, or could it?
Though the answers to these questions may be painful, they may give you some insight into what needs to be addressed in your relationship.
It is always wise to have a therapist who can help you work through the situation. You can speak to a professional by yourself for support and guidance. It is even better if your partner will see a therapist with you to address the issues together.
How to find forgiveness for emotional cheating
Forgiveness begins when you are ready to move forward. Once trust is rebuilt, then you may be prepared to forgive.
If you rush to forgive, you will find you will still hold onto resentment. Once you are sure you are ready, you can have a conversation with your partner.
You can have a conversation or say, "I forgive you." Just try to have it be a time when you are calm and in control of your emotions.
Remember that forgiveness is essential for your healing. With forgiveness, you are releasing anger over the violation of your relationship.
It is normal to still have thoughts about emotional cheating even after forgiveness. But what you are working to do is not hold it over their head.
How to find understanding for emotional cheating
You can find forgiveness through understanding why your partner cheated. It's easy to see yourself as the victim in the situation because you are! But your partner still had reasons they sought comfort elsewhere.
If your partner refuses to give reasons behind the cheating, then you may have to explore with the help of a therapist.
Some people cheat because they are looking for a distraction from something unpleasant in their life. Others are surrounded by other people who are also cheating on their partners.
Think deeply about what may have motivated your partner and if there are ways you may also be able to change to support the relationship more.
It isn't easy to think about what role you may have played, especially if it seemed to have come out of nowhere. Consider if you can listen better and respond to your partner if you can be more attentive.
What you can do to take care of yourself
Sometimes, distraction is a healthy remedy. You can try:
Meditation to find serenity
Exercise to release endorphins
Hobbies to boost confidence
Time with friends and family
Find a side job for a little extra income
It is always best to work with a therapist to process your feelings. Trying to navigate the situation on your own can be difficult. You don't have to do it alone!
Be easy on yourself because it can take time to heal. Laughter is also a wonderful way to care for yourself. Watch movies or a television show that makes you smile.
Remember that alcohol or drugs will not heal your wounds. It will only create more chaos. Revenge by having an affair of your own will also do no good, especially if you hope to have your relationship survive.
There is hope after cheating
Of course, sometimes separation is best, but many relationships survive emotional cheating. With time, work, and forgiveness, you can move past the experience.
Relationships can end up stronger after emotional cheating. Remain hopeful and allow for the healing process to unfold.