They're Just A "Friend": Signs You’re An Emotional Cheater

You may mean well, but watch it, your partner might be hurting.

By Sparrow
They're Just A "Friend": Signs You’re An Emotional Cheater

What Is Emotional Cheating?

Cheating your partner is a broad term. Commonly, cheating tends to be categorized based on sexual intimacy. There are other ways of cheating. A one-night stand with someone, an online erotic relationship, and open or secret flirtation are not the only ways of cheating. You can cheat on an emotional level even when there is no sexual intimacy involved.

The term emotional cheating or emotional affair is used when two persons practice a high emotional intimacy other than their primary partner while not being sexually intimate or indecently close.

This type of cheating might appear harmless from the inside but it acts as a mite that lives upon the trust and love of a couple and slowly siphons off the energy from a couple. There can be a hundred ways of emotional cheating- An intense chat with an adviser, a simple chat with a Facebook and Instagram admirer that turns increasingly personal, too much personal sharing with an anonymous online friend, emotional sharing about difficulties, and couples fight with a friend or business associate. 

Any scenario that should have had your partner instead of the opposite person and anything that makes your partner feel as emotionally abandoned falls under emotional cheating.

Am I Allowed To Have (Close) Friends While In A Relationship?

A relationship is not about being shackled or caged. A healthy relationship teaches you to be a different better version of yourself, to have faith in both yourself and your partner, to let go of your inhibitions, and to live to your fullest. But what should be understood after being in a relationship is the fact that you are not single anymore. Many a time, you need to stop and think of your partner too. This however does not mean you should stop listening to your heart. Everyone is allowed to have friends, even close friends while being in a relationship. You should understand that you and your partner are your persons with every ounce of freedom to have a circle of friends. You should learn to accept your partner spending time with their friends and also learn to handle spending time with your friends. 

Stay connected to your partner on a healthy level. Figure out ground rules and expectations that work for both of you. Do not try to be dominant and do not be submissive. Practice equality. Make your relationship a win-win situation for both sides.

Where Do We Draw The Line Between Plain, Genuine Friendship And Emotional Cheating?

There is no wrong in keeping and making friends while being in a relationship. Even emotional sharing and spending time with them isn’t taken as a culprit act. As humans, we are structured to socialize and to explore. 

Nonetheless, there is always a fine line between plain, genuine friendship and emotional cheating. When that boundary is crossed can only be discovered by you. You need to look through yourself for truthful answers and confrontations. If you start feeling guilt while being emotionally attached to someone other than your partner this is where you should go on red alert! This is the point where emotional distance starts to take a toll between you and your partner.

Know your emotional scale. If you are emotionally susceptible too much personal sharing with someone else while deserting your partner is too risky and destructive. If you are in constant need of love and emotional validation even after being in a relationship or if your partner doesn’t suffice your needs and you look outside your relationship to lean on someone you have decided to emotionally cheat your partner.

If you have problems and if you feel guilty for being too much attached to a friend or an associate communicate with your partner! Look for the reasons and try to understand each other. Before emotionally cheating your partner, try to fix your relationship and share. 

What Are The Tell-Tale Signs That I’m Emotionally Cheating On My Partner?

Even if you are not ready to accept that you are emotionally cheating your partner there are always the tell-tale signs. Double-checking them might save you from refusal and encourage you to confront the issue.

The person is always on your mind

Is that particular person mostly if not always on your mind? Do you still think of that person even when you are with your partner? If the answer is yes there is a chance that your harmless friendship is turning into something deeper.

You share intimate secrets with the person

If you share too many personal things with that person, things only your partner has the right and you are preferring telling the details to your friend rather than your partner even when you are still in the friend zone you are emotionally cheating your partner.

You compare that person with your partner

The comparison starts when deficiencies and distances board your home. You are always comparing your partner with that person. You find your friend a better version and want your partner to miraculously somehow pick up the qualities your friend has. You are in a way demeaning both your partner and your relationship.

You hide the details from your partner

 You feel guilty in sharing the closeness of your relationship with your partner. You are afraid about what your partner may think or whether they’d get hurt or not.

You care about their opinions of you, both physical and moral

The person’s opinions matter more than they should. You try to look your best when you go to see them. You stay on your best behavior so that the person keeps a strong opinion of you with a liking to your character. 

How Do I Get Out Of This Emotional Affair?

As a powerful form of betrayal cheating has every bit of power of reducing a couple’s life to shreds. Before everything goes downhill to the point of no return you can still redeem your relationship. There are some strategies for mending your relationship with your partner.

End the emotional intimacy!

The first and foremost thing is to put an end to the emotional relationship with whoever you are indulged with! You must cut all ties if the emotional intimacy ever had any chance of growing into something more. Just staying friends with that person won’t do any good. 

Take responsibility

Take responsibility for your actions and own to your mistakes. Admit to the partner of your wrongdoing and tell them that you are sincerely apologetic for it.

Find the reason for your emotional staggering

Find out what made you confide emotionally in someone other than your partner. Is the spark of your relationship missing? Bring back the spark. Do you not feel emotionally comfortable with your partner? Find the reason and reconnect. Do you think your relationship is falling apart? Give it support and strengthen it. You aren’t that weak. 

Bottom-line is, just get to the bottom of the problem and solve it.

Rebuild the trust

Rebuild the trust you have broken. Make your partner believe in you again. Let them know you are genuinely repenting and you won’t make the same mistake. Listen to their demands and fulfill them even if they are a little unreasonable for the time being. Rebuilding the trust will take its due time. Be patient!

How Can I Become A Better Partner?

A person who cheats their partner while keeping them in the dark is a person who cannot be trusted or relied on. To be a better version of you, one that can be trusted and one that will never let down their partner, first understand yourself. Discover your emotional susceptibility and the things you want or desire from your partner. Never overlook the red alerts and guilt of your heart. Guilt in a relationship, when not confronted and fixed, most of the time paves way for a bigger disaster. 

Do not lie to yourself and listen to your heart. If you find any element lacking in your relationship take your partner's hand and sit down. Look it through. Communicate and find ways to fix the problems.

If you fight with your partner, do not go out and tell it to the world. Repair and glue the cracks of your relationship. What is there that can’t be fixed when your heart is into it?! Share your heart with your partner instead of going around and confiding in others. Sharing and deep talks always keep the emotional intimacy intact. Your partner deserves your emotional intimacy the most, just like sexual intimacy!

Related Article: Oh Really?: Top 6 Things Cheaters Say When Confronted
Oh Really?: Top 6 Things Cheaters Say When Confronted

No matter how hard they try to deny it, cheating is cheating.


To cut the whole discussion short, emotional intimacy can never be justified. If you find yourself having warning signs, immediately turn back! Do not delve deeper. Go back to your partner and fix your relationship. Do not let it fall apart.