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Emotional Cheating Signs - What Constitutes Emotional Cheating?
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There is no shortage of negative connotation associated with the word cheating. Yet somehow when descriptive words such as “emotional” are added the impact seems to be diminished. But don’t be fooled by this, as emotional cheating has just as much potential to ruin a marriage as any other form of infidelity or affair.

When asked directly, many spouses defend having friends of the opposite sex. In some cases this truly is harmless, but there is a slippery slope that quickly leads to cheating by way of an emotional affair. Simply drawing the line short of having a full-blown sexual relationship is simply not enough to negate the risk of unraveling a marriage.

Risk Factors for Emotional Cheating

  • Short Attention Span. Has it become more and more difficult to get your spouse's attention?
  • Daydreaming. Have you found your spouse daydreaming on frequent occasions?
  • Lack of Focus. When talking to your spouse, does it seem that his/her mind is often wandering? Are they disengaged from the conversation?
  • Alternate Wavelength. On things that you have “in common” is it becoming increasingly difficult to connect and find mutual excitement?

Although the above points are decent indicators of what may be occurring behind the scenes, they also frequently yield false positives. Before openly assuming (or accusing) a spouse of indiscretion, consider the following questions:

  • Has your spouse mentioned or indicated that a close friend seems to understand them very well (just as well as you, or even better than you)?
  • Have you noticed that you are becoming less enthusiastic about opportunities to be intimate with your husband or wife?
  • Are everyday interactions with your spouse (non-sexual situations) becoming a chore? Examples might include dates, shopping, and even simple alone time after the kids go to bed.
  • Does there seem to be over-rationalization of seemingly minor events?
  • Are personal gifts being given?

When faced with these factors, a spouse can quickly become defensive. This is especially true both for the one who may be having the emotional affair, as well as for the other who is trying to impress an example of how things "should be" without being direct. One helpful strategy for both exposing and getting past an emotional affair is establishing a code of transparency.

As noted, there are several warning signs that indicate the onset or path to an emotional affair. The examples provided here are not meant to be exhaustive in nature as details and circumstances vary according to the situation and persons potentially involved. Any form of emotional cheating signs can present a slippery slope and great temptation to become physical. Studies show that this seemingly small temptation proves to eventually become full-blown and sexual in nature in over 50% of significant emotional involvements outside of the marriage.


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