Emotional cheating is more common than you think. But before you slip into one without thinking, read about the 10 bad things it can do to you. By Natalia Avdeeva
You may hold a high moral ground and believe that you’ll never ever cheat on your partner.
But just when you least expect it, you may find yourself cheating emotionally.
It happens all the time.
If you enjoy spending time with your friend more than your own partner, well, you’re probably on the verge of cheating emotionally.
[Read: 18 sure signs you’re having an emotional affair already and don’t know it!]
What is emotional cheating?
When one thinks of a cheating scenario, the first image that flashes in the mind is a man with his trousers around his ankles and a woman on a bed who’s holding a sheet, trying really hard to cover her modesty.
But over time, we’ve come to realize that having sex with someone outside the marriage isn’t the only way to cheat.
Unknown to many, the most common kind of cheating that couples experience almost all the time is emotional cheating.
If you feel more emotionally connected and closer to someone else than your own partner, you’re probably emotionally cheating on your partner already.
[Read: What should you do when you start to fall in love with someone else?]
Are close friendships really emotional cheating?
It’s always good to have a few friends that you can trust and depend on when you need a shoulder because you can’t isolate yourself and revolve your entire life around your partner. And having a confidante to share your views and thoughts will always give you the space in a relationship to have your own life too.
But there’s a very thin line between emotional cheating and sharing a close bond with someone of the opposite sex.
And almost always, this thin line is too blurry to ever notice the difference between friendship and an affair.
If you find yourself getting addicted to this friend, be it a coworker or an old friend from college, and you like spending more time with them than your own partner, that’s not good news for your love life.
The relationship you share with a friend of the opposite sex could be purely platonic, but if talking about this friendship with your partner makes you feel awkward, or if you try to hide a few details now and then, chances are, you’ll falling for this friend emotionally. [Read: 10 steps to have a purely platonic friendship with a charming friend]
Cheating emotionally and your love life
As exciting and refreshing as spending time with your new best friend could feel, if you ever start to feel like you’re craving to be with this friend or if you spend a lot of time smiling to yourself and recollecting fond memories of the friendly special times, you need to look into the mirror and confront yourself.
You do realize you’re emotionally falling for someone else, don’t you?
The 10 bad things emotional cheating will bring into your life
You can live a secret life where you dress up to impress your *friend* or have hushed conversations with them after your partner’s asleep. But at some point in time, you need to ask yourself if you even realize what you’re doing.
It’s easy to be selfish when you’re having fun. But try to keep in mind these 10 things that emotional cheating can bring into your life. And at times, there may never be a happy ending in sight too. [Read: Love triangles and its confusing complications]
#1 You’ll start to lead two lives. Having an emotional affair will force you to live two lives. On one hand, you’ll try to focus on your own lover. And on the other hand, you’ll try extremely hard to spend a lot of time with your friend.
And as your partner and your friend probably don’t know each other, you’ll have to make time for both of them. And almost all the time, you’ll leave one of them feeling hurt.
#2 You lose focus at work. When you get infatuated by someone, you can’t help but spend all day dreaming about them or replaying visions of the happy moments both of you have had together. And because of this, cheating emotionally on your partner can affect your work life in two ways.
Firstly, you’ll spend a lot of time chatting with your friend and ignoring your work because it’s the only time you get away from your partner. And secondly, you can’t daydream at home because your partner’s around all the time, so you spend a big part of your office hours whiling away your time fantasizing about this friend. [Read: 15 reasons why you’re getting bored with your relationship]
#3 You start to take your partner for granted. When you get addicted to someone new, you can’t help but push the one you already love just a little further away from your heart. Your partner won’t understand why you’re neglecting them all of a sudden.
And for the first time in a long time, you’ll start to test your partner and expect them to pamper you and treat you better even though you’re not reciprocating the same behavior. In your mind, you’re trying to compare your lover and your friend to see who’s a better wooer of you.
#4 A lot of petty fights. When you start cheating emotionally, petty fights in your love life will be inevitable. Your partner will hate your behavior because they can’t understand you and your subtle secrecy anymore. And they’ll think you’ve changed because you’re not giving enough back into the relationship to ensure its happiness. [Read: 25 memorable life lessons to perfect your life]
#5 Your life will stop moving ahead. You’ll forget about all your goals or ambitions that you’ve worked on for so long. Your life will be put on hold and you’ll start to live in a fantasy world where your friend pops into your happy fantasies all the time.
Nothing else would matter to you other than thinking of ways to be with this friend. You’ll be completely smitten by this friend of yours and you’ll spend a lot of time plotting ways to spend more time with them. But since you spend a lot of time convincing yourself that both of you are just friends, you won’t even realize how much you’re messing your own life up.
#6 You’ll be frustrated. You’re neither here nor there. You’re in a relationship with one person where you’re happy, but you’re addicted to someone else who makes you happier. You can’t name the relationship you have with this special friend and that annoys you and confuses you. And somewhere deep inside, as much as you want it, you know you can’t have them both. [Read: Are you in love with two people at the same time?]
#7 You’ll destroy your existing romance. This is inevitable when you cheat emotionally in love. Even if your partner is a perfect lover, you’d start to convince yourself that your partner’s neglect and indifference towards you is the reason behind why you’re falling for someone else emotionally.
You’ll plot, ponder and create flaws in your partner just to give a reason for your attraction towards your friend. And these flaws you create in your mind about your own partner will never ever go away. After all, when you pick a flaw in someone, you’ll never be able to see them in the same happy light again.
#8 Your priorities change overnight. You may think you’ve not changed, but all of a sudden, your partner would start to feel like a stranger who doesn’t understand you anymore. You’d get annoyed with your partner and their behavior all the time. You may even intentionally pick fights with your lover to give yourself more space so you can get consoled by your special friend. [Read: The big question – To cheat or not to cheat?]
#9 Guilt wouldn’t give you any peace of mind. When you’re cheating emotionally, you’ll feel guilty for what you’re doing. But at the same time, you’ll helplessly be drawn deeper into the web of emotional infidelity, and that makes you feel guiltier for having mixed feelings for two people at the same time. And to shove the guilt under the carpet, you’ll start distancing yourself from your own partner emotionally. [Read: Is flirting really cheating when you’re in a relationship?]
#10 You’ll become a liar. You may believe that honesty truly matters in a perfect relationship. But when you realize you’re getting emotionally attracted to someone else, you’ll find yourself walking on eggshells all the time, trying to conceal your real feelings about this friend to your partner.
You may avoid talking about your friend altogether, you may lie about why you have to stay back at work, or you may make excuses and lie to your partner just to meet this friend over a weekend. But all said and done, you’ll turn into a compulsive liar who’s lies will only get bigger with time.
[Quiz: Will you ever cheat on your partner? P.S. This quiz won’t lie.]
Emotional cheating, as exciting as it may seem now, will only hurt you over time. After all, once you cross that thin line of emotional infidelity, there’s no way you can come out of it without a painful scar.