When most people think of infidelity, typically a physical affair is the only type that comes to mind. Emotional cheating is nowhere near as prominent a thought as physical, but it is just as bad. “When we think “affair,” we think sex. Sex outside marriage can be a knife through a spouse’s heart. But an emotional affair can be just as dangerous to a marriage, and often a more complicated situation to remedy.” (Neuman. 26.) So it is not very shocking that most people do not even understand what emotional infidelity is or that it is extremely harmful; not only to a marriage but any kind of romantic relationship. When a person cheats emotionally they are being intimate in any and/or every other way than physical with someone other than their partner. Also, people have no idea how an emotional affair starts, how it differs from a friendship, the warning signs, how it can lead to something more, how it can be just as devastating as a physical affair, and how to protect their relationship from an emotional affair People should not cheat emotionally because any form of cheating inevitably hurts a person’s partner and could also have repercussions that emotionally harm the cheater.
An emotional affair is also referred to as an affair of the heart and can start as an innocent friendship that develops into something unexpected, or it can be started deliberately. Most affairs start when one partner is not having their needs met, whether they are emotional and/or physical, and they deliberately seek elsewhere to have their needs fulfilled. “All people want to be loved, acknowledged, validated, and needed. Humans want to be desired. If those needs aren’t met through their partner, they go online and find someone who meets their needs and begin cyber-cheating” (authorsden.com). Some of these needs may be sex or just meaningful conversation. Nevertheless, they are needs that are not being met.
Even though emotional affairs can start as small friendships that have no intentions of evolving into anything more, they can be dangerous. Not all friendships leave a person wanting more than just a friendly relationship. It is healthy to have friends, even those of the opposite sex, but in moderation. Also, friendships should remain strictly platonic. However, a person’s partner should be their best friend. A person should be able/want to talk about anything and everything with their partner. Whether it is just a funny thing that happened during the day or a problem that needs to be dealt with at work.
Just like physical cheating, there are signs of emotional infidelity. A person’s partner might pick a fight over something petty and meaningless, such as always being the one that has to take out the trash. There may be a withdrawal from and of intimacy, such as serious conversations. Maybe there is a lack of sexual intimacy or attraction. Sometimes there may be a sudden abundance of unexpected gifts, like jewelry. These are just some signs that can signify infidelity. Most of these signs manifest out of guilt. It is hard to neglect this purely natural human emotion and no matter how hard a person tries; guilt always manages to show itself one way or another.
Emotional affairs almost always lead to physical ones. No matter how harmless a person believes that viewing pornography or secretly sending intimate emails or texts is, a person will be left desiring sexual satisfaction and they obviously do not desire to satisfy their urge with their partner, so they will inevitably seek to fulfill their needs elsewhere.
Although 98 percent of Americans believe it’s wrong to have an affair, infidelity looms large in our marital world. Statistics vary greatly as to how widespread it is. Research estimates of how many husbands and wives are unfaithful range from 15 to 70 percent. In fact, one poll showed that over half would not consider virtual sex as having an affair. Another study cited infidelity...