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Emotional cheating : you don’t need sex to cheat

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Emotional cheating : you don’t need sex to cheat

When we talk about unfaithfulness, the word is directly associated with physical adultery, but in the case of emotional cheating, you don’t need sex to cheat.

For most people, being unfaithful has to be linked to shared physical pleasure. It’s just so, like some kind of social norm. So much so that when you start talking about emotional cheating, many will look at you with a blank expression on their face. They will either not understand or think you got it wrong. And yet… It truly exists. Do you know what is exactly meant by emotional cheating? What it brings to those who take that path? Why it doesn’t necessarily turn into a more common, more total unfaithfulness? If it’s less of a deal, or more? Let’s find out what emotional cheating is : or when you don’t need sex to cheat. 

What is emotional cheating? 

Unfaithfulness, in the traditional sense, has always been considered like a situation where a person gets involved in physical intimacy with someone other than the partner whith whom he/she forms a couple. However, unfaithfulness can also include emotional cheating.

It happens when a person shares a deep connection and a strong attraction, built on emotional intimacy, with somebody other than his/her partner. 

That’s what you get when you allow somebody else to answer the emotional needs that should be fulfilled by the partner. It creates an intimacy that leads to an affective attachment and sometimes, physical intimacy can indeed come into play at some point.

Emotional cheating can be a symptom, and only a step towards physical cheating, in the sense that it generates a bond between the two people involved strong enough to edge them towards something more physical.

The signs indicating emotional cheating 

Being excited and impatiently waiting to see someone, and spending more time in his/her company than you should 

Confiding your preoccupations and the problems met in your couple 

Flirting with that person 

Imagining being in a relationship or intimate situation with that person 

Talking about that person all the time, or on the contrary hiding him/her and never bringing him/her up 

Being uncomfortable when talking about him/her to your partner because you know it’s an inappropriate relationship. 

Read also : Emotional apology letter for cheating on him

The causes of emotional cheating 

What makes emotional cheating happen? There are multiple causes, but a sure marker is the lack of affectivity within the couple, which results in the relationship deteriorating.

And as a result, one of the partners (sometimes even both) will go looking for the missing tenderness, intimacy or trust in someone else. A lack of communication is unfortunately also an aggravating factor. 

A healthy relationship, as opposed to a toxic one, will rarely fall apart because of emotional cheating. In a healthy couple, communication channels stay open, and none of the partners are afraid of confiding their discontent regarding certain aspects of the relationship in the other. Which is why the main cause of unfaithfulness is to be found where communication is involved.

Emotional cheating and the trap of the virtual 

Love inside a couple is a wonderful bond, but unfortunately, the lifestyles of today don’t always have the best effect on relationships. People find it increasingly difficult to truly connect with their partners. Love, like any emotion, must be nurtured in order to grow.

Wether because of a lack of time, the frantic pace of life, or the mutiplication of possibilities (and thus temptations), more and more couples find themselves facing the possibility of engaging in acts of infidelity, and by doing so risk ruining their shared happiness.


Because of a parallel, virtual life that takes up more and more space. Indeed, emotional cheating is reinforced by virtual exchanges. 

When emotional cheating happens online, no physical intimacy is implied, because both people may well never meet in real life at all. The internet allows for you to make friends you will have no interaction with. Quite often, also, the anonymity of the internet allows for people to unite emotionally and, sometimes, to give in to emotional cheating.

This kind of unfaithfulness seems to be multiplying everywhere, in large part because of the explosion of online meeting possibilities.

Emotional cheating, a bigger or lesser deal than physical cheating? 

Feeling loved is, in my opinion, at the basis of all of our psychological needs. Often, people who end up cheating consider that their affective needs aren’t satisfied by their partner. That is usually one of the main reasons people give to explain and justify their unfaithfulness.

In the case of emotional cheating, other reasons are to be considered, such as the possibilities themselves as well as the adrenaline rush these relationships offer. The fact that a physical relationship isn’t necessarily involved leads many people to believe that emotional cheating isn’t as bad as it seems. However, both infidelities, physical and emotional, can deliver a severe blow to your relationship as a couple. 

In a situation of emotional cheating, the beginning of the unfaithfulness takes place through the budding of a friendship bond. At first, this friendship does not seem to pose any specific threat, especially if it stays platonic.

Read also : Open Goodbye Letter To My Cheating Wife

However, the alarm bells should start ringing when one of the two starts drifting away from his/her partner. That person will detach, and the relationship with the partner can then start feeling distant and disconnected. After a time, the person giving in to emotional cheating will spend more time with the friend. Such a rendezvous is sometimes kept secret from the partner. And the moments that were previously associated with the couple’s relationship are now used to exchange with the friend.

Just like with physical cheating, the emotional one can wreck the relationship within a couple. It’s more insidious because the person can take part in it without realizing it, in the sense that it began in the shape of a friendship. 

So it’s important to know how to identify this kind of cheating, especially in this day and age where the whole world is at hand on the screen of your phone. Because in fact, emotional cheating will break your relationship more often than physical unfaithfulness.

How to avoid emotional cheating?

Working on your communication skills within your couple is paramount. A solid couple has to work day after day on trust and understanding. The couple is made, before anything else, of two friends who decide to share a life, and what’s more, who are physically attracted to each other.

Since emotional cheating doesn’t immediately imply anything physical, that isn’t where you must look for the main reason behind the infidelity. Carnal intercourse with your partner can be fully satisfying, but emotional cheating can come knocking on your door regardless.

The signs of emotional cheating can vary depending on the couple, but you can often identify the following two signals :

One of the partners is distant and doesn’t share his emotions or his problems 

There is a lack of intimacy and affectivity between both partners 

Nontheless, it’s important not to be paranoid : if one of the partners doesn’t introduce every single person he knows to the other, it’s not cheating. It is necessary for both members of the couple to have friends on the outside. However, if the partner confides his problems exclusively to a third party, then there might be a problem. You need to communicate to clear up the matter.

As a conclusion, to avoid emotional cheating you have to develop a relationship of complicity and trust within your couple, and work towards total communication. 

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