Is emotional cheating really “cheating”?

broke-heartI’m not sure what the deal is with all the “emotional cheating” talk but it’s been discussed almost everywhere I’ve gone the last few days.  I saw one the other day that almost made me feel ill. I was watching a TV program where the wife thought as long as there was no sex, it was perfectly fine if she texted men or went out to dinner and even kiss them.   She really thought this was all okay and then got mad at her husband because he didn’t trust her.  I hate to link Dr Phil on here because lately I think he’s gotten lame but this story quite frankly made me sick.

With all the tools available on the Internet, this doesn’t really surprise me but I’m not sure how some of these people can really think it’s okay to go out and almost date when they’re married.  

This is also above and beyond and men and women being “just” friends.  Friends don’t need to sneak around and instant message at 5 AM and meet secretly in parking lots.  It’s the whole “secret” thing that shatters the friendship role.  I feel if your lying to your spouse, your cheating whether there is sex involved or not.

I’m not sure how I’d feel if I got cheated on.  I’m sure it’s gut-wrenching but is there a difference in “how” you do it?  Would you feel differently if it was “just” sex or would it bother you if it was just “emotional?”

I’ve thought about this a lot and to me, I would hate it if my husband took all his thoughts and feelings, fears and happiness’ to someone else.  I think that would bother me more than a meaningless sexual affair.  If there is a close bond with someone that would mean it’s been ongoing and a lot of time has been spent talking to this other person and it would really make me jealous and sad.  With a quick affair, it would just be over.  I’ve heard way to many people say “it meant nothing to me” and it probably didn’t.  I’m not saying by any stretch that it’s okay but for me, a sexual affair I think I could handle more than my husband taking all his emotions and giving them away to someone else.  All our family things and things with our kids and things about me, that would really, REALLY hurt me.

How about you?  Do you think these emotional affairs are okay? Do you think online “flirting” is harmless?  Talking to someone about things that are important to you such as your hopes and dreams? To you, is the actual act of sex the only way it’s “cheating” to you? How would you feel if your partner did this?

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26 Responses to Is emotional cheating really “cheating”?

  1. SKL says:

    Well, I think I would leave, but then I’m independent like that.

    I don’t need the physical relationship, the money, the status. So what else is there if someone else has the emotional relationship? Why should I give anything of myself to a person who isn’t satisfying my needs in the relationship?

    This philosophy that you can “go right up to the line” is extremely immature and selfish. Where do people get these ideas? I’m really getting sick of the whole “whatever works for me” mindset. You do that with colors and shapes, not with other people’s hearts.

  2. tessa says:

    Emotional affairs are the most hurtful and destructive type of cheating. Most people agree with you. Commitment is for 2 people who want to share their body & heart with just the other person.

    If my partner did this, first I would look at–did I not give him what he needed? Did I not listen enough to his needs? If I did and he just chose to go somewhere else, then I would leave.

    My close cousin recently found out her husband was having an emotional/physical affair and is staying with the woman. Their family is destroyed, hearts broken. The lies are the most hurtful part. She is devastated. She is such a sweet, loving person and they have 2 kids- 2 years and 5 years old.

    Cheaters are not strong enough or assertive enough to confront their partner and say “I AM NOT GETTING WHAT I NEED from you, I need you” or to say “I am not happy anymore and I am leaving you”. They are WEAK, insecure, scared, afraid to admit the truth and face their partners. So they wait to be caught, or go elsewhere only wishing they had the balls to speak up.

    I also have a nameless friend who cheated, and known a few others who have cheated emotionally or physically. It boils down to being weak and insecure. They were not confident or secure enough to let the other person go first.

    It is true as Dr. Phil states in his Relationship Rescue book: “If you are in a dysfunctional relationship, you have a dysfunctional relationship yourself.”

    I had one friend who stayed with a guy who was online chatting/flirting w/other girls. She was insecure or “dysfunctional”. There are always warning signs.

  3. tessa says:

    I meant in the quote: “If…, then you have a dysfunctional relationship WITH yourself.”

  4. whiskers says:

    Is looking at pictures of other women and fantasising about them a form of emotional cheating too?

  5. Tony says:

    I think marriage mates need to be faithful in all areas

  6. mssc54 says:

    Emotional cheating is like building a house but never moving into it.

    You decide what kind of house you want.

    You decide what materials you want in the house.

    You pick the contractor that you want to build the house for you.

    Then you pour the foundation.

    Then you decide on that schedule.

    Then you decide the materials to be used.

    Then you and the contractor get together on a regular basis to look at the work and discuss what the next move is.



  7. pammy wammy says:

    To me emotional cheating is CHEATING.Online,texting,sneaking around to do it is wrong.To say you are just friends,you are lying to yourself.I dont sneak around to see my friends.When you feel you have to sneak and hide things from your partner,you have BIG problems.

    • Sue says:

      I agree Pam. When you are sneaking there are problems and even if you’re not sneaking, but are giddy about the person/situation, there’s more going on.

  8. Just a Mom says:

    I just had this conversation with my 16 year old daughter the other day! As of this week she has a boyfriend, but she sees nothing wrong with constantly talking on the phone and chatting on-line to another boy she knows. She has even said that if this boy broke up with his girlfirend she would be interested in him as a boyfriend. I told her I was going to tell her current boyfriend and she said no all he will do is get jealous! Well DUH! I told her that she was cheating, plain and simple.

  9. Sue says:

    I’m going to play devil’s advocate here for a second….Does emotional cheating only happen between opposite sexes? If a woman has a best friend who is another woman and she tells her EVERYTHING (B/c that’s what a best friend is in part), her hopes, dreams, fears, relationship issues, everything, why is that ok? Isn’t the woman connecting with another person other than her spouse on a deeper level? Is it ok b/c it’s another woman and we don’t see them as a threat? Should we see them as a threat? Do you have secrets that your best friend knows but your spouse doesn’t? Does that mean your cheating? Does it mean you are emotionally closer to your friend than your spouse? What if you’re not sneaking around to see your “friend” but still get that giddy feeling when you talk to them? Does that mean it’s cheating? Are fantasies then cheating? If your spouse gave you EVERYTHING you needed both emotionally and physically, would we need more than that one friend? Could you live with your spouse being your only friend? Can we as human beings get what we need from one source?

    • nikki says:

      LOTS OF GREAT QUESTIONS SUE!!!!!! I do tell my best friend more then I tell Jason. But he doesn’t always want to hear the feelings all the time. I an tell her ANYTHING!

    • SKL says:

      Women and men don’t generally fill the same roles. Most women need female friends because their men don’t want to communicate at certain levels. Whether it’s “do I look better in this or this” or minute details about child development or “why do men think that way,” the man is better off if we have a woman to talk to.

      I did have an ex who was very jealous of my female best friend. But then, he was an extremely controlling and paranoid person. I don’t think that’s a normal reaction. Women don’t generally have “chemistry” with other women to the point where a man should be jealous of it.

    • Joy says:

      I have to agree with what SKL mentioned about the differences in your girlfriends. Men don’t care about the same things so they don’t want to hear about your new conditioner or your new shoes where your girlfriend does. I do share things with my best friends and even you and Nikki Sue but at the same time, if Paul cared, I’d tell him the things I tell you. Some of them may hurt his feelings but those “secret” things you laugh with your friends about, aren’t really a secret it’s just that he’s not interested.

      Also, I think a lot of us make men scared to answer in certain ways. “Do these jeans make my butt look big?” What’s the poor guy gonna say to that? He can’t win in some situations but your girlfriend KNOWS why you want 4 inside pockets in your new purse. Paul would look at me like I had 3 heads if I started talking purses.

      I think we can be ourselves with our girlfriends in a way that we can’t be with a member of the opposite sex.

    • tessa says:

      Sue, good questions. Yes, as humans I think we need more than one friend! Woman need other woman, men need other men-we are biologically different. I think you should be able to tell your spouse everything-just as much if not more-than a friend. If you feel the need to tell a friend more than your spouse, there might be a problem.

      Sue, I think it is okay to be emotional w/another woman. It is only an “emotional affair” if there is also sexual attraction! If there is-male or female- it is an affair. It’s okay to tell a best friend everything unless there’s attraction. Also, if you feel you are ashamed. If it is just a friend, you won’t feel shame.

  10. nikki says:

    I think emotional cheating is 1,000 times worse than sexual, physical cheating. There are feelings involved! I mean it’s nice to get compliments and talking to friends of the opposite sex isn’t wrong BUT there is a line that should never be crossed! I’d be more apt to forgive a sexual encounter than an emotional one for sure. I don’t even think I would forgive that. If you are looking else where for anything then that tells me you need to reevaluate YOUR relationship. I have guy friends on Facebook, that I went to school with that I talk to. Never about my feelings, if they sense somethings wrong they try to cheer me up. But so do my girlfriends. Hiding and sneaking, if you’re doing that then OBVIOUSLY there’s more to it! But I don’t get how you could do it over the computer, or phone. I know people who have, and I always wondered how feelings could be developed like that!
    If I sensed Jason was sharing his emotional feelings (which would NEVER happen) it would break my heart! Shatter it actually…to me feelings are important and should only be shared with the one you are with. If I’m not giving him what he needs I’d like to think he’d talk to me about it and not run to someone else. EVERYONE needs emotional support, if you’re not getting it and you bring it to their attention… over and over again…maybe it’s just time to leave! To me when you cheat, sexually or aren’t just cheating on your spouse, you’re cheating on yourself and your children if you have any. All around it’s a sad situation!

  11. Morocco says:

    I agree with Pammy. Cheating is cheating and I don’t think I could handle ANY kind. Sex is such an intimate act and very emotional to me. I cn’t seperate the two.

  12. For me Cheating is Cheating weather it’s on emotional or physical level, especially when you are married.

    If you don’t trust me then why are we still together, it means that you are not interested in me no more. In this case the relation looses it’s sparkle and it’s automatically distroyed.

  13. San says:

    Every person needs an outside support system, that is my view anyway – we can’t be enclosed in our homes, only be able to talk to the people in those four walls about our wants, dreams and our irritations – thats unhealthy… I’d personally feel like a caged animal chained by the soul.

    I’m with Mssc54, either you’re committed or you aren’t but there are different levels which I think is important to always be aware of.

    Did I lose the point? (sorry still catching up)

  14. Laura (LS) says:

    Whew. What a set of questions.

    I think there are different kinds of cheating. I have to go back to the vows that most of us took – “forsaking all others, keeping myself only unto you”.

    If you’re going off and telling your deep, dark secrets to someone else, AND NOT TO ME, that’s a problem. If you’re telling them to me, and then going to your best friend (let’s assume that said friend is a guy, for now) for a different perspective, that’s fine. Everybody has different opinions, and most situations need different perspectives. I don’t even care if you have a close friend who is the same sex as I am – Sparky has many “girlfriends”, one from high school, some from college, some from jobs he’s had. And all are simply that – friends who happen to be girls (ok, women). But there is no more emotional involvement beyond the platonic. I don’t have a problem with that.


    There are situations that I consider “cheating” in the ‘forsaking all others’ realm. When you’re spending more time, more energy, and giving more attention to another situation… I’d consider that cheating. And I’m sure I’d surprise a lot of people when I say that I consider addiction to be a form of cheating…. Anything that takes your prime focus off of the relationship at hand for an extended period of time, that’s a problem.

    • Joy says:

      You are so right Laura. ANYTHING that makes you off track is like cheating. I’d just never thought of it that way before. That’s why I like talking about stuff like this.

  15. starlaschat says:

    Good question to bring up Joy. I heard once a person say they don’t do anything they wouldn’t do in front of their wife. I believe that included emotional. My husband is my Best friend and then I have other friends. I wouldn’t get really emotionaly close with anther man because I would not feel right about it. I also try and talk to my husband about things that bother me about him or our life not to a best girl friend or others. I have found that gives both of us a chance to work on whatever it is together instead of just bitch to someone else about it. So no I don’t think it is a good idea to get to emotionaly involved with a person of the opposite sex.

  16. Doraz says:

    Sorry so late….Busy with Marion….Leaving tonight……

    I believe in the definition of the word “intimate.”
    Those topics off limits to others that are not involved!

    Easier that way!
    Happy Friday!

  17. Pingback: Cheating Spouse Signs FAQ | Is My Man Cheating?

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