What is an emotional affair? What is it not?

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Cheating is often thought of as having a physical relationship with a person other than your partner, but cheating isn’t always physical. It is hard to define what an emotional affair is because all couples draw the line for cheating in different ways, but it can be broadly described as forming a strong and emotional bond with someone who is not your partner.

Many people who engage in emotional affairs do not consider it to be cheating, which is what can sometimes make it hurt even worse. Furthermore, if your partner is has a deep emotional connection with someone other than you, what is stopping it from becoming physical? Here are some signs that constitute an emotional affair and others that do not.

An emotional affair is NOT having a crush
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Even in a monogamous relationship, it is possible that you or your partner will have chemistry with someone else. This is especially common in relationships that have made it past the honeymoon phase. Just because you are in a relationship does not mean you are going to stop noticing other attractive humans out there.

Crushes can even be helpful in letting you know what you might be seeking in a relationship or what your relationship is missing. For example, are you and your partner spending enough time together? Are you maintaining a healthy sex life? Crushes can help you notice what you may need to work on in your relationship, or it may be a sign that your current partner is not the one, but it does not mean your relationship is doomed.

An emotional affair IS lying to your partner about your relationship with someone else
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People often know when their behavior is turning shady. If your partner suddenly feels the need to delete texts from someone else so you don’t see them, it could be a red flag that they are sending texts that they shouldn’t be. Also, if your partner becomes increasingly defensive when you ask about this other person or lies about hanging out with them, these are subtle and easy-to-miss signs that they could be cheating.

An emotional affair is NOT having a best friend of the opposite sex
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Friendships of the opposite sex are not cheating, and in fact, they are healthy! If the person you are dating becomes possessive and feels threatened by your friendships of the opposite sex or demands your exclusive attention, this can be a sign of a toxic and controlling relationship.

The key to maintaining a healthy relationship and friendships with the opposite sex is keeping an open flow of communication with your partner. If you find yourself wanting to be less honest with your partner, then you could be headed for an emotional affair. Being in a relationship does not mean phasing out your friendships. However, if you are seriously committed to making your relationship work, you may have to make some changes in friendships that tend to be more flirty.

An emotional affair IS no longer making your partner the priority
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It is true that if someone wants to make a relationship work, they will find a way to make it work. There are a few different ways that your partner might be checking out of the relationship by not treating you the way they should. For example, they might be checked out during sex or things just might not feel as intimate as before. Secondly, when people become comfortable in a relationship, their partner is often the first person they turn to with big news. If you are no longer hearing about important things that happen to them, then this could be a sign that they are sharing it with someone else.

All of the above are simply signs to watch out for, but it is important not to jump to conclusions and to make sure you are keeping an honest and open relationship with your partner. Remember to trust your gut and that you are allowed to express your concerns with your partner.

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