man and woman hugging each other

Emotional Cheating: What It Is, Why It Happens, and How to Heal

man and woman hugging each other

Emotional Cheating: What It Is, Why It Happens, and How to Heal

Emotional cheating is considered to be a less obvious form of betrayal, but it causes consequential damage to the parties involved. Emotional cheating occurs when someone develops an inappropriate emotional bond or attachment with another outside of the relationship. It can easily go undetected as it can look healthy from the outside.

Why Emotional Cheating Happens

Sometimes, there is a lack of emotional connection between partners. As they start to drift apart, they may begin to seek emotional fulfilment elsewhere. Individuals may also use a connection they built with someone else outside the relationship as a means to escape and avoid issues within the relationship. Technology has also made it effortless to connect with and confide in another person. Social media and texting provide a way for emotionally secretive bonds to develop.

Signs of Emotional Cheating

Emotional distance is a sign of emotional cheating. When someone becomes emotionally invested in someone else, they often become distant from their current partner. This causes them to prioritise the individual over their partner. There is also a lot of secrecy and deception. Individuals may hide their cell phones from their partners for fear that their partner sees personal messages from another individual. Comparison is another sign of emotional cheating. Persons may start comparing their partner to the outside person.

The Impact of Emotional Cheating

If you have experienced emotional cheating, you may lose your sense of self-worth and feel inadequate. You may become so consumed by the pain that you begin to lose your identity. If there are children involved, fears about how the infidelity would impact the children may start to haunt you. You may worry that your children may see the betrayal as usual and repeat the same patterns in their relationships. Resentment of your partner is an emotion you may experience if you are a victim of emotional infidelity. You may have difficulty trusting your partner again or anyone else, thus affecting your possibility of a healthy relationship. You may feel that if you do not address this issue, you may settle for an unfulfilling life.

To address the fears you experience as a victim of emotional infidelity, you may ignore it, hoping that it will go away, but it continues to eat you up inside. You may confront your spouse, but they may become defensive and evasive. You may blame yourself and feel that if you change yourself, your partner may stop confiding in the other person, but you still do not feel like enough. You may seek therapy on your own to try to improve yourself, but it takes two to fix the issues in the relationship. If this feels like you, it is best to seek support to rebuild trust and a more robust and healthier relationship.

Strategies for Healing from Emotional Cheating

Open and transparent communication with your partner is the first step to healing. Be willing to listen and understand your partner’s perspective, although it may be hurtful.

Make a concerted effort to rebuild trust. This takes time and patience, so view it as a gradual process.

Seeking professional help is another way to heal from emotional cheating. Couples therapy can help you find the space to understand your feelings better, communicate more effectively, and work towards a healthier relationship.

Couples Therapy in California

Starting couples therapy is a significant step and takes a lot of courage. Know that you are taking a crucial step towards healing and growth.

At Sage River Psychotherapy, we believe therapy is about making connections that heal. Whatever has happened to you, know that we see you. Your feelings are real.

We can help you understand your feelings and learn what you need when feeling them. When you can listen to what is inside you without fear, you feel more alive, and your relationships – your connections – become safer, more compassionate, and more authentic. When you experience a new way to handle what is breaking you apart – you rewire the connection within yourself – and this is where healing begins.

Stay as long as you need.