When the word “cheating” comes up, we usually think of a forbidden physical relationship, but not a lot of people think of an emotional affair. In fact, there are so many grey areas when it comes to emotional cheating. How do you know when an innocent friendship has turned into something more? Does the person know what they are doing, or is it something unconscious? You might feel like something is off, but you might not feel sure enough to confront your partner.
Many people feel like emotional cheating can be worse than physical cheating because your special emotional bond in the relationship is being replaced with someone else’s. When it comes to the cheating, you might not know until the very end when there is a confession.
Sometimes, you don’t get to know until much after you’ve been broken up with. This can be especially true when it comes to emotional cheating because it can be tricky to separate friendliness and more-than-friendliness. If you suspect someone you know might be having an emotional affair, look out for these signs.
1. Being Super Secretive
Everyone has the right to their own privacy and their own space, but if your partner has suddenly become more secretive than usual, it might feel worrisome. If you knew his passwords for example, and they’ve all suddenly been changed without your knowledge, it might be a sign.
You might also find that his phone and tablet have a passcode when they didn’t before, and you have almost no access anymore to any of his personal belongings. If there has been a drastic change in the things he shares with you, it might point to emotional involvement with someone else.
2. Being Quite Distant
You feel like your partner isn’t making an effort to talk to you at all, or is not responding well to your attempts to talk to them. She might give you conversation-ending replies, like “Yeah, ok, whatever you say”, or “I’m tired, maybe we can talk tomorrow”. They might also not be physically close to you, such as sitting farther away from you even when there is space near you and preferring to not hold hands. These signs could mean that your partner has already shared the important things with someone else, and doesn’t want to invest any energy in talking to you.
3. Constantly Mentioning Their “Friend”
Contrary to keeping this new person secretive, your partner might mention them more often than needed. It might be because your partner feels like it’s not cheating if you know about the friend, but if you listen closely, they keep finding ways to plug this new person’s name into a conversation. It’s completely fine when a partner talks about their friends, but if a new person’s name is too frequently included along with the other signs, it could signify that something might not be quite right.
4. Comparing You To Someone Else
Your partner might start criticizing you or putting you down more often than before. Things that were perfectly fine before, like your cooking, might start tasting too bland or too salty. When your normally accepted habits and qualities start being criticized on a regular basis, it could be because your partner sees these qualities as better in a new person.
5. Being Blown Off
Your partner might start working really late into the night AND on the weekends, and doesn’t make an effort to spend quality time with you even when they are free. On the other hand, if you have to work late or have plans that don’t involve your partner, they might even seem excited about it.
Finally, when you try to join them in their plans, they find reasons for you to not be included; and even when you end up joining them, they make you feel like a third wheel.
6. Your Sex Life Isn’t As Great Anymore
Your partner will seem “off” when you have sex, like not making eye contact, rushing to finish up and not giving any time to the intimacy afterward. The whole act could make you feel really crappy, not only physically but mentally too. You end up feeling like there was only movement and not much else behind the time you spent together.
7. New Love For Social Media
If your partner was not so active on social media before, but you find them constantly browsing on Facebook, Instagram or even LinkedIn, it could mean a red flag. Social media is the main mode of communication when someone wants to hide something because it doesn’t seem like anything is amiss if you’re browsing through it constantly during your time together.
8. New Opinions, Interests, And Phrases
Being with a new person can be quite influential on your partner, and you can feel them changing quickly. It can be especially worrisome when your partner starts using phrases that you haven’t heard of before, such as when you are having a fight that you might have already had before.
For example, if you’re always fighting about clearing up dishes, and your partner says something like “Your control issues are straining our relationship”, rather than the usual “I worked 14 hours, gimme a break”. Partners often talk about their relationship issues with people they are emotionally attached to, and if you find changes that are completely out of character, it raises a red flag.
9. A Bad Gut Feeling
Our intuition exists for a reason and can pick up on vibes around us. If you’ve been in a relationship with someone, you know them really well. When you begin to notice the differences and the strain in your relationship, you know right away. We tend to rationalize and make excuses when we feel it, but when you know, you know.
Approaching your partner about this might seem difficult and overwhelming, but doing it sooner rather than later will be more helpful for you. Don’t confront and blame right away, but start a conversation; “I feel like you’re not around anymore, and we don’t talk much at all. It’s scaring me. Can we talk about what is happening?”. A conversation will leave more room to get to the issues, unlike an argument that can turn ugly and become a complete disaster.