As a woman who has been cheated on, both physically and emotionally, I can assure you that emotional affairs can be potentially as devastating as physical cheating. Unfortunately, few people are aware of the damage emotional cheating can bring upon a relationship. While it’s perfectly acceptable for women and men to befriend one another in platonic fashion, when do you know you’ve crossed the boundary between mere friendship and emotional infidelity?
Three years ago, I was involved with a man who meant the world to me, in typical cliche fashion. While on the surface things seemed fantastic, there was a storm brewing below that would end up destroying my self-esteem, my self-worth and my world. This man, whom I loved, was always surrounded by female friends. Because I have always gotten along better with males than with females, and was myself constantly around my male friends, I didn’t make anything of it. We were both involved in platonic friendships with people of the opposite sex, and I didn’t believe anything negative could come of it.
About a year into the relationship, I began to notice signs that something wasn’t quite right. While I didn’t understand what was happening at the time, I would come to find out that his commitment to me was shadowed by his emotional affair with another woman. At first, I thought it was me – perhaps I wasn’t giving him enough emotional support; I was filled with self-doubt. If he couldn’t confide in me, what was this other woman doing that I wasn’t? What triggered his emotional infidelity?
Eventually, I realized that his behavior wasn’t my fault. Ladies, emotional cheating can happen anytime, even in relationships that are seemingly without underlying issues or problems like mine. If you suspect your partner may be engaged in an emotional affair, keep a keen eye out for potential warning signs. Has your partner been acting secretive lately? Does he enter another room to make a phone call so you can’t hear, or quickly turn off the computer so you can’t read the e-mail he was just sending? If there are no signs of physical cheating, but your partner has begun to withdraw from you, he may be involved in an emotional affair with another woman.
The best thing to do in order to either confirm or deny your suspicions is confront him about it. He may act defensive or in denial at first, but you need to explain specifically what causes you to believe he’s doing something wrong. Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that your partner will see things your way. However, if you take the time to voice your concerns, he will have to deal with your feelings. If indeed he is having an emotional affair, it’s up to you to decide if the relationship can be saved.
Whatever happens, don’t fool yourself into believing that just because no physical intimacy was involved makes what your partner is doing okay. Emotional cheating can be just as devastating as physical cheating, and an affair is still an affair.