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Emotional Infidelity: A Subtle Way You Cheat

By Elohor Oderowho
04 May 2023   |   2:32 pm
The word infidelity often sounds momentous and the first thing that flashes through the mind is the pain of being betrayed by someone you love. Infidelity is defying a monogamous commitment. Painfully, the one who’s been cheated on will have to process the anguish – more often than not, anger. To a lame man, cheating…


The word infidelity often sounds momentous and the first thing that flashes through the mind is the pain of being betrayed by someone you love.

Infidelity is defying a monogamous commitment. Painfully, the one who’s been cheated on will have to process the anguish – more often than not, anger. To a lame man, cheating is often sexually related but infidelity goes beyond sexual activity or relations.

Emotional infidelity is hardly talked about but wreaks havoc on a relationship faster than sexual infidelity. Committing to someone means you’ve set boundaries and clear-cut expectations – all of which are pioneering factors for that relationship to experience growth.

Emotional infidelity is when you establish an intense emotional attachment with someone else. This attachment or closeness often disrupts the flow of your relationship in ways that are quite ignored but very critical.

For instance, you may find yourself thinking about this person more than usual, checking their messages and sharing your life’s private details with them.

Unlike sexual infidelity which can happen instantaneously; emotional infidelity is often built over time, cultured, nurtured and allowed to thrive. It can be with someone who bears the title ‘just a friend’ or ‘a colleague’ but soon grows into something more.

Soon after, that person graduates into becoming more than a friend and the next thing, you’re noticing how great it would be if you both had unplatonic strings.

A partner may truthfully say ‘nothing ever happened’ but secretly harbours romantic intentions towards another. The danger of this form of infidelity is that your mind slowly begins to disconnect from the reality that you’re committed to someone else. With time, the commitment unintentionally or intentionally begins to dwindle – leaving your partner emotionally deficient and short of trueness.

The early beginnings of emotional infidelity
It often begins with simple accessibility. You’re accessible to this person and soon find out you’re always willing to go out of your way for them. While it may pass across as simply caring for them – you may soon begin to notice romantic tensions or attraction when dealing with them.

Soon after, you may begin to notice their stunning qualities – something you start to wish you had known earlier. You start to dwell on all their good sides, how they’ve been there for you in recent times, how they make you laugh and how they know how to hold a meaningful conversation.

Whilst you’re glorying in their beauties, you may find out that you’re spending more time (consciously or unconsciously) thinking about them. With social media, it’s lot easier. Rekindling back with an ex, chatting with a colleague 24/7, viewing their statuses and all.
Common ways emotional infidelity starts

Texting: By constantly texting someone else other than your partner, you may begin to nurture intimate connection and attachment which is likely to happen. This connection may be seen as a simple likeness but may soon graduate into something stronger if not curtailed.

Deep conversations: Listening to a person err their opinions about issues on a regular basis may be a spark. Humans are hardwired to fall in love with a person they share like-minds, visions and ideas with.

Help and Advice: Frequently running to someone else for advice or help may slowly lead to attraction or attachment. While it may not be deliberate, you may set a breeding ground by merely opening up about things going on in your life including those details exclusive to you and your partner.

Arguments: When there’s a friend or co-worker (of the opposite sex) whom you turn to each time you have an argument with your partner, you may get attached to them instead. It’s important to seek help (if necessary) but when things are going south in your relationship, you may soon find yourself wishing your partner is more like them or as understanding as them.

Hangouts: You can begin to generate unhealthy connections with someone when you both embark on frequent one-on-one hangouts, lunches, breaks and meetings.

What to do if you’re caught in one

  • Disconnect from that unhealthy so-called platonic relationship
  • Deliberately think about the qualities that attracted you to your partner and how amazing they are
  • Avoid having one-on-one conversations or hangouts with the person.
  • Talk to your partner about this person and make known the deliberate steps you’re taking to sort things out.
  • Have a mind talk with yourself and admit that your actions are highly destructive, and hurtful and have the capacity to get you entangled in a big mess.
  •  Set boundaries with yourself and how accessible you are to other people.
  • Understand that you will surely meet attractive people other than your partner but your commitment to the one you love should come first.
    If your partner is the one involved.
  • You need to accept the present circumstance even though it can be mentally torturing.
  • Strike a conversation with your partner. Tell them you think their closeness with that person is becoming unhealthy and is affecting your relationship. Avoid making insinuations, assumptions or giving hear-says.
  • Keep it respectful, calm and open.
  • Be open about your worries and expectations. For instance, say “It’s not fair that you literally spend most of your free time texting even when we’re together. Can you set more boundaries so our relationship don’t get affected? What do you think?”
  • Look inwards if there’s something wrong on your own end because infidelity is also the result of unreconciled differences and issues.
  • Follow up with how they react afterwards. This will determine whether or not the relationship is worth saving.