10 Signs You’re Having An Emotional Affair Even If You Don’t Realize It

Most of us tend to think of cheating solely in physical terms, but there is such a thing as emotional cheating. While many would argue that you can’t control your feelings and that it’s not as serious as sleeping with someone else, it’s still a form of disloyalty. You may not even realize that your connection with someone outside your relationship is problematic, but here are a few signs you’re having an emotional affair and need to pump the breaks.

  1. You think about someone other than your partner when you’re having sex. Ideally, you’re in the moment when having sex with your partner and only thinking about them. While most people can excuse the occasional thought about a celebrity crush or something, fantasizing about someone else you actually know and interact with in your daily life while having sex with your partner is a clear sign of emotional cheating. If you’re not so turned on by your partner that your attention is solely on them, there’s a problem.
  2. The first person you call to share any kind of news isn’t your partner. Under almost any circumstances, if something important happens, your partner should be the first person you call. That is unless they were there to witness it. But if something big happens in your life and there’s a “friend” that you must tell right away, that’s a red flag. Of course, every situation is different, but unless you have a damn good reason for calling that person, you might be having an emotional affair.
  3. You go to someone outside of your relationship for advice. Along those same lines, your partner should be the person you turn to when you need advice about something. Odds are, whatever is happening in your life will impact them as well. Frankly, in any situation, who you turn to for advice is quite telling. If you trust someone else’s advice before your partner’s, there must be a good reason and it could point to having an emotional affair.
  4. You prioritize someone other than your partner. Needless to say, if you’re in a serious relationship, your partner should be your biggest priority in terms of the people in your life (save for a child or family member in need). Obviously, there are a variety of different ways to test that. If you can sense yourself choosing others over your partner, it’s possible that you’re having an emotional affair. Specifically, is there one person who you seem to be favoring over your partner? Even if it doesn’t seem like a big deal, making someone else a priority over your partner in any circumstance can be an emotional betrayal of your relationship.
  5. You’re texting this other person a lot. Is there another person you text almost as much if not more than your partner? Of course, you may not text your partner much if you live together. However, is there someone you text more than you used to text your partner before you started living together? It may sound stupid, but who you text most often says a lot about your relationships and your priorities. Also, it’s not just about frequency but the timing of texts. If you’re texting someone who’s not your partner early in the day or late at night, something fishy is going on.
  6. The other person “gets you.” Look, deep down we all want to be understood. We all want to be around people with common interests and with whom we share a connection. That’s why we get into serious relationships, but when you start talking about someone other than your partner who “gets you,” we’ve entered a gray area. I’m not saying it’s wrong, but it’s a clear case of emotional cheating.
  7. You share more with this other person than you should and you know it. Let’s keep it real, there are some things that should only be shared with an intimate partner. If you’re oversharing details about your life with someone, stuff that you’ve never told anyone before, this is emotional cheating. There has to be a reason why you told this other person and not your partner, right? The same applies if you’re sharing intimate details about your relationship with another person. Some stuff should stay between the two of you, and if doesn’t, it can be considered a betrayal of your partner.
  8. You worry about your appearance when you’re around them. Outside of a job interview or a banquet, you shouldn’t be worrying about your appearance too much if you’re in a serious relationship. I mean, you want to look good for your partner, of course. But if you spend too much time looking in the mirror before seeing someone who’s “just a friend,” it’s a strong indication that you have feelings for that person that extend beyond friendship.
  9. You compare your partner with this other person. Okay, this is when it gets serious. When you start comparing your partner to someone who’s not your partner, that’s a slippery slope. It’s hard to justify doing that if you don’t have feelings for the other person. Even if you’re doing it in your head without realizing it, there’s a problem. Honestly, comparing your partner to other people is just a crappy thing to do in general. It can also be a sign of emotional cheating.
  10. You keep secrets from your partner about this person. People who have emotional affairs tend to hide it just like people who have physical affairs. Telling white lies or keeping secrets from your partner is a huge sign of emotional cheating. Are you trying to hide from your partner how close you are to someone else? Do you not share with your partner when you see that other person? To be fair, this doesn’t always happen on purpose. People sometimes have a subconscious instinct not to tell their partner who they might like a little too much. But this is a form of keeping secrets and a clear sign that you’re being sneaky and dishonest.
Bryan Zarpentine graduated from Syracuse University and lives in upstate New York, where he writes largely about the world of sports. His work has appeared on Franchise Sports and WSN, among others. You can find him on Twitter @BZarp.