Emotional Infidelity: What it is and How to Avoid Becoming an Emotional Cheater

Emotional infidelity happens when we look to someone other than our spouse for emotional support and intellectual stimulation. When we find ourselves thinking about another person, anticipating those times when we’ll be together or be able to speak with them, then we are already teetering on the brink of emotional cheating.


Emotional Cheating Triggers

Certain events and circumstances can act as triggers to emotional cheating. You need to be aware of these triggers, otherwise you could soon find yourself moving into starting an emotional affair. Some of these triggers are:

  • Lack of communication – if you and your spouse no longer seem to communicate, other than with grunts and “uh-huhs”, then you might be vulnerable to someone who expresses an interest in talking with you and listening to you pour out your heart.

  • Tragedy – the death of a child, the loss of a job, onset of a chronic illness, or other tragedy can create a distance between spouses. If one spouse pulls into him/herself and shuts the other out as they deal with their pain, the other may find themselves reaching out to connect with someone else.

  • Too busy to connect – Being too busy with a career or family can mean limited opportunities to connect physically and emotionally.

  • Feeling unappreciated – If you feel that you’re doing all the giving in the marriage and the other person simply doesn’t appreciate you, you could be in danger of looking for appreciation outside of your marriage.

How Does Emotional Infidelity Start?

When you are vulnerable due to a trigger that is the time when you need to be the most alert. If you don’t guard your thoughts, and protect your emotional loyalty, you can easily begin to form an emotional connection with another. To avoid such a possibility you must be aware of the warning signs of emotional infidelity:

  • Spend a lot of time thinking about the other person
  • Daydream about spending time with that person
  • Rehearse possible conversations
  • Wish the other person would notice you
  • Other person makes you feel special
  • You start sharing intimate details about your marriage with the other person

How to Protect Yourself from Emotional Infidelity

It is possible to be proactive to keep yourself from succumbing to the temptation to emotionally cheat on your spouse:

  • Guard your eyes – the eyes are the window to the soul and once you see something it’s difficult to wipe that image from your mind. So avoid all types of pornography, being careful of where you go on the Internet.

  • Guard your mind – remember the phrase “garbage in garbage out”. Be careful of watching movies, television shows, and soap operas that contain sexual content, or glamorize extra-marital affairs.

  • Take precautions – When you participate in chat rooms, make sure you only do it when your spouse is in the room. This will keep you accountable for your online activities.

  • Take a different route if your current route takes you past pornographic billboards, strip clubs or corners where prostitutes ply their wares.

  • Avoid those romance novels – Ladies there is no way your husband can compare to the hero of any romance novel. Even if you don’t intend to do so, you will soon find yourself comparing your husband to the fantasy hero in those novels.

  • Avoid magazines that promote or focus on sexual encounters or making yourself desirable.

  • Dangerous innocence – no matter how innocent you might think your relationship is with someone other than your spouse, you need to avoid all possibility of misunderstanding or temptation.

  • Avoid compromising situations – If you need to meet with someone of the opposite sex, make sure you bring along a co-worker or even your spouse. Do not be alone together.

With increased awareness and understanding the causes for emotional infidelity, you have a better chance of keeping your marriage intact.

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