Emotional Infidelity: What is Emotional Cheating and When Fantasizing Becomes Not OK? Top 6 Emotional Affair Signs

By Patrick Banks

Posted 2 years agoDATING

If you know about the actors Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor, you would have a good idea of relationships that looked like they would last forever. After about 17 years of marriage and one year of dating, they could not hold the fort. Separation seemed unavoidable, and they went their separate ways.

This is not as touching as Kris and Caitlyn Jenner. After about 22 years of excitement, they had to let go.

Have you ever wondered? Where did the excitement go? How did it begin? Was it all unavoidable? Marriages, like other romantic relationships, are prone to some degree of stress and wear. Cheating has not been out of the picture in many an occasion. When the excitement subsides, the desire for another source of confusion becomes necessary.

A study revealed that women are more likely to cheat in a marriage. For them, holding the chemistry past the tenth anniversary could be a burden. The same old routine might need some variety, and someone else could do it. Read more about what are the reasons why women cheat in a relationship.

The timeline varies broadly for men, depending on the circumstances. For them, 11 years is the trial period. If it stays past this time, it has some flair.

What is emotional cheating and is it normal to fantasize about someone else?

In the case of a closed relationship, cheating implies acting unfaithfully towards the other partner. Such acts may be shallow to deep emotional complexities or neck-deep sexual affairs.

Given the impression that a romantic relationship involves strong emotional ties, it would be valid to deduce that most cheating emanates from the psychological personae. This may include the desire for freedom, variety, taste, adventure, and all. These are basic cravings of the adventurous man.

Sexual or physical cheating is not as sophisticated as the emotional form, according to Melissa Schacter, Ph.D. While sex is useful in quenching the desire for it, emotional attachments develop over a long period and are more difficult to detach from.

If the above is true, identifying the situation and curbing it before it escalates might be the best course of action for affected persons.

Watching for the signs of Emotional Infidelity

The process of identifying emotional cheating is not as easy as it may seem. Every passionate affair is subtly calculated and well protected to avoid the slightest hint of suspicion. Schacter adds that planned cheating involves connection, secrecy, and eroticism.

This demonstrates how difficult it is to unmask the ploy and resolve it. You would realize how difficult it is to solve it when it goes deeper.

While we would attempt to identify the top signs to unravel an emotional cheating episode, you are at liberty to adapt them to better define your case.

1. They create walls of separation

When emotions begin to change their application’s direction, people start to build walls to ensure that they remain so. When it is a romantic relationship, the circumstances often demand that they accommodate as little interference as possible.

Whenever individuals consider a person other than their current lover, they usually keep their current lover out of their privacy. At this point, they change passwords suddenly and create roadblocks now and then to ensure that very little is exposed.

Body language expert Judi James asserts that they might get a new phone, get protective of their phone, or take offense at anyone going close to their phones.

When these signs begin to show up, it is a clear indication that your partner is facing a divergence of emotional attention. A quick response would be to redirect it early enough before it gets too late.

As stated earlier, emotional ties could be very complicated. Any more delays at sorting them out would give room for more complications. The earlier, the better!

2. Wandering eyes

If you are wondering why your partner is looking at you more often these days, look no farther. Besides, asking them would not resolve the issue as they would most likely offer you a flattering statement, “You just look more beautiful these days.”

These words now carry more meanings than they used to centuries ago. Yes! Moreover, get used to it.

The complications that attend emotional cheating often require that the persons involved begin to evaluate their options and decide whether to continue or not. Like it or not, there is always a price – this way or that way. They want to be sure that they are making the right decision to leave their current partner for another.

To save themselves from the ensuing drama and repercussions, individuals involved in emotional cheating want to reconsider their current partner. This is the reason for the continuous stare. After all, there was a time when this one was everything.

  • “What is changing?”
  • “Is she still beautiful?”
  • “Where did the charm go?”
  • “Am I sure I want to leave her?”

A periodic smile from you when you feel loved by the false look creates a complication of some sort. However, this does not count for much.

To be sure, stare back; while this may not expose the ploy (especially when you are unsuspecting), the feedback would be the decider.

A guilty cheat would quickly look away. Looks hardly deny intent; a direct look, even a subtle one, would be like sharp scissors tearing into the mind and shattering its defense systems.

Sometimes, a returned look followed by a question would do more. Fortunately, because of the emotional tie between lovers and the guts’ reflex mechanism, it would be almost impossible to deny a chemical inquiry. It will expose itself.

Well, if they do not stutter or choke, you might not need to bother much.

3. Renewed self-consciousness.

Do you remember how your partner would want to take care of their looks before you went out on dates? As you got closer and more intimate, the excitement about looking forward to another date subsides while the need to impress also wears out.

Who cares about you anymore? You have now gone past that phase. Probably you now have babies or are now a couple. Whatever the case, the excitement about showing up at the door with some scented flower, beautiful suits, or favorite dress is now gone with the wind.

You have to face life and be more responsible – maybe for the family.

Nevertheless, your emotional appetite does not deny its wants. Whether you want to have a pet dog or a dozen children, the desire to try something new with your partner, or any partner, is still a fantasy you would hardly pull away.

The thought comes afresh when another individual suddenly steals one’s love interest. This is another room for emotional cheating.

Suddenly, you realize that they want to look new again. This desire revokes the enthusiasm about looking and smelling sweet.

When faced with this scenario in a relationship, you would have to look at your partner a second time.

A note on this one; be watchful if they try to use a different kind of perfume. It could be an attempt to put away your smell, or that of their newfound interest.

4. Great expectations

Have you noticed that your partner now prefers more pepper in his sauce? Ah! That must have slipped. How about his asking you to be the cowgirl in the bedroom?

You must be thinking that there is a new perspective on your relationship, or maybe not. Maybe you think they want to take things to an entirely new level.

Let us not disappoint ourselves; this is not always the case.

A new experience often triggers a chain of experiences and expectations. The web of the drama may have caught you up. Of course, it will. You are at the other end – the part that is about to be ejected. 

Relationship experts have revealed that when individuals begin to cheat on their partners, they begin to demand the same experiences they get from their new interests. Sadly, this comes as a good sign of the affected party while it is not.

The motive behind the actions should be deciphered. If these changes come continuously, there might be an intruder’s chance of introducing the cheat to an entirely new lifestyle.

5. Language changes.

We all know that lifestyle changes come with their attending adjustments. We know because everyone is peculiar. However, some changes are subtle and divisive.

The changes that accompany emotional cheating are peculiar. They are deliberate and aimed explicitly at hiding the truth. Unfortunately, this approach creates more complications and pushes the relationship to the point where trust may be lost entirely.

When a partner is entangled emotionally, they begin to talk selectively to not expose their schemes. Sometimes, they speak so openly that their partners have no idea what is going on.

The hint is that, when they do, they would need a closer look.

Did they suddenly start talking badly about a colleague at the office?

Did someone suddenly disappear from their list?

Do not be deceived; these could be tricks to keep you at an unsuspecting distance. Watch out for it and decode it early enough if you want your relationship to last longer.

6. They get offended at anything.

Having interests in another person could be a valid reason for quick fights with one’s partner. If you realize an overly critical stance, irritation, or an increased likelihood to flare up, you might be hitting the road for a heat.

The aftermath of poor judgment – when the intruder gains the advantage over you, is the ease your partner wants to look down on your attributes and criticize you for things that seem trivial.

Where did all that come from? Emotional cheating! Only that this time you might be-long out of time.

Poor judgment might be at the far end of emotional cheating. This implies that it requires more delicate treatment.


Emotional cheating is difficult to unlock. It creates a sticky web that becomes tougher with time. If you remember how life was like in the earlier days of a love affair, you would understand the speed and urgency with which emotional entanglements hold their victims.

If you must address it, you must do it quickly.

About the author Patrick Banks

Patrick is a Berlin-based dating advisor, motivational speaker, a huge fitness and vegan diet enthusiast and the main editor at Wingman Magazine, specialised in men's health. His ultimate goal is to share with men around the world his passion for self-development and to help them to become the greatest version of themselves. He believes a healthy body and successful social interactions are two main keys to happiness.