Cheating in any degree is not OK by me. I've been cheated on before, and I vowed from that moment on that I would never tolerate it in another relationship again. But there are different versions of cheating, and I can honestly say that when you notice the signs that your partner is having an emotional affair, it's worse than hearing they kissed someone else.
People make mistakes and, if their judgement is clouded by anger, frustration, or even alcohol, I know that being intimate in a physical sense with someone can happen. But emotional affairs? Those aren't started, or maintained, by lust and alcohol. Those start with the heart, and they are not only incredibly dangerous for a relationship, but they are so hurtful that one cold argue an emotional affair is worse than a physical affair. Your partner is essentially replacing you with a new person, and are turning to them for emotional intimacy and a connection instead of with you.
Everyone thinks that they would know that their partner is cheating on them, but that's not always the case, and it's especially true with an emotional affair. It's easy for your partner to slip into one if the two of you are having problems in your relationship (although it's definitely not an excuse.) They write it off as just talking to someone, blowing off some steam, and enjoying a friendship. But before you realize it, they're in love with someone else and you feel utterly lost. These 13 signs your partner is having an emotional affair may help you feel less paranoid or may give you the strength to call your partner out on their behavior.
1. They Are Disconnected From You
And in a major way. They aren't affectionate, they seem lost in their own thoughts, and they don't talk to you or communicate about anything. Psychologist Dr. Jennifer Oikle told Woman's Day that this is a definite sign of infidelity, because it's "hard to be emotionally invested in two people at once."
2. They Are Very Secretive
Relationship expert Abby Rodman told LiveStrong that a sign of an emotional affair is when your SO starts taking privacy measures they never did before, like keeping their cellphone out of your reach, or changing passwords to accounts. It shows that they're hiding something from you, which is not OK.
3. They Don't Talk To You
Trivial things, important things — it all used to be fair game. But now your partner doesn't speak to you much at all, and it could be because they're sharing their day and life with someone else. Therapist Carrie Cole told Redbook that if your partner is sharing personal details with another person, that deepens their bond. Especially if the other person is encouraging to your SO.
4. They Have A Friendship That Make You Uncomfortable
Maybe it's a new friendship, or an old friend seems to be back in the picture, but if you're feeling at all uneasy, there's probably a reason. In secure, faithful relationships, your partner would never act with a friend in a way that seems inappropriate to you. "When a supposedly innocent, platonic friendship has your red flags flapping, then something isn't kosher," Dr. Jamie Turndof told Redbook. Listen to your intuition.
5. Their Opinions Have Changed Drastically
In an emotional affair, there's a lot of talking and getting to know someone. So when your SO seems to have totally different opinions and ideas on a certain subject, there could be a red flag. Unless you can pinpoint the change, it might mean that another person has had influence over them and that deep, meaningful conversations have given way to new opinions.
6. They Compare You To Another Person
Whether they're specific in their comparisons or not, this can be a huge red flag. You tell your SO how hard it is taking care of the baby all day, and they tell you that there's a woman in their office that has three kids and no husband and manages to do it all without complaining. Gal Szekely, founder of a therapy center for couples, told Huffington Post that when someone is having an emotional affair, they begin to see their partner in a negative light and the person they're cheating with in a good light. To your partner, the two of you can no longer compare, and they begin to make judgements.
7. They Don't Give Details About Their Friend
You ask your partner why they are home so late, and they tell you that they had dinner with a friend. You press for details, and all they will offer is, "Oh, just a friend." Or they'll say, "You don't know them, they're new at work." Why the secrets? Psychologist Dr. Judith Tutin told YourTango that those who are having emotional affairs might think it's a small omission rather than a lie, but they must ask themselves why they're lying to their partner in the first place.
8. They Think There Is An Excuse For Cheating
This was a huge red flag for me in a relationship where I was emotionally cheated on numerous times. I would purposely mention a friend that found out her partner was cheating on her by having a connection to someone else, and my SO would immediately blame my friend. "Maybe she made them miserable," he said. "Maybe if she had been a better wife to him, he wouldn't have strayed." Cheaters love to turn the guilt around and pin the blame on someone else, so keep this in mind if your own partner seems to excuse bad behavior.
9. They Have Random New Interests
More personal experience, but it applies. When my ex came home with a random book he wanted to read, I was shocked. He was not the type to buy books, even when I told him about some good ones, and he never had an interest in reading before. All of a sudden, he knew all about this one book and had "found" himself a copy. My gut turned itself over because I knew someone had given it to him to read, and in a really intimate way.
10. They Put More Effort Into Themselves
When your partner is all of a sudden putting more effort into their appearance, health, and overall well-being, you may initially be excited for them. But when it's coupled with other signs, it might mean that they're making themselves better for another person. Sex therapist Stephen Snyder told YourTango that it's an ordinary part of the human mating dance, but people need to be aware of what they're doing and have rational thoughts.
11. They Use Social Media Excessively
Your partner was never one for Facebook, but now they're downloading the app on their phone and using it all the time. It might be their way to communicate with the person they're cheating on you with, or it might be a way for them to keep up with the person's details and posts.
12. They Aren't Bummed About Missing Time With You
In my experience, when your SO doesn't seem bothered about having to work late, or attend a work function instead of hanging out with you, or having to spend a whole Saturday helping someone move, something is up. Your partner may even seem excited to head to work on a Sunday night, blowing off the Netflix and chill plans you two had set.
13. Their Tone Changes When On The Phone With The Other Woman
You walk in on your partner taking a "work call" and notice that their voice sounds sexy, or may even be higher pitched than normal. You're not crazy. A study conducted by Albright University found that when someone is speaking to a person they are romantically involved with, they often change their tone to mimic the sound of the other person's voice. You know your SO doesn't talk to other work colleagues like that, so it can be a huge red flag.