What constitutes emotional infidelity? That’s a matter of opinion. Remember President Jimmy Carter occasionally “lusting in his heart” for other women? Even though he never acted on his feelings, many people felt he’d been unfaithful just by thinking about it.

married couples and emotional infidelity

Carter was simply being human and honest. He looked, but didn’t touch. Yet some people consider that to be a definition of emotional infidelity: looking at and/or communicating with someone who isn’t your partner with “lust in your heart.”

Historically the difference between physical and emotional affairs was contact. Physical affairs included it; emotional affairs were limited to thoughts and feelings. Today, the difference between physical and emotional affairs is blurred. 

Thanks to the Internet, e-mail and cell phones, access to other people is easier and can be hidden from one’s partner. Online porn is readily available to anyone who wants to view it; chat rooms offer numerous opportunities to engage in intimate, emotional contact with others. But are these things “cheating?” Many people think so.

According to a www.WomanSavers.com poll, “…about 51 percent of women believed that viewing porn was emotional cheating” and “…63 percent of all women felt that online affairs constituted infidelity.”

The hallmarks of emotional infidelity are withdrawing from your partner by transferring your time, emotional energy and attention to another person. Sometimes this is done secretly, sometimes not. 

Signs of Emotional Infidelity

  • Sharing thoughts and feelings with someone other than your partner

  • Giving personal gifts to that person

  • Daydreaming about that person

  • Planning when you can spend time with that person

  •  Withdrawing emotionally and sexually from your current partner

If you or your partner are engaged in any of the above you are showing signs of emotional infidelity. And that may well lead to a physical affair. MSNBC notes that half of emotional involvements eventually turn into, …“full-blown affairs, sex and all.” That’s backed up by another www.WomanSavers.com poll, which found over 70 percent of all women felt that emotional affairs could lead to physical affairs.

To keep your relationship from becoming the definition of emotional infidelity, make sure you work with your partner to maintain your closeness and set ground rules for appropriate behavior with others, both on and offline.

For more information, visit these pages:

Healing Infidelity Takes Teamwork And Time

Is Infidelity In Marriage Harming Your Relationship?

Don’t Let Infidelity Warning Signs Ruin Your Self-Worth

Online Infidelity – A Serious Threat To Your Relationship

Preventing Infidelity Means Understanding Why It Happens

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