What is an emotional affair and is it cheating?

Cheating seems to be the common theme on my blog at the moment, and so whilst we address that we need to look into the variations of cheating. An emotional affair may be something you have never heard of before, it’s usually what takes place before a physical affair, e.g two married colleagues getting extra friendly. The people in question may have never been intimate or sexual, however the connection between them is deemed inappropriate to the point it is affecting the true relationship these people or person may be in.

An emotional affair is between two people who have more regular contact than you would with other friends in your life. You may go to this person to share news before telling your partner, or confess to them how your marriage is in turmoil or that you and your boyfriend had an argument. It may start off that you’re innocently seeking their advice, and we can all justify something when it benefits us. The people involved in an emotional affair will convince themselves – and others – that this person is ‘just a friend,’ but the reality is that the boundaries are blurred. Also even if there has never been any sexual chat let alone physical intimacy between you, you are drawn to this person and can’t cut them off. A lot of the time there is actually an attraction there, even if it’s just one sided, and this can mean that even if your partner tries to cut contact, the other person may be too keen to stop the “friendship.”

Why do people have emotional affairs? Usually a crush or emotional affair is a symptom of something missing in your relationship. Maybe you are bored of how things are, you feel as though you and your partner have lost the spark, or you are fed up of being in a mundane groundhog day style relationship. If you’ve become a parent recently, maybe you find that this other person reminds you of a time before you were ‘just a mum/dad’ and you feel alive again when you talk to them. Maybe there can even be a thrill of attention and feeling wanted that you haven’t felt in so long that you don’t want to give it up. Also the idea that the closeness between you is a secret and so personal, makes it feel rare and invaluable.

Is an emotional affair cheating? I would say an EA is absolutely a form of cheating, and it can be an extremely hurtful thing to do to your partner. If there truly is a disconnection between you and your partner, confiding in someone else who you may find physically attractive isn’t exactly going to help the situation. If you find yourself talking to someone outside your relationship – especially about your relationship – more than you are your own partner, that is a huge red flag that you need to question whether you want to be in a relationship or not.

If you are wondering if your partner may be having an emotion affair, check out our 10 signs that your man is cheating, to see if you spot any signs there.



I think a lot of people use emotional affairs as a cowardly way to settle into relationships without having to leave. If they can find support and an ego stroke elsewhere, then they’ll get that whilst also going home to their unknowing wife or partner. I have a whole post on a narcissist’s harem, and how some people just want to collect attention from a variety of sources.