Is emotional cheating the same as physical cheating? Several experts seem to think so.
In fact, dating coach Donna Barnes says emotional cheating can be even more serious. “Emotional intimacy is the core ingredient of a good relationship. You want to feel loved and wanted. If your partner is giving what you want and need to someone else, it causes you to feel lonely and jealous.”
An emotional affair may be test-driving what a real relationship would be like with the other person, adds Andrea Syrtash, author of “Cheat On Your Husband (With Your Husband).”
Emotional infidelity, however, is harder to define than a physical relationship.
“If one partner is sharing intimate details of their life or their partner’s life with a person they’re attracted to, it betrays the trust and integrity in the committed relationship,” say psychotherapist Dr. Paul Hokemeyer.
Even simply fantasizing could be crossing the line, Barnes says. “Fantasy is a powerful tool that tricks your brain into believing your thoughts are reality.”
That being said, it’s actually normal to connect and feel close with other people, but connecting with someone emotionally is a very intimate act and can lead to physical affairs. Therefore, it’s important to have boundaries that keep relationships appropriate.
Syrtash says it isn’t necessary to always tell your partner about an emotional connection with someone else, but she notes that it’s important to be aware of what is happening. “Ask yourself, ‘Would my mate be happy with my actions?’ It will also tell you whether you value your partner more than your flirtation.”
Therapist and relationship expert Dr. Gilda Carle suggests another helpful test: “If you can openly share that a specific person turns you on and laugh about it, and your mate can agree and humor you, that might be enough for you to move on to another conversation.”
This article originally appeared on Fox News Magazine.
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