Cheating doesn’t always involve having sexual contact. In reality, infidelity frequently results from deeper and more emotional problems. Everyone agrees that certain types of emotional intimacy between friends cross boundaries for people already in committed relationships, even though each relationship has its own set of acceptable behavior parameters. What distinguishes emotional impropriety from friendship, then? For the solution, please read this article.

The Complexity Of Human Relationships

Did you know that humans begin to grasp the idea of friendship as early as nine months old? Because of this, this idea is crucial for human social development. Similar to the proverb “Whoever finds a friend finds a treasure,” how many treasures can you keep when you’re in a romantic friendship? 

In my opinion, the complexities of human relationships sometimes blur out the lines – especially when romance and emotions get involved.

Since most relationships begin as friendships, it is understandable why some partners take it very personally when their other half unexpectedly strikes up a new friendship with a person of the opposite sex.

Emotional Cheating

A recent concept is an emotional infidelity. The phrase might be used incorrectly to excuse a partnership’s unresolved issues.

And occasionally, rather than taking responsibility for the breakdown of relationships, healthy friendships are tarnished or incorrectly labeled as emotional cheating. 

But even in the healthiest of partnerships, infidelity happens. Nearly 10% of men cheat, according to a recent study. The why was unexpected. People cheat 90% of the time because there isn’t an emotional connection, according to a recent study by Chapman University in Orange, California.

  • Most emotional affairs start as friendships, making it difficult to discern when a line has been crossed. The trust within the primary relationship is frequently violated by these relationships, which frequently go beyond the bounds of a healthy, platonic relationship. 
  • A seemingly innocent, friendly connection can suddenly transform into an affair with a romantic flair, exciting secrecy, and emotional tension. Emotional dependence resulting from unmet needs in the first relationship or a desire to fill a gap in a short-term circumstance are other examples of emotional infidelity.
  • An emotional affair and a sexual relationship differ significantly in one important way. friendship is the level and form of intimacy and its impact on a relationship. It can be challenging to identify someone when there is familiarity beyond just physical or sexual intimacy but also includes intellectual and emotional closeness. 

Communication is a common way for people to develop close emotional intimacy with a guy friend or girlfriend.

There is also a willingness to divulge personal information about their:

  • partner
  • home life
  • children and family
  • personal goals
  • professional decisions

And frequently, they purposefully conceal these choices or details from their partner. Undoubtedly, these behaviors are similar to how individuals behave when they are with their closest friends and most trusted confidantes.

Emotional Cheating Vs. Friendship: Differences

Downplaying Significance

One of the main distinctions between an emotional affair and a close platonic (non-sexual) friendship is that people in a dynamic relationship actively try to downplay or conceal the intimacy and time they have invested in it. 

Breaching Trust

A trust violation could occur if someone intentionally forges an intellectual or emotional connection outside of their primary partnership. 

Everybody has their own set of boundaries, which can evolve over the course of a relationship. They must decide what it means to cross a line as committed partners.

Uncontrollable Excitement

Meeting new people and learning new things both have an undeniable sense of freshness. Excitation is a real feeling that comes from phone conversations or even just seeing someone’s name in an email. 

Strangely, regardless of physical presence, this type of connection is often mentioned when discussing an emotional affair.

Sharing Personal Information

For our closest relationships, personal information is typically saved. 

Sharing intimate information that has not been shared with a partner or that would be inappropriate in any other situation outside of the immediate family is one of the main indicators of emotional cheating. 

Lacking Sexual Intimacy

Relationships do not always begin with sex. Yes, attraction, but not necessarily sexual activity. 

Although emotional infidelity may not always alter the frequency of intimate interactions within a primary relationship, it may cause a noticeable dissociation or decrease in the intensity of affection. 

Making Comparisons

Trust is the foundation of a healthy relationship. Emotional affairs undermine that trust by altering a partner’s viewpoint. 

The infiltrator and the main partner are frequently contrasted. The level of support, emotional fortitude, listening prowess, or physical characteristics may all be compared in these comparisons.

Becoming Defensive

When confronted with something, it is human nature to become defensive or to deny knowledge. 

When asked about a relationship with another person, those who are engaging in emotional infidelity may act defensively or overly sensitively. They might get angry right away. 

Losing Interest

Inappropriate interactions with a new friend frequently result in less time and intimacy with a primary partner. It is common for reducing time spent together to feed a growing dissociation, leaving the other partner feeling ignored, envious, and unloved. 

Embracing Vagueness

The best course of action is always to be honest. At least, that is what we instruct our kids in. As people get older, it becomes more difficult to distinguish between the truth and a lie. Definitions also become hazy in romantic relationships. 

Emotions seem to be difficult. Being purposefully evasive about the details of a new relationship or the amount of time spent with someone else is simple for those who are emotionally involved in an affair. 

Hiding Communication

Recent research has documented the detrimental effects of social media use on romantic relationships. Technology and social media also made it easier for people to engage in relational infidelity through behaviors like falling in love, flirting, and disclosing private information.

Additionally, social media communication is simple to conceal. Emotional infidelity is demonstrated when you delete emails or cut off communication with a close friend because you don’t want your partner, family, or coworkers to see them. 

Using Endearing Terms

Communication either makes relationships work or doesn’t. Selecting affectionate terms or nicknames for those closest to us is one indication of a loving relationship. 

It’s common knowledge that certain terms, like “honey” or “sweetie,” are only appropriate for use among close friends and family.

motional cheating vs friendship

What To Do

Set Boundaries Between You And Your Friend

The importance of having healthy relationships outside of marriage or a committed relationship cannot be overstated. Without those relationships, we may feel lost or lose out on important advice that only those who are not in a romantic relationship can provide.

But if you become friends with someone you might be attracted to while you’re actually dating someone else, the lines can become blurred.

Setting clear boundaries with your partner and your friends about what you can and cannot cross is the easiest way to guarantee fidelity. Ideally, you should discuss it with your partner before it becomes a problem.

However, it’s understandable if this isn’t the first topic you want to discuss in your relationship, especially if it’s a new one. 


Although the definition of emotional cheating is fairly clear-cut, you and your partner might have different views on what constitutes acceptable friendship and what constitutes infidelity.

Conversely, be sure to communicate the behaviors you are both comfortable with. Don’t be afraid to ask your partner about the types of behaviors they are uncomfortable with.

Conversations of this nature may reopen emotional wounds from the past that have not yet been healed. Make sure you are mindful of your partner’s feelings if that occurs. Speaking openly about your needs and desires is crucial, but someone who is dealing with baggage may not find it appealing. 

Emotional Cheating Doesn’t Have To Mean The End Of A Relationship

You sometimes have no choice but to do it. Emotional fraud occurs. If it does, whether you confronted your partner or your partner acknowledged it, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to end your relationship. 

In most cases, having an affair of any kind is a sign that there is a deeper issue affecting your life and your relationship. There is something missing that leaves you open to temptation. This is a good time to “press pause” on the other relationship and concentrate on your own.


The advice in this article can assist you in keeping an eye on both yourself and your partner. Infidelity, whether physical or emotional, is never a good idea. From now on, try to handle the emotional cheating and friendship.