You’re out at a party, having a good time, and you happen to dance with someone who fits your description of ‘cute’. You exchange numbers, and turns out, they’re more than just a pretty face. So you get on like a house on fire. You text and call them all night, flirt with them, and the next thing you know, you’re emotionally dependent on them.
Plot twist: you’ve been in a monogamous relationship all along, and your partner has no clue that any of this is happening.
But hey, you didn’t as much as hold hands with them, let alone sleep with them, so it doesn’t qualify as cheating, does it?
Well, turns out, it actually kinda does.
For starters, you could delude yourself, but at some level you know it’s not entirely platonic. Paint the ‘healthy flirting’ picture all you like, but if you think it’s worth hiding it from your partner, it’s not healthy — for you, or for them.
The signs will be there, too. Your intimacy levels with your partner will drop, you become more secretive, and of course, you know it in your gut and feel a tad guilty about it too.
So does that qualify as emotional infidelity?
“An emotional affair is a difficult tag to attach to a relationship, in my opinion. A multitude of factors come in deciding whether or not it’s in play. However, if you ignore the technicalities, it’s pretty obvious, really,” says Shalaka Apte, 21 .
She continues, “I’m a millennial and I’m surrounded by many other millennials, and it’s far more common that we’d like to admit. I see people in relationships emotionally involved with or cheating on some person all the time.
“When one shifts their focus, priorities, and the other person’s place in their life to accommodate another, someone they are attracted to on any level, and might manipulate or lie to their partner in the process, or feel the need to do so, it’s emotionally cheating on the person. Even if the act hasn’t come right down to what we popularly consider cheating, ie, physical intimacy.”
The keyword, of course, is monogamy. If you’ve made the commitment, you owe your partner the truth, at the very least, says Pawan Bijlani, a 26-year-old architect. “It’s not just about the sex, because sexual attraction is very common. It’s the emotional and mental connection you forge with your partner that truly forms the basis of any mature relationship.
“If I were to be replaced in that capacity by someone else, that would personally hurt more than a one-off fling. It implies all’s not well in the relationship — there are underlying, pre-existing issues and holes in the relationship you’re trying to fix with someone else, which is incredibly problematic.”
So, the bottomline? Emotional cheating is a very real, and could be disastrous for any relationship. If you think you’re guilty of it, the best thing to do would be to not downplay it.
Address the issue, introspect, reach out to your friends or an expert on the matter, and deal with it maturely, lest it becomes toxic and destroys what means the world to you.
What are your views on the matter? Have you ever experienced it, one way or another? Let us know your views in the comments below.
Image Credit: Nikhil Mudaliar