Some folks think that being emotionally unfaithful is not cheating, while others consider it just as bad as having an affair. These situations usually start with two people getting to know someone outside their marriage or a committed relationship. This cheater may bond over work issues or problems with their partner.

It’s not long until the conversations become more vulnerable, and you start sharing things you shouldn’t. When you cross this line and have deep conversations, you’re opening yourself up for romantic feelings to develop. Soon you’re fantasizing about a romance with someone who was once just a friend.

According to a study conducted by Health Research Funding, around twenty percent of married couples must deal with an emotionally unfaithful partner. Though some folks like to classify men as cheaters, women are just as likely to look elsewhere to meet their needs. In fact, this study found that 45 percent of men and 35 percent of women experience emotional affairs.

Fifteen Signs of an Emotionally Unfaithful Partner

emotionally unfaithful

How do you know if your partner is being emotionally unfaithful to you? Are there classic behaviors that you need to be wary of? Here is a list of commonly observed actions in someone who’s being unfaithful to their partner.

1. You Catch a Cheater in Lies

Whether having a physical affair or an emotional one, you can be sure they will lie to you. Cheating on your partner and keeping things 100 percent honest is impossible.

At some point, they will need to make up a story to cover their tracks, but you must be one step ahead of this person and investigate any discrepancies. Emotional cheating is still cheating by most people’s standards, and there’s scarcely a person in this situation that’s honest.

2. An Emotionally Unfaithful Person Is Secretive About Their Phone

Cell phones are one of the easiest ways to catch someone who’s being emotionally unfaithful to you. Since most cell phones have text messages, call history, and social media communications, it becomes proof of their wrongdoings.

People become very secretive only when they have something to hide. If you see your once open person now hides their phone and changed passwords, something is going on.

3. They Suddenly Bring Up a Person’s Name Too Much

Another classic case of someone having an emotional affair is that they start name-dropping. They might tell you about a new employee or a friend they met. Their opinions, what they had for lunch, or anything else they feel to share about them might become commonplace.

This indicates that they can’t get this person off their mind, so they can’t help but talk about them. If suddenly someone else becomes a common topic of conversation, you can believe they’re the third party in your relationship.

4. Physical Appearances Change

When a person develops feelings for someone else, it’s only natural to try to change their exterior to be more appealing. For instance, they may dye their hair, change their style of clothes, start losing weight, or wear a new perfume/cologne.

They’re trying to impress someone the best way they know how, and if you pay attention to them, you will see what’s going on behind your back.

5. Intimacy Changes With a Cheater

If your partner fantasizes about being with someone else, they will likely not want to be with you. They may turn away from you because they’re trying to plot the great escape and don’t want to lead you on any further.

Now, some folks do precisely the opposite. They will be even more into you to help keep you in the dark about what’s happening. While they’re with you, they may fantasize about it being the other person.

6. An Emotionally Unfaithful Person Is Moody

It’s challenging for someone who is emotionally unfaithful to keep it all together. They have guilt for what they’re doing to you, and they need to justify their actions.

You may notice that they pick fights or try to get you angry at them so they feel more justified in turning to the other person. Their bad mood is just a sign that they’re feeling guilt, and they don’t know how to handle it.

7. A Cheater Will Often Lose Track of Time

Your partner who always walked through the door at six pm on the dot is now always late. They have weekend business trips and reasons to leave town more than ever before.

They have more social engagements with work folks that don’t include you, or there are always the proverbial meetings they must stay late to attend. Please make no mistake that jobs don’t change things like this, so you can be sure they’re up to something.


8. They Find Excuses to Be Around This Person

It’s often the case that the person your partner is emotionally unfaithful to is a family friend. They may have a relationship with you too. You may notice that they’re engrossed in each other’s conversations when they’re together and make excuses to see one another. When you’re with them, it seems like you’re the fifth wheel because they only have eyes for each other.

9. Emotionally Unfaithful People Might Even Joke About an Affair

Remember the old Shakespearian quote that states, “many truths are said in jest”? Well, people often say things in a joking manner that’s not funny. For instance, it’s alarming if you notice your partner starts joking about having an affair, especially when confronted.

They’re likely trying to throw you off by stating something outlandish, but the truth is that it’s constantly on their mind.

10. Your Partner Shares Too Much with Another Person

Your partner won’t need to confide in you if they’ve found someone else. They will start sharing all the intimate details of their life with the person making them feel butterflies inside. Most infidelity starts with friendships that get too deep.

According to the National Healthy Marriage Resource Center, most emotional affairs start innocently. Everyone craves emotional support and communication; if you’re not getting it from your partner, it’s only natural to turn to someone else. The article further states that though the relationship seems beneficial initially, no one will ever benefit from cheating.

11. Date Nights are Less Frequent

When things were going great, you both spent lots of time together. Now, you don’t have date nights or see each other much. They may pull away from you because they’re running toward someone else.

Being unfaithful has many warning signs, and when you start seeing less of each other, you can ensure there’s a reason behind it. You need to find out if there’s another person behind this sudden absence.

12. You Feel Like Strangers With an Emotionally Unfaithful Partner

Being secretive is a standard action when someone is doing something wrong. Your partner will try to conceal many aspects of their life if they’re unfaithful.

The relationship may be on autopilot, and no one is paying much attention to how things are going. It’s a sign that they’re pulling away, so they can focus more energies on someone else.

13. They Dismiss Your Complaints

When you bring up anything about this person or their possible unfaithfulness, they are quick to dismiss it. They make you think that you’re overreacting and downplay the whole situation. They’re trying to put your mind at ease but protesting way too much.

14. They Drop Hints Wanting You to Change

When someone lives a secretive lifestyle, the guilt can be pretty overwhelming. So the best thing for them is to try to make you the reason for their wrongdoing.

One of the easiest ways to do this is to show their frustration with you. They may make subtle hints about the things they wish you would change. Fault finding is more about them and less about you.

15. A Cheater Accuses You of Being Unfaithful

With emotional or physical unfaithfulness, the other party often likes to point the finger at their partner. It’s effortless to lay the blame at your doorstep, so they don’t have to face the music. Sadly, these feelings will eventually grow and become physical if something doesn’t alter the course.

Another aspect to consider is that this is a power play to force your hand. They’re manipulating you into seeing what kind of relationship you don’t want. It doesn’t matter how great things were before because they’re unsettling now.

emotionally unfaithful

Final Thoughts on Detecting an Emotionally Unfaithful Partner or Flat-Out Cheater

It’s excruciating to think that your partner would cheat on you. Before you know how you will proceed, you need to define what you call cheating. Many people describe it as physical activity, while others believe it’s anything that causes you to get close to someone other than your partner.

Emotional affairs are friendships that go too far, and it’s easy to fall into these relationships when you’re struggling. Though it may be your partner who is guilty of infidelity this time, you can guarantee that you are not alone. Many couples overcome one partner being a cheater. Or perhaps you are the guilty party. The key is to set boundaries to protect yourself and one another from being caught in these tangled webs.