Physical cheating is certainly a thing. If you’re in a committed relationship with someone and you have physical relations with another person, you have cheated. It’s not confusing.

However, what about “emotional cheating?” Does that fall under the cheating umbrella? I’m pretty sure if we polled a crowd, the results might be 50/50. But where do you draw the line? That gray area can be a bit blurry, so here’s a way to approach this tricky dating situation.

Don’t Kid Yourself

My thoughts are that if you have any inkling of a feeling for someone aside from your significant other and you then act on said feeling, whether physically or just by intense flirting, it’s cheating. I’m not judging you if you’ve found yourself in this scenario, but don’t kid yourself: you cheated.

Look, flirting is fun. There’s no harm in being extra-friendly with another person; just don’t cross the line. And if you think you can’t trust yourself around this person, my advice to you would be to not hang out with this person alone and/or reevaluate things in your own relationship.

The problem with an emotional relationship is that it can very easily slide into a physical relationship. You might think it’s harmless to get drinks with a friend whom you also happen to be attracted to, but if one too many drinks leads to flirtatious remarks and banter, you’ve just entered the danger zone.

Just Friends

So let’s say you’re good friends with your co-worker, and you guys get lunch together a lot. Then, lunch turns into flirtatious texting after the work day, which turns into hanging out outside of work. This is a situation where you need to tread carefully, especially if your co-worker is single and visibly interested in you. It’s no harm to them to flirt with you; in fact, they might like the idea that you’re not available because it makes it more challenging.

I’m not saying to not be friends with people you find attractive, but I am saying to be careful. Even if you don’t actually physically cheat on your partner, developing an emotional connection puts you in murky waters. I’m pretty sure if your significant other found out that you had such a close relationship with this person, and that flirtatious behavior had occurred, they’d be pretty upset. Wouldn’t you be if the situation were reversed?

Think Long And Hard

Another thing to think about is how your emotional connection to someone new is affecting your relationship with your significant other. Is it changing the way you view or act toward your boyfriend or girlfriend? If so, you need to figure out why and consider cutting the emotional ties with the other person. If cutting things off with the other person is the last thing you want to do, maybe you and your significant other aren’t meant to be after all.

Maybe the reason you’re having this “emotional affair” with another person is because you’re hiding from something going on in your relationship, like an emotionally unavailable partner. Think hard about that one; you don’t want to do something you’ll later regret when it could have been avoided to begin with. Cheating is cheating, so be careful when walking that line.

You may also be interested in Are You Sabotaging Your Love Life? 5 Dating Excuses To Avoid

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