When most people thing of cheating, they think of physical relationships, but the truth is emotional cheating is possible and can be just as harmful.
By Zukiswa Dlamini
You meet a guy who seems friendly. You start chatting to him. The texting becomes frequent, so do the calls, and in no time at all you find yourself confiding in him. It seems normal right? Well, only if you’re single.
Relationship counsellor Nomzamo Zondi says most people do not find it harmful to bond with someone outside of their relationship and justify it by saying it’s not a sexual relationship. But, relationships are not always just about sex. If you have to hide a relationship from your partner, it’s probably cheating.
What’s in a conversation? While conversations seem harmless, you’ll know when you’ve crossed the line. No one is implying that the only person you should be speaking to is your partner, but once you start investing constant communication with someone else, and knowing that it could hurt your partner, there’s a problem.
It can be exciting. Nomzamo says emotional cheating can be a way for some people to find excitement and stimulation of a new relationship without making it physical. This is a part of what makes emotional cheating dangerous territory. You’re investing time and emotions into a relationship outside of your committed relationship, and (depending on the terms of your relationship) it’s wrong.
Why are you cheating? Like all infidelity, if you’re the one doing it, you already know that you are doing something wrong. If you’re the cheater, you need to decide that you no longer want to engage in behaviour that has the potential to harm your relationship. Until that decision is made, the emotional cheating will continue because it’s obviously something you enjoy.
Dealing with betrayal. It’s hard to anticipate how you would react when you find out your partner has been cheating on you, even if it’s emotional cheating. Finding out that your partner has been confiding in someone else can make you feel betrayed, and it’s devastating. Cheating can erode your self-esteem, and it’s up to you to decide if you want to forgive your partner.
Cutting ties. If your relationship survives an emotional affair, it’s important to cut ties with the person you were cheating with. The process of letting go isn’t always easy. Think twice before you engage in an emotional affair because the consequences can be devastating.