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Sex + Relationships

5 Signs You May Be Emotionally Cheating on Your Significant Other

I remember the first time I ever cheated on a boyfriend. It was in the middle of the night like one might imagine. However, I was fully clothed, and my “mistress” wasn’t even in the same room as I was. This cheating was what most would consider an innocent phone call, while others would call it by the name of “emotional cheating.” I was there in my sitting in my bed, alone at two in-the-morning on the phone with my ex-boyfriend, crying about a hard day at school, when I realized that I was being unfaithful. It was then, too, that I realized how easy it really was to cheat. That just because I had called my ex-boyfriend, instead of my current boyfriend to talk about the test I was worried about failing, that I was just as bad as someone who had ripped off all their clothes and had sex with someone else.

So if this 2 am phone call really was cheating, where do we all draw the line? From my perspective, cheating holds the rule of the thumb for that of marriage—when you know, you know. But if you need some guidance, here are five signs that you just might be emotionally cheating on your significant other.


When good news comes up, you run to tell anyone but them

The best part of dating someone is arguably the fact that you have a built in cheerleader, at all times. You know that look your significant other gives you when they’re proud of you? And that big hug that follows? If you’re willing to give up that experience with your partner, and they aren’t the first person you want to tell, you may need to reevaluate your relationship.


When you’re feeling sad, you go looking for another source of comfort

Just as your significant other should be there for all your moments of good news and exciting milestones, they should be your ultimate support system on those “rainy” days. Sure, there will be moments where only the help of your friends can lift you out of your depression episodes. But if you’re seeking out the validation of strangers on the internet, and men who reassure you that you can “text them if you need anything,” emotional cheating may be on the horizon.


If you’re deleting messages

The advice you’ve probably already heard, the age-old emotional cheating example of “texting other people.” For the record, these texts don’t have to be of a sexual nature, or even remotely romantic. If you feel the need to hide it, even if it’s “only” about work, or next week’s test, there’s a reason you’re feeling guilty. Texts only have the emotional power you give them. So if you find yourself using the excuse that “you shouldn’t have to tell your partner about who you text,” you’re most likely a repeat offender. 


If you’re reaching out to romantic interests when you’re fighting with your significant other

This may be a “duh” moment, but others may justify this behavior with the need to compensate for the emotional negligence they experience in their relationship. Sometimes we just need to hear the words, “you deserve better,” from a complete stranger, even though most of the time these words are nothing but a manipulative strategy to win us over. Seeking out the reassurance of potential suitors is cheating whether we like it or not, even if it’s only “a few DMs.”


When you need advice, your significant other never comes to mind

While I, in no way, am suggesting that you can’t go to your friends for advice once you’re in a relationship, why would you ever want to date someone whose opinion isn’t an important factor in your decision making? After all, a relationship is a partnership, and they should be your go-to confidant. If you can’t trust their judgment, and don’t value their perspective, should you even be dating them at all? With that, if you find yourself seeking out the advice of your ex, or even the advice that “one girl” who keeps favoriting your tweets, it’s time for a change.


Though it is crucial to understand that your significant other is not your emotional dumping ground, it is also important to realize how valuable your emotional energies truly are. You shouldn’t be sharing the intimate details of your life, the stories, the moments of glory, and the moments of heartache with just anyone. And if you’re deciding to sabotage your relationship by putting your emotional energy into someone else, then you can only expect that you and your significant other will suffer the consequences. Cheating may be easy, but remember, loving someone is even easier.

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Editor-in-chief of Her Campus Utah - Double major in English and Gender Studies - Lover of Oxford comma, hater of patriarchy. 
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