Emotional cheating is real. People may not view it the same as actual physical cheating, but the results are the same. Emotional cheating leaves you feeling used, betrayed, and worthless. The really bad part about it is it is harder to discover because the clues are smaller. There aren’t typically phone calls in the middle of the night, an undergarment in the car, or the smell of perfume on his clothes. He will tell you you are paranoid and you may feel terrible about having suspicions.
However, you deserve to know the truth and there are ways to figure it out.
Here are nine clues your love will leave around if they are emotionally cheating on you:
- They don’t want you to see their texts. This could mean they move away to text, pause when you ask them who they are texting, and then offer an off-hand remark like “it’s no one” or “just someone from work.” It could also mean they don’t like you looking at their phone to check the time or start asking defensive questions when you do.
Questions may include “why do you need my phone?” or “what are you looking for?” and can even include something like “don’t you trust me?”
- They check their direct messages a lot more than usual. This is hard because anyone who is on social media a lot will check their messages a good bit. However, if their behavior is unusual or if they get a new app like Snapchat, it could be a sign. Be aware of apps that conveniently erase messages afterward. Another clue is if they are suddenly chronicling their life and checking who is looking at their post more often.
- Certain people are responding to their post in unusual ways. Look at who is responding to their posts. Beware if it is someone who is over sympathetic, flirting, or overly complimentary because this is a person looking for an opening. Look at how your partner responds to them. Do they ignore them or do they respond with a heart?
- They no longer share with you. One of the first signs something is wrong is the emotional distance from you. When they stop sharing events of their day, their feelings, or other things with you and just go through the motions of a relationship, something is amiss.
- They no longer want intimacy with you. This refers to sex but can be in other ways. They don’t kiss you much, don’t seek to hold your hand or hug you. They quit touching you. These are major red flags as they have gone from hot to cold regarding you.
- They don’t want you to come when they hang out with one person. They may tell you they are having a work dinner with a co-worker or meeting a client for drinks. While these can be valid, they can also be something of concern. If they insist you don’t come along on any of these functions and discourage you from meeting this person, you may have something serious to worry about.
You may want to offer an alternative suggestion to the event. It could be that you will drop them off at the restaurant and pick them up in an hour. Say you would like to meet this person they are spending time with. Maybe suggest they come over for dinner or have the work dinner at your home. This way you can keep your eye on things. If all suggestions are met with disdain, you have a serious issue.
- They are constantly comparing you.
This is a major red flag because it means they are reviewing their options. They may say things like “why don’t you dress up anymore? She dresses up all the time” or ” well, she seems to manage career and kids” or maybe even “she listens to me. You don’t.”
The problem with this is any relationship outside a committed one is going to seem new and exciting. There isn’t the mundane included. Once you are in a relationship, there are children, laundry, and grocery lists which aren’t exciting at all. So, your significant other is comparing apples to oranges.
“There’s something glittery and shiny about this person that your partner is attracted to,” according to Dr. Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D., Professor Emerita of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in an interview with Cosmopolitan magazine. “You can’t be 100 percent sure what it is, but it is a form of cheating in that it’s putting you down in favor of somebody else.”
- They pick fights. You think everything is fine, but they are on edge looking for a fight. They may even accuse you of cheating or say you want out of the relationship. The truth is they are looking for an easy way out so they can pursue other lovers.
- They are stingy with their time and money.
Your significant other will not want to commit to plans with you. They seem to not want to do things with you that take significant time or money. They don’t want to do significant planning for trips or outings in the future.
Yet, they will spontaneously change plans to meet up with a new friend and seem to go out of the way to make them happy. This means they are slowly making them a priority over you.
What is Going On?
Doing these things means they are exploring alternatives and thinking about breaking up with you. They aren’t ready to do it, may be afraid to do it out of uncertainty, or perhaps think it could be a mistake. So, they are holding you at a distance while they test the waters while keeping you as their backup option.
What Do You Do?
You can’t come right out and confront for several reasons. One, you could be wrong. Two, they will immediately become defensive.
Dr. Whitbourne said you should shift the focus. Instead of accusing them or confronting them with these clues, you should state how you are feeling. Say you feel distant or like they aren’t paying much attention to you anymore. Be honest about how you feel, trust your gut, and watch their reaction.
If your partner apologizes and tries to change, then you may have been wrong and they may have been veering off-track inadvertently. If they blow you off, say your crazy or something similar, you are probably correct in your suspicions.
In the end, your gut is always right. Be sure to listen to it. If the odd behavior continues, you may need to take it a step further to gather evidence such as take a serious look at your partner’s cell phone, look at his phone call lists, texts, social media and get screenshots to confront your partner. That is the last resort though, only after you are convinced he is emotionally cheating.