Many men and women have heard their partners say, “We’re just friends and I’ve always talk to him/her about everything.” The cheater is always in denial, gets angry with the other half for discovering the truth. Emotional cheating causes irreparable damage to the core of a relationship, often destroying it entirely. Emotional cheating occurs when there is no sexual relationship yet between two people, but the cheater fulfils their emotional needs with somebody who is not their legitimate partner.
Many emotional affairs begin online and to one’s former girlfriend or boyfriend. Social media allows a cheater to create several accounts that can be used to communicate with many romantic interests. It becomes an addiction for some. Some cheaters even create new personas so they can live in a fantasy. In the documentary Catfish, for example, a married woman becomes addicted to social media to the point that she created a whole world of fake Facebook profiles to keep up a relationship she was having with a man who had no clue of who she is. Cell phones and text messages also allow an affair to continue privately.
Social networking websites allow cheaters to emotionally connect with exes. The cheater tells an ex “I miss you and I wish you were with me.” They may even lie about the status of their current relationship to build sympathy. They might reveal personal and hurtful details about their sex life or about their partner.
The Internet has made emotional cheating much easier than it's ever been, and intimacy proceeds sometimes with an alarming rate.
When a cheater is confronted about inappropriate behaviour, they deny it and say that it is just innocent. The cheater might even become defensive and angry, not seeing he or she is the one who destroyed trust in the relationship. A cheater might lie, saying they no longer have contact with the other person, which only serves to negatively impact the relationship.
Regaining trust after emotional cheating is difficult and sometimes impossible. The cheater might have to give up on activities they enjoy, like using social networking sites. They might have to be open about who they are talking to on the phone or by text. A cheater who tends to build emotional connections with others can spot the signs to avoid emotional cheating, like avoiding discussion of desires or frustrations with others.
In a relationship, the emotional needs of both partners are significant. After emotional cheating has shaken a relationship, the innocent partner might never feel emotionally safe in the relationship again.