Emotional infidelity: what it is and how to deal with it

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Robert Maurer
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Emotional infidelity: what it is and how to deal with it

Last update: 27 September, 2020

THEemotional infidelity or affective, or the betrayal of the partner who, however, has not had sexual relations with another person, can be more harmful than physical infidelity.

We often think that infidelity only exists when the partner has had sexual intercourse with another person. On the contrary, this generally manifests itself when an agreement is broken. In summary, emotional infidelity causes a deterioration in the couple's relationship in a greater percentage than the physical one. 



What is emotional infidelity?

Emotional infidelity occurs when the partner experiences intimate moments with another person, every time an emotional exchange occurs and an implicit or explicit agreement is broken. During these intimate moments, emotional exchange can take place.

There is talk of emotional infidelity even when there is no exchange, but the partner has fallen in love with someone else, even if he does not say it.

In many cases, emotional infidelity precedes physical infidelity, since it allows to establish a deep bond. In some circumstances, the couple falls apart due to the unfaithful person, who is not interested in carrying on a relationship without affection.

Causes of emotional infidelity

How do we come to emotional infidelity? The causes are different, but usually occurs as a result of the lack of affection in the couple, which deteriorates in one way or another. There lack of affection, intimacy, or trust leads to finding them elsewhere, so that one of the members of the couple (sometimes both) looks for them in another person. An understandable inclination, but which also denotes a profound lack of communication.


A healthy relationship will rarely be threatened by emotional failure. In a healthy couple, the channels of communication remain open and neither will be afraid to confess dissatisfaction or discomfort. This means that the root cause of emotional infidelity lies in one's communication skills.


How to avoid emotional infidelity

To work on the communicative aspect of the couple is fundamental. A solid couple must work on trust, friendship and understanding day after day. The couple is made up, first and foremost, of two friends who decide to share their lives and who, moreover, feel sexual attraction for each other.

Since emotional infidelity does not include sexual matters, we should not seek the root cause of the betrayal here. Sexual intercourse can be fully satisfying and even so infidelity can manifest itself. Although, as already pointed out above, the unfaithful person can end up being sexually interested in the third person.

What to do in case of emotional infidelity?

Signs of affective infidelity vary by couple, but the following can be identified:

  • One member of the couple is distant and does not participate in the other's emotions and problems.
  • He does not share what happens to him.
  • Lack of intimacy and affection in the couple.

Remember that not introducing your partner to everyone you know or not talking to them about everything you do with them does not constitute infidelity: it is necessary that both members have common and intimate experiences outside the couple. In case the partner talks about their problems with another person and not with us, there is a problem. We need to talk about it and deepen the question.


Attested infidelity, they exist two solutions: continue or end the relationship. To take one path or the other, it is necessary to find a moment to speak truthfully; it doesn't matter if the decision is one of the two.

If the unfaithful person does not want to break up, it is important that he understands that he must abandon his way of relating to the third person and recover the balance of the couple. And, in any case, undergoing this process will depend on the will of the betrayed person.


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