Cheating is cheating, whether physically or emotionally. But the latter can devastate you more than you realize.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on October 18, 2019. It has since been updated.
When you get into a relationship, you try to foster a bond that allows both you and your partner to be open with each other, share your vulnerabilities and support one another during tough times. Which is why when your partner chooses someone else to open up to instead of you, it can devastate you. Just because your partner may believe they're not hurting you physically, doesn't mean they're not still hurting you.
After all, Dr. Melissa Schacter, a licensed marriage and family therapist tells Women's Health Mag, "unlike physical cheating, an emotional affair can never be blamed on alcohol or one poor decision. You just can’t foster a deep attachment with someone overnight." And to know that the person you love is constantly thinking of someone else is unbearable. Sheri Stritof, a marriage consultant and co-author, said to Very Well Mind, "Much of the pain and hurt from an emotional affair is due to the deception, lies, and feelings of being betrayed."
So how do you know if there is someone else in your partner's life that they're more emotionally connected to? So much so that your partner has begun pulling away from you? You might want to watch out for these six phrases that they've begun using more frequently:
Just when you were telling your partner something important, you hear this line and it strikes you that while they're physically there with you, they're mentally elsewhere. They haven't been paying any attention to what you've been saying and their disinterest in your life is obvious. If they're constantly distracted when you're trying to talk to them, it could be a sign that they feel more connected to someone outside the relationship, someone they think of even while you're speaking, someone else they want to give their attention to.
If you find your partner starting to make a few changes to their appearance and actually spend time worrying about it, it could be a tip-off that there is someone else in their life. According to Psychology Today, if your partner is losing weight, changing their hair and becoming far more interested in their wardrobe, it could be a sign that your partner is trying to impress someone - and that someone might not be you anymore.
Where you and your partner used to be able to talk about anything and everything, now you feel like you're being stonewalled by them. Whenever you try to engage them in a conversation, they claim they're not in the mood to talk. While they might be stressed out, it could also be a sign that they have someone else they are sharing intimate thoughts and big news with, something that was meant to be shared with you first. It might be that they are getting their emotional needs fulfilled somewhere else.
You start to notice that your partner's schedule is changing and a lot of it doesn't include you. If anything, they're starting to spend more and more time away from you and they always have a ready excuse for it. Rachel Sussman, a New York-based licensed therapist and relationship counselor tells Oprah Magazine, "They could spend more hours at work, the gym, or they have a random uptick in business trips or drinks out with colleagues and friends." It's a sign that they're just not as emotionally invested in your relationship anymore.
More often than not, that friend might just be the person they're emotionally cheating on you with. You might think that at least they're telling you about it but it becomes suspect when they don't ever reveal or let you meet those "people." According to Women's Health Mag, this might become more evident when they refuse to let you near their phone and actually start using it more for texting.
Those romantic dinners, the comfy cuddles, the intimate conversations... all of that is fading away. There's a widening gap between you and your partner. No matter how much you try to bridge it, there seems to be a lack of effort from their end. They've stopped being romantic and blame it on not being in the mood. However, it could be because the place you once held in their heart for an emotional bond is now being taken up by someone else. And it hurts.
Disclaimer: This article is based on facts collated from different sources. The views expressed here are those of the writer.