CheaterVille Articles
Emotional vs. Physical Affairs
Article by: CheaterVille Staff
May 17, 2012

Emotional vs. Physical Affairs

Words that describe infidelity are marital disloyalty, unfaithfulness, a breach of trust, adultery, etc.  It doesn’t specify that it is emotional or physical, but traditionally people believed that cheating was a physical betrayal.  

Can you be cheating on your partner if it isn’t physical? Would you say that finding an email from your husband to another woman telling her intimate things about himself and showing interest in her would be considered a breach of trust? I would say so.

According to Cathy Meyer, a Certified Divorce Coach and Marriage Educator, there is a difference between a physical affair and an emotional affair.  

The primary difference between a physical affair and an emotional affair is actual, physical contact. Usually, cheating involves people meeting face – to - face, and then engaging in physical intimacy. With an emotional affair, there may be a meeting, but it can occur on a cell phone or a computer and there is no physical intimacy. Many of the people who are emotionally cheating don’t consider it to be infidelity. Their thinking is that, because there is no actual physical contact, the behavior can’t be considered cheating.
The end result is that the unfaithful spouse is paying more emotional attention to someone other than their partner, and they are removing themselves from the commitment they made to their marriage.

Could an emotional affair lead into a physical affair? According to Meyer, it can. 

An emotional affair begins with the exchange of personal information. As the people involved get acquainted, the information becomes more personal. Some argue that an emotional affair is harmless because it is more of a casual relationship than traditional cheating; however, the intimate nature of the communication, plus the emotional investment made by the people involved, places an emotional affair on the same level or worse as traditional cheating.
It is much more dangerous for a marriage should your spouse connect with someone emotionally than physically. Anyone who finds himself or herself drawn to another person on an emotional level should consider the possible consequences of such an affair. Emotional affairs are just as likely to lead to divorce and physical affairs.

Meyer also writes about the danger of an emotional affair, what is normal and what may not be healthy for your marriage. 
While it is healthy and normal for people to have friendships outside the marriage with men and women, an emotional affair threatens the emotional bond between spouses. Friendships are based on attraction, in that we are drawn to various qualities of our friends. Healthy friendships and attractions don't need to threaten a marriage at all, but add richness and enjoyment to life. When an attraction turns into an obsession or into an affair, it can become harmful to everyone involved and nothing is more harmful to a marriage than the breakdown of the emotional bond marital partners have for each other.

To violate trust in a marriage can be both physical and emotional.  Something that may start off as innocent can quickly lead into something that could end up ending your marriage.  


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Posted By: smoochies | 5/17/12 10:53 AM
Emotional isnt as bad as Physical but I still think you are doing something wrong
Posted By: sacredheart | 5/17/12 11:04 AM
Women would call that emotional cheating but men call it lining up a score down the road. They dont want friendship they want sex.
Posted By: MADCOW | 5/17/12 11:10 AM
How about you just dont be friends with anyone you are attracted to in the beginning so you dont cause any problems down the road
Posted By: TurtlePowers | 5/17/12 11:18 AM
Bosses prey on women at work who want to improve their careers so they act like their friends and want to have business lunches on the companies dime when they have a spouse at home they do whatever they want at work and its sick.
Posted By: 69king | 5/17/12 11:26 AM
When you have to hide anything from your husband or wife you know you are playing with fire so why even put yourself through that its pointless
Posted By: Fight | 5/26/12 6:53 PM
My soon to be ex said she had an emotional affair the first time and said they only things did was make out. Well, looking in hind sight I say BS. An affair is an affair if you are seeking something outside your relationship. I had chances to have affairs when times were tough, but I never did. Because I won't do something I don't want done to me.
Posted By: Rachel2012 | 12/06/12 7:41 PM
I have been having an emotional affair with my collegue for the past 13 years. We are both professors. We have both been married, and have kids. They are graduating from high school soon. We are going to enter a physical relationship after that, and separate/ divorce from our spouses. People change: We both married people whom we met during college...had kids, and have been stuck in these relationships for years. There is a time and a place for divorce. Neither one of us set out to fall in love with the other. But, I will say this: SEX has not confused our emotions. We are not having a physical affair. If you think it is worse that your spouse is having a physical affair...think again: I do not need to use him to "get off." I have spent the past 13 years falling in love with him. We will do the respectable thing...and wait until we no longer have spouses. IF I had spent 13 years getting to know my spouse?...I would have NEVER married him. THAT is the problem with the majority of people in this world: They think they know it ALL in their 20's. THAT is why they get married at that age. And you know what? I don't care if I ever get married again! I will be just as happy to be divorced...and to remain a girlfriend/ partner for the rest of my life. THAT is something else that people in their 20's get confused about: A piece of paper does NOT make a relationship.

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