There’s no getting around it: Cheating when you’re in a committed, monogamous relationship is terrible. And unfortunately, it comes in several forms. There’s the obvious, like a sexual encounter, and then there’s the kind of cheating that can fall into a gray zone, like an emotional affair.
Emotional affairs are tricky because people can form an intense bond with someone outside their relationship and not fully realize they’re doing anything wrong since they never cheated physically. But these kinds of affairs can still be incredibly damaging. “In some ways, emotional affairs can take a greater toll than sexual affairs,” says licensed clinical psychologist Dr. Ramani Durvasula, author of Should I Stay or Should I Go? “It feels like a betrayal of trust and an outsourcing of the very important connective tissue of a relationship.”
Obviously, you and your partner are going to have friends outside your relationship, as you should. And it’s understandable that you might form deeper connections with some people over others—but it’s crucial to shut things down before they become intimate in a way that can threaten your relationship.
Go to She Knows to find out the top things that can lead people into an emotional affair.