By CAITLIN FAULKNER
Emotional cheating, is the act of holding strong feelings for someone other than a romantic partner and it, can cause more damage to one’s self and relationships than physical cheating.
In the her article “3 Sure Signs of an Emotional Affair,” Tammy Nelson write that more than 70 percent of friendships can lead to flirtatious relationships and then to affairs.
There are many ways to tell if someone is crossing the friendship boundaries, Nelson’s three signs include: sharing frustrations of a current relationship, testing the waters by flirting in a joking manner and contact at abnormal times.
Once one begins complaining about loved ones to another person on an emotional level, things become more personal. Once they know how unhappy the other might be in their relationship, they might take it as a sign to deepen the relationship. Flirting is okay to an extent. Harmless flirting to make another person feel good is natural. However, constant and serious flirts, are a bad sign.
From personal experience, emotional affairs do exist, and they can affect relationships more so than physical cheating.
The emotional stress alone can cause a loss of appetite and sleep as well as overwhelming guilt. Once physical cheating occurs, it is over; there is no turning back, but it can be forgotten by the partner. Emotional cheating stays with someone at all times because the feelings for that person do not necessarily go away.
One of the most important solutions for emotional cheating is to tell one’s romantic partner when it occurs. Once one lie is told to protect a secret, the lies continue to unravel.
According to Gail Saltz, a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst at New York Presbyterian Hospital and author of “Anatomy of a Secret Life: The Psychology of Living a Lie,” emotional affairs begin because there is something missing from the original relationship. Saltz suggests that if the original relationship ends, a new relationship should not take place from the emotional affair because a new relationships should not start in deceit.
It is true that while in a serious relationship one can develop feelings for someone else as a result of something missing from their current relationship. Sometimes one loses interest and becomes unhappy.
I feel, however, that while relationships should not start with deceit, there is no sense in hurting another person and remaining completely alone.
If there are feelings for that person, then they must have the potential to make them happy when someone else could not.
Emotional cheating is dangerous, not only to a relationship, but to one’s health.
It is important to recognize signs of uprising feelings for another person and to be careful with acting upon them. More than one person could be hurt, and, sadly, emotional affairs must end with hurting someone.