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The Remarried Life

Aug 25, 2020

Brian Mayer talks emotional infidelity.  This is a very cloudy topic that many people don’t have a good handle on.  With physical or sexual infidelity, the issue is very clear because it involves something that can be clearly seen.  With emotional infidelity it is often a matter of the heart which can often be hidden.  Today we will talk about how best to understand when this is an issue that needs to be dealt with in your relationship.  We hope you are inspired by today’s message.  For more information and additional resources please visit our website at

Today's Goodies

  • What is “emotional infidelity” or “emotional cheating?”  Well the dictionary really doesn’t define this and so a lot of what it is can be extremely subjective.   
  • Sexual or Physical infidelity can be much more clear and easily identified because it involves touch as small as just brushing up against someone to rubbing, hand holding, hugging, kissing, and then on up to sexual acts.  Pretty clear right?  Yes
  • For the most part it is hard to argue against physical infidelity although I have seen it be done when a couple argues over hugs that are given to others for example. 
  • With emotional infidelity there are some parts that are relatively clear but others that are not.  The parts that are not clear usually reside in the mind and heart of the one carrying on a relationship with someone other than their significant other like a spouse. 
  • So let’s first take a bit of stab at the definition of emotional infidelity.  In my opinion, emotional infidelity occurs when one person feels a romantic attraction to another that is cultivated through continued thinking about this other person in a romantic or sexual way.  It also can include spending time with this person while engaged in conversations that can fuel this romantic feeling all while the current significant other is being and/or feeling neglected. 
  • So as you can see this is a very complicated definition because again it is taking into account the actions and thoughts of the person engaged in an outside relationship, but it can also include the other partner’s thoughts and beliefs about it as well. 
  • So let’s take a look at those three components a bit more in detail.
  • Let’s first talk about some actions that might be construed as emotional infidelity to someone looking on the outside.  Now remember I said the word “might” and so we will later discuss what needs to happen with sometimes unclear actions.
    • Going on lunch, dinner, or coffee meetings where a bulk of the conversation involves things other than a business or project type work. 
    • Texting or talking on the phone again when the majority of the time is spent on other topics outside a specific reason that it has brought you together like a business deal or some sort of project.
    • Discussing intimate details of your current relationships especially when you spend more time talking about what you don’t like or are unhappy with in your current partner
  • Ways of thinking and feeling that can signs of emotional infidelity.   Now unfortunately, this is area that can be very gray and where most couples may argue.  As mentioned, this can be a bit easier to hide or deny. 
    • Thinking about someone else in a romantic and sexual way especially with little desire to stop and also fantasizing about the future with this person.  The future doesn’t necessarily have to mean that you want end your current relationship for it to be considered infidelity. 
    • In addition to the thoughts being directed at someone else, you might find that your thoughts are dimming toward your current spouse.  Like you might not be as open to hugs and kisses or other moments of closeness with your spouse because of these thoughts and feelings that are directed elsewhere. 
  • It is also important to take into consideration of the spouse on the other end who might be subject to the potential emotional infidelity of their partner.  So with that here are some things you both can do before emotional infidelity becomes a problem. 
    • Allow discussion to be had when you are hurt by something that was done or said in your relationship.  When either of you brings a hurt, you should respond to in a non-defensive or non-dismissing way.  When you respond defensively or dismissively, you may invite your partner to close off and find someone else who agrees.   
    • You should each define your boundaries for what you will and will not be comfortable with.  So maybe you might be uncomfortable with any kind of coffee, lunch or dinner just between your partner and someone else.  For some maybe it is just the dinner.  Whatever it is clearly communicate your needs. 
    • Take some time to consider your partners feelings.  When I say this I am thinking more about the partner who is considered entertaining time with someone else in that you should consider your partners feelings and give heavy weight to those feelings. 
    • If you cannot come to agreement on boundaries, then you must decide if these are deal breakers.  Or can you live with them and not have resentment and bitterness. 
  • Emotional infidelity for lots of people is just as or even more hurtful than physical or sexual infidelity.  Hopefully it does not happen, but if it does it is my hope that the two of you can discuss it and restore your emotional connection with each other that has been surely broken. 


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As always remember that marriage is not something you have, it is something you do.  Talk to you next week unless you are binge listening in the future in which case I will talk to you in about a minute!  Take care.