The Fine Line Between Friendship and Emotional Cheating

It would be unnatural to form a close bond with only your partner and never get close to anybody else. We often have best friends, form close relationships with relatives and have people who we turn to when we want to give our partners a break, but how do we distinguish between getting close in friendship, and when someone takes it too far and it becomes cheating?

One good indicator of when things are going too far is when we feel we need to be secretive with your partners. Are you leaving out certain details about your day that involves your close friend, or have you lied to your spouse about who you spent lunch with? If you feel your partner would be unhappy then that’s not because they are irrationally paranoid, it’s because you know you are taking things too far.

Something to look out for is accidentally giving out the wrong, or mixed messages to your friend. Yes, it’s fun to flirt at work or when you’re out without your partner but not only is it unfair and could be classed as cheating, but it could also give your friend the impression that you are interested in having an affair.

When you start preferring to tell your friend about problems in your life rather than your spouse, this is where emotional cheating begins. You have formed a bond that’s stronger and deeper than the one you have in your marriage and you know this would upset your husband or wife. Often emotional cheating is coming from both ways, i.e. both parties are unhappy with their marriage and are looking to ‘fill the void’ with attention and emotional bonds with someone else. Not only is this hurtful but it very easily escalates into a full blown physical affair that wrecks marriages.

A friendship is one that you can share with your spouse and not keep a secret. It is one where you enjoy each other’s company, but not to the extent where you don’t want to spend time with anybody else. If you’re confiding in that person problems about your marriage then you should consider where this is going to lead and whether emotional cheating is a possibility, considering you get on so well. The first person you should go to about marital problems is the person you are married to. If that doesn’t work then enlist the help of a counselor, but don’t expect friends to offer anything in terms of helping your marriage – relying on them as your primary crutch could just make the problems worse.

Emotional cheating is a form of affair, where the parties involved do not have physical contact or sexual relations, but they do replace the emotional bond they should be having in their marriage or long term relationship. If you are taking part in emotional cheating, but want to save your marriage then you need to talk frankly with your friend about stopping what’s going on and concentrating on your marriage for a while. Just because things have gone sour with your husband or wife, that doesn’t mean they can’t be sweetened up again.


  1. I have always been thinking this, but this is the first time I see the topic so well verbalized.

  2. Yes, friendships should never go beyond what is expected. If you sense that something is not right between you and your friend, you have to stop it immediately and avoid the temptation of cheating.

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