If you have been listening to triple J this last week, you may have heard the conversations around emotional cheating, what it is and where the is line crossed. Listening to the younger generation talk about this led me to wanting to explore more of the subject.
It’s a tough subject to talk about as everyone has a different opinion depending on their own life experiences, relationship challenges and model of the world.
The first person I asked about his thoughts on this was my own partner in crime and it was interesting to note that we had different opinions and thoughts on the subject. Which also caused me to realise it is a subject that needs to be talked about with your partner for the health of your relationship.
While my partner was very cutthroat on what is acceptable and what is not, I have a more Blasey opinion. For me it all comes down to what feelings you have for a person and what type of conversations you are having. For him, it was about confiding only in your partner or a close friend where there is no interest (usually the same sex, a school buddy or longtime mate).
I on the other hand, have many in depth emotional conversations with male friends and always have done. In my line of work, I have deep emotional conversations with all people. So, for me, it has never been a sign of cheating, as I have no desire to be with the person who may seek my emotional support.
So, this is where most couples have the issue. Is seeking emotional support from someone outside your relationship emotional cheating?
It comes down to ‘why’ that particular person, ‘why’ you cannot go to your partner to get the support and is this person someone you would want to be with if you were not in a relationship. These are the heavy questions.
Some opinions are;
You should only go to your partner (they should be there for all your needs)
You should only go outside the relationship if you seek support from close friends (same sex if you are heterosexual) or family members. Which opens the question, what if you are in a same sex relationship. Who can you go to then and not emotionally cheat?? Should you go only to the opposite sex?
What a can of worms!!
So, lets talk about what our partner can and cannot do for us. The truth is, our partner cannot be there to meet all of our needs in life, emotional cheating signs and otherwise. As we cannot meet theirs. Who we seek for support will depend on your life experiences, friendships and what is missing from your relationship.
If you become physical with someone, that’s cheating, if you become emotional with someone, are you flirting, secretly wishing you could be physical with them or wonder if you would fall into their arms if your relationship ended? If so, then, if you keep the flirty texting going, tell them all your secrets that you would not tell your partner, and have desire for them, then you are emotionally cheating.
If you spark up a new friendship at work and start lots of emotional texting messages without really knowing this person for long and hide it from your partner, that’s cheating.
Most of us have probably been on both ends – cheated on and cheated ourselves, sometimes unknowingly. It comes down to intention.
Do you want the person outside your relationship to have a secret crush on you or vice versa?
What is your intention by going behind your partners back to communicate often with this other person?
What are you missing from your relationship and how can you communicate your needs to your partner?
How does it feel to go outside the relationship?
Honestly, I believe there is no real wrong or right. But what is real, is if you secretly have a crush or flirty messages with someone else. I believe it is ok to seek emotional support outside your relationship if you can communicate this with your partner, and it is with a someone you do not have feelings for and vice versa.
I hope this helps all of you who are confused, unsure and feeling like something is missing. If it is, talk to your partner and see where it leads. You never know what support and extra love it may lead to.
Coach Libfin

Libby Finlayson
Author: Libby Finlayson