5 Warning Signs That Your Relationship is Vulnerable to Cheating
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5 Warning Signs That Your Relationship is Vulnerable to Cheating

Infidelity and Emotional Sex: How to Tell if You’re Chatting or Cheating

Keeping Your Love and Digital Life in Sync

 It all starts innocently enough.

You become friends with the sexy co-worker and decide to carpool to work together. You share stories with a parent while attending your child’s sport activities. You become “friends” with an ex on Facebook and reminisce about the past. Pretty soon, you find yourself glowing every time you spend time with this person. They totally “get” you. You can talk about anything. You spend hours thinking about them and your heart races whenever you see a text from them. You feel more alive than you have in a long time.

 There’s just one small problem.
You’re married, or engaged, or you’re in a committed relationship. You tell yourself it’s ok because you’re not really cheating, you’re just chatting. You’re not having sex, you’re just friends. Right?

Not really. Ok, so you haven’t had sex. At least not yet. But you are having emotional sex, and that can be even more intense, sensual and all-consuming than physical sex.

The Slippery Slope of Emotional Sex

Love on a keyboard  DrSheri.comWhat is emotional sex?

Emotional sex is a friendship that escalates into something that feels the same as romantic love and can manifest itself in numerous ways—physically, romantically, emotionally, lustfully, verbally, or virtually.

Friendship becomes emotional sex when the feel-good brain chemicals and hormones that are released when even thinking about that person take over. Any contact with the person becomes as potent as a drug addiction.

All those tingly feelings and the fantasies that perhaps a “perfect love” can really exist isn’t destiny knocking—they’re caused by “love chemicals” in your brain. Biochemical research has shown that the effect of these love chemicals is twofold: they are released in response to your friend, and they bond you to him or her. This is especially true of women who produce higher levels of oxytocin—the bonding hormone that enhances the feeling of having found your “soul mate” connection.

These addictive love chemicals feel so good that it’s difficult for you to even imagine ending contact with your friend. Your connection feels genuine and even life-sustaining.  Letting go of such intoxicating nourishment seems unimaginable.

Before you are tempted to do something risky—like leave your stable, good relationship for your exciting emotional lover—it’s important to examine what’s really going on.

Has Your Platonic Friendship Crossed the Line?

There’s a huge difference between a platonic friendship and a friendship that has crossed the line into the emotional sex danger zone.

A platonic friendship doesn’t have elements of sexual chemistry or attraction. You may love your friend, but you don’t fantasize or daydream about him or her. Everything is out in the open. Your partner can join in at any time.

In contrast, emotional sex is much more secretive and it drains energy from your primary relationship. If you’re having intimate talks and sharing things you should only be sharing with your primary partner, or you’re sending late night ‘just thinking of you’ flirty texts, you’re not having just an innocent friendship. If you find yourself having sexual or romantic fantasies about your friend, you’ve crossed the line into emotional sex. You may argue you’re just Facebook friends, or you’re just innocently flirting and it means nothing. But no matter how you may rationalize it, these are huge trumpet blaring warning signs that your friendship is crossing the line into emotional sex, and therefore cheating.

The 5 Warning Signs That You’re Vulnerable to Cheating

5 signs your relationship is vulnerable for cheating

Infidelity is as old as civilization. But in today’s technology-driven world, meeting, staying connected, and getting intimate has never been easier or more dangerous.  Thanks to smartphones and the internet, your love “fix” is never far away.

In truth, most infidelity occurs not because it is planned, but because people find themselves in situations where their emotions completely overwhelm (and even surprise) them. While people trapped in troubled marriages are more vulnerable to infidelity, I’ve discovered that a surprising number of people in seemingly solid relationships also respond to the novelty of new love and end up getting swept away by an affair.

Having an affair is usually a symptom of an underlying problem in your life and in your relationship. Something is missing, and that missing element makes you vulnerable to temptation. You may turn to emotional intimacy with another to fill in the missing piece.

These are the five warning signs that your relationship is vulnerable to cheating:

  1. You feel lonely.   You may share the same address but live in two different worlds.  You’re spending less time together due to work, the children, or separate interests.
  2. Lack of communication.  Small issues turn into disagreements and power struggles. You give each other the silent treatment. You may feel under-appreciated, bottled up, or like you’re walking on tiptoes not to rattle any cages.
  3. Lack of love, affection and intimacy. Things are feeling pretty dead at home and you find yourself resorting to some stimulation outside your relationship to shake things up.
  4. Boredom, complacency and emotional distance.  Your relationship has become routine. You long for more emotional or sexual attention from your partner, but it feels like a wall exists between you.
  5. A  sexual disconnect.  You feel more like roommates than lovers.  The attention and affection has dwindled, and you no longer see each other through the eyes of desire.

Affairs don’t have to be sexual to be destructive to your existing relationship.  Emotional sex can be even more intense and all-consuming than physical sex. It can cause the same havoc, mistrust and betrayal in a relationship as sexual infidelity, often leading to a break-up.

The first step to healing is completely disengaging from your emotional lover, then recognizing the weaknesses in your primary relationship and addressing them immediately. Only then can you bring stable footing to your relationship and start infusing it with the love, attention, appreciation, and affection you and your partner both deserve.

This article written by Dr. Sheri Meyers was originally posted on The Huffington Post as: Infidelity and Emotional Sex: How to Tell if You’re Chatting or Cheating


    • Hi SheriI started conimg to your website when my husband died earlier this year. I may have to give up my job because of childcare as I am now on my own with two young children and not much support. However, since I started using your website I have found the courage to believe in myself. I am studying so I can do massage and aromatherapy and reiki. I would really like to help other people and this would also enable me to work and fit it around my children. Sometimes I feel so overwhelmingly low and lonely and my greatest fear is that I lose my kids. Usually at those times I come and find you! I was feeling sorry for myself yesterday at work and feeling angry and frustrated at certain people in my life. There’s a Christmas tree at work that you can make a donation and write a message for a bauble on the tree. I wrote Count your blessings, you don’t know how may you have . I think the angels sent me this message and then today I came on your website and saw this article. Do you know what also? I thought that because of what you do, you would be sort of immune from the struggles of life. How silly is that and it’s made me feel quite ashamed for being so wrapped up in my own troubles. I wish you and your family much love and happiness and success in all that you do. Thank you for being there for all of us and know that equally we will all be rooting for you X

  1. This is really scary. It seems you have to make an effort to keep your marriage relationship exciting and fulfilling so things like this won’t happen. Also it’s good to read warnings about what could happen if you take too many chances. I’d say the consequences aren’t worth the thrill of the chase.

  2. My wife just asked me to read this article so neither one of us would fall into any of these situations. I just have to say I see plenty going on at the office and it’s not always men who are instigating it. These are good things to keep in mind, especially the suggestion about good communication. If you’re talking to each other and both trying hard to make the other happy you’re half way there..

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