Getting over an ex and moving on is HARD. We all felt at least one of these feelings:
Literally, so hot RN
Literally, so hot RN
Cheating can be a violation of another partner's physical and mental health when it occurs and is often a dealbreaker in a relationship. While cheating of any sort is often traumatic and upsetting for a partner, there exist a variety of ways in which their partner might cheat. Of the many ways in which infidelity can occur, the way a person cheats falls under the categories of physical or emotional cheating.
While overlap can occur between the two within a relationship, there exist a few differences between physical and emotional cheating that often differentiate the two.
1. Physical cheating requires a physical relationship, whereas emotional cheating doesn't
This is the most self-explanatory difference between physical and emotional cheating. When someone physically cheats on their partner, that means they've decided to engage in sexual acts without the knowledge or consent of their partner. Emotional intimacy involves emotional contact without the partner's consent, such as intimate conversations, extensive flirting and doting behaviors practiced outside the context of the couple's relationship.
2. Physical cheating may not involve feelings or emotional intimacy, whereas emotional cheating does
Physical cheating can involve long-term sexual relations with one person or involve sporadic incidences with multiple people. The archetype of physical cheating is cheating without feelings attached, where people have sex without attachment. While attachment can occur within physical relationships, the assumption is that physical cheating is sex-based.
Emotional cheating, however, is based on forming a strong bond and romantic attachment to someone in a way that's meant to be reserved for their partner. For emotional cheating, the cheater is deliberately seeking validation and affection through non-sexual contact and communication with someone else.
3. Physical cheating involves in person contact, whereas emotional cheating can exist in person or digitally
Physical cheating involves a formed sexual relationship, which can only occur in person. Emotional cheating, however, can include both in-person contact or extensive online communication with a non-partner. For example, a partner could be emotionally cheating through the extensive use of a dating app, wherein said partner channels their affection and emotions into the digital person instead of their partner.
4. Physical cheating is secretive, whereas emotional cheating might not be
In monogamous, non-open relationships, it is expected that each person in the relationship is only sexually active with their partner. For a partner that chooses to cheat, it is imperative they keep their new, sexual partner (or partners) under wraps to prevent sabotaging their relationship. Emotional cheating, however, can manifest gradually without being under wraps.
For example, it's possible one's partner could become romantically and emotionally involved with a friend over time, where time spent with a said friend or acquaintance grows. The investment and growth of the new relationship could occur within social circles that allow one partner to witness the new relationship grow over time. This gradual growth could be masked as a new colleague, friend or contact.
If a partner who's cheating exploits their current partner's trust, they could disguise their new relationship until they decide to leave or break up with the current partner.
5. Physical cheating can cause bodily harm to your partner, while emotional cheating doesn't
While both physical and emotional cheating can result in plenty of hurt, there exist potential health complications from physical cheating beyond impacting one's mental health. If one partner is having sex with one or more people outside their relationship, they risk transmitting STI's to their partner.
Certain STI's manifest in men's and women's bodies differently. Gonorrhea, for instance, doesn't always present with symptoms in women, similarly to chlamydia in men. Untreated STI's can lead to severe infections or infertility, or even cancer or chronic illness if a partner contracts HPV, HIV, syphilis or herpes. So if you and your partner were monogamous and you break that pact, you can put yourself and them at serious risk for health complications.
So if you didn't think cheating on your partner was bad enough, passing on a preventable STI makes you even more of an inconsiderate asshole.
Collectively, physical and emotional cheating are two broad categories of cheating that describe hurtful envelope behaviors within relationships. While both types of cheating often have behaviors that intersect, it's important to recognize what they are to protect yourself in the event they happen.
You may not realize it, but there are quite a few tell-tale signs that the person you're with is absolute garbage. Whether it's signs they have a side bae or signs that they're being unfaithful to you in other ways, everyone should know how to spot these red flags:
1. They won't let you anywhere near their phone
It's not cool to pry through every single message on your S.O.'s phone, but if they've been acting secretive about who they're been talking to, or what the notifications on their lock screen are, there's something they don't want you to see.
2. They ask you to do things and be things that you aren't
Are they suddenly asking you to fulfill some crazy fantasy? Or dress a certain way that's completely out of your style? Red flag.
3. They're on Tinder
Pretty self-explanatory. Nothing is more awkward than one of your friends matching with them.
4. They've become increasingly disinterested in you
Even though this doesn't for sure signal cheating (it could be your relationship dying, or a host of other reasons), it's important to pay attention to where their attention is—or isn't—in your relationship.
5. Lies have been adding up
Even if they're little white lies, a constant habit of lying from you or keeping things from you is a major red flag. It shows that your partner is accustomed to deceiving you.
6. They're really secretive or vague about their plans
Not sure what they've been doing after class or on the weekends lately? And they won't tell you? Hmm.
7. They stop posting about you completely on social media or untag themselves in your posts
Not everyone is big on social media, but if your boo is and has been throughout your relationship, and suddenly stops, that's sus.
8. There's a general sense that you aren't close anymore, for no apparent reason
Pretty broad, but if your gut is telling you that something's up, and you can't think of a good reason why, it's probably time to confront your S.O. about it.