Emotionally Unfaithful?

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

My partner started talking to a girl through a game. It quickly escalated with her asking him to get an app kik so they could talk more. I thought this was inappropriate but he did it anyway. They started taking heaps. Seemed like she was flirting with him. He said they were just friends. Then I found out they were messaging each other for hours on end, till late in the night (time difference for countries) but I asked to read the messages. They were falling asleep talking to each other, she calling him cute, they are both saying how fun the other one is and how close they feel to each other like best friends. She was saying how he must be unable to sleep cause he missed her and he said she could be right. In another part she was saying how she cries in movies and gets really into the story etc and he said he wished he could watch a movie with her so he could watch her reactions! I was devastated. That is extremely intimate. They also mentioned about if the visited each others countries how it would be cool to meet up. Yet when I try message him I can’t strike up a conversation. I told him he was cheating on me. Having an emotional affair. They knew and said I wouldn’t like the messages, he deleted some at one point, guards his phone with his life, they’ve only been talking for acouple weeks. He has not been intimate with me since they started talking. He’s broken my heart and says I am over reacting and irrational. He genuinely does not believe this is wrong. Just because sex hasn’t been mentioned. He does not know any guidelines as to boundaries for friendships with the opposite sex. Do you think I am over reacting? I feel betrayed. I trusted him to never hurt me like this. I told him to stop talking to her. Am I right in doing so?

A: You’re not overreacting. This is an emotional affair, and while only half of emotional affairs end in something physical, the bottom line is there is a betrayal of intimacy. The fact that your partner doesn’t honor your feelings with this, chooses to continue even though it upsets you, and it has escalated all point to the fact you must take this very seriously. His trying to minimize it and saying that you are irrational doesn’t change the fact. It upsets you and he continues to do it anyway. I strongly recommend couples counseling over this. Keep the issue on the front burner. In my experience and in the experience of many therapists, an emotional affair can be easily as devastating as a physical one.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 22 Jun 2013

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2013). Emotionally Unfaithful?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 28, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/06/22/emotionally-unfaithful/