There is so much confusion about what constitutes an affair. There’s even more confusion about what an emotional affair is. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard, Well, I’m not having sex with that person, so it’s not an affair.

As an infidelity specialist, I really want to set the record straight and help people see how easy it is to identify an affair from a platonic friendship or a friendly interaction.

Frankly, it really isn’t very hard to understand at all. We all have internal barometers that let us know we are doing something wrong.

I have found, usually, those that claim to be ‘so confused about what is appropriate in reality DO sense there’s a danger of slipping. In their hearts, they know it but they ‘like to’  and still ‘chose to’ play with the boundary of what’s appropriate and what’s not anyway. Claiming innocence when caught. They are confused because it serves them to be confused.

Is that called cheating?:

A good rule of thumb is: if you’re hiding an interaction from your partner, you are cheating. Even if it’s a simple interaction like, “It’s a beautiful day today”. After all, if it didn’t feel wrong then why would you actively hide it.

If you are deleting texts, calling histories, and other interactions then it’s evidence that you know it’s wrong, and you shouldn’t be doing it.

You might say, It was so inconsequential to me that I forgot to tell you.

This usually doesn’t fly because chances are you have done it many more times before and will do it many times again. You can’t possibly forget to tell so many times.

Secrets To Protect Your Partner From Upset:

You may say, I’m hiding my interaction to protect my partner because they get hurt and jealous. . . and “I” know we are just friends.

You are not keeping secrets to protect your partner. You are doing it to protect yourself. From taking full responsibility for your choices, and from changing behavior that you are enjoying getting validation from.

We’re Just Friends:

You cannot be ‘just friends’ with someone you are sexually attracted to.

A good way to tell you are sexually attracted to that person is if:

  • You choose to interact with that person even if you know it will bother your partner (this doesn’t happen in platonic relationships).

  • You make excuses to be around them or see them. You argue with your partner for your ‘right’ to see them

  • You feel a rush or get giddy when you are around them.

  • You find yourself beaming when you are thinking about them.

  • You get dressed with an intention to get their attention in mind.

  • You post on social media with them in mind.

  • You wait for their text to come. You get upset if it doesn’t come, and get excited if it does.

  • You think or ruminate about what they said or didn’t say; did or didn’t do

  • You get defensive when others ask about your relationship with them who find it weird.

  • You hide your interactions with this person from the friends who call you out on things.

Not having personal integrity to admit you are engaging in something even you consider wrong leads to pain and suffering for everyone in the future. Keeping engaged in a hiddenrelationship like this pushes you deeper and deeper into the mess.

Secrets always get found eventually and when it does get found, the outcome will be very difficult and irreversible. So get out now. Come out clean.

Accepting Responsibility:

It is very common to blame your partner, anyone, or anything else for your affair.

If your partner is telling you, your behavior it’s making them feel uncomfortable, unsafe, or not valued and you still continue then you have chosen “your wants of fulfilling a desire” above your “partner’s need for safety”.

Sexual interest is a want, but safety is a need.

It’s a clear indication that at this point in your relationship you don’t value your partner enough to put them before your wants. It’s clear you have a benefit in not coming clean to your partner.

Sexual interest has the power and the draw strong enough to get you to give priority to another person above the one you once committed to so don’t lie to yourself about your feelings.

Secrets Erode and Slowly Destroy Relationships:                                                                 

There is no other relationship in the world like a romantic partnership. It’s the only relationship in which there is such a depth of intimacy and closeness without it being a blood relationship.

It needs to be nurtured, guarded, protected, and maintained by each partner’s own integrity if it is to survive. A relationship is not about committing once and putting it aside, it’s about choosing to commit to your partner over and over again.

When two people agree to commit to each other they must build a sacred boundary of ‘mutual trust and commitment’ between them and the rest of the world. This includes best friends, extended families, and kids.

If one person keeps a secret from the other, the sacred boundary is breached. This creates a wall between the couple. The other person may not ‘know’ about the secret but they can feel the invisible wall between them.

To partner will feel the secret and start acting crazy, jealous, paranoid, and possessive. Others say, there’s something wrong with this person.

Truth is they can feel something they cannot see. They are objecting but are being gaslighted which makes them feel and act crazy.

How Do I Stop?:

If you want to stop engaging in the emotional affair then set clear boundaries for yourself and stick to them.

You may have to address it with the person you are engaging with and state your intention, your priority, and your clear boundaries. Then make sure you don’t breach. Watch yourself if you make any excuses to connect and stop yourself.

If you feel you are too infatuated with this person then make it right, tell your partner, but don’t trick them anymore.

Every person should have the right to decide what they want. The meanest thing you can do to someone is to mess with their reality, trick them, especially because they have trusted you in the past. 

Watch yourself and screen yourself to see if you are playing the victim.


If you are blaming other people, things, or situations for your choices. If you are then you are not yet ready to change anything.

If you are serious about making a change then behave the way you would behave with your love interest as if your partner was present. Don’t delete text messages. Have integrity and fidelity. Stay tuned to how you are truly feeling and don’t lie to yourself, don’t lie to your partner.

Despite what people think, change is possible. You can do it if you really actually want to.