Cheating (relationship-wise) most often involves having sex with someone other than your significant other and is usually just physical for the cheater (sorry, cheatee).
But there is another type of cheating that is not physical (at least, not yet) that can somehow be more damaging to your relationship: Emotional Cheating. It’s there—an attraction, something—but not acted upon because of rational thoughts, and yet perhaps because it is not acted upon, it can ironically lead to something more major than the mistress enticing your husband. It causes the break-up or divorce.
Say your partner slips up and f’s someone else one time. It’s purely physical, and it’s over. Fling partners usually don’t win, even if they do temporarily. Cheaters like the thrill of what they can’t have, and once they are free to have it, that sizzle can fade. Now, imagine your lover falls in love with someone else, without exactly acting on it—at least not until it ends up unraveling your relationship.
The person you were in love with is convinced that he or she was meant to be with someone else, this new exciting person that they are drawn to because of sexual chemistry/crazy attraction, similar interests, or proximity as innocent as running in the same circles or around the same office. Watch out.
What if this is you? Even if you never act on your feelings, they can damage your current relationship. Yes, sometimes you are dissatisfied with what you have. But sometimes, you are fairly content and solid, and then damn, someone comes along that is just so completely awesome and promising and more your speed. You totally click and you feel completely like yourself and at ease with that other person.
You start questioning your own relationship. When you find someone you like more, and especially because he’s off-limits, you start finding more and more flaws in your man and think about the potential happiness you may be missing out on.
Sex can be just sex. You needed it. Strong attraction though, before any sex gets in the way, can cause far more damage, and even more when sex does get in the way. Emotional cheating is the worst kind of cheating there is.
The sex-cheat can be the kid-in-the-candy-shop thing. The emotional cheat means your partner is connecting on a different, deeper level with someone else.
I wonder if the emotional cheat is harder on females than the sex cheat, and if the sex cheat is harder on males than the emotional cheat because of the way we are differently wired, but that deems an entirely new post.
Let me know your thoughts.
P.S. My personal experience with this is here.