They might be physically present, but they no longer depend on you to meet their emotional needs, because they found somebody else to fulfill them.
They say they want to be with you, but their actions don't show the same. On the surface, they appear to be committed to you, but emotionally, it seems like they want to be somewhere else, with someone else. Your partner doesn't have to be physically intimate with someone else to have an affair. Connecting with someone outside of your relationship on a deeper level, sharing their deepest desires and secrets with someone other than their partner could be a sign of emotional cheating. And for many, that is often just as hurtful as sleeping with someone else.
In their heart, your partner might think that they will never cheat on you. But when they start channeling their emotional energy towards a third person and are growing attached to them, it will often be visible in the way they behave around you. Here's what you might notice about your partner when they are emotionally cheating on you.
It's completely normal for your partners to have conversations with people on their phone or on social media. But it can be a cause of concern when your partner starts becoming secretive about it. The reason why they're being secretive could be to hide the virtual intimacy they share with someone outside your relationship, with whom they open up about their deepest thoughts and feelings. Secrecy, shared intimacy, and sexual energy could be signs of emotional sex chemistry, as explained by Dr. Sheri Meyers, author of Chatting or Cheating.
When your partner is having an emotional affair, their thoughts will be taken over by the other person, making them distracted as they think more and more about them. Apart from this, they might start making changes to themselves. You might notice that they have started dressing differently or trying to look more attractive, as Dr. Meyers wrote. Your partner might love spending time with that person and having conversations with them, and wanting to look more attractive for them could lead them to cross the line. They may think of the third person as just a friend or a colleague, but if they're changing certain things about themselves around them, it may not be a good sign.
When you notice that something is "off" in the relationship, and feel like the air between you and your partner is just not the same, it could be a sign to watch out for. They might seem disinterested in doing the routine things you used to do together, they might appear cold or distant from you, and they might even look too tired to do anything in the relationship anymore. When your partner is having an emotional affair, they could be spending a lot of time and effort into maintaining it and also hiding it from you. And they may be too tired to do things with you, as psychiatrist Abigail Brenner wrote for Psychology Today.
4. They start criticizing you or comparing you with someone else
Having an emotional affair changes your partner's attitude towards you. They might start becoming overly critical of you or they might make subtle comparisons between you and the other person. This could be because they start feeling angry and guilty for growing emotionally distant from you and closer to someone else. But to cope with that guilt of emotionally cheating on you, they try to convince themselves that you are the problem even when you are not.
Previously, when your partner had something important to share, you may have been the first one they shared it with. But now, they might be sharing it with the other person. They are getting their emotional needs met by someone else and they are no longer dependent on you in the same way. So, they make excuses to spend more time with them. They might tell you that they are spending more time at work or hanging out with their friends, just so that they can get that extra time with the person they are emotionally growing attached to.