When you think about being cheated on, you probably imagine your partner having sex or hooking up with someone else — but cheating isn't always physical: there's also the scary possibility that your partner will emotionally cheat, which can sometimes hurt even worse. But what is considered emotional cheating? Unfortunately, it's pretty hard to define, because it's different in every relationship: every couple has their own unique set of relationship boundaries, so emotional cheating is very rarely a black-and-white issue. In a recent AskReddit thread, users shared what they view as emotional cheating, and it's clear that not everyone agrees on what behaviors constitute "emotional cheating" in a relationship.
"Emotional cheating isn’t as easy to define as physical cheating because the boundaries between friendship and emotional infidelity aren’t always clear," Jonathan Bennett, Dating/Relationship Coach and Owner of The Popular Man, tells Bustle. "However, I would define emotional cheating as forming a strong and intimate emotional bond with someone other than your partner. In general, if you are deeply connecting with another person emotionally, even for friendship, while simultaneously disconnecting with your partner, you’re crossing into emotional infidelity."
Ultimately, emotional cheating is whatever you define it as, and if your partner's connection with someone else makes you feel uneasy or upset, it's important to have a conversation to re-establish your boundaries. If you're curious how other people see emotional infidelity, here are 12 examples of what emotional cheating can look like — and hopefully none of these ring true in your own relationship.