By Malia Karlinsky, GalTime Love/Sex Editor
These days, conveniences like email, texting and social media have made it easier than ever to connect with others. But for people who are married or are in committed relationships, it also means innocent communication can slip into flirting or emotional cheating-- a betrayal even if there's no physical contact involved.
So where is the line between harmless chatting and harmful cheating? We asked Sheri Meyers Psy.D, liscenced Marriage and Family Therapist and author of "Chatting or Cheating: How to Detect Infidelity, Rebuild Love and Affair-Proof Your Relationship."
GalTime: What is "Emotional Sex?"
Sheri Meyers Psy.D: Emotional sex is an affair of the heart that feels the same as romantic love and can manifest itself in numerous ways-physically, romantically, emotionally, lustfully, verbally, or virtually. Once emotional sex kicks in, fantasy takes over. The brain chemicals activated in emotional sex create the illusion that a "perfect love" exists and "destiny" is knocking. Emotional sex is an insidious form of infidelity that frequently occurs between two people who at first call themselves 'just friends.'
GT: Who is more likely to get involved in this type of relationship?
SM: Women tend to have emotional affairs. Men tend to have physical and cyber affairs. Having an affair is usually a symptom of an underlying problem in the relationship. Often we feel like something is missing and we may consciously or unconsciously seek that something in someone else.
GT: How do these situations start? When does it cross the line between chatting and cheating?
SM: Emotional sex usually starts innocently. You become Friends with the sexy co-worker and decide to carpool to work together, or you reunite with an ex on Facebook and start to share stories and photos from the past. You know you're crossing the line when...
Signs Chatting is Becoming Cheating
- You start sharing more about yourself with your friend than your partner.
- You prefer talking to your 'friend' over your primary partner.
- You check for messages CONSTANTLY.
- You think about him or her more than your partner or your kids.
- Thoughts of your friend bring relief and an instant high.
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