Psychotherapist Reveals How 99% Of Emotional Affairs Start — And The One Thing You Can Do About It

The downfall of communicating with someone who's 'just a friend.'

man and woman starting an emotional affair South Agency from Getty Images Signature | Canva Pro

Can we be honest for a second? Being in a relationship isn't always sunshine and rainbows. And whether you've been together for a short or long time — bad things are bound to happen. The most uncommon one being infidelity.

Yet, cheating is much more than just getting physical. Yes, other forms of cheating such as emotional infidelity are just as harmful. That's why knowing how to prevent emotional infidelity in your relationship is so important. 


Clinical psychologist Dr. Kathy Nickerson breaks down how "99% of emotional affairs" begin and the one thing you can do about it.

RELATED: The Type Of Cheating That Hurts Women The Most

How the majority of emotional affairs start

"Do you know how 99% of emotional affairs begin? They almost all begin the same way," starts Dr. Kathy. 

Let's say you're having a hard time with your partner. You're arguing nonstop and can't seem to catch a break. And you feel that no matter what you do you can never do anything right. 


When you're in this vulnerable position, the logical solution is to talk to a therapist or partner. To figure out what's going on and what you can do moving forward. But, people don't always do this. Instead, they confide in other people.

Yes, people will confide in close friends, strangers, neighbors, or co-workers because their 'emotional needs' aren't getting met. And on the surface, this might not seem like such a bad idea. I mean, what's wrong with confiding in someone, right?

Well, "The conversations often start innocently enough. You just sharing you know, that things are hard right now. But then you get more and more support, you find yourself wanting to text that person all the time, feelings start to grow, and the next thing you know you're giving that person a hug after a conversation and it turns into a kiss," explains Dr. Kathy.

Understandably, this type of emotional connection can spell disaster for your relationship, especially the more vulnerable these interactions get. 


RELATED: 3 Sneaky Reasons Emotional Affairs Are So Appealing To Non-Cheaters

The one thing you can do to stop an emotional affair before it starts 

To avoid falling into an emotional affair, you must be careful who you confide in. If you're going to confide in someone, make sure you're not attracted to them first. Moreover, be careful about the details you share to avoid getting too personal and filling your emotional needs with someone other than your partner.

Dr. Kathy says, "I often say avoid having these conversations with anyone you think you could ever become attractive to because you're at high risk for the affair."


And if you find yourself developing feelings? Cut it off immediately and have a proper conversation with your partner. Be open and honest and find a solution together. Don't be afraid to seek out professional counseling or couples counseling together if necessary.  

Emotional affairs can (and often do) happen in even great relationships. Confronting the problem head-on and taking a step back, is the best thing you can do to help get your relationship back on track.

@drkathynickerson Emotional affairs are real and hugely painful. Here’s how they most often end. If you need help, please check out The Courage to Stay on Amazon. ❤️ #affairs #affairrecovery #cheating #infidelity #cheater ♬ original sound - Dr Kathy Nickerson

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Marielisa Reyes is a writer with a bachelor's degree in psychology who covers self-help, relationships, career, and family topics.