Just A Friend: Emotional Cheating

written by Ronald Clark

In most cases, it isn’t malicious. It is usually a product of past relationships reappearing in a cluttered present that isn’t looking for any new company. It’s presence resonating as a roadblock to the union of the perpetrator and their companion. It’s a new phenomenon that’s just beginning to gain ground and become a topic gaining steadily growing amounts of attention.

This phenomenon is – emotional cheating.

No seriously, this is an actual thing. It is an actual thing that has altered the course of promising relationships. A new negative that insecure members of companionships can use to hang their low self-esteem hats on.

I’m someone who loathes cheating. I have my reasons, most of them quite personal, but nonetheless, my personal hatred towards the act of cheating has imbedded in me an inability to wrap my mind around the action. I have not, shall not and will not cheat on a woman. It is one of my truths. It is real.

But I am also a firm believer in relationships being an addition to one’s life and not something that should become one’s life. People who get into relationships with demands that their significant others stop communicating with certain individuals that were around way before they came along baffle me. What gives you the right to go down my list of relationships with an eraser? You knew what you were getting into before this got started, so don’t try to change it up now.

This is the moment where things get hazy. I’m one who loathes cheating. But I’m also one who feels that my friendships with certain women shouldn’t have to stop just because I’m now in a relationship. This, my friends, puts me in prime position to emotionally cheat.

To be quite frank, I’d probably be a culprit of emotional cheating. I have a laundry list of close female friends who are near and dear to me. And truthfully, a vast majority of them are attractive. Many of them I’m attracted to. Some of them I’ve got at myself. And a select few I even have pasts with on a level outside of friendship. But they all have a place in my life and all make up part of who I am. So my ridding myself of these relationships just because I have a girlfriend is not something I see myself doing.

A lot of why I am the way I am with women is due to my friendships with women. I’m often engaged in conversations with them as well as deeply involved in their day to day interactions with males, providing me with insight I can tap into during my own interactions with females. I wouldn’t be so in tune with the female psyche and the quirks that make them who they are if it wasn’t for my constant engagement with my female friends.

Is my continuous interaction with these women a bad thing for my relationship? Depends on whom you ask. I honestly see nothing wrong with it if my girl trusts me. Or better yet, wouldn’t a woman confident enough to know that I would be stupid to leave her due to everything she brings to the table not worry about a few friendships? Think about it. The mere thought that I’d emotionally cheat is the sign of a woman grasping for reasons to have an argument. If emotional cheating was something that truly deserved a negative reaction, I’d be considered a ‘dog’ on most fronts because I would more than likely be a repeat offender.

My female friends come to me for comfort. I’m the male friend they can come to with any and all problems and I’m always open to give advice or to just lend an ear. Will my consistent availability stop in a relationship? To a point, yes, but not completely. I mean, my true friends would let me have my relationship moments anyway, so that wouldn’t be a problem. Would I turn to a friend in a time of need if my girl isn’t available at the time? Good chance. Do I consider that to be emotionally cheating? Not really. I just see it as doing what I’ve always done.

And if my relationship is weak enough that such situations can erode its foundation, then that foundation was built in quicksand in the first place and needs to start over on new land.


*Not original Edge Photography



  1. So… on one hand you say you would probably be guilty of emotional cheating (yet you loathe cheating), but on the other hand, you say that if a woman accuses you of doing it, she is “grasping at reasons to have an argument.” Your arguments in this piece are contradictory and I think it could be the result of a serious misinterpretation of what emotional cheating is.

    Posted by CBS on 02 March 11 at 7:18am
  2. It’s not a contradiction. I said I loathe cheating, as in physical cheating. Emotional cheating is something completely different that I don’t consider to be a real thing. But based on the ‘definition’ then I’d more than likely be guilty of it.

    Posted by Ronald on 02 March 11 at 2:24pm
  3. @CBS I think what was meant was that, if the woman makes the accusation, and they have a good relationship going, why would she feel compelled to accuse him. A lot of times, IMO, when the girlfriend sees the close female friend as a threat (I blame Brown Sugar… half joking), it definitely makes her question and think certain things she wouldn’t otherwise. If there’s no level of trust, then y’all are on a shaky foundation and one that just might be on lease from longevity.

    I respect a lot of what’s said because even when I’ve been in a relationship, I’ve kept in touch with my female friends who I was close to before the girlfriend (because honestly, truth be told, the female friends have already PROVEN their longevity. I have known them longer than I’ve known the girlfriend after all), but because I acknowledge the importance of our relationship, I do cut down and limit the contact with my female friends I would normally have. Shouldn’t my limiting my contact count for something? Or does it HAVE to be all or nothing? Would you stop talking to ALL of your male friends for me? Just questions.

    Posted by Young Jay Howard on 02 March 11 at 2:32pm
  4. Soooo Ronald…Cheating is cheating no matter how you label it. however, I do not think this is a new phenomena at all. Honestly, a confident woman can be very confident in what she brings to the table & trust her partner but still have a problem with the “friends”. I say this say sometimes just like a man knows & sense’s that one of those many friends is just waiting for the right moment or has an attachment that is much deeper than a genuine friendship. All this is based on pure intuition too. Emotional cheating I think may be a little harder to bare than physical cheating too & IT IS REAL. When you’re in a relationship one wants to feel & be the person s best friend, confidant, etc. No one wants any other person to really have that role & rightfully so. Especially for a man to have a relationship that is platonic with a female friend & yest that friend is the one they want to turn too emotionally & mentally, their is a serious problem if his partner isn’t that person. Men are physical creatures by nature, thus, a man who has an attachment that is purely emotional & mental with another woman other than his partner is TOTALLY cheating. Because as you stated their more than likely is an attraction & for a man it has to be for that bond anyway to the opposite species…..

    Posted by Ersella on 02 March 11 at 5:37pm
  5. You go Ron! I feel the exact same way from a women’s point of view. I have way more male friends then female friends, but if were dating and that was brought up early in the relationship, then why should I have to remove some people that had a great deal creating the woman that’s in front of you. I would understand if I’m befriending random male strangers, but chances are that the male’s friends you met early on are the same ones that will be around. If I’m not giving you a legitimate reason that I’m cheating, why would you waste your time trying to find one? If it comes to that, then I feel like I not doing a good enough job as your women to make you feel secure. If it stays at that, then there’s nothing more for me to do, but wish you a good life. I do know that there is no way I would ever leave the men that I call my brothers because of an assumption. As one of your closest female friends, do I expect you to be there when I need you? Sure, but I will always respect you, your choices, and your relationships.


    Posted by Happens to be one of his female friends on 03 March 11 at 12:26am
  6. I must say, I was getting all geared up after that first paragraph to berate you for turning pansy on me, but I’m proud to say you redeemed yourself in the end.

    Emotional cheating is a feminine construct –likely while she was on her cycle or pregnant. It is not real. For those that would disagree, take a moment to hear me out — what is the measure of emotional cheating? Two phone calls a week = friendship, but once you venture into the third, it’s cheating? If it’s indicative of the way I “feel” while talking — if I’m particularly passionate about trade deadline moves, is that cheating? What about if I just need to vent about my day? If I say “I love you” laughingly?

    This is ridiculous. Ladies, we’ve got to get over ourselves. As someone who is a) married, and b) has gone through cycles AND pregnancy, I think it is safe to say that having friends of the opposite sex is more than just acceptable, it’s almost necessary to maintain sanity. And as long as, at the end of the day, you’re in bed with the person you’re supposed to be in bed with and not promising another you’re going to one day be together, there’s nothing to worry about.

    Good job, as always, Ronald.

    Posted by Autumn on 03 March 11 at 10:18am
  7. Well put my friend especially the end! If I have previous relationships with women that aren’t romantic, why should I have to give them up? When a woman focuses on those instead of setting the foundation for ours then we have a problem. The construction of our relationship is being put on hold for a relationship that has already been built is pointless and doesn’t allow for the new relationship to be set

    Posted by Lamont on 03 March 11 at 11:18am
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