Who Is She To You?: Emotional Cheating
written by: Riva Flowz
It always starts the same way. You glance over at his vibrating phone for the eleventh time and it’s that same female’s name. You’re tempted to ask why she’s calling again, but remind yourself that it’s too soon. As the weeks go by and you’re dubbed the proverbial girlfriend, you finally ask that daunting question. “Why is she always calling?” It’s then you receive the proverbial answer. “Aw baby, you know she’s my best friend.”
Yes, that friend. The one, who has just as much access as you, knows him to bits and pieces, and always seems to discern things before/right after you. We try and pretend as if it doesn’t annoy or hurt us. Shake off the shiver on our spine when her name falls from his lips right after, “I’m just going to grab a bite.” and “With whom?” We’ve even tried to embrace her at the mutual events and imagine as if his suddenly expansive comfort has everything to do with us.
Sometimes SHE is just that, a friend. Yet often times, she is a confidant, ex lover, or a could-have-been. So I’m prompted to ask, at what point does the line between “his friend” and “your foe” blur?
I’ll tell you when. Here are some signs of emotional cheating:
1) If his “friend” can access him easier than you can. I had a friend once tell me that if her husband’s phone was ever off, all she had to do was call his home girl to find him. Most times, he was sitting right next to her venting about him and his wife’s ongoing issues.
2) If he’s awkward about bringing her name up or telling you that he’s going somewhere with her. A man knows when he’s doing something wrong, no matter how many times he tries to convince himself of the situation’s innocence. If he’s avoiding telling you that she’ll be there or purposely steers clear of conversation about her, something is up.
3) SHE has priority. If she’s calling after eleven, showing up at his house, and if he drops everything when she has an issue; she has just as much clout as you. If not more. Staying in a relationship with a man who places his best friend/ex/whomever on the same pedestal as you can negatively affect your self-esteem, security, and have you questioning his intentions.
Other signs are quite obvious. I.e. Locked phones, stepping out of the room to speak, intimate contact with ex’s, etc. These are also signs of physical cheating. The scary difference between physical and emotional cheating is that men don’t realize that they’re engaging in infidelity during the latter.
When confronted with most of the aforementioned instances, men will make their significant other feel as though she’s crazy and overreacting. She will reassess herself, trying to rationalize the anger she’s feeling. “She is JUST his friend, why am I so upset?”
You’re anger and frustration is due to the territorial aspect of love. There are boundaries around the specifics of his life reserved for family and loved ones. When a woman, usually your peer, has broken those barriers it lessens your significance. It also causes alarms to go off in your mind and heart, as it should.
No man intentionally engages in emotional cheating. Most emotional cheating is done with a coworker, ex, or a friend. Confronted with the familiarity of these people on a regular basis blurs the lines of appropriateness when in a relationship. When this line blurs, the two will engage in similar activities that significant others do. Going out for lunch (date), talk on the phone for hours (caking), and/or business trips (vacation/honeymooning). Although there might not be any physical interaction during these events, they still take a toll on the spouse of either person in the “friendship.” When occurrences, usually reserved for your lover, are given to someone who ranks lower on the priority list, it makes your other half feel unimportant.
Relationships are about sacrifices. When embarking on a commitment, we also commit to minimizing/changing the interactions we once upheld. We forget that the keyword in RELATIONSHIPS is RELATE: Connect, associate, and give relevance to. When these connections are shared and given similar relevance with another associate, it weakens the bond between couples. In order to keep that everlasting bond, we must give up old pleasures and allow them to manifest in our new union. Repairing the flaws in our relationships with the traits of an outsider is shoddy workmanship. A stable foundation comes with time, effort, and no shortcuts. Especially, shortcuts that wear short skirts. I’m just saying.
* Not original Edge Photography