Signs Your Partner May Be Having An Emotional Affair

Being in a committed relationship with someone means you should be able to trust the person you're with is honest with you about everything. Without honesty, secrets can start to build up. If the person you're dating is in the midst of an emotional affair with a third party, they might not think it's something they have to be completely honest about since nothing physical is taking place. However, the truth of the matter is that emotional affairs are just as damaging as physical ones.


According to Brides, if your partner is getting too emotionally close to someone else, it crosses the boundary of what platonic connections are supposed to look and feel like. Your partner should feel comfortable enjoying friendships outside of your relationship, of course, but if a particular friendship they have is starting to appear a little too close for comfort, you have every right to be concerned. 

Emotional cheating might come across as less of an issue compared to physical cheating, but it often includes loads of sexual tension or romantic attraction (via Healthline). If your partner feels more emotionally connected to someone else than you, it's easy to understand that their desire to potentially get physical with that other person could be growing. These are the signs to keep an eye out for if you suspect your partner is engaging in an emotional affair.


Frequently taking phone calls in other rooms

Having deep conversations is one of the ways emotional affairs begin in the first place. If you notice that your partner is always taking phone calls in other rooms, you might have a serious reason to question what's going on. Are they more comfortable talking about heartfelt subjects and sentimental topics with this other person? Wanting privacy to chat without you in earshot is a huge sign your partner may be having an emotional affair.


All people deserve a certain degree of privacy within their relationships (via That being said, you shouldn't overstep by trying to eavesdrop or by insisting that your partner share details of their private conversations. You do have every right to ask why they feel the need to leave the room whenever they take certain phone calls, though. If they're fine with taking calls from their siblings or colleagues in front of you, then why can't they take calls from everyone in front of you?

According to Love at First Fight, a partner who insists on too much privacy could definitely be leaning toward secrecy, and there's a huge difference between privacy and secrecy. Is your partner taking phone calls in other rooms because they aren't comfortable opening up to you about certain things? Or are they trying to keep you in the dark about a possible blossoming affair?


Keeping their phone facing down

There's no denying the fact that it's a bit sketchy for your partner to keep their phone facing down at all times. Emotional affairs require tons of communication, which means a lot of chatting via text is probably happening. Seeing your partner text their friends throughout the day shouldn't be an issue at all, but it's a little weird if they refuse to leave their phone laying face up on a table.


The U.S. Sun explains that a phone laid face down might seem like an innocent habit, but it's actually a huge indicator that something shady could be going on. When their phone is face down, the screen is completely hidden from you. This means that any flirty or romantic texts flooding in won't catch your eye. Someone who has nothing to hide probably doesn't think about hiding their phone screen from their partner.

According to, honesty is generally always the best policy in a committed relationship. That being said, both people involved should be comfortable being honest about their text messages at any given time. If the face-down phone habit is something you've noticed your partner doing on a consistent basis, it might be time to ask them about it. Inquiring about something like this doesn't need to cause a fight or lead to chaos. You deserve to have peace of mind and your partner should be willing to offer you some clarity. 


Suddenly changing passwords and passcodes

Picture this: You've always had access to your partner's devices and social media pages because you've always known the passwords. Then suddenly, all of the passwords changed. If this is your reality, you have every reason to be concerned about a potential emotional affair. In the same way someone having an affair might prefer to take phone calls in other rooms or keep their phone laying face down, they likely don't want you to have easy access to their online modes of communication either.


Love at First Fight explains that it's simple enough to figure out if your partner is keeping a secret from you. If they're intentionally hiding something from you, they appear to have guilt or shame over the situation, or they know you'd be upset upon learning the truth, then whatever secret they might have probably isn't a good one. The biggest reason anyone would change their passcodes and passwords is to make sure their secrets are staying under wraps. 

According to Panda Gossips, a password change is one sign that your partner could be having an emotional affair. You also need to look out for deleted call logs, strange names saved in your partner's contact list, and the constant use of "do not disturb" mode. If you notice that they give off a bit of nervous energy anytime you can easily catch a glimpse of their phone screen, that's a reason to be alarmed as well. 


No longer opening up to you about their vulnerabilities

Healthy relationships are safe spaces for two people to be totally vulnerable with each other. If your partner is no longer opening up to you about their vulnerabilities, something could definitely be up. When the relationship first started, you probably noticed that intimacy between you and your partner was at an all-time high due to shared vulnerability, honesty, and the mutual expression of feelings. If your partner has seemingly closed off from you in this department, they might be sharing their innermost vulnerable feelings with someone else. 


Great relationships consist of people who can confide in each other with trust and love (via Psychology Today). If your partner suddenly refuses to share anything with you, when they used to lean on you for emotional support in most cases, an emotional affair could be underway.

According to Love at First Fight, discussing topics surrounding health, finances, or children can be very stressful to plenty of people. Being there for your partner so they can open up to you about anything and everything is a must. If you've already proven that you can provide a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, or some thoughtful advice in their best interest, then you've done your job as a solid partner. Their choice to lean on someone else to assuage their vulnerabilities is a tell-tale sign of emotional cheating.


You have to seek attention

In normal healthy relationships, you won't feel the need to seek attention from your partner because they're already giving you a sufficient amount. If you've reached a point where it feels like you need to do so, it's possible they might be having an emotional affair. According to Talk Space, all people require different amounts of attention, and it's normal to feel unwanted if the amount of attention you're getting is lacking. 

Advertisement notes that when your partner isn't providing you with the attention you need and deserve, it can lead you to start feeling like your relationship is no longer fulfilling. Not having enough attention in your relationship is similar to not having enough communication. If you don't have enough of these vital things, your relationship can start to fall apart. Not getting an adequate amount of attention from your partner can make you start wondering where their attention has shifted, leading to trust issues.

Your love languages aren't being met

Knowing what your predominant love languages are in a relationship is incredibly important for a long-lasting romance. According to Oprah Daily, the five love languages coined by Dr. Gary Chapman are quality time, words of affirmation, receiving gifts, physical touch, and acts of service. It's easy to figure out what your love language is based on what you most commonly do for other people. 


If you find that you're always naturally reaching out to stroke your partner's back or hold their hand, touch is probably your love language. If you find yourself purchasing small knickknacks and cute trinkets for your partner whenever you're out shopping, receiving gifts is likely your love language of choice. If you can't help yourself from complimenting your partner's hair, skin, aroma, and more whenever they're in your presence, it's pretty clear that words of affirmation rule you. 

Healthline notes that being loved with your predominant love language is an easy way to ensure a happy relationship. If your partner doesn't seem to care about loving you based on your love languages, it's possible that their energy and attention have shifted and they may be having an emotional affair. A partner whose emotions aren't being split between multiple people knows how to love you in the way you deserve.


You're being gaslit

A lot of people are coming to terms with different forms of manipulation and psychological control that they've dealt with in their current and past relationships. According to Psychology Today, gaslighting is a stealthy kind of dating danger as it leads victims to doubt their sanity, question their memory, and become confused by their perception of the world. 


A gaslighting partner will lie about and deny something, even if you have proof that says otherwise, according to Newport Institute. They'll insist that something you witnessed never happened or that your memory is completely incorrect. They'll change the subject in the middle of a conversation when you start calling them out for something messed up that they've done. If you feel like there's something shady going on between your partner and someone else, even on an emotional level, try to take note of whether or not they are gaslighting you. If they consistently try to shut you down and tell you that there's nothing to worry about, you might have a serious issue on your hands.

Not setting appropriate boundaries

Have you asked your partner to set boundaries with certain people? If so, their immediate response should be agreeing with you in order to appease your comfort levels. If your partner doesn't see any need in setting boundaries with someone who makes you feel uncomfortable, it's possible they're protecting an emotional affair with that person. 


According to blogger Jamie Scrimgeour, this type of situation can pop up between your significant other and their ex. If their ex still relies on them for emotional support, your partner might feel indebted to them out of a sense of guilt or obligation based on how the relationship ended. But it's up to your partner to cleanly cut that connection off since they and their ex are no longer romantically involved. Ultimately, your partner should prioritize you and how you feel above whatever might be going on with their ex.

Emotional Affair Journey notes that if your partner isn't setting boundaries with others who are openly flirting with them, such as co-workers or college classmates, it's not only a gateway to a potential emotional affair, but it's also a major lack of respect issue. Flirting isn't harmless or innocent, after all. Boundaries must be set in place between your partner and anyone who could potentially threaten your relationship.


Oversharing your secrets

When you're going through highs and lows with your partner, it makes sense that you might want to vent to your friends about certain aspects. According to Couples Learn, there are a few things to consider before letting your friends know all of the nitty-gritty details. If you complain to your friends about your partner, they might start to develop a bad taste in their mouths about your relationship. That being said, are you fully aware of what's being said about you from your partner's lips to their most trusted confidante? 


If you feel like details of your relationship are being overshared between your partner and someone else, they could certainly be having an emotional affair behind your back. Reader's Digest says that details about your sex life, recent fights, personal secrets, money issues, embarrassing moments, and insecurities are totally off-limits to share with others. If you find out that your partner has detailed personal things about you to someone else, you have every reason to feel upset. It is not only a breach of trust, but could be a sign of an emotional affair.

Acting increasingly defensive

One of the biggest reasons someone will start acting defensively with you is if they have something to hide. If you try to start conversations with your significant other about things that are concerning you, take note of how defensive they get during the conversation. 


According to Psychology Today, you have to do your best to remain calm while communicating with a defensive partner. Even if they get worked up, it doesn't mean that you have to become triggered by their actions or responses. Stick with the facts, use "I" statements, and never mirror the defensive person's behavior.

Loving at Your Best notes that defensive responses typically come out when someone feels anxious about receiving criticism and they need to protect themselves from the fallout. The behavior of a defensive partner looks like full-on denial, blaming things on you, becoming highly argumentative, and attempting to avoid talking to you altogether.

Physical intimacy feels lackluster

Your partner might be having an emotional affair, but that doesn't mean it won't impact your sex life. If the physical intimacy between you and them is starting to feel lackluster, it's possible that their mind is somewhere else completely with thoughts of another person.


It's not exactly your fault that things in the bedroom are drying up if your partner is mentally distracted by the idea of being with someone else, though. Love Panky explains that reduced sex drives within a relationship can happen regardless of gender and it's often a mental thing. It's true that someone having an emotional affair hasn't physically cheated, but that doesn't mean they haven't likely thought about it and fantasized about taking that next step. Thoughts and fantasies can sometimes be enough to ruin the level of shared intimacy you once had.

According to relationship and sex therapist Dr. Lisa Terrell, there are plenty of things you can do if you feel like intimacy between you and your partner is starting to dwindle. These include talking about sex more, tuning into your body's sensations, and assessing the quality of your intimacy.


Being resentful of you

Do you feel like everything about you is bugging your partner lately? It's possible that your partner is having an emotional affair if they're acting resentful of you and your presence. PsychCentral says that resentment can be caused by being intensely disappointed in your relationship or being on the other side of mistreatment. It's also possible for resentment to grow if your partner feels like they're wasting their time with you when they could be in the presence of someone else.


Practical Intimacy notes that fixing resentment in your relationship is totally possible if you and your partner can look for the positives, understand each other's complaints, and communicate your needs. If your significant other is too busy focusing on an emotional connection they have with someone else, they probably don't have tons of energy to give your relationship the attention it deserves. Those subtle moments when they seem to be hugely resentful of you should be noted.

Your relationship feels boring and stagnant

Long-term relationships tend to go through phases, and some of those phases might feel a little boring. Boring moments don't necessarily mean your relationship is doomed to fail, though. According to Pivot., a relationship can become boring if you feel like you're always going with the flow of what your partner wants, you're always following the same beaten path, you're forgetting about yourself, or you're not working on shared intimacy. 


Psychology Today explains that feeling bored in a relationship comes into play if one or both people are wrestling with the desire to pursue something more pleasurable and rewarding with someone else. You might feel just as excited about your partner as you felt at the very beginning when things were still hot, heavy, and passionate. Your partner, on the other hand, might not be having those same sentiments if they are busy thinking about what life could be like with someone else. Your partner's possible emotional affair could be the reason why the relationship is starting to feel so stagnant.

Not consulting you for advice about anything

One of the ways couples can connect on a deeper level is by coming to each other for advice and consultation. If you've noticed that your partner is no longer coming to you to consult with you about anything, it's possible they are seeking out those answers from someone else. explains that two people in a relationship should always consult one another before making big decisions. If your partner is getting advice about homeownership, quitting a job, or enrolling in school, they should be having those conversations with you before anyone else. 


Per MadameNoire, it's equally important for people in committed relationships to consult each other about other important decisions, such as spontaneous trips, extreme changes to their physical appearance like getting visible tattoos, taking out loans, or adopting a pet. Since these types of decisions directly impact you too, your partner should be comfortable talking to you about them. If you notice that they are discussing subjects as big as these with someone else, it's very possible they're having an emotional affair.

You initiate every deep conversation

No one wants to feel like they must carry the emotional labor in a relationship. Two people who have agreed to be in a committed relationship with each other should be willing to shoulder this type of responsibility together as a team. Noticing that you're always the one who must initiate deep conversations about feelings and emotions is a sign that your partner isn't fully invested the way they should be.


BetterUp explains a relationship with unfair emotional labor dynamics usually includes one or more unstable partners, codependency, or a scenario where one person is always sharing but never listening in return. Being authentic, mindful, and honest with your partner can benefit you hugely if you're trying to balance out the emotional labor between you. Your honesty can only take you so far though if your partner is too busy daydreaming about "what ifs" with someone else.

According to Psychology Today, getting your partner to open up to you requires patience and willingness to follow a few steps. Considering sharing your own personal experiences and never requesting something you're unable to give in return are important factors. Ultimately, if you've done all that you can to get them to open up to you and they still refuse, keep in mind that they're possibly opening up to someone else.