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Emotional Cheating or Friendship?


Registered Member
My friend just found out her husband was having a mild flirtation/friendship online. There was no meeting in person or exchanging of pictures or discussion of anything sexual, but they had started getting a little close emotionally. Her husband doesn't think he did anything wrong because there was nothing physical, nor was that even mentioned or discussed. He insists they are just friends and points out the fact that he didn't hide their communication from my friend and most of their conversations were family-related and PG topics. My feeling is that if the flirtation had been allowed to continue, it would have turned into something not good because it just seemed too personal. Her husband doesn't typically have female friends so this just raises red flags to me.

Can men and women have platonic friendships outside of their marriages? Are emotional affairs as bad as physical ones? When is it truly just a friendship?


Free Spirit
Staff member
I think both men and women can have platonic relationships outside of their marriage but I don't think its for everyone. If there have been problems in your marriage this could create another if trust is an issue.

I have to agree if someone never had friends of the opposite sex then suddenly they do, according to what type of person they were, I might wonder what was going on.

Emotional cheating isn't quite the level of physically cheating but the feelings were there all the same and it can damage a relationship.


Registered Member
Don't get me wrong, I definitely think men and women can have platonic friendships and have it be totally innocent. Personally, I think a lot of it has to do with how it's handled and the ground rules established early on in the relationship. That is why this feels different to me. Her husband has never had more than passing females acquaintences before. Suddenly he is best friends with another woman? Didn't sit right.


Registered Member
I believe most men only count physical relationships as cheating. I don't think that guy would be upset if his wife was chatting someone up on the internet as long as she didn't make it physical. Generally, I think women are more concerned over emotional affairs and men are more concerned over physical affairs. Of course, if one partner raises a reasonable objection to a friendship, it's time to end it. Why continue if it causes your wife stress and makes her insecure? That's not good.


Registered Member
You can cheat with a thought.

That said, the fact that it wasn't hidden makes the difference for me. Cheaters conceal and lie. It is the core of cheating. Some couples can have sexual relationships with other partners and have it not be cheating.

You and your lover define your relationship. I did not vow to not flirt or look at other women, I did vow to be worthy of my wife's trust. That means something to me and to her. Flirting is harmless, as long as you are all honest about it. That is how we see it, but ours is not the only relationship. The wife and I are not swingers but we do know a couple who are and it seems to work for them.