Emotional Cheating VS Physical Cheating

Emotional Cheating VS Physical Cheating – Which is harder to overcome when a spouse has been caught cheating or in an affair – the sex (physical cheating) or the emotional cheating?

Rick Reynolds, LCSW and AffairRecovery.com Founder sent us interesting statistics regarding affairs and forgiveness of the emotional aspect of cheating VS the physical aspect of cheating. I’ve posted helpful articles regarding affairs with help from our friends at affairrecovery.com in the past and I hope you find this one helpful.


According to a recent Affair Recovery poll, 75% of responders reported the emotional cheating was harder to overcome. The physical aspect of cheating was more difficult to overcome according the remaining 25% of those surveyed.

Affairs, Which Is Harder to Overcome: the Sex or the Emotions?
By Rick Reynolds, LCSW
President and Founder of AffairRecovery.com

It is appropriate here to remember that the “love” felt in an affair, if it was an entangled relationship, is almost always a blind infatuation that sees no faults. Another word for this love is limerence. It is like an obsessive need, a fantasy in which there are no worries at all: no debt, no kids, and no stress. Everything about the affair partner seems to be perfect in this fantasy world.

Emotional Cheating VS Physical Cheating

Why Is It Harder to Recover From the Emotional Cheating Vs Physical Cheating?
Of the 500+ open-ended responses from around the country, most fell into four categories describing why the emotional affair was harder. Here’s what we found…

Emotional Cheating VS Physical Cheating 

  • Emotional pain lasted longer – Many felt that the trauma of the emotional aspect of the affair took much longer to overcome than the physical. It feels like every hour they see something that reminds them of the betrayal. These reminders then trigger a spell of emotional flooding and when experienced frequently it is even more difficult to heal from the devastating event.
  • Conversations with affair partner too intimate – The thought of the unfaithful spouse opening up about their life goals, dreams, and feelings to their affair partner but not to their wife/husband was tormenting. This is one of the main indications of an emotional affair. The betrayed spouse felt that information should be more reserved, so realizing they were not as close to their spouse as they originally believed haunted them.
  • Feeling unimportant and unwanted – Knowing that their spouse was giving their love and emotional support to someone outside of their marriage made the betrayed feel as if they weren’t good enough or couldn’t meet the needs of their spouse. This damaged their ability to connect emotionally in the same manner as they did before the affair.
  • Seeing layers of lies and deception – In any marriage, lying and deceiving your partner is detrimental. In the cases of infidelity, the lies told to hide the affair caused emotional scaring to the betrayed spouse and an inability to trust their partner as they once did.

Affair Recovery specializes in helping people heal after infidelity. After recovering from his own affair 25 years ago and helping 2,000+ other couples do the same, founder Rick Reynolds and his team have developed research-validated, groundbreaking online and in-person programs for reconciling the losses created by infidelity, betrayal, and sexual addiction. To learn more, visit www.AffairRecovery.com.

For more info on Emotional Cheating VS Physical Cheating, visit www.AffairRecovery.com

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