28/10/2012 07:32 GMT | Updated 26/12/2012 05:12 GMT

Is an Emotional Affair Technically Cheating?

We've all been introduced to the world of affairs in one way or another, though television, literature, films and music the concept of cheating and breaking someone's heart is always there. Since the 90s cheating has seemingly become easier with the introduction of email, dating websites, mobile phone apps and texting or as many refer to it sexting.

With the introduction of these virtual avenues to indulge in what many may call a bit of light-hearted flirting it looks as though cheating has fundamentally changed. But something many over look is that you don't have to venture down the road of having an illicit affair or sending someone a dirty text or email to be cheating on a partner, there is also the emotional affair.

Everyone has emotions and we can become attached to someone through a whole array of different emotions, I mean we can even become emotionally attached to someone that we hate. But as most people don't intend on embarking on an affair of the emotions with no physical contact, is it technically cheating?

An emotional affair is usually described as a relationship between a person and someone other than their partner that has a high level of emotions. It can differ from the affair we've all seen in society as in this case the main object of the affair isn't sex, and a person most probably hasn't sought it out.

Emotional affairs can begin for a number of different reasons with a number of different people. We could begin them with co-workers that we see everyday or a friend that we see quite regularly, but why do they start? After all if you're in a relationship where there's no love or no sex then you may embark on an actual affair, but an affair of the emotions could begin because of a feeling of loneliness, emotional detachment from a partner or you may simply be falling out of love but are still in love with your partner.

An emotional affair doesn't have to involve sex as it's all about the feelings, it can feel like the beginning of a new relationship all over again where you get butterfly's in your stomach and can't wait to see this other person, and it doesn't feel bad as you aren't actually cheating or you may not realise that this is happening. But when the attraction does take over when does the emotional affair switch from being emotional to you wanting to rip their clothes off next time you see them? With an attraction like that bubbling up between two people, it's surely only a matter of time before this 'special friendship' you've developed changes and the real affair begins.

So when we actually sit down and think about it, even though we aren't ripping someone's clothes off and throwing them around the bedroom, by sitting with them in the nearest coffee shop or bar we begin to become emotional dependant on them and by default this is cheating. Just as many people consider the sending of a dirty text or Facebook message as being unfaithful, an affair of the emotions can be just has damaging even without kissing or touching or everything that may follow. Lets be honest at the end of the day by depending on someone else you've removed the foundations of your relationship, and without those is there any point in staying in your relationship? Because aren't you just beginning a new one? But if this isn't the case then maybe some need to take a step back and re-assess the situation they are in before it gets too late to turn back.