Cheating, though it may seem like it's black and white, is often not very clear.
Although physical cheating is relatively easy to discern — i.e., if you kissed or slept with someone else, you cheated — emotional cheating can be harder to figure out.
Emotionally cheating often simply means that an invisible line has been crossed in the bond between two people that aren't in a relationship. Emotional cheating doesn't have to ever escalate into physical cheating to be just as bad for a relationship.
If you think you are emotionally cheating, but aren't sure if your outside relationship has crossed that line, Elite Daily spoke to some experts about what to ask yourself to help you figure it out:
1. Do I Get More Excited To See The Other Person Than My Partner?
If you find yourself getting more excited to see the other person than you are to see your partner, this may be a sign that you are emotionally cheating.
Life coach and founder of Blush Online Life Coaching, Kali Rogers, says it's important to pay attention to your body when you are with or looking forward to being with the other person. Of course, we all get excited to see friends outside of our relationship, but it's a question of just how excited you feel.
"What physical reactions do you have when speaking to this person? Do you notice your heart beating faster? Butterflies? Overall excitement? Or no change? Obvious excitement or nerves indicate there is a romantic element to your relationship."
Additionally, if you are feeling so excited to see the other person and barely noticing any excitement around your partner, your outside relationship may be headed in dangerous territory.
2. Do I Get Dressed Up To See The Other Person?
Chris Armstrong, a certified relationship coach at Maze of Love, says there is an easy cue to notice if your outside relationship has started to veer off in the wrong direction: Are you getting dressed up and flirting with them like it's a date? If so, be careful.
Making an effort when seeing friends or co-workers makes sense — we all get dressed on a daily basis to go out. That said, if you find yourself dressing up specifically to see this person or you find yourself flirting just a bit too much when you're together, you may want to reign it in.
Armstrong says a lot of the time, emotional affairs get started because there's an intimacy gap in your current relationship. If so, the answer is to work on it, instead of looking outside the partnership.
3. Have I Fantasized About Being Single To Be With The Other Person?
If you've found yourself daydreaming about what it would be like to be single, just so that you could start a relationship with the other person, you'll definitely want to start reassessing where you are with your current partner and trying to get that relationship back on track.
Rogers says if you can imagine yourself kissing them and feeling good about it, you're in really deep and dangerous waters. "Feelings of anticipation, excitement, or even nerves are signs that this relationship is more than platonic," she continues.
If you are imaging breaking off your current relationship to be with someone else — or even just wondering what it would be like to be single again with thoughts of someone else — talk to your significant other about how to get your relationship in a good place again before you damage it further.
4. Am I Prioritizing The Other Person Over My Partner?
If you are losing track of time when you're with the other person (or even just when you're talking to or texting them), you may want to take a hard look at your relationship with them.
If your partner is playing second fiddle to the amount of time you spend with someone else, you could be emotionally cheating. Giving someone else the same (or more) attention than you're giving your partner means that something is getting neglected in your relationship — maybe more than one something.
Prioritizing someone else is a sure sign that your relationship is in trouble, and you should try to correct your course before things get worse.
5. Am I Comparing The Other Person To My Partner?
Do you find yourself thinking, "Well, if my boyfriend was like the other person..."? If so, you may be emotionally cheating. Each couple is unique, just like each individual is unique, so comparing your significant other to someone else really isn't fair.
Not only that, but you have an intimate history with your partner: You've seen them at their best and at their worst. You are probably just getting the good things from the other person and using that as a benchmark for your relationship.
If you realize you are comparing your partner to someone else, take a step back to see how you might be jeopardizing your relationship. If you are, now is a good time to start trying to fix it.
6. Am I Getting Too Intimate With The Other Person?
Armstrong says a very significant hallmark of whether you are emotionally cheating is whether you are getting way too intimate with someone else.
He says good questions to ask yourself are: "Am I flirting with the other, or sharing information with others that is personal to my partner and I, for attention because I feel a vacancy in my current relationship? Am I allowing someone to share personal things with me that I know they are sharing because they like me?"
It goes both ways. Whether you are sharing too much or allowing someone to share too much with you, this may be crossing the line into emotional cheating.
7. Am I Hiding Any Interactions From My Partner?
The biggest and most important indicator that you may be emotionally cheating is whether you find yourself hiding your interactions with the other person from your partner.
If you instinctively cover up your phone when your partner walks into the room or you shut down your Facebook messages if they come up to your computer, these are bad signs that you are having an emotional affair.
Similarly, if you specifically don't tell your partner about in-person interaction with the other person or you avoid telling them about plans you've made with them, you are venturing more and more into the land of emotional cheating.
If you do find yourself being secretive with your significant other, it's not too late to change your behavior and start setting more boundaries with the other person.
Emotional cheating is tricky territory. It can be hard to tell if we're developing a close, appropriate friendship or if we're starting to cheat. If you're worried, check the questions on this list — and then decide what direction you'd like your relationship with your partner to take in the future.