3 women reveal what happened when they had an emotional affair.


Emotional affairs might be a lot harder to define than physical cheating.

But confiding in, leaning on and developing feelings for someone who isn’t your partner can cause just as much – if not more – hurt than physical infidelity.

And these three women, who spoke to Mamamia, know that better than most.

Side note – women share the thing their partner doesn’t know about them below. Post continues after video.

Video by MMC


“They say opposites attract, but one of the biggest things that bugged me about my boyfriend Dave* was how lazy he could be. I’m a total gym bunny and I love being outdoors, going for long walks and swimming in the sea. Dave, on the other hand, is in a committed relationship with Netflix and loves staying in with a takeaway. Nothing wrong with that per se. During the week I would work out in the morning then join Dave on the couch for dinner, getting the best of both worlds. But when it came to the weekends, we had completely opposing ideas of how we should spend them. And so we spent the majority of them apart, with me trying to be active and Dave being… inactive.


“During one Saturday morning spin class, I got chatting to the guy on the bike next to me. Dan* was attractive, fit and funny, giving me encouragement throughout the class. Afterwards, he asked me to get coffee and even though I’d told Dave I’d come home for brunch, I said yes. Walking with our coffees, we agreed to meet at class the following week. And from there a friendship blossomed between us. Well, I say it was a friendship. Deep down I know it was something more. Nothing physical ever happened between us but I found myself lying to Dave about what I was going to be doing so I’d have more time to spend having coffee and going for long walks with Dan. One weekend, when Dave was away for work, I spent the entire day with Dan, doing a class, a coastal walk, then having a long lunch.

“One night after arguing with Dave, I called Dan and he told me to come over. But as soon as I got into the Uber, I knew I was crossing a line. I went straight to a girlfriend’s place and told her everything. After that, I changed gyms and distanced myself from Dan.

“Dave and I are no longer together. Seems we were just too different in the end – and I guess that ultimately it was Dan who made me see that.”

Sexual Psychiatrist Esther Perel explains to Mia Freedman exactly why it is that happy people cheat, on No Filter. Post continues after audio.


“In my first week in a new job, I went out for welcome drinks. Me and Ben, a guy on my team, were the last ones standing and at the end of the night, he asked if he could take me out some time. It was only then I told him I was in a 10-year relationship – and rightly, he was shocked I hadn’t mentioned it. I felt awful because I knew I’d held out on him because there was a spark between us and I didn’t want to ruin it.


“I had been with Martin for such a long time, things were very… comfortable between us. For the past five years, people had been asking me when he was going to pop the question and for a while I had wondered as well. Now I found I had stopped thinking about it. We just… were. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Martin. But I couldn’t remember the last time we’d had a lively conversation or exciting sex.

“And now I’d met Ben and I was definitely feeling something. We started grabbing coffees and lunches together, chatting throughout the day on the internal messaging system. Then there were more after work drinks, long and intense chats. Martin never asked who I was out with and I never offered up the information.

“When I got a promotion at work, Ben was the first person I told, not Martin. And that night, over celebratory champagne, he leaned in to kiss me and I didn’t stop him.

“I knew in that moment my relationship with Martin was over. I ended things the following day and just a few weeks later, got set up in my own place. Me and Ben started dating, and we’re still together – although living separately – two years later.


“I guess it took an emotional affair to for me to see that he was the right one for me.”

cheating husband partner
'Nothing physical ever happened between us, but I found myself lying to my boyfriend so we could spend more time together.' Image: Getty.


“I’d always had a thing for my best male friend Steve, but we’d never crossed the line from friends into something more, and I had absolutely no idea how he felt about me. When he got serious with his girlfriend Steph, I had to accept it wasn’t going to happen and move on with my life. We stayed close though, and Steph was very good at giving us our time together, not always insisting on hanging out with us. I eventually met a guy, Gareth and we were really happy."


"It’s only looking back that I realise I was having an emotional affair with Steve the entire time. I relied on him for things that went well beyond the boundaries of friendship – I’d call or text him late at night if me and Steve had argued, I’d expect him to drop things at a moment’s notice if I wanted (read, needed) to see him, and I thought about him more than is normal when you’re supposedly in love with someone else. I compared Gareth to Steve in every possible way and weirdly (yes, very, very weirdly) I thought of Steve as a sort-of boyfriend. When he told me he had split up with Steph, I remember feeling elated – and that’s when I knew, this wasn’t normal.

“I ended up getting drunk and telling him how I felt. Steve said that while he cared about me deeply, he didn’t want to pursue anything because he didn’t want to risk our friendship. I was absolutely heartbroken – and that conversation ended up ruining our friendship anyway. Gareth and me limped along for another six months before going our separate ways.”

*Names have been changed to protect the identities of these individuals. These women are known to Mamamia.

Have you had an emotional affair? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!