is cheating emotional abuse

Is Cheating Emotional Abuse and How to Understand that You Are a Victim?

Being cheated on can be an emotionally traumatic experience that profoundly impacts one’s self-esteem, mental health, and overall well-being. If you ask if it is cheating or emotional abuse, we can say “Yes”. The betrayal of trust in an intimate relationship often constitutes a form of emotional abuse that can leave the betrayed partner feeling manipulated and coerced. 

Understanding the dynamics of emotional abuse is crucial for anyone struggling to cope with their partner’s infidelity. This article will explore how cheating behaviors interlink with emotional abuse, provide guidance on identifying key signs, and offer strategies for coping and seeking help if you have been victimized. Let’s start with a question: is cheating abuse? 

Is Cheating a Form of Abuse?

So, is emotional cheating considered cheating? Yes. Emotional abuse or adulterous affair refers to behaviors that psychologically manipulate, exploit, or otherwise damage a person’s mental state. It often co-occurs with physical abuse but can also happen independently. According to licensed psychologists, being cheated on can be a severe form of emotional abuse when gaslighting, verbal attacks, coercive control, or purposeful humiliation of the betrayed partner accompany it.

adulterous affair

Cheating is not only physical. The profound emotional trauma of discovering a partner’s infidelity is exacerbated when the cheating spouse exhibits an ongoing pattern of deceit, blame-shifting, and emotional aggression. They may deny wrongdoing, justify their actions, project accusations onto their partner, or intentionally make them feel unstable and insecure through lies and manipulation. This constitutes a form of emotional abuse that can have severe psychological consequences.

Recognizing the emotionally abusive patterns that frequently occur in the aftermath of cheating is essential for the betrayed individual. It allows them to understand their experiences accurately, regain a sense of validation, and identify strategies for coping with the trauma they have endured.

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Signs of Emotional Abuse After Being Cheated On: Are You a Victim of Emotional Affair? 

Individuals who have been cheated on may notice several behaviors from their unfaithful spouse that qualify as emotional mistreatment:

Gaslighting and Manipulation

The cheating spouse may deny the affair, lie about their activities, change stories, or make their partner feel paranoid for doubting them. This “gaslights” the betrayed individual and distorts their sense of reality. So, yes, it is very when gaslighting and cheating are combined. 

Verbal and Emotional Aggression

A lot of people face verbal abuse after infidelity. Yelling, criticizing, and blaming the betrayed partner are common emotionally aggressive responses when confronted by an angry, hurt spouse. Silent treatments or emotional withdrawal are also frequently used manipulative tactics.

Undermining Self-Worth and Confidence

Very often, cheaters blame the victim. They may insult their partner’s attractiveness, sexual adequacy, intelligence, or value in the relationship. Their cruel comparisons and disparaging remarks serve to deplete the partner’s self-esteem.

is cheating a form of abuse

Isolating From Support Networks

To conceal the affair and control the partner, cheaters often isolate themselves from family and friends who can provide support and validate concerns. They may also delete contacts on their spouse’s phone or block account access. It is like the true story of adulterers. 

Blaming the Victim for the Cheating

Cheaters turn the tables and blame the faithful partner for being too demanding, boring, nagging, etc. They justify cheating as a response to the partner’s perceived flaws. Why do cheaters blame the victim? They may blame the victim as a defense mechanism to avoid taking responsibility for their actions. They try to justify their behavior and protect their self-image by shifting the blame. It’s a way for them to manipulate the narrative and avoid facing the consequences of their actions.

Minimizing the Impact of the Infidelity

Cheaters diminish the significance of affairs, insisting it was pure sex, a mistake, meaningless, or even good for the relationship. This denies the partner’s sense of injury. Is infidelity abuse? Yes!

Refusing to Take Responsibility

Cheaters admit to affairs but refuse to apologize or make amends. They exhibit an entitlement mentality and lack remorse for the pain caused. This leaves the partner feeling invalidated and helpless.

verbal abuse after infidelity

How to Understand That You Are a Victim of Emotional Abuse

The main symptom: If you think, “My husband cheated on me, and it’s my fault” — you are a victim. When compelled to believe lies, change perceptions to suit the cheater’s needs, or absorb undeserved blame, the betrayed individual can quickly feel trapped in a web of confusion, much like a victim of abuse. Here are ways to gain clarity:

  • Reflect on how the cheating has impacted you emotionally. Affairs alone cause deep wounds – but chronic mistreatment and coercion add layers of trauma.
  • Let trusted friends and family see your relationship dynamics. Their perspective can confirm if you are being manipulated.
  • Consult professionals like domestic abuse hotlines or therapists. Experts can assess whether your situation indicates an abusive relationship.
  • Catalog incidents of troubling behaviors, threats, punishments, and other evidence. Documenting patterns helps reveal their harsh nature.
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The most critical step is acknowledging that you have been victimized. Please do not blame yourself or search for justification for their actions. You deserve fidelity and emotional safety.

is lying emotional abuse

My Husband Has Destroyed Me Emotionally: Coping Strategies and Seeking Help

If you determine you have suffered emotional abuse due to a partner’s cheating and subsequent behaviors, here are some proactive steps to help you heal:

  • Seek therapy and counseling. A licensed mental health professional can help you process the trauma and regain self-worth.
  • Establish firm boundaries. Make clear the behaviors you will no longer accept and the consequences for violations.
  • Prioritize self-care. Make time for exercise, hobbies, and relationships that uplift you. Don’t neglect your needs.
  • Join a support group. Connecting with others who understand your experience combats isolation and provides community.
  • Consider legal action. Laws regarding adultery, custody, and finances vary. Know your rights.

See? That’s why adultery is wrong. Because you need more time to recover after it. You do not have to endure emotional abuse. Help is available through counselors, support networks, domestic violence resources, and more. You deserve to feel safe, validated, and treated with dignity. Prioritize your emotional well-being, and don’t hesitate to seek assistance in building a life free from abuse.

verbal abuse after infidelity

Can a Marriage Survive Abuse?

To answer this question, you have to understand why do husbands abuse their wives. Husbands may engage in abusive behavior towards their wives for various reasons, and each case is unique. Abuse can stem from deep-seated issues such as a history of trauma, learned behavior from past relationships or family dynamics, mental health challenges, or substance abuse problems. In some cases, power and control dynamics within the relationship may contribute to abusive behavior. 

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Surviving abuse within a marriage is a complex journey that requires careful consideration and decisive actions. Abuse can manifest in various forms, including emotional, physical, or psychological. It’s crucial to acknowledge the severity of the situation, take steps toward healing, and, if possible, rebuild the relationship. This article explores critical aspects of whether a marriage can survive abuse and offers guidance for those navigating this challenging terrain.

Rebuilding trust is a foundational aspect of surviving abuse within a marriage. Both partners must commit to open, honest communication and actively participate in healing. Trust-building exercises, consistent therapy, and a genuine willingness to change are essential to this challenging journey.

cheating is not only physical


Being cheated on can be painful enough without also enduring emotional mistreatment and coercion at the hands of an unfaithful spouse. Unfortunately, emotional abuse frequently compounds the trauma of infidelity. Recognizing the manipulative patterns and understanding you have been victimized is crucial. There are many excellent resources and compassionate professionals ready to help you recover. With the proper support, coping strategies, and empowered mindset, you can heal from infidelity-related abuse. Your journey to peace and wholeness awaits.


What Cheating Does to a Woman?

Cheating can have profound emotional and psychological effects on a woman. It often leads to feelings of betrayal, shattered trust, and low self-esteem. Women may experience various emotions, including anger, sadness, and confusion. The impact can vary, but rebuilding trust and seeking support are crucial for healing.

Is Lying Emotional Abuse?

While not all lies constitute emotional abuse, a pattern of deceit and manipulation can be emotionally abusive. Constant lying erodes trust and creates an unhealthy dynamic in relationships. Open communication and addressing underlying issues can help prevent the development of emotionally abusive patterns.

My Husband Cheated While We Were Separated: What to Do?

Discovering infidelity during a separation is challenging. Assess your feelings and the potential for rebuilding trust. Honest communication with your husband is crucial to understanding the circumstances. Couples therapy may provide a supportive environment to navigate the complexities and decide the best course of action for both parties.

Catherine Mayers

Catherine is a psychologist and certified relationship coach with over 10 years experience helping couples heal after infidelity. Her approach provides a judgement-free space to process emotions, get to root issues, and take active steps to reconnect or mindfully part ways. Catherine offers research-based strategies to manage difficult emotions, rebuild broken trust, and improve communication. She provides empathetic guidance to empower couples during this challenging time, both through direct counseling and her insightful articles on repairing relationships after cheating.

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