When people think of infidelity, they usually imagine physical affairs. While these affairs are certainly damaging to a marital union, and often lead couples down the road towards divorce, they are not the only kind of infidelity that cause issues.

Emotional cheating is another type of infidelity, one that has become more prevalent due to the internet and social media. In some instances, an emotional affair will eventually give way to a physical romantic relationship. In others, the relationship may be relegated to the online space. Regardless, when spouses develop strong emotional connections outside their marriages, problems are bound to occur. Psychology Today explains how emotional cheating damages relationships.

Your needs may be put on the back burner

In a marriage, each spouse must make sure the needs of their partner are properly attended to. That does not mean that you cannot develop friendships outside your relationship. In fact, having friends is healthy for married couples. Problems arise when your spouse prioritizes the needs of a “friend” over yours. For example, your spouse may neglect household duties or postpone date nights to help this friend or to spend time with them. This causes a feeling of neglect, which can be very isolating in a relationship.

Your relationship begins to suffer

When you feel as though your spouse is prioritizing someone else, you will experience a decrease in emotional and physical intimacy. You might also argue more, or your partner may become critical of you. If you raise concerns, your spouse might dismiss them or claim that you are blowing things out of proportion. These problems signal that it is time for a frank discussion about your marriage and where your spouse’s loyalties lie.

Your mental health may also falter

While you should not to look to others for validation, it is natural to feel less confident when your spouse is less interested in you. You might also experience increased anxiety and depression if your partner is unwilling to work out problems in a meaningful way. If you cannot see eye to eye and your spouse is unwilling to take your concerns seriously, divorce may be the best option. Marriage is a partnership, and both parties must be fully invested in it for it to work.