This term "Emotional Cheating" is being plastered all over infotainment shows like the Today Show today. They got experts up talking about it as if it is some sort of disease where one person in a relationship forms a strong, unnatural, emotional connection with someone other than their partner. What complete nonsense. One would have to be an emotional infant to consider this as a genuine category of human behavior.
There is not such thang as Emotional Cheating. It's a term that is created to vilify normal human interaction. Emotional attachment between any two people (male/female, male/male, female/female) is a natural part of being human.
Emotional Cheating is a term that hides the true nature of what it's trying to describe. The cause of the issue is a rift between two people in a relationship. However, the term is used by one person to push off blame for the rift onto some third party interaction that is absorbing their partner's attention. It pushes blame from the cause to the effect. It allows the slighted partner a false excuse for their feelings of betrayal. The real cause is that the two partners are allowing themselves to drift apart. For the emotionally immature, the emotional bond which one person is developing outside that relationship is response to that drift. For the emotionally mature person, any emotional bonds developed outside the relationship are irrelevant to what is going on within the relationship. The forming rift must be addressed directly, either to mend or break completely.
Old rules that led into the evolution of the marriage tradition were based on primitive survival needs of those times. Over time, the marriage rules have become more restrictive, and less in touch with human nature. The Old Testament glorifies behavior that is seen as obscene in our time. By contrast, marriage rules today would be considered absurd to the bible's writers. The rules change, but our species hasn't. So, what's going on?
Since the beginning of the 20th Century, we now have the power to understand ourselves in ways that weren't even imagined in previous times. Yet, as a society, we seem to be gravitating more towards emotional immaturity than ever before. We should be trying to move towards emotional maturity. As a society, we have to learn that we are emotional creatures. Emotion is part of who we are. We are going to experience emotion whether we want to or not. Trying to create new ways to vilify our nature is pushing us in the wrong direction.
Two people should be able to have an emotional connection that doesn't interfere with that relationships of which those people are a part. Guys and girls can be close friends without being involved. Where the issues of emotional cheating comes in, is when that close friendship becomes an excuse. Either person in the relationship can use it as an excuse, but it's still only an excuse for the unrelated cause.