Does he tell you, you are beautiful and sexy?
Does he laugh with you, muck around, say let's go out tonight?
Do you talk to him about life, are you working or at home most of the time, do you have hobbies to talk about to him when he's home.
Do you tell him he's attractive, sexy, looks good.
Is the distance when he travels what, makes you now love him...
I am posting these questions to you because, you say you feel it is an "emotional affair, that he needs to see if he is attractive so he uses the words to see if someone else finds him that way.
Whether it's purely emotional or there has been physical, view the above because I always think, women don't realise that men have emotions as well, they need connection, conversation and to know that they are good looking, to you, sexy to you and wanted by you....