When is it an emotional affair? In my personal and professional opinion an Emotional Affair becomes an affair or Betrayal when a relationship between two people who are already in a committed relationship with other people start sharing intimate information about one another with each other without their perspective partners knowing about it. A buddy at work can easily become more than a buddy at work. If you share more with your Friend than with your Spouse/Intimate Other, you might be having an Emotional Affair.
Emotional affairs are real and typically do start out as friendships. They are innocent at first usually starting off as online friendships that move on to become more flirtatious. Some studies show that more than 70% of those friendships end up as actual romantic affairs. Some things to look for to discern if you may be confused about when things become inappropriate or unacceptable:
1. You start talking to a particular person way too much online or at work.
2. You contact them during inappropriate times. If it’s a work friend then contacting them via text, computer, phone, outside work hours would constitute inappropriate time.
3. Sharing problems or your frustrations about your relationship with them.
4. Talking negatively about your spouse/partner.
5. You start testing the waters with sexy or flirty messages. You like what you hear and push the envelope to see how far things will go.
6. You meet them for drinks or coffee and don’t tell your partner.
7. You share secrets with each other and not with your spouse.
8. When on the computer your partner walks in on you and you close out your screen.
9. You start exaggerating your problems about home life or your partner.
10. You think about them all the time and constantly check your phone and computer for any contact.
When you connect with another person with or without a physical or romantic connection, you are essentially creating a bond with that person to the exclusion of your partner. Especially when you have established that you can talk negatively about your spouse with this person. You then set up a close and emotional relationship where this person can fill the needs that your partner can’t. Sometimes people do this unconsciously to see if this person will meet these needs.
To prevent Emotional Infidelity:
1. Tell the truth.
2. Accept that it is normal to be attracted to other people.
3. Acknowledge any fantasizing about this other person to yourself so you don’t have to act on the fantasy.
4. Better to share an Emotional Affair than a full blown sexual affair with your partner.
5. Be open and honest with your partner about your feelings before they turn into something more. (You don’t have to share the details)
Again, it is perfectly normal to be attracted to someone you have formed an emotional connection with. It’s just not appropriate to take it to the next step as it is not safe for the relationship. If you can relate to this article and think you are involved in an Emotional Affair and afraid you might cheat, it is recommended you talk to your partner sooner rather than later and be honest about your feelings. If you need help in doing so please give me a call at (858) 735-1139 or email me at CouplesCounselorSanDiego.com and I can help you with the process.