We spoke last week about Surviving an Affair. I was talking about the topic with a friend over coffee the other day and another great offshoot of it came up: the Emotional Affair.
These are affairs that you may not even realize you’re having. Because technically, you’re not breaking any rules. There’s been no swapping of saliva, no one’s seen anyone naked (except maybe in your daydreams) … you may tell yourself you’re just good friends, even though you know you’re thinking about this person a bit too much.
If this all sounds familiar and you think you’re not doing anything dangerous, you’d be wrong.
Not only are these affairs the precursor to a full-blown, rolling-between-the-sheets adulterous kind, but even if you never get to that stage, you’ve already broken your partner’s trust.
How? You’re getting your emotional needs met by someone else, and in the process you are probably lying to your partner about the nature of this “friendship” you spend so much time on.
According to The Emotional Affair, there are three things every emotional affair has in common:
Emotional intimacy: Transgressors share more of their inner self, frustrations, and triumphs than with their spouses. They are on a slippery slope when they begin sharing the dissatisfaction with their marriage with a co-worker.
Secrecy and deception: They neglect to say, We meet every morning for coffee. Once the lying starts, the intimacy shifts farther away from the marriage.
Sexual chemistry: Even though the two may not act on the chemistry, there is at least an unacknowledged sexual attraction.
An emotional affair often starts as a friendship, perhaps with a co-worker or with a long-lost friend you’ve reconnected with on Facebook.
Your partner may not feel like they have a right to put an end to your “friendship” with this person. They might not even be aware that there’s anything going on. You may have made them believe that their intuitive jealousy is petty.
You may have been telling yourself that you’re not doing anything wrong. But if the above sounds familiar, then you need to stop. Now. Before it gets worse.
Emotional affairs may not be about sex, but you’re definitely looking for something. Instead of looking outside your relationship, pour all that energy back into refocusing on your partner and your connection with them. Before you make a big mistake.
Have you had, or heard of, an emotional affair? What are your thoughts?